After sitting in the line-up relatively unchanged for almost three-years, Specialized has updated its dedicated hardtail XC race weapon, the Epic HT. A versatile out and out XC (cross country) thoroughbred, the new Epic Hardtail shares several technologies from its dual-suspension XC and trail bike siblings.
Claimed to be the lightest full-production hardtail mountain bike in the world, the Epic is also said to be more robust than ever. Designed for burlier terrain, join us as we take a look at six things to know about the revamped Epic HT from Specialized.
1. The Lightest
The main tagline for the revamped Epic HT is that at just 775 grams (fully painted Size Medium S-Works frame) the revamped XC steed is claimed to be the lightest full-production hardtail XC bike on the market. That’s over 75 grams lighter than its predecessor and over 50 grams lighter than its nearest competitor.
Much of this weight saving is thanks to a revised FACT 12m carbon fibre lay-up and a meticulous approach to subtracting weight where possible. This includes minimising unnecessary carbon overwraps and even getting rid of the aluminium inserts in the rear dropouts. The Comp, Expert and Pro carbon models also receive a generous weight saving, with a size medium Epic HT Comp frame claimed to weigh in at 915 grams.
2. More Capable
With XC trails getting more technical, Specialized says the Epic HT is the most versatile hardtail offering yet. With room for rubber up to 2.4” wide (with plenty of mud-shedding clearance), Specialized says the Epic HT is more capable at soaking up trails. Further increasing capability, Specialized has switched from a 27.2mm seatpost up to a 30.9mm diameter unit. They say the new post is just as compliant as the outgoing unit, however, allows for a more extensive selection of aftermarket [dropper seatposts] to be used.
3. Sharper Handling, Smoother Riding
The geometry on the Epic HT has also been tweaked, with Specialized stating the new chassis offers more control to riders. As such, the reach has been lengthened, and the headtube angle slackened to 68.5º increasing stability. Specialized has also opted to outfit the entire range with shorter 60-75mm steams for more direct handling, balancing out the slacker front end. Down below, the wheelbase remains short for nimble handling on techy sections of trail while a reduced fork offset of 42 millimetres is said to increase downhill control.
4. Increased Comfort
Despite moving to a burlier 30.9mm seatpost, Specialized says the new Epic HT is just as compliant as the outgoing model thanks to a revised carbon lay-up and a redesigned seat tube. The new shape is said to be more vertically compliant than the outgoing design, which increasing stiffness for scampering up steep technical pinches. Additionally, the seatstays have been reduced in size, which is said to increase vertical compliance, without sacrificing energy transfer when putting the power down.
Specialized says that one of the critical considerations in the redesign of the Epic HT was to make it as hassle-free as possible. This means no proprietary parts, sensible cable routing, a replaceable derailleur hanger and a move from a press-fit bb to a standard threaded bottom bracket. This means no creaks, no loose bits to lose and no frustrating proprietary hassles.
6. Pricing and Availability
The Specialized Epic HT hits local shores in two different guises, a budget-friendly complete build and a stand-alone frameset only S-Works option. The Epic HT Comp is available right now, with the S-Works frameset set to land in October.
Specialised Epic HT Comp: MSRP $2,800 – FACT 11m carbon fibre frame, RockShox Reba RL 29 100mm fork, SRAM NX Eagle 1x12-speed groupset, Specialized Alloy 750mm Minirise handlebar, Specialized XC alloy stem, Specialized Sid grip, Roval Control Alloy 29” wheelset, FastTrak 2Bliss ready 2.3” wide tires.
S-Works Epic HT Frameset: MSRP$2,500
Confused by the difference between XC, Trail and Enduro bikes? Our Mountain Bikes Explained feature is loaded with all you need to know.