2018 Specialized Epic S-Works race hardtail mountain bike

The unofficial official launch of both the new 2018 Specialized S-Works Epic and its new Roval Control SL wheels was on course at a 24 hour mountain bike race earlier this year, but it was a rather quiet affair. We spotted it a couple weeks ago and had some early info, and now we’ve got the full download for you.

To achieve the 800-850 gram frame weight, they had to completely change up the tube shapes, somewhat going back to basics. The lightest tube is going to be a straight, round tube, and that’s what it has. Which is why it looks almost old school, particularly next to its M2 Team predecessor from the early days of Ned Overend’s racing career…

2018 Specialized Epic S-Works race hardtail mountain bike

As Specialized likes to put it, a full 20oz water bottle weighs more than this frame. It’s 200g lighter than the previous S-Works frame. And it’s the lightest frame they’ve ever made…road or mountain, disc or rim brake. By the time the FACT 12M carbon is painted and all hardware attached, claimed frame weight is just 875g for a size medium. And the work they put into designing this one has already trickled down – the next tier FACT 10M carbon frame is 50g lighter than the previous S-Works Stumpjumper hardtail.

Layups vary by frame size to tailor them to the likely rider weight, with a small frame designed to ride the same as an XL. Reach and seat angle were also tweaked to help improve overall fit. Women will have more than just small sizing options, too. The women’s S-Works Epic gets a custom tuned fork and appropriately sized cockpit parts to cater to smaller, lighter riders.

2018 Specialized Epic S-Works race hardtail mountain bike

The top tube has a slight curve, but for the most part, getting from point A to B in the most efficient manner helped them shave grams. One of their engineers explained that the layup was optimized for weight savings where they could (like in the seat tube, helping keep it somewhat compliant) but reinforced in the head tube and BB areas to keep it stiff. They say it has one of the best stiffness to weight ratios of competing top level bikes, too. Everything’s run internally and it includes a port and internal routing to guide the cable for a stealth dropper post.

2018 Specialized Epic S-Works race hardtail mountain bike

The head tube angle was made a little slacker for better high speed stability.

2018 Specialized Epic S-Works race hardtail mountain bike

The bump stop ended up being a lighter weight solution compared to shaping the downtube to clear the fork’s crown.

2018 Specialized Epic S-Works race hardtail mountain bike

2018 Specialized Epic S-Works race hardtail mountain bike

Di2 ports are available, though there doesn’t seem to be any concession for running both the internal battery and a dropper post, so take your pick. Three bottle bolts adorn the down tube so you can run a single bottle lower, or add their SWAT storage cage system.

2018 Specialized Epic S-Works race hardtail mountain bike

If the chainstays look a little anemic compared to most race-oriented hardtails, it’s because they, too, get a most round shape. This particular bike was a special build to mimic one of the originals, but stock options at the S-Works level include XTR Di2 2×11 for $9,500 or the World Cup build with SRAM Eagle XX1 for $8,000. You won’t get these special chrome dipped wheels on either, but you might get these:

2018 Roval Control SL lightweight wide carbon xc mountain bike race wheels

The new Roval Control SL 29er wheels only come in 29er size, but you’ve got the option of Boost, standard or Torque Tube axle systems. The big news is that they get wider, with stronger spokes, but they keep just about the same overall sub-1400g weight as before.

2018 Roval Control SL lightweight wide carbon xc mountain bike race wheels

Rim weight is under 400g and is actually a little lighter than before despite growing to 25mm wide internally.

2018 Roval Control SL lightweight wide carbon xc mountain bike race wheels

Specialized was one of the earliest brands to switch to a hookless bead design and it carries on here.

2018 Roval Control SL lightweight wide carbon xc mountain bike race wheels

This new version uses standard DT Swiss spokes instead of Revolution spokes, so they’re easier to find and replace, but also thicker and more durable. Front gets 24 spokes, rear has 28. Both front and rear hubs use DT Swiss internals, with the rear getting the 54-tooth Star Ratcher for quick engagement. Front hub options include standard 15mm thru axle or the Rockshox Torque Caps shown here.

2018 Roval Control SL lightweight wide carbon xc mountain bike race wheels

They’re Tubeless Plugs compatible, which saves about 20-32g per wheel depending on rim width and type of tape used. Retail is $1,900 for the pair. Claimed weights are 1320g (standard 100/142), 1340g (boost 110/148). Add 51g for the RS-1 Predictive Steering Torque Tube compatible versions.

Specialized.com

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lovethebike
lovethebike
4 years ago

So, we’re going to see a sub 700g 54cm S-works road bike frame, right?

