As the cross-country (XC) discipline grows ever popular among the mountain biking community and wider cycling crowds, XC bikes are becoming more and more versatile without compromising any of that characteristic, lung-searing speed.
Meet the Epic EVO
Building on their XC-ready MTB line, Specialized have made the new model even more ‘epic’ – the Epic EVO. As the XC discipline gets ever more technical, its courses abandoning their former natural routes for bumpy, crash-provoking rock gardens, the bikes are having to follow suit.
Much more of a marathon than a sprint, cross-country racing relies on these longer-travel bikes for increased comfort and efficiency over longer races and rides – the new EVO engineered with comfort at the forefront of its design.
The same Specialized Brain suspension technology has re-surfaced on the new Epic EVO, but this time it has been significantly revised to make it even more effective and comfortable. The Brain shock technology helps to control the rear suspension, designed to isolate feedback from the rider and trail so that suspension stays firm, even while you’re hammering the pedals.
Rather than developing an entirely new frame for the EVO, Specialized have added a few extras to the old design to step it up a notch – a longer travel, 120mm fork, wider 750mm bars, a 125mm X-Fusion dropper post and fat, 2.3” tyres. With long travel now the name of the XC game, this bike becomes a devil on the more technical travels, able to rag every corner with lung-searing speed, but a delight on the more natural, flatter trails – perfect for those longer days in the saddle.
Shorter travel bikes are renowned for being easier to ride and often pegged as beginner bikes, whereas the longer travel variants are reserved for the more serious amateurs and budding professionals. And while this may be true to an extent, it shouldn’t stop those yearning for a limit-pushing, speedy machine from getting their hands on one. This is where the road to superlative speed begins.
That’s the first benefit of longer travel: speed. While the back wheel may take more of a beating, you’re treated to a much faster and, dare we say, more fun ride experience, because the faster you go, the more fun you have, right?
Longer travel also gives those hungry for speed a lot more confidence, allowing them to get loose on their bikes and barrel down whichever way the trail takes them. Lower bottom brackets and short chainstays allow long travel bikes to corner on a dime, so approaching the scariest part of the local track will no longer represent a daunting task.
Fast, confidence-inspiring and a delight to ride, longer travel bikes are the ultimate option for those looking to get the most out of the trails they ride. They may be a little wasted on the flat, featureless trails, but as soon as the road starts to dip, dive and duck, nothing can beat the superb, no-fear handling of a longer travel bike.
The new Epic EVO bridges the gap between XC and Enduro, a bike that can really conquer both disciplines. Specialized also boast another dirt-munching, Enduro and XC conquering machine – the Stumpjumper.
This model from Specialized needs no introduction, a name that’s been making its rounds in the MTB community since 1981. The new range of Specialized Stumpjumper FSR (Future Shock Rear) bikes feature aggressive geometry that’s built to handle at death-defying race speed, dialled in to increase the confidence as you rag it from corner to corner.