Review: 2021 Specialized S-Works Epic

It has been just three years since the launch of the previous Epic but Specialized's engineers have not been idle. The all-new 2021 Epic boasts a complete rethink on the bike's geometry as well as changes to the Brain system to improve reliability and extend service intervals.

Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-2.jpg

 

Updated Geometry


The greatest impact on how the new Epic rides can be attributed to the shape of the frame.

 

Using an alloy test mule frame, Specialized’s engineers tested a variety of different angles and heights when developing the new Epic. They went pretty extreme in some cases, like trying out the bike with a 65 degree head angle. Ultimately they settled on 67.5 degrees for the Epic which is full 2 degrees less than the previous Epic. The slacker head angle should help the bike better roll over obstacles and give the rider more confidence without the fear of pivoting over the handlebars. The chainstay length has been shortened by 5mm which should help with rear end manoeuvrability. The seat tube angle is steeper at 75.5 degrees on a medium frame while the bottom bracket is lower by 8mm to improve handling and offers better control on steep climbs. While the seat tube and bottom bracket heights work to place the rider more inside the frame, the reach on a medium frame is 12mm longer at 445 mm to add a bit more room. The XL frame gets 20mm more reach while the extra small 5mm. Take a look at the full geometry chart below.

 

EPIC.jpgThe new Epic's geometry number alongside a comparison of the new Epic frame versus the previous Epic frame.

 

Improved Construction and Weight


The new S-Works FACT 12m carbon chassis is around 100 grams lighter than the previous model. Specialized used a new layup while adding carbon in some places they could also reduce the amount in others. The carbon suspension link weighs a mere 24 grams. Feedback from team riders indicated a hint of softness in the rear. They looked at the suspension but this wasn’t moving much so they targeted the frame’s rear end stiffness. This resulted in a 15% improvement in stiffness for the back of the frame. The new FACT 11m frames used through the rest of the model range have seen improvements too. They now match the stiffness and weight of the previous S-Works frame.

 

The FACT 12m frames weigh 1869 grams while the FACT 11m frames weigh 1947 grams. These measurements include frame, shock, hanger, axle, and bolts.

 

Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-8.jpg
The engineers at Specialized were pretty excited about getting this carbon link down to 24 grams.

 

Optimized Sizing


A consideration for short and tall riders. Specialized go to great lengths to make sure the experience across the size curve is uniform. They optimise the carbon layup and stress test each frame size to ensure that they each perform the same. It may or may not be attributable to this attention to detail but as a rider who fits an extra-large frame, the Specialized XL always feels just right. It is noticeable when a bike company has simply sized up their test size without much thought.

 

Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-23.jpg
From a distance the paint work looks like a solid colour but up close you can see the brush stroke-like details.

 

Maintenance and Frame Protection


With electronic shifting, our S-Works test arrived with an internal routing cable port for only the rear brake. This can be increased three or four ports to accommodate further shifter and dropper post cables. There is a hole for a rear shock lockout but with the Brain suspension, that’s intended more for the EVO model. The bottom bracket is BSA 73mm, so it’s threaded for easier maintenance. The chainstay protector features the raised sections first seen on the Stumpjumper and they work exceptionally well to rid the bike of any chain slapping sound.

 

Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-5.jpg

Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-6.jpg
Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-18.jpg
Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-3.jpgA SWAT box can be fitted to the Epic for additional storage capacity.

 

Hydration and Storage


Of serious importance to marathon racers is hydration and storage for spares. The Epic frame accommodates two full-size bottles across the size curve, except for the extra small frame which can accommodate one bottle on the downtube. The Specialized bottle cage allows for a multitool to be fitted or you can go the full hog and fit the SWAT box which will carry a tube, CO2 canister and adaptor, as well as a tyre lever. Neatly stowed in the headset cap is a chain link and chain breaker tool for repairing a broken chain.

 

The Brain


When you think Specialized Epic you think Brain suspension. While the new EVO has shed its Brain, the racing Epic is still firmly designed around the system.

 

Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-7.jpg
Part of the Brain system is now housed within the non-drive side chainstay.

 

A quick explainer for those unfamiliar with the Brain suspension. The Brain system uses an inertia valve to differentiate between pedalling and trail forces through the rear wheel. This allows it to maintain a firm suspension when on smooth surfaces and automatically switch to open suspension when the trail gets rougher. It’s a simplified lockout that frees up the rider to concentrate on other aspects of racing and never get caught in the wrong setting.

 

Chatting to the Specialized engineers on a video call, they are conscious of the disadvantages of being locked into proprietary suspension and acknowledge that there were some issues with the last iteration of the Brain.

 

The first improvement has to do with the frame rather than the Brain directly. They reduced the side load on the shock by 30% with the new frame design. This improves the performance by reducing stiction but it also prevents air from leaking into the system. They also made a change to the shock with a strong shaft and double barrel bushing on the front and rear to further secure the air sleeve.

