If you ask us, it's been too long since hardtails got their world shaken up. Well, our all-new Epic Hardtail Pro Carbon does just that. New geometry, crazy-low frame weight, and a build from the racing gods�this bike is ready to shatter the mold.
Over the last decade, cross country racing has evolved into a completely different animal�the courses are rowdier, more technical, and overall, they're inherently different. Because of this, we realized that the best bike for the job needs to not only be lightweight and stiff, but also be able to descend and climb with equal prowess. Determining the best geometry was the easier of the two, as we took our current XC race geo and added some trail DNA to the mix. This equates to a longer top tube, a shortened the head tube, and a slacked out the front end, the result of which is a tremendous increase in downhill stability, plus a wider fit range. And just as importantly, this doesn't require any sacrifice of climbing proficiency. The weight aspect was more complicated, though. We were posed with the question, "How do you take weight out of something that's already so light?" But the answer was relatively obvious: you get the best mountain bike engineers together in one room and let the magic come out.
Up until now, there were two ways to lighten up a frame�use less of the same grade of carbon or use less of a higher-grade carbon. Option one is never a viable solution as it sacrifices stiffness and strength, two attributes that shouldn't be tampered with. And while we did end up using option two, we weren't content with the amount of weight we could cut out by just using a different grade of carbon. So how else do you cut weight? Well, we began looking at our layup schedules to see if they could be improved, which shed light on a new discovery�layup inefficiencies.
Beginning with our Rider-First Engineered� frame technology, each size Epic Hardtail is specifically tailored to size�every carbon layup and tube are exclusively selected based upon hundreds of hours of collected ride data. What does this mean for you? It not only creates the optimal balance of rigidity, weight, and responsiveness across every frame size, but it led us to the discovery of how to save weight through the studying of the layup.
Through extensive layup studies, we made the discovery that, by further controlling the construction and layup schedules, we could drastically decrease weight, all while maintaining the ride characteristics that you'd expect from a top-level XC race bike. With this discovery, each frame now features complex cut carbon plys that allow difficult junctions to be covered with less overlap. And while this does complicate the carbon frame puzzle by adding more pieces to the mix, it allows us to design and place them more intelligently. The result of this is a lighter frame, stronger junctions, and a drastic increase in stiffness.
For the build, the Epic Hardtail Pro Carbon hits right on the money, opting for a custom-tuned RockShox SID fork with Brain, SRAM X01 Eagle 12-speed shifting, and hand-built Roval Control Carbon wheels.
•Bottom Bracket: SRAM, DUB, PF30
•Cassette: SRAM XG-1295 Eagle, 12-speed, 10-50t
•Chain: SRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
•Chainrings: SRAM Eagle, 32T
•Crankset: Truvativ STYLO Carbon, DUB
•Fork: RockShox SID Brain 29, Solo Air, Top-Adjust brain-fade, 51mm offset, 15x110mm thru-axle (S: 90mm, M-XL: 100mm)
•Frame: Specialized FACT 11m, XC Geometry, internal split-housing cable routing, PF30 BB, 12x148mm rear-end, triangulated post-mount 160mm brake
•Front Brake: SRAM Level TLM, hydraulic disc
•Front Hub: Specialized, sealed cartridge bearings, 15x110mm spacing, 28h
•Front Tire: Fast Trak, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.3"
•Grips: Specialized Sip grip, half-waffle, S/M: regular thickness, L/XL: XL thickness
•Inner Tubes: Presta, 60mm valve
•Rear Brake: SRAM Level TLM, hydraulic disc
•Rear Derailleur: SRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
•Rear Hub: DT Swiss 350, Star Ratchet, 36t engagement, SRAM XD driver body, 12mm thru-axle, 148mm spacing, 28h
•Rear Tire: Fast Trak, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.1"
•Rims: Roval Control Carbon, 25mm internal width, tubeless-ready
•Saddle: Body Geometry Phenom Expert, hollow titanium rails, carbon fiber base, 143mm
•Seat Binder: Specialized Alloy, 30.0mm
•Seatpost: Specialized Carbon, single-bolt, 27.2mm
•Shift Levers: SRAM X01 Eagle, trigger, 12-speed
•Spokes: DT Swiss Industry
•Stem: Specialized XC, 3D-forged alloy, 4-bolt, 6-degree rise
•Pedals: Specialized Dirt