2014 Specialized Epic Expert Carbon World Cup Bike (discontinued)

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Discontinued
Bike - Specialized Epic Expert Carbon World Cup - carbon
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lean mean race machine

Rating:
The Good:

Rides like a HT

The Bad:

Rear shock is slow to open valving, unreliable and expensive to repair

Overall Review:

I've a custom built bike with full xx1 and trail xo wc brakes. No need to review the xx1 here, we all know it's top notch. I'm going to focus on Specialized's engineering here. Bike was purchased October 2014 at a bargain price due to new model release, plus no one wanted a small frame. Paid 5200 AUD (4600 USD) for a 2014 Epic Expert WC with full xx1. Can't complain about the price. It had been a custom build that the client walked away from. Strava tells me I've done 1500km on the bike.

Carbon SL rims are awesome. Hubs are junk, bearings are already borderline, a high viscosity grease ( thick) was used at the factory, grease has migrated out of contact with balls. Hub axle adapters in front wheel hub are just a bad idea, a couple of o rings are not a viable means to bring adapters to hub

Overall Review:

I've a custom built bike with full xx1 and trail xo wc brakes. No need to review the xx1 here, we all know it's top notch. I'm going to focus on Specialized's engineering here. Bike was purchased October 2014 at a bargain price due to new model release, plus no one wanted a small frame. Paid 5200 AUD (4600 USD) for a 2014 Epic Expert WC with full xx1. Can't complain about the price. It had been a custom build that the client walked away from. Strava tells me I've done 1500km on the bike.

Carbon SL rims are awesome. Hubs are junk, bearings are already borderline, a high viscosity grease ( thick) was used at the factory, grease has migrated out of contact with balls. Hub axle adapters in front wheel hub are just a bad idea, a couple of o rings are not a viable means to bring adapters to hub tolerance inside acceptable. Wheel moves in fork with maxle set correctly, compressing adapters into bearings cannot prevent them deflecting, bad bad engineering here Specialized. Hub to be replaced with something nice, hope or ringle soon. When pushed through a rock garden, I can feel front wheel inaccuracy. Some of this is rim to hub flex, but I can move rim by hand.

The sram press fit bottom bracket is utter rubbish. Nylon cups lack the structural integrity to hold the bearings well, and again bearing grease is low viscosity rubbish and I found bearings dry and noisy at 800km, in summer with zero water exposure. The bearings are almost an interference fit to the spindle, but the bearings can be seated in the cups by hand. Will replace bb with a hope or enduroseals unit soon.

Headset has already had its bottom bearing replaced.

Onto the suspension. Yes, the brain suspension works well. The "inertia valves" work as claimed, though it comes at a price. Due to the valves being slow to open due to their inertia, or unwillingness to move, they have a high threshold before they open, and they are slow to open. These are probably as good as a hydraulic/mechanical system can be. The adjuster on the brain reservoir sets the hydraulic bleed through bypassing the shim stack, there is no adjustment on the mass's spring. I find this odd. I believe the next frontier for suspension is concepts similar to LaPierre's Ei system, sensing a bump before it happens, i.e at the front axle, would be a step forward. After spending two months off the bike with injury, I find my rear shock has gas in the dampening oil. Unsure yet if this is nitrogen from below the ifp or air that's come past the rebound chambers o rings. Either way, disappointing. I've purchased another two shock so I can send mine away for warranty work, one to go on the bike, the other so I can work out how to service and vacuum bleed myself. No way I'm dealing with specialised/fox on a continued basis via my local Specialized dealers. One dealer thought it ok to reuse crush washers on the fork, the other dealer can't remember to torque bolts up. This is the biggest issue with the bike, the cartel specialised and fox have created with regards to shock service. The SID brain forks are good, though I run 10 psi lower then suggested and have yet to bottom out.

The Specialized tyres wore quickly and were a good 120 grams each heavier then claimed, swapping to Nobby Nics was a great step up for a 30 gram each penalty, not a noticeable weight penalty. I've struggled to get the tubeless valves to seal, next tyre swap I will rtv them in. I'm running nopi tape fairly confident its leakage via the valve and not spoke holes. Tubeless are a breeze to mount on the roval 29 carbon rims.