 

Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-11.jpg
Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-12.jpg
While the frame has been improved to reduce lateral forces on the shock, the shock has also been beefed up for better performance and reliability.

 

Going deeper into the technical changes, Specialized has dropped the air bladder and returned to the internal floating piston (IFP). The air bladder allows for a wider suspension range than the IFP does but now with the Epic EVO using a unique suspension design, the Epic is focussed purely on racing so the IFP is back in favour.

 

New Brain Internals.jpg

 

To make sure this new system is more reliable, Specialized has put in 1850 hours of real-world testing. That’s the equivalent of 72 Cape Epics at the winner’s pace.

 

Increased service intervals and Service Package


With these improvements to the Brain system, Specialized has significantly extended the service intervals. The air sleeve service window has been boosted from 50-hour to 125-hour intervals and the damper service is now 50 hours later at 250-hour intervals. They have also included a two-year suspension service package for all new Epic buyers.

 

RockShox SID Ultimate SL with Position-Sensitive Brain Damper


The all-new RockShox SID Ultimate SL on the S-Works Epic features a Brain Damper. Like the rear Brain system, an inertia valve works to open the fork damper when triggered by trail input while remaining high in the travel under rider loads. The Position-Sensitive Brain damper allows the fork 15mm of free travel for grip and comfort on smaller bumps. This can be tuned between 0 and 30mm into the travel.

 

Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-19.jpg
Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-20.jpg

 

The Components


Our test bike is the top-tier S-Works model so it boasts the latest and greatest parts available and they all function superbly. That said, there is one standout component on the new S-Works Epic.

 

Control SL Wheels

 

Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-13.jpg

Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-15.jpg
Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-14.jpg

 

Specialized recently announced their latest version of the Control SL wheelset. These wheels are fitted to the S-Works model but as one of the highlights on the bike, well worth a mention. The claimed weight challenges even the best road wheels at 1,240 grams. That’s with an internal rim width of 29 millimetres. The hookless rim wall has been thickened to 4 millimetres and shaped to increase strength but also to reduce the chance of pinch flats by 22%. The hubs are DT Swiss internals with sealed ceramic bearings.

 

Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-4.jpg

 

Drivetrain: SRAM Eagle AXS groupset including a Quarq XX1 Dub power meter as a standard component.

 

Brakes: The brakes are SRAM’s Level Ultimates with CLX rotors (180mm front and 160mm rear).

 

Cockpit: The cockpit is full S-Works with a carbon handlebar and seat post. The bike now comes with an S-Works Power saddle instead of the Phenom of the previous bike.

 

Tyres: The tyres are Specialized’s own FastTrak with the Control casing at 2.3” wide.

 

Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-24.jpg

 

  • FrameS-Works FACT 12m Carbon, Modern XC Race Geometry, Rider-First EngineeredTM, threaded BB, 12x148mm rear spacing, internal cable routing, 100mm of travel
  • SwatSWAT EMT Cage-Mount Tool
  • Rear ShockRockShox-Specialized BRAIN, Rx XC Tune, 5 Position Platform Adjust, Rebound Adjust, Integraded Extension, 265x52.5mm
  • ForkRockShox SID SL ULTIMATE BRAIN, Top-Adjust Brain damper, Debon Air, 15x110mm, 44mm offset, 100mm Travel
  • StemS-Works SL, alloy, titanium bolts, 6-degree rise
  • HandlebarsS-Works Carbon XC Mini Rise, 6-degree upsweep, 8-degree backsweep, 10mm rise, 760mm, 31.8mm
  • GripsSpecialized Trail Grips
  • Front BrakeSRAM Level Ultimate, 2-piston caliper, hydraulic disc
  • Rear BrakeSRAM Level Ultimate, 2-piston caliper, hydraulic disc
  • Rear DerailleurSRAMXX1EagleAXS
  • Shift LeversSRAM XX1 Eagle AXS, trigger, 12-speed
  • CassetteSRAM XG-1299 Eagle, 10-50t
  • ChainSRAM XX1 Eagle
  • CranksetQUARQ XX1 Eagle Power Meter, BoostTM 148, DUB, 170/175mm, 32t
  • ChainringsSRAM Eagle 32T alloy, 104 BCD
  • Bottom BracketSRAMDUB,BSA73mm,Threaded
  • RimsRoval Control SL, Carbon offset design, 29mm internal width, 4mm hook width, Tubeless ready, 24h
  • Front HubRoval Control SL, DT Swiss Internals, Ceramic Bearings, 6-bolt, 15mm thru-axle, 110mm spacing, Torque caps, 24h straight pull t-head
  • Rear HubRoval Control SL, DT Swiss 180 Internals, DT Swiss Ratchet EXP, Ceramic bearings, 12mm thru-axle, 148mm spacing, 24h
  • SpokesDT Swiss Aerolite T-head
  • Front TyreFast Trak, Control casing, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.3"
  • Rear TyreFast Trak, Control casing, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.3"
  • SaddleBody Geometry S-Works Power, carbon fiber rails, carbon fiber base, 143mm
  • Seat PostS-Works FACT carbon, 10mm setback, 30.9mm
  • PriceR190,000.00
  • Weight (XL frame with sealant and SWAT Tools in Headset)10.2 kg

