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Ripping around between the tape is one way to worship at the altar of speed, but for all the other long, fast rides or marathon races on technical terrain, there’s their all-new Epic Expert EVO. Consider it a more epic kind of Epic. Take a look around their office and you’re going to see plenty Epics—most of them wearing dropper posts, wider tires and bars, and slightly longer forks. That’s because the Epics that Specialized Frankensteining are not only fast off the start line, they’re even better suited to masochistically long rides, multi-day stage races, and fast backcountry missions. At some point, Specialized looked around and said to ourselves, “Specialized should offer this bike, right out of the box, right?” So Specialized did. So let’s dig into the details. First off, the EVO ups the fork travel from 100mm to 120mm. This gives you some relief up front while also slacking-out the front-end by one-degree to 68.5º. Next up, Specialized added a zero-offset dropper post to give you more control on descents, but this design keeps your saddle over the BB on steep climbs. Specialized also put some meat on the tires with a grippy 2.3 Ground Control at the front and a stiffer Fast Trak at the rear with GRID protection at the sidewalls. The Epic EVO also features their Brain 2.0. The OG Brain changed the way the bike world looked at suspension, and oh was it good. It won races and put a flag in the ground for Specialized as a true leader in innovation and suspension development, but Specialized knew that Specialized could make it better. Simple physics told Specialized that, by moving the Brain closer to the rear axle, it would be in the most sensitive spot. And after some lengthy R&D, it’s totally new. Now, it reacts seamlessly to bump forces, it has much more consistent damping performance, and finally, it integrates the hoses into the suspension links. This means that the oil paths are improved, and that creates an incredibly sleek package that outperforms anything on the market. This is also among their first Rider-First Engineered™ MTB frames, where the tubes place complex carbon pieces in all the right places, regardless of the frame size. As a result, stiffness is increased in the front-end for a vast improvement in the ride and in control. And to go along with this, each frame size has size-specific tubes that result in the stiffest, best-riding XC bike we’ve ever developed. And while stiffness, Brain technology, and geometry features are cool and all, Specialized know what you’re thinking, What about the weight?” We’re glad you asked. The weight- savings on the frame is equivalent to shedding a chainstay and shock extension from the previous Epic—nearly 525 grams. And now, carbon models also feature additional tire clearance to accommodate wider, 2.3-inch tires. More traction, ultimately, equals more speed. The build of the Epic Expert EVO meshes shredability with dependability and value, featuring a 12-speed SRAM GX Eagle groupset, SRAM Level TL brakes, and a hand-built Roval Control Carbon wheelset.