2018 Specialized Epic S-Works hardtail XC race mountain bike is the lightest bike Specialized has ever made

So, this is a bit of a preview…Specialized has the bike up for sale, however the first tech presentations aren’t happening until Sea Otter later this month. But, we finagled a few advance details about the all-new S-Works Epic Hardtail and it’s impressive.

Last summer, they introduced the new Epic Pro, which came in with a very respectable 900g frame that went to Boost spacing. Now, the new S-Works model takes it even further to become the lightest frame they make. Yes, that means lighter than a Crux carbon cyclocross bike and lighter than their top-level Tarmac road racing frame!

2018 Specialized Epic S-Works hardtail XC race mountain bike is the lightest bike Specialized has ever made

Specialized’s rep told us the 2017 Epic Pro was reworked using their “Rider Engineered” philosophy borrowed from the road bikes, which essentially means size specific tube shapes, sizes and layups to ensure every gram is saved and the ride quality is the same from the smallest to the largest riders. That carries over to the new S-Works, too, but the carbon fiber is upgraded to FACT 12M from the Pro’s 10M, bringing the weight down from about 900g to a very, very light 800g…or less, depending on frame size.

They say that means the SRAM Eagle-equipped World Cup model (shown above in blue, below in black) comes in at just 18 pounds (8.16kg).

All images c. Specialized.

Weight savings dictate straighter tubes, which in this case means a fork bumper on the downtube. Other than that, exterior bits are minimized by using all internal routing. Note the three bottle cage bolts, allowing use of a standard cage in multiple locations, or any of Specialized’s SWAT accessory and tool options.

Two S-Works models are offered. The S-Works Epic Di2 shown at top for $9,500 with full Shimano 2×11 XTR Di2 on Race Face Next SL cranks, and the lighter $8,000 S-Works Epic World Cup with SRAM XX1 Eagle. Both use a custom Rockshox SID with BRAIN damping cartridge.



  1. Good looking stuff, but if these are their lightest bikes then it goes to show just how heavy their road bikes are (no secret there). Maybe their MTB team should take a turn designing road stuff? They seem to certainly work harder.

  2. ohhhh yeah…good lookin rigs too. not really a fan of them being re badged as Epic. But i’ll live..still dig their bikes no matter what. (i will have to tune into this post later. to see all the Specialized haters come out….it’ll be entertaining

  3. And you will still not see a 1x shimano setup from a “stock” bike. It’s so funny seeing a double these days on a new bike. Shimano still holding hard on that whole “syncro shift” 2x is just better setup. ..

    spesh spends all that time shaving grams and then throws their new heavy ass horrible feeling tires on there. Might as well just throw a triple on there with some fat tires and get it back up to 21lbs.

    Imagine the weight of this bike if they had the previous s works or control fast tracks and the sram x1 setup.. It’s be as light as a lot of mid tier road bikes.

      • I agree with you, jon- Shimano FD’s are pretty darn good and don’t weigh much. But having a FD also means having a left shifter, and a cable and housing. All told, it ain’t much- but this is supposed to be a super-light race bike. Ditching the FD and everything that goes with it will help you lose around 200 grams.

        • First, what is the point of having a light bike if you are limited to 40 kph on the down hills because you lack top end gearing?

          Second if Specialized used 650B wheels they could easily shave another pound in weight while increasing the overall strength and stiffness of the bike.

          Third, is there a 180 lb weight restriction on the frames which is ussally the case for light cycling tech?

          Fourth, it is good to see engineer Peter Denk’s epoxy finger prints on these frames.

          • I guess it depends on the terrain. In some places, you can benefit from having a double up front, in other terrain, not really. It’s good that there are options.

          • Also- a 34/10 on a 29er gives about the same rollout as 42/11 on a 26er. I don’t think most people will find that they can’t reach a high enough speed on an Eagle-equipped bike with a 50-10 range in the back.

      • I’m with you, too. 200 grams is not something I’d think twice about in terms of a trade-off for optimal gearing. I suppose there are other factors to consider (terrain, presence of dropper post and fork remotes, etc), so others may look at it differently. All in all, it’s great to have so many options.

        • 200g is a lot to think about when it’s adding gearing I don’t want. I live in Utah and with my e*13 9-44, I have yet to want a smaller gear. If I did, I could be really happy with a 30 or maybe even a 28t chainring. But in reality, I may go to a 34 after my three 32s wear out.
          Some people need extra gear. For those that don’t, why get extra weight that you don’t need?

          • 200 grams is insignificant ,besides that 2 million tooth cog out the back weights a ton, and lets not get started on chainlines

            • Right, no one wants to quote the weight of a 50-10 cassette vs. a 155g Recon, plus the bigger (heavier) derailleur. If there actually is a weight savings in a modern 1x, it ain’t much at all.

