Specialized Epic for Super D?

Hey Lee,
I wanted your expert opinion on buying an ’09 Epic. I currently have a ’06 Stumpjumper and a lot of maintenance is needed to get it to racing shape. I race XC but want a bike that can handle the occasional super d and will be fairly durable. Do you think that the Epic is capable?
Thank you, Davis

Hey Davis,

We all know the Epic is a rocking XC race bike.

As for Super D

– More and more, Super D is becoming a beat-down by XC racers. If you and your bike are fast for XC, you’ll be fast for Super D.

– Consider the course. If it’s smooth like the Sea Otter or Crested Butte, an Epic will rule. If it’s more manly, like Angel Fire or Keystone, you might feel a bit under-equipped. (Funny: The latter are the only courses I excel on; I’m helpless against pro-XC aerobic capacity, but I gain a half-second in every corner …)

– And consider your riding style. If you’re a smooth hammerhead, you’ll do great. If you’re a violent meathead, you might need more bike.

– I rode with Specialized’s Brandon Sloan when he was testing the original Epic back in, when, 2002. We were pinning a moderately rough, extremely fast trail in Santa Cruz. The rest of us were on Enduros (the International Super D Standard). Sloan, a fast semipro DHer, was not going slow. The new Epic is only faster and more durable.

– An Epic has 4 inches of balanced, smartly damped travel. 10 years ago, we were racing DH with 3 inches of random, undamped travel!

To sum it up:

If you are an XC racer, get the Epic. Learn to wring it out, then deliver some Super D beat-downs. You’ll probably pass me on the first climb, but I’ll be chasing … 🙂

— Lee

8 replies
  1. Colin says:

    It also depends how serious you are about XC racing. If you’re competitive in the Expert (or should I say Cat 1) field and race a ton, then an epic would probably be the first choice.
    But if you’re a weekend warrior type racer, even someone competitive in Sport/Cat 2 but who also enjoys fun, non-training rides occasionally, you could have a ton of fun on a Stumpjumper (Pro or above). It’s got a brain shock that has 5″ of travel, a more “trail-friendly” geometry, but is still super fast and nimble on the racecourse (and efficient because it’s got the brain). That way you’d have that extra little bit of travel and a better geometry for Super-Ds, but you’d still get the benefit of the brain technology for climbing.
    Not to mention it’s a super fun bike for riding just about any trail!

    My dad just got the ’09 Stumpy Pro Carbon and is LOVING it.

  2. Chris says:

    A few weeks ago Specialized drastically lowered their ’08 bikes. For example, my LBS just dropped a Stumpy about $1000 and it is now $1800. Now is the time to get a good deal on ’08s.

    CLAIMER: I have nothing to do with Specialized. Just spreading the savings on decent bikes.

  3. Oso Negro says:

    Braap what you like. I get killed by the fly weights on most Super D courses, but I use my Reign for everything.

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