 

The Epic Range


Epic Pro
Epic Pro Pearl.jpg
  • FrameFACT 11m Full Carbon, Modern XC Race Geometry, Rider-First EngineeredTM, threaded BB, 12x148mm rear spacing, internal cable routing, 100mm of travel
  • SwatSWAT EMT Cage-Mount Tool
  • Rear ShockRockShox-Specialized BRAIN, Rx XC Tune, 5 Position Platform Adjust, Rebound Adjust, Integraded Extension, 265x52.5mm
  • ForkRockShox SID SL BRAIN, Top-Adjust Brain damper, Debon Air, 15x110mm, 44mm offset, 100mm Travel
  • StemSpecialized XC, 3D-forged alloy, 4-bolt, 6-degree rise
  • HandlebarsS-Works Carbon XC Mini Rise, 6-degree upsweep, 8-degree backsweep, 10mm rise, 760mm, 31.8mm
  • GripsSpecialized Trail Grips
  • Front BrakeSRAM Level TLM, 2-piston caliper, hydraulic disc
  • Rear BrakeSRAM Level TLM, 2-piston caliper, hydraulic disc
  • DerailleurSRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
  • Shift LeversSRAM AXS EAGLE Controller
  • Shift LeversSRAM XG-1295 Eagle, 12-speed, 10-50t
  • CassetteSRAM X01 Eagle, 12-speed
  • ChainSRAM X1 carbon Eagle, BoostTM 148, DUB, 32t, SM: 170mm, M-XL 175mm
  • CranksetSRAM Eagle Alloy, 32T, Direct mount
  • ChainringsSRAM DUB,BSA73mm,Threaded
  • Bottom BracketRoval Control Carbon, 25mm internal width, Zero bead hook, Tubeless ready, 28h
  • RimsDT Swiss 350, 15x110mm spacing, 6-bolt, 28h
  • Front HubDT Swiss 350, Star Ratchet, SRAM XD driver body, 12mm thru-axle, 148mm spacing, 28h
  • Rear HubDT Swiss Competition Race
  • SpokesFast Trak, Control casing, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.3"
  • Front TyreFast Trak, Control casing, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.3"
  • Rear TyreBody Geometry Power Expert
  • SaddleS-Works FACT carbon, 10mm setback, 30.9mm
  • Seat PostR140,000.00
Epic Expert
Epic Expert Red.jpg
  • FrameFACT 11m Full Carbon, Modern XC Race Geometry, Rider-First EngineeredTM, threaded BB, 12x148mm rear spacing, internal cable routing, 100mm of travel
  • SwatSWAT EMT Cage-Mount Tool
  • Rear ShockRockShox-Specialized BRAIN, Rx XC Tune, 5 Position Platform Adjust, Rebound Adjust, Integraded Extension, 265x52.5mm
  • ForkRockShox SID SL BRAIN, Bottom-Adjust Brain damper, Debon Air, 15x110mm, 44mm offset, 100mm Travel
  • StemSpecialized XC, 3D-forged alloy, 4-bolt, 6-degree rise
  • HandlebarsSpecialized Alloy Minirise, 10mm rise, 750mm, 31.8mm clamp
  • GripsSpecialized Trail Grips
  • Front BrakeSRAM Level TL, 2-piston caliper, hydraulic disc
  • Rear BrakeSRAM Level TL, 2-piston caliper, hydraulic disc
  • Rear DerailleurSRAM X01 Eagle,12-speed
  • Shift LeversSRAM X01 Eagle, trigger, 12-speed
  • CassetteSRAM XG-1275 Eagle, 12-speed, 10-50t
  • ChainSRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed
  • CranksetSRAM X1 Eagle, DUB, 32t, XS: 165mm, SM: 170mm, M-XL: 175mm
  • ChainringsSRAM Eagle Alloy 32T Direct mount
  • Bottom BracketSRAM DUB,BSA73mm,Threaded
  • RimsRoval Control Carbon, 25mm internal width, Zero bead hook, Tubeless ready, 28h
  • Front HubDT Swiss 350, 15x110mm spacing, Torque caps, 6-bolt, 28h
  • Rear HubDT Swiss 350, Star Ratchet, SRAM XD driver body, 12mm thru-axle, 148mm spacing, 28h
  • SpokesDT Swiss Competition Race
  • Front TyreFast Trak, Control casing, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.3"
  • Rear TyreFast Trak, Control casing, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.3"
  • SaddleBody Geometry Power Sport, hollow Cr-Mo rails
  • Seat PostSpecialized Alloy, Single Bolt, 30.9mm
  • PriceR110,000.00
Epic Comp
Epic Comp Orange.jpg
  • FrameFACT 11m Full Carbon, Modern XC Race Geometry, Rider-First EngineeredTM, threaded BB, 12x148mm rear spacing, internal cable routing, 100mm of travel
  • SwatSWAT EMT Cage-Mount Tool
  • Rear ShockRockShox-Specialized BRAIN, Rx XC Tune, 5 Position Platform Adjust, Rebound Adjust, Integraded Extension, 265x52.5mm
  • ForkRockShox Reba RL, Motion Control damper, Solo Air, 42mm offset, 15x110mm thru-axle, 100mm of travel
  • StemSpecialized XC, 3D-forged alloy, 4-bolt, 6-degree rise
  • HandlebarsSpecialized Alloy Minirise, 10mm rise, 750mm, 31.8mm clamp
  • GripsSpecialized Trail Grips
  • Front BrakeShimano SLX M7100, 2-piston caliper, hydraulic disc
  • Rear BrakeShimano SLX M7100, 2-piston caliper, hydraulic disc
  • Rear DerailleurShimano SLX M7100, SGS,12-speed
  • Shift LeversShimano SLX M7100, 12spd
  • CassetteShimano SLX CS-M7100, 12-speed, 10-51t
  • ChainShimano SLX M7100, 12-speed
  • CranksetShimano SLX 7100, Hollowtech 2, 32t Chainring, XS: 165mm, SM: 170mm, M-XL: 175mm
  • Chainrings32T
  • Bottom BracketShimano,BB52,Threaded
  • RimsSpecialized Alloy, Tubeless Ready, 25mm internal width, 28h
  • Front HubShimano MT400-B, Centerlock 28h, 15x110 Boost
  • Rear HubShimano MT510-B, Centerlock 28h, 12x148 Boost, Microspline
  • SpokesDT Swiss Industry
  • Front TyreFast Trak, Control casing, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.3"
  • Rear TyreFast Trak, Control casing, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.3"
  • SaddleBody Geometry Power Sport, hollow Cr-Mo rails
  • Seat PostSpecialized Alloy, Single Bolt, 30.9mm
  • PriceR78,000.00

