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

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