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Specialized Epic Comp 29er (2012)

Editor's Review

Specialized join's the 29er fray


Great for Climbing and long distance racing.


Rear wheel removal fiddly.


Specialized is one of the last big manufacturers to jump onto the 29er train. This year they have jumped on board big time with the Epic 29er being one of many 29er models in their 2011 range. With over 37 years in the bicycle business Specialized have a wealth of knowledge. It could be perceived that the late inclusion of Specialized into the 29er market could be as simple as they hadn't got it right yet. With a lot of manufacturers stumbling with the ride quality of the 29er's and simply not getting the mix right I feel that Specialized have an advantage of their competitors in that they have had more time to make it right the first time.

Theories aside the Epic 29er looks good and is a well put together bike. It offers some cool functions that you won't find anywhere else. The rear shock is an externally tunable, trail-sensing rear shock-pioneered by Specialized and manufactured by FOX. When a rider encounters bump forces, the Mini Brain's inertia valve disengages, allowing oil to flow and the shock to immediately transition from firm (efficient) to fully active (compliant) suspension settings. The external Brain Fade dial allows riders to fine tune their suspension levels. The Mini-Brain offers a 100mm of travel.

With a M5 Fully Manipulated Alloy frame the weight for a large frame is a smidgen under 3kg with the complete bike weighing in at 12.8kg without pedals. This is in line with its competitors but if you want a lighter bike then your wallet is going to become a whole lot lighter. Have a look at the S-Works 29er for an example of what around $10k will you get for you.

The Epic 29er has been designed to have fast-handling frame geometry which is formulated for the competitive XC racer. This equates to an aggressive (or more forward) riding position for precision handling on cross-country trails and courses.

Specialized uses a short rear end, low bottom bracket, and roomy top tube, which enables riders to be more nimble and have maneuverable bike with room to stretch out and stay centered over the bike. For riders not focused on racing, the 70.5¡ head tube angle is still slack enough to enjoy plenty of winding singletrack.

A combination of Sram's X9 and X7 gearing combined with Dt Swiss rims and Specialized own hubs, tyres, bars, stem, seatpost and saddle rounds out the Epic's package.

After some on-the-hop fine tuning of the front and rear suspension it was time to put the Epic through its paces. The Epic is stiff but still retains a good level of comfort. This bike likes to be ridden like it was stolen. The harder you push the better it responds. Using all of the available travel I never heard the daunting sound the suspension bottoming out. This is a great set up with little momentum lost when climbing out of the saddle. It handled most of what I threw at the Epic and came out smiling and with my skin and bones intact.

The Epic 29er is suited to enduro style riding where comfort is a must. Spend the time setting up the suspension to suit you and you will be rewarded with a well balance machine that will take you to the end of the ride with more to spare.

The only complaint I had was the new rear dropout set-up. Specialized Hi Lo disc hub with 142+ spacing. Running a 12mm thru-bolt it does what it is designed to do stiffen up the rear end but is fiddly to remove and re-install. It takes away from the quick release that we are accustom t. So some practice on removing your rear wheel before a race will help save you time out on the track.

Otherwise Specialized have produced a well balanced XC dual suspension bike that will find itself at home on the trail especially on the longer marathon styled events.


Be a legend of cross-country cycling by hopping on the Epic Comp 29er. Maximize the perks of the astonishing components like the M5 alloy frame, RockShox Reba RLT fork, Fox/Specialized remote Mini-Brain shock, and SRAM X7/X9 10-speed gears and be rewarded with the outstanding efficiency, high speed and winning performance of this epic bike.

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Name:Epic Comp 29er
Brand: Specialized
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