 

Riding the S-Works Epic


The new Epic no longer has the AutoSag system for the shock set up. But don’t worry, it’s still fairly easy. Set the Brain fade to soft and measure 13mm sag, that’s roughly 27% wheel travel. I didn’t find that I needed to adjust the shock after the initial setup. The power meter paired with my Garmin computer on the first attempt. The shock took a bit longer but I finally settled going a good few PSI below the recommended pressure.

 

Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-22.jpg
The Quarq power meter seamless becomes a part of your riding.

 

Technical trails are where the new Epic shines above the previous model. The new geometry angles feel perfect for the demands of modern cross-country mountain bikers. The bike rolls over rocks and bumps without fear of getting hung up or pitching over, even at the slowest speeds. With the lower bottom bracket and slacker head angle, you are positioned in the bike with a stable centre of gravity, allowing you to better put weight through the front wheel in the turns. It’s a stark contrast to the previous bike where I tiptoed my way through rock gardens always wary of making a mistake. The bike feels more like a trail bike bashing through and out the other side. Even with the rigid seat post, which I usually struggle with, the bike is manoeuvrable. But when you do put a dropper post on it becomes next level capable and playful. I say do it!

 

Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-27.jpg

 

The Brain comes into its own on trails and Specialized acknowledge this themselves in saying that it is really for the XCO type rider where the Brain pays off the most. I only really jump on an Epic when a new bike launch comes around, so the Brain isn’t my regular riding experience. But when I do, I’m always surprised at how much thought goes into considering locking out. Every incline I’m usually trying to calculate whether I should smash through unlocked or firm it up a bit. While on trails where it’s usually full open to the bottom, now suddenly I have full support high up in the travel to shoot out of a corner hard on the pedals or to sprint through a short up section on an undulating trail. Playing with a fiddly lockout in some of these situations is just not possible. It is a liberating experience and allows you to get just on with the job of attacking the trail.

 

That said, the bike still reacts like a lightweight cross-country bike. The steering is super precise. You can place the front wheel exactly where you want it and turning is sharp without being twitchy. It’s a stable jumper with a light front end that is easily manhandled to correct your trajectory. While the Epic does pop off the ground well, it doesn’t have the same preload push that the Epic EVO does.

 

The sub-1300 gram Roval Control SL wheel also had their part to play in the feel of the new Epic. The lightweight and fast engagement accelerate you out of corners better than any other mountain bike wheel that I’ve ridden. The wider internal diameter adds volume and support to the FastTrak tyres giving you far more control in rough parts of the trail. Of course, with the ridiculous weight, they power up climbs like a dream too.

