With more World Championship titles, Olympic medals, and Cape Epic wins than you can count, you may be wondering, "Can the Epic really get any better?" Well, we're glad you asked, because with a completely new geometry, redesigned Brain, and a new frame layup, the all-new S-Works Epic goes from jet fighter to rocket ship—making it the fastest XC bike on the planet.
Race courses have evolved over the past few years. They're more technical, steeper, and simply more challenging to ride. But instead of quivering in our boots, we saw this as an opportunity to make something special—something that both World Cup athletes and XC riders alike can instantly feel the benefit from. We looked at the sum of parts that make a bike handle well, like the head angle, reach, stack, chainstay length, fork offset, etc., and reevaluated all of it. Increasing the reach made a bike that was more stable at speed and generally more comfortable to ride. Dropper posts? Yep, those fit, and not just a short-travel XC option, but full-length droppers that fit in the 30.9mm seat tube. Head angle? We slacked that out, but not without evaluating the overall handling package. It now lands on a custom offset, 42mm fork that works with the slacker head angle in order to behave itself in tight corners and through switchbacks.
Next comes the redesigned Brain technology, Brain 2.0. The Brain changed the way the bike world looked at suspension, both its inefficiencies and benefits alike. And oh was it good. It won races and put a flag in the ground for us as a true leader in innovation and suspension development, but we knew that we could make it better. Simple physics told us that, by moving the Brain closer to the rear axle, it would be in the most sensitive spot. And after countless hours with the RockShox team, the new Brain became more than just a slight upgrade. It's totally new. Now, it reacts seamlessly to bump forces, it has much more consistent damping performance, and finally, it integrates the hoses into the suspension links. This, in turn, improves oil paths, and it creates an incredibly sleek package that outperforms anything on the market.
The new Epic also gets a serious upgrade in the stiffness department. The Rider-First Engineered™ tubes place complex carbon pieces in all the right places, which greatly increases stiffness in the front end for a vast improvement in ride quality and control. To go along with this, each frame size has size-specific tubes that result in the stiffest, best riding XC bike we've ever developed—no matter the frame size.
And while stiffness, Brain technology, and geometry features are cool and all, we know what you're thinking, "What about weight?" We're glad you asked. With the goal of the new Epic to be the fastest XC mountain bike we've ever made, weight was at the top of our priorities list. We started with an efficient frame layout and tube shapes that feature clean cable routing, integrated channels through the shock extension, straight tubes with less curves, and optimized torsion profiles in every section. And, if you're curious, this weight savings is equivalent to shedding a chainstay and shock extension from the previous Epic—nearly 350 grams.
For this S-Works model, the build spares no expense with a custom RockShox SID World Cup fork, Shimano XTR Di2 shifting, a Race Face Next SL G4 crankset, and hand-built, featherweight Roval Control SL wheels.