Tempted to buy a Specialized Epic Evo - first time MTB for a roadie - good idea?

I’m tempted to buy a Specialized Epic Evo - Epic EVO - looks like I’d be calling a few shops to see if someone could ship it to me and match the online price.

Long time roadie buying a first time mountain bike. I live in Madison, WI. I’ve been persuaded to look at XC bikes. I’m trying to keep it in the $2-3k price range.

Great bike. I’m a very negative and pessimistic person and I’m having a tough time coming up with something bad to say.


Only thing I would suggest, is that if you are going to / planning to ride with other people, have a look at what they are riding, IF the are riding trail bikes, and you are going to be riding with them, then you will would be doubly at difficulty

Roadies to gravitate to XC bikes because they are fast, and then get caught out that XC bikes tend to be harder to ride through the technical stuff

Just suggesting as something to consider

Evo is a more capable bike than this:


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Absolutely, just watching the opening round of the World Cup Mountain bike series from brazil, XC bikes are capable of some hardy stuff, but I expect they person in the picture, pro’s on the world series have lots of bikes skills … and aren’t people buying their first MTB :wink: :wink: why should a roadie just presume to buy a XC bike, which might not suit the trails they are riding with friends, if the friends have trail bikes and more skills … wouldn’t it be a bit silly for a nubbie to turn up on a XC bikes and expect to keep up :wink: and they might just get a bit more confidence from something like a Lux Trail

Was just making a point to consider :wink:


This x100. If you are going to race XC or Marathon XC, that’s a good bike choice (probably better than a pure XC bike for a beginner). If you are looking to get into mountain biking and doing technical trails and/or chunky terrain, there are better choices (especially if your MTB skills are limited). A trail bike with longer travel and slacker geometry is going to be more forgiving (ie - less chance of crashing) and will give you confidence to progress your skills. With 130mm fork and reasonably slack geometry, that EVO certainly isn’t a hard core XC bike, but I’d still go with a trail bike unless you are planning to race or just ride non-tech stuff.

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That Epic would work for most of the terrain around you I think - eg the likes of Kettle Moraine.

Looks like a good deal also.

If you could find a similar deal on something a little more “downcountry” - eg something like 120/130 R/F suspension travel - that’d give you a bit more capability for rougher stuff.


Where are you going to ride it? Otherwise, yes. The main reason to go XC over similar trail bikes is so you can put two water bottles in the triangle and have a shorter wheelbase than a longer travel bike.
Definitely don’t get a HT. I live Chicago, and have an Epic Evo - it’s great. You’re not going to feel like you should have gone shorter travel.

It’s not a bike you take to the bike park… but you will not find a better bike in that price range. Pull the trigger!

So you know… you are probably going to want to upgrade components at some point. I did the same, bought the low spec model and now have X01 + carbon wheels (which transformed the bike from feeling like a trail bike into a race machine). Ultimate brakes, one up dropper, SID and SidLuxe in the garage ready to go on next. :+1:t2:

As a hardcore roadie, I bought an Epic Evo as my first MTB during Covid - I didn’t have a lot of choice but a trusted friend recommended it. Having not ridden other mountain bikes, I can only say that this one has been a great experience. Took a little while to build up my skills but I was racing XC within a few months and have even won a couple… better than I ever did on my roadie :rofl:. Love the SWAT stuff too. No complaints at all.

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I bought a 2022 bottom of the range Epic Evo new for almost 50% off the original RRP late last year. I then got some used parts off a friend and put them on - XO AXS transmission goupset and SID ultimate front fork + sold all the stock bits on marketplace. I’m still definitely in the intermediate MTBer level but it’s all going well so far!

I come from road/gravel background, doing my first XC marathon race on it in a couple of months :slight_smile:


I agree with @DaveWh! An Epic Evo is probably more than enough bike for around Madison :sunglasses:

I have one myself, and I absolutely LOVE it! It fast and has a bit more suspension than the race version to get onto more terrain. It’s a good all around bike in my opinion.

