Luxury Bikes

(Review) Specialized Epic 8 Evo

Specialized presents the new Epic 8 and with it the Evo version, i.e. the one with more travel. The number can only serve as a reminder Asphalt 8introduced last year, combining two of the Californian brand’s most popular models.

Once again, the racing version of the Epic is very different from the “downcountry” version, but in contrast to what happened in 2020It’s unlikely that the Epic 8 Evo will be used in competition instead of the Epic 8 you see in the photo below. In fact, the latter already has a travel of 120/120 mm, but foregoes the Brain in favor of the Rock Shox flight attendant, and weighs 10.5 kg without pedals in size M, compared to 12.48 kg for the Pro model in size L, i.e. the top model, the Epic 8 Evo, with a multitool in the headset. The wheels are 29 inches and the frame is made entirely of carbon.

It’s hard to call it a Donwcountry MTB, not least because we find a Fox 34 fork with 130 mm of travel without lockout, robust tires and a trail-tuned shock as well as SRAM Code brakes. In the video (in Italian) you will find all the details and the field test of the Epic 8 Pro Evo. For details on Epic 8, see Specialized website. The prices for both models can be found at the end of the article.


The Epic 8 Evo features a flip chip hidden in the shock mount on the linkage. The size tested is a perfect L for me with a height of 179 cm and a distance between saddle and bottom bracket of 74 cm.

Details Specialized Epic 8 Evo

As with the previous model, this Specialized Epic 8 Evo also places great emphasis on substance: no remote control for the suspension lock, two-position rear shock absorbers (as opposed to three on the racing version), robust tires. The storage compartment is located in the down tube of both models. So get ready to watch an XC champ pull out his snacks during the race.

Specialized Epic 8 Evo

The lid fastening mechanism has been changed and is now easier to use thanks to a lever. The hole is long enough to accommodate a pump to inflate the tires, which is not a given as we saw a few weeks ago Here.

Specialized Epic 8 Evo

We also notice that the seatstays on the Epic 8 give way due to the lack of a pivot point. A solution that is now omnipresent on all MTBs of this type of travel.

Specialized Epic 8 Evo

Many thanks to Specialized for this cable routing in the frame and not in the headset. No plastic towers and easier maintenance.

Specialized Epic 8 Evo

The eccentric, with which you can vary the geometry of the Epic 8 Evo, is located on the shock absorber mount with the linkage and is practically invisible, also because there is no lasered lettering to indicate it.

Specialized Epic 8 Evo

To come back to the cable routing: This is done in the frame so that the cables do not make any noise and can be easily replaced. The rubber protection between the rear frame and the front frame prevents dirt from entering the bottom bracket.

In addition to the guided cable routing, the smooth running of the Epic 8 Evo is also due to the rubber, which protects the chainstay (or chainstays) from the chain, which in turn vibrates very little thanks to the tension of the new one SRAM AXS T-Type Drivetrain that has a very strong clutch.

What makes this bike more of a trail bike than a downcountry bike is the Fox 34 Non-Step Cast fork…

… followed by the tires. In fact, we find a Purgatory 2.4″ Grid T9 tire at the front and a Ground Control 2.35″ Grid T7 tire at the rear. The Purgatory offers a lot of grip, especially downhill.

Specialized Epic 8 Evo

Finally, the brakes are of the type that you don’t find on a downcountry bike: SRAM Code Silver with HS2 200/180 mm brake discs.

The Trail package comes with an integrated multi-tool in the headset, which you can easily access when needed and which is also equipped with a chain breaker.

Specialized EPic 8 Evo on the trail

Compared to the old Epic Evo I tried four years ago, the new one has gained a few kilos (12.5 vs. 11.5 kg), but to be on the safe side, because its character has completely changed: from a cross-country to a trail bike. This is noticeable not only downhill, but also uphill. In fact, the antisquat has decreased and in the open position we have a suspension that is more sensitive to small bumps but also more prone to rocking. On asphalt and dirt climbs I used the shock lock, which is pretty much a complete lock. The fork lockout is missing, so don’t expect to be able to sprint like you have a road bike, but I don’t think that’s the goal of those who will buy the Epic 8 Evo.

I tend to think that the typical buyer will be the mountain biker who enjoys long rides, possibly with lots of elevation gain, peppered with technical descents without KOM fear. Although it climbs better than a 140/150 mm trail bike, the Epic 8 Evo reaches its limits when going downhill when the terrain is both rocky and fast. On the other hand, the suspension travel should speak for itself: with 120 mm at the rear, you can’t expect it to go downhill like an enduro bike.

Specialized Epic 8 Evo

But that’s exactly what’s special about the new Epic: It’s a real all-rounder, in the spirit of mountain biking for those who want to reach an Alpine pass after climbing 1,500 meters in altitude and then ride a beautiful downhill trail. The sitting position in the saddle is typically “Specialized”, i.e. simple: the rider immediately feels comfortable with the frame length and geometry without having to adjust.

I think many of you are noticing how the entire classification of mountain bikes is changing: what used to be trail bikes, i.e. the 140/150 mm travel segment, now weigh like the old enduro bikes, i.e. around 15 kg. See this Trek Fuel ExThe Cannondale Habit LT or the youngest Canyon Spectral CF. Taking their place are vitamin-packed “downcountry” bikes like this Specialized Epic 8 Evo Scott Sparks with the same spring travel.

It is no coincidence that this Evo mounts tires with a lot of grip and a fair amount of strength, but which have nothing to do with XC. The same applies to the brakes. Okay, they may not be the most powerful on the market, but they are the same ones we find on the three trail bikes mentioned above and on many enduro bikes.

I find that the Epic 8 Evo performs well on technical climbs or routes with lots of ups and downs, such as: B. the one that works best San Lucio – Monte Bar A crossing that I exceptionally managed to make in mid-February 2024. It really gave me the feeling of a bike that you never get tired of riding, helped by the light weight and excellent suspension functionality. The only time I got tired was at the end of the ride, after the 1,000-meter descent, when the SRAM brakes required heavy pressure on the lever. What got tired were the forearms. This got worse over time as the brake pads wore out.

Worth mentioning is the color of the frame, a “dirty” green, which in my opinion suits the character of this mountain bike perfectly: what real biker wants a bike that looks like it just came from the car wash?

Prices and versions

The model tested is the Epic 8 Pro Evo.

You can find the list on the Specialized website.

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