: 2021 Specialized S-Works Epic
The 2021 Specialized S-Works Epic
  • The 2021 Specialized Epic is now on sale in South Africa.  
  • The latest model of one of SA's favourite mountain bikes is lighter, and also stronger.
  • It also costs a cool R190,000.
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A third of the riders who compete at the torturous Cape Epic also ride it on a bike called Epic –  the Specialized S-Works Epic.

For two decades, the Californian brand’s Epic model range has been the racing mountain bike of choice for professional riders, amateur racers and weekend warriors. The Epic dual-suspension 29er has proven immensely popular in South Africa and Specialized’s latest upgrade – the 2021  Specialized Epic - makes it even more desirable.

Composite engineers at Specialized have redesigned the frame, making it 100g lighter but also 15% stronger. The largest S-Works Epic is only 10.2kg, whilst smaller sizes are below 10kg in weight.

This new Epic is a carbon-fibre dream machine, providing its rider with 100mm of suspension travel at both wheels. Unlike rival dual-suspension mountain bikes which use lockout remotes on the handlebar to trigger firmer suspension when you need to climb, Specialized uses a Brain shock.

This autonomous system has unique valving, which senses when you are climbing and pedalling, or descending over technical rocks and roots - responding accordingly, by locking and unlocking the suspension. It removes the need for cables and remote trigger clutter from the frame and handlebar. 

An issue with the Brain has been its servicing burden, especially for those riders who roll huge mileages, training more than six hours a week. Specialized has addressed this with the new Epic, by offering a free two-year Brain shock service plan.

READ | Cannondale has just unveiled 'the world's fastest bike'

The Specialized S-Works Epic is equipped with mountain biking’s most advanced components. Its gears shift via electronic input, instead of cable tension, and those incredibly light – but strong – Roval SL carbon wheels, roll ceramic bearings. Why ceramic? As a material it can be shaped into a more perfectly round shape than steel bearings, reducing friction and saving energy.

Most mountain bike wheels have 28- or 32-spokes, yet Specialized believes in the robustness of its Roval carbon-fibre rim design. This allows the S-Works Epic to ride on wheels which have only 24 spokes, saving a precious few grams of rotational weight.

Despite being priced at R190 000, the Epic S-Works has a kind side to its fiercely competitive specification. Inside the headset cap is a chain link and repair tool, which can help you assist a fellow rider, if they have suffered a critical drivetrain failure.

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