My baby:


I did this as a long time road cyclist in Summer of 2022, but I paid $4k for the base Epic Evo then and did a few immediate upgrades to Shimano XT, Sworks bars, new stem. I really want to upgrade the wheels but haven’t pulled the trigger yet.

Over a year and a half later, I’m happy with my decision, the bike is WAY better than I am for sure. Our trails in Northern California are probably a bit different than what you see in Wisconsin, I’m not really sure, but the bike has proven very capable on everything I ride it on.

There is one issue, not specific to only this frame. With the frame design, depending on how you set up your stem and bars, there is a likely possibility that the shifter and/or brake lever will hit the top tube when it rotates during a crash. This has been spoken about extensively here on this form and others. I use a section of Effetto Mariposa protective tape, and also run the clamps a little bit loose so that if I do crash, hopefully no actual frame damage occurs from the rotating bars.


Good call. I scratched my top tube from exactly this.

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Roadie/Gravel rider here - tried to get into MTB and just couldn’t. Not trying to persuade you to pass on an MTB (it’s arguably the most fun biking), but it’s like >30min drive to get to decent MTB area…more like 45m to 1hr for me. Riding road or gravel, I just ride out of my garage.

Hoping the trails are closer to you.

That’s what it was like for me when I lived in Chicago - 30 min drive to the trails. I would ride 1x per week, 2x on a good week. The drive meant it was only possible to ride on the weekends, but I had no problem with the drive as it was totally worth it because I enjoyed getting out on the bike so much.

Many people spend 30 mins per day (or more) commuting to and from work, so why not be willing to drive to do something you love?


Sure, but depending on when and how frequently someone aims to ride the dirt, that adds an hour+ burned on top of the ride itself. That time could well make rides on work days challenging to fit in, but that is dependent on many other factors. Either way, limits to access (via distance) could easily restrict use of bikes like this to a weekend or even one day per week activity for some people.


There’s something to say about access. Sure, all my XC races take 30+ minutes of driving, but I can ride from door to dirt in 20 minutes.

Really, access has been the biggest factor in me not owning a dedicated gravel bike; SLC has no gravel.


Continuing OT:
I would never drive to ride my bikes. I guess I am lucky, because I don’t have to.


A few other thoughts here… You might want to try the Shimano cable shifter (assuming there’s stock) vs the SRAM. The SRAM is thumb thumb; while the Shimano is thumb - thumb OR index finger. I much prefer the Shimano style.

The satin satin paint jobs are kinda bland and you see every spot of oil or spilled beverage. You might want to go for a gloss finish if you have a choice. Otherwise https://www.amazon.com/Maxima-Racing-USA-80-90916-Fluid_Ounces/dp/B07PX9CD6H/ref=sr_1_4_pp?crid=3JIZSJIB5J4CV&dib=eyJ2IjoiMSJ9.dSkx3QLvwGni_LSMuGRq-uwThOzamTvNBrYbuLDRq1PMKTUw41HFxNwMQvC-wMBVkDhjCnBUlORhlFIv9dKK1cdikdR3XJp2a7x7BUtmTksw6D4rvxbIRTzsg3-yv1PlChO9jvrHp6zPTERDB5PUFwen_n_gLl90QdIEWEURE-VTIqKobU9Y9FgdrSFJ0xXF1NHaJM70MggLBdKWK6SeTnvcRLRSukS7SDrPY0DxHarLDpsy-ur7rWhoHYVDnPdaTbJln8V0t0kgbHDRnnMWyfIrax9Paf_j2ILdc-yV2DE.hFb4SyoaWek-_7SoaWJT8aWRxFDhlL9KtnrUN-rOgn8&dib_tag=se&keywords=matte+finish+cleaner&qid=1713364328&sprefix=matte+finish%2Caps%2C115&sr=8-4

Specialized is overhauling their retail ecomm software. You might need to call around. Google Images, restrict to past month, is another good way to find stock. I haven’t had an issue with a Spec dealer shipping in the past two bike buys.