Test Ride: 2013 Specialized Epic Expert Carbon 29

The 2013 Specialized Epic Expert Carbon 29 in Carbon/Charcoal

A long overdue post, if I must say so myself!  On October 29th, Matt and I borrowed two ’13 Specialized Epic Expert Carbon 29 mountain bikes from the Bicycle Station here in Cheyenne, and took them down to Lory State Park in Fort Collins, CO to give them a spin.  Both of us are disappointed and to the point of hating our current bikes.  I was looking into the Specialized Fate as my upgrade, but Matt convinced me to give the Epic a try, even though I never wanted to ride a full suspension bike.  Matt has been eying an Epic for awhile.

“Whether hammering technical World Cup courses or local cross-country trails, these competitive riders want their bikes to be super lightweight, efficient and ultimately fast, for explosive climbing and nimble handling. Though the Epic is an ideal bike for racers, it’s also appealing for riders who want a short-travel bike that shreds rugged singletrack”

I could pretty much end my blog post with that quote from Specialized’s website, as it pretty much describes my experience on the bike!

I immediately noticed how light the bike was when I went to put it on the car.  24 pounds vs. my current bike’s weight of 32 pounds is definitely noticeable!  Unfortunately, the weight and nimbleness of the bike did rattle my nerves the first few miles of riding.  The bike was just so fast and responsive I felt like I was going to wreck it at every turn!  I felt like it handle more like my carbon road bike, very twitchy.  I got over this by the end of the ride, naturally.

Timber Trail at Lory State Park, all smiles even after all that climbing!

The first thing I noticed immediately was how well the bike climbed.  I felt like I could climb for days and days on it.  I loved the gearing, and the drivetrain smoothly shifted even on climbs and under pressure.  And I discovered that I could ride switchbacks for the first time ever.  Usually I have to get off my bike, waddle around the switchback and continue riding, making any trail that has these tight corners kind of horrible to ride.  The Epic handled all the switchbacks with ease.  I was amazed.  Sometimes it is about the bike, right?!  d

I was worried that a full suspension bike would suck on climbs as it would absorb the pedal stroke.  I didn’t even notice the Epic was full suspension, honestly!  Now, I must say I had the bike shop set it at full firm.  I did not have it set up to be squishy.  The Epic also has the Brain, which I’m sure helped.  I did notice the full suspension when I would go over a rocky part, and noticed it didn’t jar me as much as it would’ve on my hardtail.  I was so impressed, and minute by minute I knew this was going to become my new bike.

 

I must say that this is a very sexy looking bike!

I was riding a “medium” frame size.  I did notice some fit issues, such as the stem being too long.  I was often riding just holding on with my fingertips when it was smooth single track.  I can see how this is a difference between a women’s specific design and a men’s bike.  All my current bikes are WSD, mostly for the fact I wanted a pink bike.  Otherwise, the bike felt good, and fit me, which I can’t say for my current MTB.  I did find the saddle a bit too hard for my liking, and perhaps a bit too narrow for my sit bones.  So upon purchase I will do a BG FIT and switch to a shorter stem and perhaps a women’s specific MTB saddle that better accommodates my sit bones.  I know I am a special female case, as I am 5’8″ tall with a 34″ inseam, so I can fit a men’s bike a lot easier than most of my shorter counterparts.  The Epic is only offered in a Small through XL sizes.  If I’m on a Medium, you can gauge what body size a Small might fit.

We rode just shy of 17 miles on the Epics before the weather started turning nasty.  It all felt quite effortless.  The bike just goes and goes!  I even giggled a ton at the fact that on Strava I widdled down a 17 minute difference between Georgia Gould and I on a segment to 1 minute 33 seconds.  Granted, I know she was probably just casually riding (and heck, to my defense I wasn’t even “strava-ing” the segment, I was too busy getting use to the light weight and handling of the bike), but holy crap I love this bike!  Not saying it’s all the bike here, as I last did the segment earlier in the summer, but it has to be some of it!  And we all know how much I like seeing good results on Strava, LOL.

Matt loved his as well, and now is so excited to start racing with me.  Which leaves us hating our current bikes and neglecting them in the corner…. I think I am going to try to sell mine.  Nothing is really wrong with it, except it’s not my size and heavy and I’ve outgrown it skill and riding wise.  We have some lofty race goals for 2013, and are preparing to start training and eating right.  Now we should have the right bikes to get us there!

And goodness, there’s not an ounce of pink on the bike, aside from my Wedgie pink I attached to carry spare tubes and tools!  Losing a bit of girly, now aren’t we?!

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