Mountain Bike Fit?

I am about to pull the trigger on a Mountain Bike, and I have narrowed it down to either the Specialized Epic Evo or the Yeti SB1000.

My problem is that there isn’t a dealer anywhere near me that has either of these bikes in stock – especially the Yeti. And none of the Specialized dealers are currently stocking the Epic Evo. Which means, if I buy one of these I will do so having never ridden it.

Is that dumb? Is MTB fit as critical as road bike fit? Or is it less specific and if I get the right frame size should I be ok?

Any/all input is welcome - thanks!

Mountain bike fitting is a little tricky for a number of reasons.

Setting up a mountain bike is a combination of fit, but also intended riding style, intended riding terrain, and some personal preference. For example if you are doing a lot of downhill riding you are probably going to want wider bars and a shorter stem and possible handlebar a little higher (or use a riser bar). However riding XC, the set up will be different.

If you already have had mountain bikes and have experience setting them up, then I wouldn’t hesitate ordering. However if you are new to mountain biking, I definitely would go through an experienced shop and get them to help you out. If there isn’t a dealer for you locally, it may be worth taking a trip to find a good shop that can get you properly taken care of.

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then you have to trust the shop. If you are 100% sure of the size then its nothing more than changing stems, bars or cranks. Even then after a few months or even a year or so you may decide you don’t like the setup. but what Kuttermax says is pretty spot on. What is your primary riding area/terrain? Also reach out to your local MTB club, sometimes they know of demo days and may even let you take a ride on their bikes

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Last year I bought my Scott Spark RC 900 WC ($6,000) sight unseen and having never swong my leg over a Scott bike. That being said, I did do all my research and put my hands on a bike of similar size and geometry. I also knew exactly what I was looking for. So yes to add to @Kuttermax, the exact “fit” is less critical than road per se as long as you get the correct frame size, but it will depend on intended use (all mountain, XCO or XCM racing, etc.), your terrain, bike’s geometry, your riding style and “feel”. If you’re an experienced MTB and can do all your own research then you’ll know this. If you’re newer, then a good bike shop can help.

Also, the Specialized Brain is love or hate with little middle ground, so I’d definitely test the brain before you buy.

May I ask why you narrowed it down to those two bike models?

What do you ride today? Take the measurements off that bike and use that to inform which of the Epic or Yeti might fit better.

Because I’m looking for an XC bike with a little more travel than a standard XC…so I can get a little rowdy on it, but also race it. I won’t be doing any downhill/enduro stuff. Mostly flowtrack and racing.

Both the Epic and the Yeti are great bikes and certainly well suited to what you have in mind. The SB100 comes spec’d with a 120mm Fox 34 SC which should be very capable. I’m running the same fork on my Niner RKT 9 RDO, which is less slack and only has 90 mm rear travel, but is still very capable.

I get it. So did you rule out Scott Spark and BMC Agonist for example? Trek also has great bikes in that category with their Fuel. But if you’ve already made up your mind you should probably just try out a bike nearby and compare geometry. :slight_smile:

I ruled out the Spark awhile ago. Not sure why.

I have not looked at the BMC Agonist . . . and am doing so now :slight_smile:

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Ok – here’s a MTB noob question…

The BMC Agonist a Fox 32 110mm fork in front. If I wanted to put on a Fox 34 120mm fork on it… is it as simple as swapping them out?

Yes for sure. There’s of course the difference in weight and travel. But you might want to check out Speedfox if you really want that longer travel. I think it’s 120 or maybe 130mm. The Agonist is sort of a real smooth blend between trail and XC. Quite possibly as smooth as you could without labelling it as one or the other.

Yeah – it looks like it. The Yeti SB100 and the Epic Evo both are after the same thing…they just both happen to have 120mm of travel upfront. I’m not sure if I’ll need it or not. I plan to do some XC racing on the bike, but more-or-less will do a lot of flowtrack, rocky single track riding on it as well. I’m not going to be doing downhill, or catching a ton of air off of anything (maybe pump track stuff is all…)

That’s why I asked about the 120mm.

The Trek Fuel and Canyou Neuron both have 130mm travel. Both worth considering if you’re looking for something more on the trail end of XC.

