With more World Championship titles, Olympic medals, and Cape Epic wins than you can count, the S-Works Epic truly is the fastest XC bike on the planet. Fast and flat, rowdy and technical, punchy and hard—no matter the course, it’s the best tool to get you to the top of the podium. Race courses have evolved over the past few years. They’re more technical, steeper, and more challenging to ride. But instead of quivering in their boots, Specialized saw this as an opportunity to make something special—something that both World Cup athletes and XC riders alike can instantly feel the benefit from. Specialized looked at the sum of parts that make a bike handle well, like the head angle, reach, stack, chainstay length, fork offset, etc., and reevaluated all of it. Increasing the reach made a bike that was more stable at speed and generally more comfortable to ride. Dropper posts? Yep, those fit, and not just a short-travel XC option, but full-length droppers that fit in the 30.9mm seat tube. Head angle? Specialized slacked that out, but not without evaluating the overall handling package. It now lands on a custom offset, 42mm fork that works with the slacker head angle in order to behave itself in tight corners and through switchbacks. Next comes Brain 2.0. The original Brain changed the way the bike world looked at suspension, both in its inefficiencies and benefits alike. 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 countless hours with the RockShox team, the Brain became more than just a slight upgrade. It’s totally reborn. 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, in turn, improves oil paths, and it creates an incredibly sleek package that outperforms anything on the market. The Epic also has a rider Rider-First Engineered™ design that places complex carbon pieces in all the right places, and this greatly increases stiffness in the front-end for a vast improvement in ride quality and control. 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—no matter the frame size. And while stiffness, Brain technology, and geometry features are cool and all, Specialized know what you’re thinking, ‘What about weight?’ We’re glad you asked. With the goal of the new Epic to be the fastest XC mountain bike we’ve ever made, weight was at the top of their priorities list. Specialized started with an efficient frame layout and tube shapes that feature clean cable routing, integrated channels through the shock extension, straight tubes with less curves, and optimized torsion profiles in every section. And, if you’re curious, this weight savings is equivalent to shedding a chainstay and shock extension from the previous Epic—nearly 350 grams. For this S-Works model, Specialized spared no expense with the build, so it features a custom RockShox SID World Cup fork w/ Brain Fade, a 12-speed SRAM XX1 Eagle groupset, powerful SRAM Level Ultimate brakes, and hand-built, featherweight Roval Control SL wheels.