The ride. Aggressive, insanely fast. You can't take your eyes off your line for a moment or you will pay. This bike is the f1/Indy car of the mtb world, built to go fast at all costs. Three hours is about my limit on this bike. Invest in carbon bars and seat post to improve comfort by cutting down on trail buzz. From a ride on a few sworks, all an sworks brings is a bit less weight and some more carbon for a whole lot more cash, oh and xx1. If I was to buy another, I'd go the non sworks and mod instead of an sworks. After a ride on a LaPierre though, I wouldn't buy another Specialized, but I can't commit the finances atm.

My Strava times, before my injury mandated rest, were inside the top 10% on most xc tracks, I was very happy with that.

Great bike but not the WOW factor I keep hearing

Rating:
The Good:

Climbs like a rabid billy goat and honks in the flats.

The Bad:

The fork is definitely not my friend. Not a very happy bike in long technical downhill sections in courses.

Overall Review:

Overall a good bike. Climbs like a billy goat and probably the best thing about it compared to the other bikes I have raced/ridden over the years, the newer rear Brain is different from other Brains I have had in that over roots etc in the trail it doesn't release as drastic and give you that "flat tire feel" as if you just hit a rim but overall a pretty rough riding rig and get some rear wheel hopping in fast chattery descents. The head angle is a bit more aggressive and if someone is used to the older Epics you will over-steer coming out of hair pin turns until you get used to it after a ride or two. The fork is IMO junk. It's the first piece of equipment I am changing outside the brakes that failed (discussed later). If you are a XC racer the fork is fine for the short time you are on

Overall Review:

Overall a good bike. Climbs like a billy goat and probably the best thing about it compared to the other bikes I have raced/ridden over the years, the newer rear Brain is different from other Brains I have had in that over roots etc in the trail it doesn't release as drastic and give you that "flat tire feel" as if you just hit a rim but overall a pretty rough riding rig and get some rear wheel hopping in fast chattery descents. The head angle is a bit more aggressive and if someone is used to the older Epics you will over-steer coming out of hair pin turns until you get used to it after a ride or two.  The fork is IMO junk.  It's the first piece of equipment I am changing outside the brakes that failed (discussed later). If you are a XC racer the fork is fine for the short time you are on the bike.  For endurance racing the fork will beat you to death if it's tuned as you'd need with proper sag and rebound (and I have tuned it three ways from Sunday and even swallowed my pride and had a Spec rep set it up to my ride style and weight which beat me up).  I finally had to set mine up way under factory recommendations which causes bottom outs in fast technical descents but saves my arms over the long haul. The Magura brakes have also blown a seal on the rear lever so had to replace with a set I had lying around but... before they blew a seal they stopped better than reviews I have read (very similar to XTR Race).  Gearing is great and really only top out on road sections in the beginning of races.  Unless you are on fully groomed trails with no rocks plan on new tires for the S-Work sidewalls are paper thin.  Out of the box geometry/set up is decent and only had to put a -17 degree stem on to get me in the proper position for my fit. Still trying to 'love it' as many truly think this is the best bike out there.  For XC racing it is probably a great rig but If you plan on spending all day racing expect a rougher ride.

