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…
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.
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.
The head tube angle was made a little slacker for better high speed stability.
The bump stop ended up being a lighter weight solution compared to shaping the downtube to clear the fork’s crown.
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.
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:
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.
Rim weight is under 400g and is actually a little lighter than before despite growing to 25mm wide internally.
Specialized was one of the earliest brands to switch to a hookless bead design and it carries on here.
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.
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.