 

Specialized SWorks Epic 2021-29.jpg

 

The new Epic climbs as an Epic should. The bike is super stiff with a responsiveness that urges you to push even harder. Even with progressive trail bike inspired geometry, the Epic handles like a dream on the climbs. Thanks (in part) to the lower bottom bracket height, the Epic turns even the steepest corners without any suggestion of the front wheel lifting. It handles loose and wet surfaces well, keeping the rear wheel traction in check without the fear that your groin might inexplicably hurtle towards the headset cap.

 

The Brain is integral to this climbing experience. The wow moment for me is when moving from seated to standing to mash the pedals. Where many bikes start to waiver, there is no suggestion from the rear end that anything has changed. The bike actually feels even stiffer as your weight transfers forward. Although it does feel it, the rear end is not completely rigid. It is designed to have a few millimetres of give in the shock to absorb small bumps and provide some comfort when off-road. And I’ll gladly take it, the largest contrast between the Epic and Epic EVO is the smoothness and comfort. The Epic is a bit jittery in that department.

 

Specialized SWorks Epic 2021.jpg

 

The Brain does still make its characteristic knock. It is ever so slightly muted on the new bike but it does still feel like the axle might be working itself loose (don’t worry, it isn’t). I found it easy enough to get comfortable with and took it as a sign that the system was working in my favour. It is most notable when on blunt edge collisions with rocks or rooted sections going up climbs. On smoother terrain the Brain is far less likely to become active. Once at the top and bombing down, I could barely notice the Brain as it activates much faster at higher speeds. Overall, I appreciated the bike set to the firmest Brain fade. I found the middle setting to be too forgiving while knowing that the bike can be stiffer. The middle setting is far more comfortable and significantly reduces the feel of the Brain opening but still provides an adequate platform for efficient pedalling. A good setting for longer days/ stage races or when you’re just having fun on the trails.

 




215 Comments

sirmoun10goat, Jun 30 2020 07:43

If Roubaix had called themselves Trek or Basso or Bianchi then I'd agree with you.

Your mate made money by using a brand name that already existed. Mercedes developed that name - they should be entitled to it. Kinda like Chinarellos.

If this was an isolated case Iød agree with your second point but it wasn't Spesh have consistently sued anyone who uses names like Roubaix and Epic. The boxes may have changed but the corporate culture has been to consistently sue anyone who uses words that Spesh have no real claim to.

I really hope you don't own a Spesh because your "the big guy smashes the little guy - that is the way of the world" attitude kinda reinforces the stereotype around Spesh owners...


All my bikes are Specialized, but that’s not out of loyalty, more a matter of finding good deals.

I was out a work meet an greet and we started talking cycling. The usual question ‘what bike do you ride’ came up. So I tried to pass on that I ride a Specialized, without drawing too much attention to it, as so often mentioning that name results in some snide comment. Too my surprise, the response was very different, I heard ‘fantastic bikes, good service and support’. And the more I look around Canada, the more Specialized bikes I see.

Maybe it’s just South Africans that love to hate Specialized. There is a lot less hate for the brand when you leave the confines of SA

Jewbacca, Jun 30 2020 07:51

All my bikes are Specialized, but that’s not out of loyalty, more a matter of finding good deals.

I was out a work meet an greet and we started talking cycling. The usual question ‘what bike do you ride’ came up. So I tried to pass on that I ride a Specialized, without drawing too much attention to it, as so often mentioning that name results in some snide comment. Too my surprise, the response was very different, I heard ‘fantastic bikes, good service and support’. And the more I look around Canada, the more Specialized bikes I see.

Maybe it’s just South Africans that love to hate Specialized. There is a lot less hate for the brand when you leave the confines of SA

This is true, but the demographic and bike types change a lot too.

 

I think most people hate on Spez because at one stage it had cornered the market with all the wannabe pro's with bat attitudes wearing specialized everything prancing around like they owned the place.

 

Outside of SA the Epic isn't popular and the fun bikes are ridden by a different breed.

 

I'm not sure if it's still the case now, but it's the same as people who rode the 2014 brain hating on the 2021 version. The stigma stuck so the perception will be incredibly difficult to shift.

Eldron, Jun 30 2020 07:57

All my bikes are Specialized, but that’s not out of loyalty, more a matter of finding good deals.

I was out a work meet an greet and we started talking cycling. The usual question ‘what bike do you ride’ came up. So I tried to pass on that I ride a Specialized, without drawing too much attention to it, as so often mentioning that name results in some snide comment. Too my surprise, the response was very different, I heard ‘fantastic bikes, good service and support’. And the more I look around Canada, the more Specialized bikes I see.

