Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ride Test - '08 Specialized SWorks Epic

During the Passion Trails Fall Demo, I also got a chance to ride the 2008 Specialized SWorks Epic. It's no longer advertised on their web site, and the 2009 is suspended differently, but I thought I might still share my findings. Prior to this bike, I had only ridden one other carbon framed dual suspension bike and that was the Yeti ASR Carbon. That thing had such a steep effective head tube angle it was shocking. It taught me something though - carbon framed mountain bikes are aimed at the racer crowd. Expect them to act accordingly. With the Specialized, it was little different.
-The bike had precise steering, but not as twitchy as the Yeti. I could really carve up the trail with this thing in a race, but it would probably become fatiguing on a recreational ride.
-The suspension was not very intuitive, and would require some learning and dialing in. The rear shock bottomed out during my test ride, negatively coloring my impression of the bike.

-The thing was fast and didn't mind being thrown off the occasional jump in the trail
-The bottom bracket - seat tube connection was nice, keeping me in a power position at all times
-The Magura brakes faded at one point, bottoming out on the handlebar. I tested them with a few quick pumps and they came back. Wonder what that's all about?

I'll be honest, I'm not in the market for a bike like this, but the Specialized demo fleet was offered up so I had to try it. The Specialized folks were very friendly and knowledgeable and fun to ride with.

Passion Trails is the same. Very cool little shop in Belmont, CA. They specialize in mountain bikes and have even obscure parts. If I ever need my suspension fork serviced, this is probably where I'll take it. They had enough general bike equipment to help you with your road machine, but were really focused on being experts with off road riding. They also had a cool Tom Ritchey original frame hanging from the ceiling:
Ritchey headquarters is only a stone's throw away from the shop.

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