New Specialized Epic XC Mountain Bike Gets Lighter, 2 Degrees Slacker

The 2021 Specialized Epic cross country bike sees big geometry updates, while the more aggressive EVO version loses its Brain.

Specialized just announced updates to their full suspension cross country race bikes, the Epic and Epic EVO.

Looking at the geometry on the new Epic frame, the most dramatic change is the head tube angle, which dropped from 69.5° to 67.5°, a full two degrees more relaxed. Specialized also shortened the chainstays 5mm to 433mm, dropped the bottom bracket 9mm, and extended the reach 10mm+ across the size range. Longer, lower, slacker — check, check, and check. Oh, and of course the seat tube is steeper as well, nudged 3/4 of a degree up to 75.5°.

In the fit department, new Epic builds in sizes medium and larger come with shorter, 70mm stems. Previously, stem lengths varied by frame size, topping out at 100mm-long for XL bikes.

Like the previous version, the updated Epic offers 100mm of suspension travel front and rear. Specialized says the Brain shock that ships with Epic frames has been updated and improved as well. You can read up on that here.

The top of the line S-Works frame is said to weigh 100g less than the previous version, and features top-grade FACT 12m carbon construction. All other frames use FACT 11m carbon. There is not an aluminum frame option.

Complete builds are priced from $5,925 to $11,525. An S-Works frameset, priced at $5,025 with the shock and fork, is currently listed as “coming soon.”

Specialized Epic EVO

In addition to the Epic updates, Specialized also announced a revamped Epic EVO. The EVO version offers a more aggressive take on the XC bike and pushes things into trail territory in terms of geometry, suspension, and build choices. If the Epic is a race bike, the EVO is more of an everyday driver, or a possibly a stage race weapon.

As such, the updated Epic EVO sports a slacker, 66.5° head tube angle and 120/110mm of front and rear suspension. The EVO also adds a flip chip to steepen the head tube half a degree and raise the bottom bracket height 6mm for more pedally days.

Specialized was able to add flip chip functionality to the EVO since it now utilizes a completely different rear end from the vanilla Epic. The EVO rear triangle ditches the Brain shock as well, making the frame metric shock compatible. EVO builds include dropper posts, which the racy, regular Epics do not.

Epic EVO builds start at a slightly more affordable $4,125 but still top out at $11,525. An S-Works EVO frame (without a fork) is also coming soon, and should be priced at $3,525.