Yeah I’m not really sure you’ll need that 120mm travel but then again I have no idea how your terrain looks. I live in the south part of Sweden and we deal with tons of roots and rocks on our trails but mostly it’s pretty okay. I believe that if the 110mm Agonist isn’t your cup of tea then I’m out of suggestions. In my opinion most 2019-bikes from high end brands are very overpriced for what they bring to the table component-wise.

Canyon excluded but Canyon have their broken frame issues to sort out. I believe you should get to a LBS close by that has a selection of bikes. Try out if that slack head angle or 120mm travel is for you and your pedalling efficiency. The MTB of today are so extremely forgiving and you can practically purchase any one of them and be happy. It’s after this one you’ll figure out what you really want. I started with a hardtail in late 2016 and have two basically identical bikes now. One BMC Fourstroke 01, for racing, and one BMC Teamelite 01, as a winter/winter racing bike. Geometry is the same and components are also interchangeable so that’s why I purchased them. But next year I really want to try the Spark 900 because I’ve heard so much great things about them.

Sorry for hijacking your thread. :smile: But take my advise and check out at least one bike/model in real life. It helps.

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Both of the bikes you listed appear to have similar enough geometry that I’d assume you could fit either just fine. The Yeti has a bit more reach, a higher stack, a slightly steeper seat tube angle, and 10mm wider bars. I don’t see the Epic stem length listed, so I can’t compare the two. It’s not a huge difference all around, fit wise.

That said, there can be a pretty big difference in how two FS bikes ride, based on the geometry, and suspension kinematics/tune, which is harder to quantify. It’s one of the reasons people like to try stuff out. And especially on the Epic, if you haven’t ridden one, do a test ride. Even if it’s on a regular Epic, you want to feel out the Brain, and see if you get on with it.

Please god don’t buy the Specialized… The shock is proprietary and within 2-4 years you are not going to be able to have it serviced anywhere including specialized’s service center in California.

Please, please do some research on this as there are people that have 2012, 13 (not sure how new) Epic’s that cannot buy parts to have them serviced and the big “S” made the frames to a proprietary shock length so you couldn’t even replace it with a standard Fox Float or RS Monarch. DirtLabs is the only place I’ve heard of that has figured out a way and got the parts to replace the Brain with a standard size.

I’ve heard that the newest bikes might be a different design that isn’t as proprietary for when the shock can’t be maintained anymore, but you’re still going to end up having to replace it with a standard type shock which is not why you’re buying a “Brain” bike.

One last comment on this. If you bought an Epic S works in 2014 to the tune of almost $10,000 just two years later your shock was not able to be serviced. That is the $hittiest customer service I can think of…


I have bought three mtb bikes without test riding them. There aren’t much options in size… s, m, l, xl, although i think the trek bikes do have more options since i did ride a 16 inch frame as a rental and it was smaller than what i’d prefer.

I am a previous specialized owner too, and the brain does everything they say it does (it is not hard to set up) however when they need servicing they do ride like crap.

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If you just want 120mm up front go for it, but you don’t “need” it according to what you say you’ll be riding. Just watch the UCI XCO World Cup and the courses they’re racing on. It far more rowdy and many do it on hardtail with 100mm up front.

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The Epic Evo isn’t that different from the Epic, and they are easier to find. The shop might even let you swap out the cockpit to simulate the Evo short/wide setup.

As the biggest difference between the Epic and other dualies is the brain, taking one for a spin will give you a good indication of how the rear suspension platform rides.

The SB100 should have no faults whatsoever, as it’s a premium product at an extreme price. However there are recognised issues with creaking / stiffness and it’s the first year in the new design with a rear end that sounds like it needs sorting out.

I found a shop with Epics and test-rode one for a full day before buying an ex-demo and building my own Evo up to preferred spec. Reward the shops that recognise the need for test-rides, and we’ll all benefit.

A final point against the high-end SB100: I suggest that regardless of where the market is now, it will move ahead in two years, and a new mid-range 2021 steed will trump keeping a high-end 2019 bike. So you’re better off not over-reaching right now to the top-spec, and you’ll be better placed to spend $ on events, holidays, repairs, and future upgrades / rotation.

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