Maybe it’s just South Africans that love to hate Specialized. There is a lot less hate for the brand when you leave the confines of SA

 

/places face firmly in palm.

Waynemol, Jun 30 2020 08:09

This is true, but the demographic and bike types change a lot too.

 

I think most people hate on Spez because at one stage it had cornered the market with all the wannabe pro's with bat attitudes wearing specialized everything prancing around like they owned the place.

 

Outside of SA the Epic isn't popular and the fun bikes are ridden by a different breed.

 

I'm not sure if it's still the case now, but it's the same as people who rode the 2014 brain hating on the 2021 version. The stigma stuck so the perception will be incredibly difficult to shift.

I won't make a generalised comment but I can comment on what I see - Spez make great product and do seem to attract a certain kind of person.  And I don't think they hide from it with their pricing

 

Not everyone riding them is a douche

NotSoBigBen, Jun 30 2020 08:18

I assume none of the 'haters' drive BMW's or ride Harley's or wear Salomon's...as I've said before choose any demographic and you'll find 'douches'

Captain Fastbastard Mayhem, Jun 30 2020 08:28

All my bikes are Specialized, but that’s not out of loyalty, more a matter of finding good deals.

I was out a work meet an greet and we started talking cycling. The usual question ‘what bike do you ride’ came up. So I tried to pass on that I ride a Specialized, without drawing too much attention to it, as so often mentioning that name results in some snide comment. Too my surprise, the response was very different, I heard ‘fantastic bikes, good service and support’. And the more I look around Canada, the more Specialized bikes I see.

Maybe it’s just South Africans that love to hate Specialized. There is a lot less hate for the brand when you leave the confines of SA

"I ride a spaz"

 

Yeah, earth-shatteringly painful to admit, I'm sure. 

slickjay007, Jun 30 2020 08:49

"I ride a spaz"

 

Yeah, earth-shatteringly painful to admit, I'm sure. 

:oops:  

 

so do many others...me included

MTBeer, Jun 30 2020 08:59

so I recently bought a Spaz because it was on a massive discount. Previously rode a Giant. Awesome bike, but when I swing my leg over it I can feel my doucheness quotient increasing exponentially with every pedal stroke. Oh well, what can one do? If the shoe fits...

roodie, Jun 30 2020 09:31

change to threaded BB - good

ChrisF, Jun 30 2020 10:40

All my bikes are Specialized, but that’s not out of loyalty, more a matter of finding good deals.

I was out a work meet an greet and we started talking cycling. The usual question ‘what bike do you ride’ came up. So I tried to pass on that I ride a Specialized, without drawing too much attention to it, as so often mentioning that name results in some snide comment. Too my surprise, the response was very different, I heard ‘fantastic bikes, good service and support’. And the more I look around Canada, the more Specialized bikes I see.

Maybe it’s just South Africans that love to hate Specialized. There is a lot less hate for the brand when you leave the confines of SA

 

Possibly it is a cultural thing in SA, certainly not restricted to cycling.

 

Out on a 4x4 trail the very same "attitudes" and snyde comments abound .... and it is NOT restricted to a single brand.  

 

 

In February I was looking for a new bike, Spez was top of the list.  Even discussing the option of buying a Spez invoked emotional responses, both for and against.  Very few technical comments ...  The primary reason I went a different route was that Spez seriously downgraded the model that I was looking at from 2019 tot 2020 spec.  IF I could have gotten a 2019 spec in my size I probably would have bought it ....

 

sadly I experienced the "buy whats on the floor" attitude from Spez Tygervalley ...  And frankly this is an attitude which is rive through the cycling industry, across most brands.  Turns out the ONE shop that took the initiative to order in a bike in my size got my business ... this hours after another shop down the road confirmed that the bike I was looking for was out of stock, without even picking up the phone to check.

 

 

 

wow, went on a bit of a tangent there ....  :whistling:

 

 

LOVE my Spez 2FO shoes.  May well buy a Spez bike one day.  IF, and only if the price and specification levels makes sense when measured against 2 or 3 of the other well represented brands in SA.

DieselnDust, Jun 30 2020 10:45

Mercedes has done the same. Many years ago when Mercedes was under the Cargo Holdings distribution, my father used to have his car serviced at a mechanic (everyone called him Josie), with his business registered as Daimler Benz (he was located in the JHB CBD, near Marshall/Main Street). He was a specialist in Merc gearboxes. When Mercedes took over the distribution, he was forced to change his name. Think in the end he changed his name to Terarro Motors.

 

And I hear rumors of Orange launching (relaunching in SA - they had a presence of sorts before). They threatened many companies who had orange logos, forcing them to change.

 

These things have and will happen again.

 

Specialized is not the only bully. It's not the brand who sues, it's some box sitting in a position of power. These people come and go - holding the brand accountable for these actions is a bit short sighted.

