Specialised takes cross-country mountain bike racing to a send-ier degree with it’s latest high-end racer, the Epic EVO. We ripped it over some critical Colorado trails for this overview.
I don’t purposefully make extreme bike acquisitions. Nevertheless, generally the advertising and marketing hype and pictures push a button. That was the case with Specialised’s S-Works Epic EVO, which not too long ago turned an “n + 1” buy for me.
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The Epic Evo had fairly the thrill in Durango, Colorado. In a city filled with world-class mountain bikers, considered one of our shining stars, World Championship silver medal winner Chris Blevins, street our trails in a Specialised video. It was adequate for Blevins, so I questioned if I used to be adequate for the Epic EVO.
As a contented proprietor of final yr’s Specialised Full-Suspension S-Works Epic, I generally needed a bit extra bike below me. That usually occurred once I was on daylong epics within the backcountry, removed from a cell sign.
Enter Specialised’s Epic EVO.
What’s the EVO All About?
Based on Specialised’s product supervisor, Brian Gordon, the genesis of the EVO line originates from at this time’s extra technical XC race programs. “XC race programs are now not fireplace roads within the backcountry,” he defined. “There are rock gardens, berms, jumps, and riders try to get via them as quick as potential. It’s not nearly an ultralight setup for climbing, however concerning the quickest package deal, the optimum stability of weight and functionality.”
Brian additionally emphasised the enjoyable issue, stating, “Most racers spend lower than 10 p.c of their time racing. Most of that point is spent out coaching or having enjoyable on native trails. Epic EVO encompasses this concept that XC is enjoyable and quick.”
Specialised Epic EVO Trip Impressions
Once I first hopped on the Epic EVO for a spin at our native path system — a experience that features a little bit of pavement and doubletrack — it felt secure, certain, and a bit much less inspiring than my Full-Suspension Epic. In evaluating the 2 bikes, the EVO has 20 extra millimeters of entrance suspension journey due to its FOX Manufacturing facility Step-Forged 34 fork. This leads to a head angle that’s one diploma shallower.
That additional 20mm up entrance additionally creates a better backside bracket and affected my standover top. Specialised geared up the EVO with a FOX Manufacturing facility Switch dropper submit and a couple of.Three-inch tires whereas the usual Epic kits make the most of a 2.Three-inch tire up entrance and a 2.1-inch tire within the again.
Each bikes share similar frames so far as dimensions and composite building.
Within the drivetrain division, Specialised specced Shimano’s XTR M9100 12-speed system for the EVO construct versus Shimano’s Di2 11-speed as on my Epic from final yr. Shift efficiency was simply as crisp on the mechanical system as on the digital Di2. The Di2 system emits an digital chirp when shifting, however the mechanical XTR is silent and stealthy. The mechanical XTR’s 50-tooth cassette was completely welcome on the sustained climbs of Durango singletrack.
Specialised Epic EVO Overview
Whereas the EVO felt a bit like a slower, extra secure platform, my experience instances instructed in any other case. Attributable to climate and street and path circumstances, I used to be typically lapping a decrease altitude loop in a drier setting.
Over the course of a number of weeks, I switched between my S-Works Epic and S-Works Epic EVO. Most exercises have been with the objectivity coronary heart charge monitor and a watt meter present. Though my Epic felt sooner, it was truly the Epic EVO that clocked the sooner instances, generally approaching 10 p.c sooner.
Why may extra journey equal extra effectivity and pace? Try a earlier article on hardtail versus full-suspension, the place we get right into a little bit of the physics behind suspensions.
For comparability, The S-Works Epic weighs about 2 kilos lower than the Epic EVO. Each bikes have been weighed with two water bottle cages and Xpedo’s wonderful M-Power eight Ti pedals. The online weight of my EVO, geared up as acknowledged, is simply shy of 24.5 kilos — wonderful for a succesful path bike with a dropper submit.
That triggered me to replicate on Brian Gordon’s authentic assertion: “It’s not nearly an ultralight setup for climbing, however concerning the quickest package deal, the optimum stability of weight and functionality.”
I don’t know what facet of the EVO’s spec package deal made probably the most important distinction. Was it the 120 mm of journey up entrance (versus 100 mm) that allowed me to hold extra ahead momentum? Was it the decrease gearing and wider rear tire that allowed me to climb extra effectively? Or was it the dropper submit that allowed me to descend with better confidence and pace?
With a number of extra weeks of using, and swapping components and items, I’d know. Suffice to say, nevertheless, that on the terrain that I used to be using, the Epic EVO was a extra environment friendly software than the usual Epic.
Is Proudly owning the Epic and Epic EVO Overkill?
Previous to receiving the Epic EVO, I had a dialog concerning the two bikes with Ned Overend, a neighborhood rider and mountain bike legend. Overend felt that proudly owning each was redundant. In my expertise, I can see a spot for each.
The Epic is my experience of alternative for days that embody fireplace street, doubletrack, and singletrack. A one-day lap of Utah’s White Rim Path is a superb instance. Nevertheless, for high-alpine rides with rocky climbs and descents, or occasions just like the Breck Epic, the Epic EVO appears excellent.
As per Brian Gordon, whereas many racers are gravitating in direction of an Epic EVO spec, the 100mm platform of the Epic continues to be most well-liked in lots of components of the world. Your outcomes and preferences is likely to be completely different relying in your trails.
Is the Epic EVO for Everybody?
In the event you experience XC, the brief reply is “sure.” Based on Dmitri Keating of Outdated City Bicycle in Washington state’s Puget Sound area, “The Epic EVO is a brand new breed of exceptionally succesful XC race bikes which might be a blast to race — and a blast to simply experience.”
There’s an EVO mannequin for each finances with three construct packages: the Epic Comp EVO at $Three,220, the Epic Knowledgeable EVO at $5,850, and the S-Works Epic EVO at $10,400. In testing all three construct packages, the budget-minded Epic Comp EVO has the identical well-rounded capabilities as its dearer brethren. Nevertheless, you do pay a weight penalty, and it’s noticeable. The distinction between the $5,850 Epic Knowledgeable and $10,400 S-Works will not be as profound.
If XC using is your sport, whatever the value degree, Specialised’s EVO line is an outstanding software for the job. As Brian Gordon acknowledged, it’s an “optimum stability of weight and functionality.”