Nick Thiery
Nick Thiery
4 years ago
Reply to  lovethebike

UCI weight limits. the real question is how much Pd can you fit in a bottom bracket.

hllclmbr
hllclmbr
4 years ago
Reply to  Nick Thiery

palladium?

jasonmiles31
4 years ago
Reply to  lovethebike

It seems crazy to me that this is their lightest frame ever. It makes me think that there is some weight trickery going on. At first I thought they were comparing the MTB frame to a road frame and fork. Now I am wondering what hardware they included in the road frames. Maybe a BB or headset weight? It just seems impossible that their road frames could all be 20% heavier than the Trek Emonda.

What is their 2nd lightest ever frame? This 2002 52 CM s-works tarmac sl4 weighs 851 grams. http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa226/ome_bucket/020-1.jpg

MTB4LIFE29
MTB4LIFE29
4 years ago
Reply to  jasonmiles31

It is true weight, They had it on display at the dealer event last year. Literally they put the frame on one side of a pendulum and their 20oz waterbottle on the other and it leveled out.

JBikes
JBikes
4 years ago
Reply to  lovethebike

Why would a road frame necessarily be lighter than a generally more compact mtb frame?

Dinger
Dinger
4 years ago
Reply to  JBikes

“Why would a road frame necessarily be lighter than a generally more compact mtb frame?”

MTB’s are generally tested to higher impact/strength standards.

Adam
4 years ago
Reply to  lovethebike

Many companies weight their frames without the bosses, collars, paint, etc. I’ve even heard of companies weighing bikes and using that weight for marketing before the final cosmetic layer of carbon was applied. I also recall a certain name weighing their model that featured an integrated seatpost with the ISP lopped off. Anything it takes, I suppose?

Mike
Mike
4 years ago

“there doesn’t seem to be any concession for running both the internal battery and a dropper post”

I guess the exactly ONE person who would ever consider buying this bike to run a dropper post will have to shop elsewhere.

lovethebike
lovethebike
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike

ha, true! but, I could see that unavailable fsa seat height adjustment seatpost being nice on this bike and pretty much any road/TT bike for that matter:comment image

Reid
Reid
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike

The mini dropper is actually gaining a lot of popularity. I take mine on and off my epic depending on the course.

Mike
Mike
4 years ago
Reply to  Reid

Alright, I admit I haven’t personally seen the HT-dropper combo, but a Google image search revealed a few examples. Seems odd to me, but I guess for some courses it could make sense.

hllclmbr
hllclmbr
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike

I run that combo on two bikes. One is a singlespeed.

hllclmbr
hllclmbr
4 years ago
Reply to  hllclmbr

Rigid, at that.

robert
robert
4 years ago
Reply to  Mike

except multiple winners running this bike at sea otter run a dropper on it and one of the xc guys at specialized swear by the dropper

Maciej Pike-Biegunski
Maciej Pike-Biegunski
4 years ago

The old Anodizing Inc. built M2 S-Works frames were notoriously brittle. I doubt the new bike will be durable either at that weight (and big red S runs a short warranty, so you’ll be SOL if you try to get a few race seasons out of the frame).

gavitron
gavitron
4 years ago

Yeah, that lifetime frame warranty is pretty short.

socially conscious and concerned
socially conscious and concerned
4 years ago

Limetime warranty not long enough for you?

Wasting my breath
Wasting my breath
4 years ago

If it’s like the lifetime warranty my $400 S works shoes came with…..it’s WORTHLESS to call it lifetime……just saying…..

Kyle
Kyle
4 years ago

If you trash a lightweight pair of shoes, it’s not a warranty.

Wasting my breath
Wasting my breath
4 years ago
Reply to  Kyle

Nice try. They still look brand new except for the sole falling off.

Durianrider
Durianrider
4 years ago

Just glue them back together vs throw to landfill.

Wasting my breath
Wasting my breath
4 years ago
Reply to  Durianrider

And stop driving my SUV……TOO FUNNY

Mike
Mike
4 years ago

Specialized’s warranty is outstanding. They only warranty if it was a manufacturer’s defect, however. So either you messed it up somehow, or your shop just thinks you’re a jerk and they don’t want you to come back.

Robo
Robo
4 years ago

Shoes don’t have a lifetime warranty soooo…..

MTB4LIFE29
MTB4LIFE29
4 years ago

It is a “limited lifetime warranty” from manufacture defect. If you beat the crap out of your shoes they aren’t going to cover it.

lop
lop
4 years ago

I regularly see Specialized replaced decades-old frames under their lifetime warranty. I regularly see them reject claims that they are in no way liable for. I have never seen them deny warranty unjustly.