 

 

 

actually it is the brand that sues. Company lawyers don;t act in isolation, they act at the behest of the CEo or the Board of Directors. The upper level management make a decision that determines how the lawyers approach trademark infringement. If its a small player that can be swat out of the way then they'll have a process that says a snot nosed junior legal council can send a letter signed by the CEO. If its a larger organisation that can fight back then it gets referred up to the management team.

There's generally a blanket decision that small players just get bullied out of the way because the corp isn;t going to spend money on being nice.

 

The cafe Roubaix and Veloagi cases blew up in their faces and cost them a lot more than they bargained for hence the apologies. Trust me they don't feel remorse, they felt the bottom line and that was all that drove their behaviour.

 

in Closing, its not about being the only bully. Its about being the biggest bully in an industry that is actually just a leisure passtime. The brand names they defned with vigor aren't their brand names to begin with and are names that have been used by many players in the industry for decades before Specialized came along. The fact that a court in the USA says they can own a name of a town that predates teh USA itself is ridiculous. 

Its the defensive attitude that people who buy into the Specialized business principals that is most  distasteful. Defending the indefensible (except in a USA court of law)

Waynemol, Jun 30 2020 11:04

I assume none of the 'haters' drive BMW's or ride Harley's or wear Salomon's...as I've said before choose any demographic and you'll find 'douches'


Some may have all of the above

Mr Dampf, Jun 30 2020 11:07

I assume none of the 'haters' drive BMW's or ride Harley's or wear Salomon's...as I've said before choose any demographic and you'll find 'douches'

 

:clap:  :clap:  :clap:

 

My household ticked all the boxes.

Hairy, Jun 30 2020 12:02

:clap:  :clap:  :clap:

 

My household ticked all the boxes.

you can be forgiven for riding a Harley .... the rest I am not so sure about :P

Mr Dampf, Jun 30 2020 12:04

you can be forgiven for riding a Harley .... the rest I am not so sure about :P

 

It was a Z4 too. hahaha

 

Now it's Suzuki GS, and a Suzuki Grand Vitara. 

The Stumpjumper remains unchanged.

Eldron, Jun 30 2020 01:59

I read the head line (How Specialized Is Building the Future of Mountain Biking) and thought "ah maybe Spesh aint bad - maybe they're building trails and stuff". Nope - it's a frikkin advertorial for their new ebikes  :clap:  :clap:  :clap:  :clap:

 

https://gearpatrol.c...YbfvbB36FtfnhaA

DieselnDust, Jun 30 2020 02:38

I read the head line (How Specialized Is Building the Future of Mountain Biking) and thought "ah maybe Spesh aint bad - maybe they're building trails and stuff". Nope - it's a frikkin advertorial for their new ebikes  :clap:  :clap:  :clap:  :clap:

 

https://gearpatrol.c...YbfvbB36FtfnhaA

:rolleyes: 

Eldron, Jun 30 2020 03:42

actually it is the brand that sues. Company lawyers don;t act in isolation, they act at the behest of the CEo or the Board of Directors. The upper level management make a decision that determines how the lawyers approach trademark infringement. If its a small player that can be swat out of the way then they'll have a process that says a snot nosed junior legal council can send a letter signed by the CEO. If its a larger organisation that can fight back then it gets referred up to the management team.

There's generally a blanket decision that small players just get bullied out of the way because the corp isn;t going to spend money on being nice.

 

The cafe Roubaix and Veloagi cases blew up in their faces and cost them a lot more than they bargained for hence the apologies. Trust me they don't feel remorse, they felt the bottom line and that was all that drove their behaviour.

 

in Closing, its not about being the only bully. Its about being the biggest bully in an industry that is actually just a leisure passtime. The brand names they defned with vigor aren't their brand names to begin with and are names that have been used by many players in the industry for decades before Specialized came along. The fact that a court in the USA says they can own a name of a town that predates teh USA itself is ridiculous. 

Its the defensive attitude that people who buy into the Specialized business principals that is most  distasteful. Defending the indefensible (except in a USA court of law)

 

For me it's the complete futility of it. Roubaix Cycles in no way, shape or form claimed to be anything but a bike shop. People were never going to mistake Cafe Roubaix for Specialized. There was need whatsoever to sue. But they did. And kept doing it.

 

The really silly part is that Spesh only have the name Roubaix through license. They don't actually own it.

 

I really hope it was just a thoughtless corporate decision but the consistency of sue sue SUE says otherwise. On the upside Sinyard went to Cafe Roubaix and apologised in person.

sirmoun10goat, Jun 30 2020 10:07

actually it is the brand that sues. Company lawyers don;t act in isolation, they act at the behest of the CEo or the Board of Directors. The upper level management make a decision that determines how the lawyers approach trademark infringement. 

 

Still not the brand that is suing - it is the management team. So because they make poor decisions, that does not make Specialized bikes inferior, or people who ride their bikes should not be judged on the bikes they ride.

