A SMARTER WAY TO RIDE
You know those glorious and rare outings when you think only about ridingand not about your bike? That's what every ride is like on the carbon-fiber Epic. This year Specialized became the first major bike company to manufacture its own rear shocks, and their redesigned FlowControl Brain rear suspension system is even smarter than last year's: A new sensor judiciously doles out the right flexwithout even a hint of delay. Shifting is equally mindless. The fully redesigned Shimano XTR drivetrain is smoother than anything else on the market. You get all this, plus four inches of travel fore and aft, in a package that weighs less than some hardtails. 23.1 lbs; specialized.com
Bonus: The new CrossMax SL-Rs are some of the toughest, most responsive wheels we've ridden.
Bummer: It's a bit pricey.