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Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Specialized S-Works Epic Carbon
Image:© theirEarth News Media 2008

Specialized S-Works Epic Carbon Mountain Bike - 2009 Model

London's 2008 Cycle Show at Earls Court in the United Kingdom (Oct 9, 2008) was an excellent place to check out the latest in high technology mountain bikes and road racers. We emphasise the high-end bicycles on the site in order to demonstrate where the technology is going, so that you can compare functionality on intermediate and even starter ranges.

Specialized Bicycle Components has a unique ability to build almost all of its components in-house and for 2009, their S-Works factory group have come up with a revised 2009 S-Works Epic Carbon Disc Mountain Bike for the professional rider or the avid mountain bike enthusiast. Specialized advertises the Epic Carbon as the mountain bike that had its debut during the crowning moment of Christoph Sauser's first XC MTB World Championship title.

For 2009 the S-Works Epic Carbon's brings the competitive S-Works components to a commercially available cycle. The total Epic Carbon weight is about 10 kg (22 lbs). The crank is a new S-Works OS FACT carbon model and the lightest in its class. The tooth profiles have a new easy shift machining geometry, which Specialized indicates as giving more reliable shifts. And the rear shock has a 'mini brain' that transforms from firm to active mode instantaneously depending upon the terrain.

The frame of the 2009 S-Works Epic Carbon employs Specialized's FACT IS manufacturing method, and uses 10m FACT carbon composite material, with a replaceable derailleur hanger, and sealed cartridge bearing pivots. The frame has 100mm of rear travel, and has a Specialized 'brain' inertia valve mounted on the rear swing arm along with a second 'brain' that is mounted on the front fork. The 'brain' uses oil flow to make the adjustment to the damper of the rear or front shock automatically depending on terrain harshness. There is also a brain fade adjustment for the rider to balance the Epic Carbon's handling characteristics to their riding style. In total the frame weighs about 2 kg (4.4 lbs) including the rear shock and 'brain'. The front forks are Specialized Future Shock e100, with 100 mm of travel.

The handlebars ar manufactured by Specialized and made from carbon composites, called Specialized XC Carbon Rise (640 mm wide, 6x8 degree). For the headset, the Epic Carbon has a 1 1/8" campy style upper and aa 1.5" lower cartridge bearing. The stem is a Syntace F119 OS stem with a 31.8 mm bar clamp. The grips are Specialized thin lock-on types.

The front and rear braking on the S-Works Epic Carbon uses specially engineered kit from Avid, and these are Custom Avid Ultimate SL Mag hydraulic brakes with alloy backed organic pads and magnesium calipers, including a carbon lever body and titanium hardware. The front rotor size varies between 160-185 mm depending on the size of the frame. The rear rotor also varies in size, 140-160 mm, depending on frame size. Brake levers are also Avid Custom Ultimate hydraulic type.

For gear changes, Specialized has chosen the Shimano XTR series with the front derailleur being an XTR M971, and the rear derailleur an RD-M972 with a long carbon cage. Shift levers are Shimano SL-M970 XTR trigger type. The gear cassette at the rear is 9 speed, and an M970 XTR Titanium. The chain is also Shimano XTR. For the crankset, Specialized has designed a new for 2009 extremely light carbon composite crankset which they call S-Works OS Carbon Crank.

For the dynamic wheelset, S-Works have used Roval Controle SL Rims (24mm), and the front hub is a Roval Controle SL XC Carbon, and the rear hub a Roval SL. The spokes are DT Swiss Aerolite. The front and rear tires are also by Specialized and are 26 x 2.0" S-Works Fast Trak LK's with Specialized Ultralight inner tubes.

For seating the saddle is a Specialized Phenom SL with titanium rails and the seat post is an S-Works Carbon 30.9 mm (single bolt head). Specialized advertises the list price of the 2009 S-Works Epic Carbon as $8,800 U.S. dollars and in the U.K. the list price is £4,499 (subject to exchange rate variation).

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