And I f*ing HATE Specialized.

Wasting my breath
Wasting my breath
4 years ago
Reply to  lop

Wow. They are awesome……

Matt
Matt
4 years ago

Crazy pricing for a hardtail.

Terry
Terry
4 years ago

Ned Overhead, may have overheard that his name is actually Overend…..but spell check can’t be wrong….can it?

Kristi Benedict
Admin
Kristi Benedict(@kristibee)
4 years ago
Reply to  Terry

Yep, spellcheck got in the way again. Thanks for the head’s up, we fixed it. Our apologies, Ned!

Chris
Chris
4 years ago

Also anyone familiar with his career would hardly say the M2 was from the early days of his career!

BerlinBen
BerlinBen
4 years ago

“… Ned Overhead’s racing career…”

Pleas correct his Name!

It was Ned Overend…

https://www.pinkbike.com/news/ned-overend-1992-specialized-m2.html

Mike
Mike
4 years ago

To a correction: the last gen also were DT Swiss brand Revolution model. The new version is still DT Swiss brand but are the newish Competition Race model

JustSomeGuy
JustSomeGuy
4 years ago

Terry,

The Overhead involved to check proper names is too much and can cause writers to go end Overend.

dirtybird
dirtybird
4 years ago

i LOVE the color tribute to the old fork. i know chrome paint may not work well when we are dealing with carbon instead of alloy but come on… lets at least get some gumwall tires going specialized

Jamie
Jamie
4 years ago
Reply to  dirtybird

Agreed with the tires. Some tanwalls would be on point.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
4 years ago

They’ve totally made high 700g road frames. Maybe not advertised but I’ve weighed Tarmacs under 800g

Greg
Greg
4 years ago
Reply to  Veganpotter

I’ve never weighed a Tarmac anywhere near 800g. Fact: 56cm current SWorks tarmac frame is 1140g. A total porker.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
4 years ago
Reply to  Greg

I’ve seen insane variantion too. Working for a dealer and getting in tons of team S-Works bikes, 150g differences in a given size was normal. My bet is that your bike has bladder material left in it? Oddly enough, I’ve seen the last gen Roubaix come in under the weight of your Tarmac

James Fryer
4 years ago

That. Is. Pretty.

Except for the vampire bites on the neck.

Can I have one please?

Fred
Fred
4 years ago

The gold Mag21 color looks so wrong, if I’m correct they rode silver grey Futureshock forks (made by RS) back then. This is how this iconic red/yelow frame is remembered in the vintage mtb sections aniway.

-S
-S
4 years ago
Reply to  Fred

Pretty sure they came in both colorways.

s4t1sfy
s4t1sfy
4 years ago

Hate the plugs.

gringo
gringo
4 years ago

Remember when Scott made a sub 900g hardtail? Yeah, that was like 5 years ago……

PabloE432
PabloE432
4 years ago
Reply to  gringo

Every manufacturer is on a rotating carousel of novelty…

CXisFun
CXisFun
4 years ago

“This new version uses standard DT Swiss spokes instead of Revolution spokes, so they’re easier to find and replace”

Yeah, every bike shop I know of has straight-pull spokes in stock…..

Greg
Greg
4 years ago
Reply to  CXisFun

Any bike shop worth a dang has straight pull spokes in stock

Bike nerd
Bike nerd
4 years ago

I like the cable entry points on the head tube. Makes a lot of sense to prevent cable wear which usually occurs at that location. Lynskey mount their braze ons there too. Why would it not make sense?

alloycowboy
alloycowboy
4 years ago

Here are some reasons you can build a carbon mountain bike hard tale frame lighter then a road frame.

1.) Typical road bike fames are designed to fit two water bottles and cages; mountain bikers use hydration packs but typically mountain biker manufacters will still try to include at least one bottle location.

2.) Mountain bikes are allowed to have radically sloping top tubes but the UCI rule book limits how much slope the top tube can have on a road frame.

3.) Road bikes have traditionally used rim brakes which means the seat stays have to be built with extra stiffness to resist flexing while braking.

4.) Road biked have gone to aero shaping of the frame which adds additional weight.

5.) The frame and seat post really need to be designed together because the more radically sloped the top tube is the longer the seat post gets and the wider it needs to be to take the compression and bending stresses.

hllclmbr
hllclmbr
4 years ago

3) Disc brakes require stiffening stays much more than rim brakes due to radically increased torque. I’ve seen many steel frames with an extra tube welded between the chain and seat stays on the disc side.