 

The engineers who are employed to design bikes for Specialized do their best to design a bike that gives an edge over competitors, the marketing team uses the brand awareness to create interest in the product, a sales team a will set a target price, etc. These people do their best to ensure a quality and product and experience. Painting everyone in the organization with the same brush is unfair on these people. 

 

The poor experience people have with the concept stores speaks more to the quality of the people who own the franchises than it does of the brand.

Jewbacca, Jun 30 2020 10:18

Still not the brand that is suing - it is the management team. So because they make poor decisions, that does not make Specialized bikes inferior, or people who ride their bikes should not be judged on the bikes they ride.

 

The engineers who are employed to design bikes for Specialized do their best to design a bike that gives an edge over competitors, the marketing team uses the brand awareness to create interest in the product, a sales team a will set a target price, etc. These people do their best to ensure a quality and product and experience. Painting everyone in the organization with the same brush is unfair on these people. 

 

The poor experience people have with the concept stores speaks more to the quality of the people who own the franchises than it does of the brand.

It taints the brand however you paint it.

 

No one said the bikes were rubbish, just that the perception of the brand due to various reasons doesn't sit well with some people.

 

The 'brand' is mostly perception. The 'brand' is the social awareness and the marketability of a product or company. Individualising everything doesn't change the image of the 'brand', no matter how good their bikes are.

 

Public Image does not care who is to blame. It paints all under that umbrella with the same brush, no matter how fair or unfair

Patchelicious, Jun 30 2020 10:34

It taints the brand however you paint it.

No one said the bikes were rubbish, just that the perception of the brand due to various reasons doesn't sit well with some people.

The 'brand' is mostly perception. The 'brand' is the social awareness and the marketability of a product or company. Individualising everything doesn't change the image of the 'brand', no matter how good their bikes are.

Public Image does not care who is to blame. It paints all under that umbrella with the same brush, no matter how fair or unfair


Agreed, but that still isn’t really the point.

People don’t hate on Spez riders for what Spez has done in court, in the same way that people don’t hate on BMW driver for what BMW did in WW2. There is a perception that douches drive BMWs, true or not, and douches ride Spez, true or not.

It’s just become cool to hate on certain brands. And frankly speaking it often says more about the mocker than the mockee 😉

Jewbacca, Jun 30 2020 10:44

Agreed, but that still isn’t really the point.

People don’t hate on Spez riders for what Spez has done in court, in the same way that people don’t hate on BMW driver for what BMW did in WW2. There is a perception that douches drive BMWs, true or not, and douches ride Spez, true or not.

It’s just become cool to hate on certain brands. And frankly speaking it often says more about the mocker than the mockee

I said that in my previous post... Keep up!

 

I have no issue with Spez bikes or riders. But I certainly won't argue that in SA the perception of the brand isn't what it is, regardless of why.

 

Unfortunately for the brand, like BMW/Audi, the image is there and shaking something like that isn't easily done.

Patchelicious, Jun 30 2020 10:48

I said that in my previous post... Keep up!

I have no issue with Spez bikes or riders. But I certainly won't argue that in SA the perception of the brand isn't what it is, regardless of why.

Unfortunately for the brand, like BMW/Audi, the image is there and shaking something like that isn't easily done.


If I had a Sworks phone I would be able to keep up!

Patchelicious, Jul 01 2020 12:20

46wjyt.jpg

SwissVan, Jul 01 2020 12:42

Possibly it is a cultural thing in SA, certainly not restricted to cycling.

Out on a 4x4 trail the very same "attitudes" and snyde comments abound .... and it is NOT restricted to a single brand.


In February I was looking for a new bike, Spez was top of the list. Even discussing the option of buying a Spez invoked emotional responses, both for and against. Very few technical comments ... The primary reason I went a different route was that Spez seriously downgraded the model that I was looking at from 2019 tot 2020 spec. IF I could have gotten a 2019 spec in my size I probably would have bought it ....

sadly I experienced the "buy whats on the floor" attitude from Spez Tygervalley ... And frankly this is an attitude which is rive through the cycling industry, across most brands. Turns out the ONE shop that took the initiative to order in a bike in my size got my business ... this hours after another shop down the road confirmed that the bike I was looking for was out of stock, without even picking up the phone to check.



wow, went on a bit of a tangent there .... :whistling:


LOVE my Spez 2FO shoes. May well buy a Spez bike one day. IF, and only if the price and specification levels makes sense when measured against 2 or 3 of the other well represented brands in SA.


I also think it’s cultural, SA people tend to be more open or in your face with stuff like this.

Been riding various spaz bikes in switz for many years and have never heard anything remotely close to bashing the brand, except “jokes” from other saffas.

Scott is very popular here, and generally the Swiss tend to be more closed or less likely to publicly voice their opinion on a brand.