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
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
photos by Bence Bujaki