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We could’ve merely added one new piece of technology to the Epic and called it a day, but we adhere to the old “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” idea. So, instead, we threw everything we had at the all-new Epic, and made it the fastest XC bike you’ve ever ridden.
Fast and flat, rowdy and technical, punchy and hard—no matter the course, the Epic is the best tool to get you to the top of the podium. Its design is all-new, and boy, oh boy is it fast.Tracks have changed over the past few years. And while hard-packed fireroads used to rule the XC roost, they’ve been replaced with technical singletrack and rock gardens, all while keeping racers going full gas and on the limit. So, to make sure that the new Epic is the best tool for topping the podium on these new courses, we completely redesigned the frame to be Rider-First Engineered™, developed a modern XC geometry, and created a new Brain rear shock and suspension platform.
The Brain 2.0 is completely redesigned. It sits closer to the rear axle and features a new layout and oil flow path for more consistent damping control, bump performance, and bump responsiveness.
Rider-First Engineered™ frame that saves *up to 525 grams, while also maintaining stiffness. Yes, that's frame weight savings alone (*Pro, Expert, and Comp frames)—not an easy task.
Longer reach, slacker head tube, and a custom fork offset create a better handling package. Climbing, descending, stability, and confidence are no longer afterthoughts.
Rider-First Engineered™ is a technology that we introduced with our Tarmac, and it brings unique layups and tube shapes for every frame size. This allows our engineers to set specific ride quality targets per size, so whether you’re a size Small or an X-Large, you'll have the same intended ride experience without it being too stiff or riding like a wet noodle.That’s all fine and dandy, but here's the impressive part. We were able to make a bike that holds a stiffness-to-weight number that can go toe-to-toe with any of the competition, while also cutting out 240 grams from the rear end (a 39% weight savings) and up to 525 grams out of the frame alone. Yes, you read that correct—525 grams out of the frame alone. That's the equivalent of taking out an entire Brain shock, shock extension, a few headset spacers, and pivot hardware.
Let’s be honest with each other—XC riding and racing has changed. Gone are the race courses that resembled walking paths through the park. In are sections of trail that could be mistaken for an enduro track. We knew we had to address the sharp, often intimidating ride characteristics of XC bikes, so everything was thrown out the window and we started from scratch.We increased the reach to make for a longer, more stable front end. To keep the rider position consistent with what we have today, we shortened the stem length, which also makes for quick handling. The head angle, meanwhile, was slackened by 1.5 degrees to create an aggressive 69.5-degree angle. Those two changes combine to create a bike that's much more confident at speed and descending through steep and rough terrain. But you're probably thinking, "That slack of a head angle will make a cross country bike floppy and slow, right?" Wrong. The bike and suspension team tested dozens of tuning setups and fork offsets until settling on what gave us the best balance of stability and snappy handling, leaving you with a 42mm fork offset. You can have your cake and eat it, too.
The suspension world was turned upside down when Brain was introduced over a decade ago. It was, and is, the only shock that can differentiate rider and trail inputs. It rides firm on smooth terrain and opens when encountering trail/bump force impact. The need for lockout levers, extra cables, and remotes is gone, so no more riding descents and forgetting to open your shock. It does the thinking for you.Brain 2.0 takes everything that was great from earlier iterations and builds upon them. Moving the Brain closer to the axle, where the moment of inertia happens, creates a more responsive system than ever before. Oil porting and flow paths have been reengineered to reduce oil turbulence and provide more consistent damping. And the suspension team has also addressed hose fitting, so there are no frame rub issues, making this the most visually sleek Brain package yet. Now, the hoses are routed directly through the shock extension, taking out unnecessary curves and fittings, and therefore improving oil flow.
In a focused effort to make the Epic, hands down, the fastest XC bike out there, one of the main goals was to drastically reduce weight. In doing so, we removed pivots from the rear end of this new platform, and that decision saved us 240g (39% lighter) in the rear end alone. This, in combination with the new Brain, allowed us to make large improvements in overall performance, while also saving up to 525g in some frames. You can say that the new Epic is a single-pivot bike. We've designed engineered flex zones in the chain and seatstays, however, to emulate the performance of the FSR system. Being designed around a 1x drivetrain, our engineers were able to tune the platform to perform better under pedalling forces. And combined with the sensitivity of the new Brain, the Epic builds on the efficiency of its predecessor.
Removing pivots also makes for a stiffer rear end, and of course, this means better power transfer efficiency. We very much believe in the FSR system as an effective an efficient suspension design, though, so you'll continue to see it throughout the rest of our mountain bikes.