Test Ride

I’m out of practice. I’ve forgotten some of the elements that make-up the ritual that is winter riding. When I first arrived in the Northwest, I was out riding pretty much every weekend and it was a steep learning curve as the weather worsened, as to exactly what kit you need to take with you.

You need more food than normal because you’re burning calories to keep you warm and to keep you moving, that and you need clothing to keep the elements out. Those are the easy things to get right apparently, the hard things it turned out today are remembering to take a spare set of warm gloves, dry woolly socks and a beanie to keep you toasty while you’re waiting to get the train home.

I borrowed the Epic Comp Disc demo bike for the day from Harry Halls and rode the Macclesfield Forest route suggested by NBT from IMBA UK. The weather was supposed to be good, but wasn’t. After the summer we’ve had I have absolutely no grounds to make complaints and had already decided I was going riding whatever the elements had to offer.

Specialized's Epic Comp Disc
Intelligent suspension bike:
Forunately the none-demo models come in a more subtle shade of gray

Before the launch Specialized were very secretive about this bike. Afetre the launch there was a lot of press coverage and interest. During the test the Epic lived up to the hype. It’s a capable and a very suitable bike for racing and most UK off-road routes. It’s intelligent lockout turns the bike into a hardtail as soon as the terrain smooths out, but when you get to the off road stuff it seems like there is a lot more than the three inches of rear wheel travel.

With lockout on the forks too, it was easy to get the power down and motor the road sections, without feeling like you were carrying extra weight or that you were loosing power through the suspension. For the majority of UK rides it’s necessary to link in road routes to get to the next offroad section, so the ability to make this bike rigid is a great advantage.

I was a bit sceptical about exactly how well the ‘brain’ would work, but like many people who have ridden these revolutionary nikes, I am now convinced by the design. It works brilliantly. The rest of the finishing kit reflects good value for money. I still dislike the current wave of Specialized grips, they’re too small and not at all comfortable for my big hands, but this years new Telluride saddle is a big improvement over last years body geometry razor bladesque offering.

The rest of the gear is good stuff with a mix of Shimano XTR and LX for gearing duties, sure stopping hydralic shimano discs and a great set of light weight and strong wheels shod with Roll X rubber. In all this is a very capable and dynamic bike, possibly the ideal bike for a person wanting one do it all offroader.

Anyway I took a few pictures, but given the weather they were never going to be much to write home about. There are a couple more up in the wallpaper section now.

I’ve been meaning to link the following website for some time but never seem to get around to it. This is the old skool track website about people riding fixed gear track bikes in cities. If that’s you they want to hear from you.

Author: Cris Bloomfield

Usually mountain biking in the North.

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