Specialized Epic Comp 29

XC Race: Big-Wheeled Climber; $2,800.

Specialized Epic Comp 29     Photo: Photograph by Inga Hendrickson

Killer Value
The first 29er in the company's Epic line, this aluminum rig was a tester favorite: impressively responsive but, thanks to the wheels, even more stable and forgiving than its 26-inch brethren. Wheel size aside, Specialized's proprietary Brain shock, which remains locked out in smooth terrain and opens up in the bumps, continues to generate debate among us. While some love everything about it—"Locks out until you need it, with no buttons or levers!" wrote one tester—others wished for more suppleness and consistency, especially during continuously changing terrain. Even so, there was some consensus: The shock earned slightly above-average marks for descending but notched some of the test's highest scores for pedaling and climbing. 28.6 lbs (medium); specialized.com
CLIMBING: 4.5 DESCENDING: 4

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