A cousin to the bike that won a Gear of the Year award in '03, the Epic is the best full-suspension climber on the market. True, this bike's design isn't quite as buttery as some others', and its twitchy steering has scared off more than a few riders. But the addition this season of a longer, four-inch Fox F100RL fork relaxes the front end enough for all-day fun. The rear Brain shock performs exactly as advertised: The bike pedaled like a hardtail on the way to my trailhead, then soaked up the big hits nicely.Bonus:
The Specialized Body Geometry saddle adds comfort.Bummer:
The Epic is a bit harsh on small bumps.