Specialized EPIC Hardtail AXS


There's a joy to be found in the relative simplicity of a hardtail, freed from the complexities of rear suspension, especially when it's a frame as light as this.

The S-Works Epic HT is the absolute pinnacle of modern carbon hardtail design. 100mm of front suspension, a short wheelbase (albeit with a modern, more relaxed head angle and longer reach), and a plethora of high-end components mean that although there may not be a rear shock it'll simply float over fast technical courses.

Piloting it over tight, twisty singletrack, and especially climbing, will be a pleasure on the Epic - that light weight makes it eminently chuckable, and Specialized have dialled in the geometry to ensure it's fleet of foot when things get tricky.

The RockShox SID Brain Ultimate fork is itself a lightweight legend, and this version is custom tuned to Specialized's own recipe, with top-adjustable BRAIN damping.

SRAM AXS means that shifting is cable-free, and the XX1 cranks have a built-in Quarq power meter to ensure that your efforts are perfectly judged whether training or on race day.

It all adds up to an incredibly neat and clean bike, especially in sleek Dove Grey. The build kit is suitably light too, including Specialized's own S-Works Power saddle, carbon railed and carbon bodied, as standard.

The only thing we might be tempted to change from this stock build, depending on the rider, would be to swap that light, strong S-Works carbon seatpost for a wireless dropper post. Yes, it's almost criminal to add weight to a bike like this, but this is such a capable bike you'll really want to push it to its limits. But the option is there if you want it (and this latest Epic takes a 30.9mm post, opening up far more options than its 29.7mm predecessor).

photos by Bence Bujaki


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