Weight: 27.94 lbs without pedals
Pros: Brain, Brakes
Cons: X7 front deraileur
You might be wondering why I have some random close up shots of the brake lever and caliper, right? It would seem a little odd that I would put that much emphasis on this one particular aspect of this bike. The reason I did it was to show the shift in paradigm taking place. Up until recently, most new bikes were only available with Avid brakes. Not just specialized, but everyone’s bikes. If you ask me, it’s never made much sense. There’s almost always a better option for braking than Avid. Not that I dislike them, but I just always seem to like something else better. So, what did I think about their braking ability? I didn’t notice, and that’s a good thing. I’ll talk about that later.
What can you say about the Brain shock? It’s pretty dialed now with engagement adjustment and auto-sag (WHAT!? Yes, auto-sag). It, for the most part, is an undeniable advantage over other full suspension bikes. There are a couple times, mainly jumping, that I wished for a hardtail or a traditional shock. Those times aside, it’s a must have.
What stuck out to me the most about this bike is nothing, remember, that’s a good thing. I had this strange ability to get on this bike and ride as if this was the bike I had been riding for the last 3 years. It didn’t handle too twitchy or too slow, and it wasn’t slow climbing or descending. It railed turns, and it jumped as far as I wanted to jump it. The brakes didn’t grab hard or fade out. They didn’t squeal or chatter. I rode it in creeks, mud, rocks and roots, and it took it. Overall, this bike made me really happy. If you want to buy a bike off the shelf and not change a thing about it, buy a Specialized Epic. And make sure you buy it from The Bicycle Chain if at all possible.
The only thing I wasn’t happy with was a slow shifting X7 front derailleur. Then again, I’m a huge supporter of 1×10 drivetrains.