Review: The Specialized Epic Expert is All Business

The Specialized Epic Expert World Cup is built with one purpose in mind: sending XC racers to the podium. This all-business attitude was clear from the moment I approached the Specialized demo tent where the bike check out process seems to come straight off some forgotten military checklist.

  1. Enter contact info into iPad app.
  2. Fill out paper ticket with desired bike type, size, pedal choice, and rider weight.
  3. Submit credit card and photo ID.
  4. Wait for name to be called to claim your bike.
  5. Ask questions, set sag, and hit the trails.

Compare that to other Outdoor Demo tents where reps are lucky to remember to take your ID before sending you off on a bike that may or may not be the size you asked for.

Specialized is known for making great bikes and the Epic Expert World Cup is no exception. Everything is dialed and well thought out from the 142mm rear dropouts and carbon frame to the Brain-equipped Fox shock with auto-sag. The bike feels even lighter than it looks and yet it still has a solid feel on the trail.

Front and rear suspension is matched at 95mm using a custom shock and fork from Fox. Note: that’s 5mm less than a standard XC suspension set-up, no doubt because Specialized engineers must’ve found that extra 5mm of travel added too much weight or slowed riders down too much.

On the trail, the Epic Expert feels stiff and fast which comes as no surprise. If you’re a racer a stiff bike is exactly what you want but the flipside is, if you’re looking for a purely fun bike, this probably isn’t it. You know what they say about mixing business with pleasure…

The Specialized Epic Expert WC is easily one of the most well-refined mountain bikes I’ve ever ridden. This isn’t the bike you ride with your buddies on the weekend–it’s the bike you use to win races and piss everyone off.

$6,3750 MSRP. Available fall 2013.