Specifications

Product Specialized Epic Expert Carbon World Cup Bike
Model Year 2014
Riding Type Cross Country
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
S, M, L, XL View Geometry
Size S M L XL
Top Tube Length 22.1 23.3 24.3 25.3
Head Tube Angle 71° 71° 71° 71°
Head Tube Length 3.5 4.1 4.7 5.5
Seat Tube Angle 74.25° 74.25° 74.25° 74.25°
Seat Tube Length 15.7 17.1 18.5 20.5
Bottom Bracket Height 13.1 13.1 13.1 13.1
Chainstay Length 17.3 17.3 17.3 17.3
Wheelbase 42.2 43.4 44.5 45.6
Standover 30.3 30.5 30.7 31.2
Reach 15.7 16.7 17.6 18.3
Stack 23.0 23.5 24.1 24.8
Wheel Size 29"
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details FACT 10m Carbon Front Triangle, FACT Is Construction, FACT Carbon World Cup Mega-Chainstays, M5 Seatstays, Carbon Bottom Bracket
Rear Travel 95mm
Rear Shock FOX/Specialized Remote Mini-Brain with AUTOSAG, Inertia Valve with Kevlar Hose, Brain Fade Adjust, 200x48mm
Fork RockShox SID 29 Brain, Inertia Valve Damper, Solo Air Spring, Tapered Alloy Steerer, Bottom-Mount Brain Fade and Rebound Adjust, 15mm Thru-Axle
Fork Travel 95mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered
Headset 1-1/8 and 1-1/2" Threadless, Campy Style Upper with 1-1/2" Lower, Cartridge Bearings
Handlebar Specialized XC, Flat Bar, 2014 Butted Alloy, 700mm Wide, 8° Backsweep, 31.8mm
Stem Specialized XC, 3D Forged Alloy, 4-Bolt, 6° Rise, 31.8mm Clamp
Grips Specialized Sip Grip, Light Lock-On, Half-Waffle Aramid-Infused, S/M: Regular, Others: XL Thickness
Brakes Magura MTS, Hydraulic Disc, Hi Friction Pad, Alloy Caliper, Storm SL Rotor, S/M: 160mm, L/XL:180mm Front Rotor / 160mm Rear Rotor
Brake Levers Magura MTS, Carbon Master Cylinder, Alloy Lever Blade, Hollow Lever Pivot, Reach Adjust
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM X01, 11-Speed, Trigger
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 Type 2, 11-Speed, Mid Cage
ISCG Tabs N/A
Chainguide N/A
Cranks SRAM Carbon S-2200, PF30 Spindle, Removable Spider, Length on Size S: 170mm, Others: 175mm
Chainrings 32 Tooth XX1 Style
Bottom Bracket SRAM PF30, OS Press-In Bearings, Sealed Cartridge
Pedals N/A
Chain SRAM XX1, 11-Speed, Hollow Plates/Pins, PowerLink
Cassette SRAM X01, 11-Speed, 10-42 Tooth
Rims Roval Control Carbon 29, Carbon Disc, Hookless Bead, 22mm Internal Width, 32 Hole
Hubs Roval Control Carbon 29, 15mm Thru-Axle, 32 Hole Front // Roval Control Carbon 29 142+, DT Swiss Star Ratchet, XX1 Driver Body, 12mm Thru-Axle, 32 Hole Rear
Spokes DT Swiss Super Comp, 2.0/1.65/1.8 Stainless
Tires S-Works Fast Trak, 2Bliss Ready, 29"x2.0", Foldable Aramid Bead, 120 TPI Front // Specialized Renegade Control, 2Bliss Ready, 29"x1.95", Foldable Aramid Bead, 60 TPI Rear
Saddle Body Geometry Phenom Comp, Hollow Cr-Mo Rails, 143mm
Seatpost Specialized 2014 Butted Alloy, Single Bolt Setback, Length on Sizes S/M: 350mm, Others: 400mm
Seatpost Diameter 27.2mm
Seatpost Clamp Specialized 7050 Hard Anodized Alloy, Single Bolt, 31.8mm
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 142+ Dropout x 12mm Thru-Axle
Max. Tire Size
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes
Colors Satin Carbon/Red or Gloss White/Red/Black
Warranty Lifetime Frame Subject to Exclusions // 1 Year: Suspension Attachment Points, Suspension Related Equipment (Including Pivot Points, Bushings, Shock Units, Front Suspension Forks, Chain Stays and Seat Stays, Shock Links, Fasteners) // 5 Years: Chain Stays and Seat Stays
Weight N/A
Miscellaneous SWAT Technology Compatible (Not Included)
Price $6,750
More Info Specialized Website

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