Specialized recently updated the iconic Epic hardtail mountain bike, and the new version is the company’s lightest bike frame to date. But wait, does that mean it’s lighter than any of their current road bike frames? Yes. Yes, it does. The bare frame, with no paint or hardware, weighs less than 800g. Adding paint and the necessary hardware bumps the frame weight up to just 875g.
Of course it would be one thing if Specialized only focused this update on dropping weight, but it turns out the latest Epic hardtail has been completely overhauled, from the carbon frame characteristics to the geometry. The top-of-the-line S-Works model utilizes “aerospace- and military-grade Japanese [carbon] fibers that were previously unavailable to civilians,” and drops 200g off the previous Epic Hardtail S-Works. The layup, resin, and tube shapes have all been modified, and the result is a much higher stiffness-to-weight ratio than any 29er Specialized has tested.
In terms of the geometry, the Epic Hardtail is getting a longer reach and a more slack head tube angle–69.8°, to be exact. This is in keeping with the current trends in mountain bike designs, where these days even XC race bikes like the Epic Hardtail are seeing handling benefits from more relaxed angles. There’s even internal routing for a dropper post, and 148mm rear spacing.
Alloy models of the new Epic Hardtail, starting at $1,900, are available now, and while these models get the new geometry, most of the weight savings and stiffness improvements mentioned here are reserved for the carbon models. Carbon models (not S-Works), priced from $2,600 USD for the Comp, are starting to trickle down to dealers, while the Epic Hardtail S-Works won’t be ready until late this winter. Pricing for that model is TBA.