        • I’m just over here single speeding up and down the rockies and reading all these “limited gearing” conversations with a smug grin.

      • Yes, their derailleurs shift good and with the new horizontal rotating ones they proved they could even improve. But, what really is the trick for Shimano’s smooth shifting is often overlooked; it’s the chainrings. I know they have a stigma amongst many when it comes to durability, and that’s a different matter all together. Their teeth and shift ramp profiling is what really sets them apart from all other chainring mfgs. Try a SRAM front derailleur on a Shimano XT/XTR crank and behold… the magnificence of a proper shifting SRAM front derailleur (!)…

    • I’ll keep my 2X Shimano with a bigger range thank you. Nor do I much like SRAM. Plus I’m not going to have one bike that shifts different (i,e, 1 SRAM, and 4 Shimano). Plus SRAM is almost always more expensive. You are welcome to all the SRAM you want. I will pass.

      • I completely agree with you. I race in the 60 plus age group or 50 + at nationals in Thailand and have done very well the past two seasons winning top 1-3 place on podium in 21 of the past 26 races I have entered. I use a TRIPLE chain ring, with a closer than normal ratio of 26/34/40 chainrings on my 27.5 hardtail and it works very well and shifts almost flawlessly giving me lots of top speed on the 40t chainring when i really can use it,and plenty of low climbing power in the 26t chainring when I need it too. The rest of the time I m on the 34t winding thru tighter woods trails. The closer ratios, and less jump in teeth from chainring to chainring increases the speed and smoothness of the shifting too. And I can keep my chain alignment very straight in almost any gearing situation , something a 11 speed or 12 speed single cant do as well.I race in Thailand and the former national coach of the Thai national team also rides a triple in my class. We have raced each other and were always ahead of our age group by a fair margin using this setup. He has only slightly different chainring sizing on his triple 24/34/42. It’s VERY cheap to buy spare parts and wins races. That’s good enough for me.

    • shimano really needs an eagle equivalent if only because an sram eagle cassette is a ridiculous $400 or whatever to replace and being an sram product it wears out 2x as fast

    • Triple chainrings may be heavier, but gearing is more important than marginal weight loss. I race a triple and have finished in 1-3rd place in 21 the past 26 races I have entered. I’m in an old age group and older riders who are not as strong as they used to be certainly need more range in their gearing. I beat 12 speed gearing and 11 speed single chainring riders because they believe the hype that saving 200-350 grams over my setup is more important than having a wider and more user friendly range of gearing. My triple shifts flawlessly and I am buying up front derailleurs and rear 10 sped derailleurs at bargin prices for future use when my setup wears out. I don’t plan to stop winning races any time soon to appease popular trends that aren’t practical for me personally.

  4. I tried those heavy, horrible feeling tires….went and bought up a bunch of new old stock Sworks tires. Drops nearly a pound of weight off.

  5. First off, I would be really pissed if I had purchased a $8000 bike in the past and now they are telling me that my size was not actually made to work best for me, but just extrapolated from the medium and now they have the one that works.

    I do like Spec, however and really like these bikes, but the pricing is outrageous.

    • Agreed. It’s quite amazing Spec are admitting this is how all of their previous models were constructed. The way they are describing the benefits of this new frame is actually devaluing their entire mtn bike line for the past several decades.

  6. It bothers me that the on-frame bump-stop was necessary. In concept, shaving weight at all costs sounds good, but I’d definitely sacrifice a couple grams if it meant I could actually use all my suspension.

    Seems lazy to me; the frame designers build a frame to the specs they were looking for, then find it doesn’t allow enough clearance at full squish so add a frame-stop instead of going back to refine the design.

    • Carl,

      It is a bump stop to prevent the fork crown from contacting the downtube when turning, not an issue when the fork is under full compression. You still have full travel out of the fork.

    • Trek is doing something similar this season, but they have a mechanism in the headset to limit rotation, rather than a bumper on the downtube. One of the main objectives was to optimize stiffness/weight by having the downtube come straight down, hence the need for some solution to prevent the fork crown from smashing the downtube.

    • Brad, the bike dropped a big deuce (2lb) before it was weighed… that got it to 19lb and well, 19 is close enough to 18 to call it so. pun intended on the ‘deuce’ reference.

  7. A lot of money for what ultimately looks like a department store bike. Ugly forks and paint, and an absolutely ridiculous price… for a *hardtail*.

    These are the bikes that they make for racers who can break frames at no personal cost, and Spesh releases them to the public to see how many fools they can part from the money in their pockets. Laughable.

    • It’s not an “idea,” it’s a physical necessity. It’s like me saying about the new car in your driveway, “If only someone had thought of the four rubber things on each corner that touch the ground and are mounted on wheels.”

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