Specialized Epic 8 Evo Pro

The new Specialized Epic Evo offers 120 millimeters of stout, yet highly efficient travel that feels at-home in a huge variety of terrain.

Specialized Epic 8 Evo Pro Bike Review

During the darkest part of the Northwest winter, I found myself aboard the new Specialized Epic 8 Evo Pro, a short-travel speed demon. After a nasty broken elbow, the Epic Evo and I seem to be sharing new titanium hardware. With 130 millimeters of travel up front and 120 at the rear, the new Epic is a cross-country bike that leans more toward gnarlier terrain than a true race bred rig as it seamlessly blends efficiency with just enough grit to tackle unforgiving trails.

Even as I pedaled slow and muddy singletrack, this bike remained remarkably zippy—a testament to its short travel, low build weight, and efficient frame kinematics. Specialized has managed to shave off a few grams from the previous model iteration while producing a stable, refined ride. As I climbed, the Epic Evo’s main standout feature was efficiency. Despite the slow winter dirt, I was usually climbing with enough speed to generate a slight wind on my face. The rear shock platform felt taught and supportive under pedaling load. One of the most notable qualities of the Evo, while both climbing and descending, was the frame’s ability to eat high-frequency vibrations from the trail. My left elbow is fairly sensitive as it recovers from the break and, even with only 120 millimeters of travel, the Evo maintained a soft touch while clambering over roots and rocks.

Bike Geometry & Specs

Based on Size Large

Model: Epic 8 Evo

Price: $8,500

Wheel Size: 29"

Rear Travel: 120mm

Fork: 130mm

Wheelbase: 1214mm

Chainstay: 435mm

Reach: 470mm

Head Tube Angle: 65.9°

User-friendly cable routing makes for easy maintenance and a clean aesthetic.
A 130-millimeter Fox 34 with a Grip 2 damper provides front-end stability.
The Specialized in-house tire combo of a Ground Control T7 in the back and tackier Purgatory T9 up front is confidence-inspiring.
SRAM Code Silver Stealth brakes with 4-piston calipers hint at the bike's capability on rugged descents.

Descending aboard the Epic Evo is a very lively endeavor. It shimmies down trails with grace and precision, effortlessly threading through twists and turns like any good 120-millimeter bike should. The generous reach and slack headtube angle instill confidence, pushing you to get off the brakes at high speed. Equipped with a full-size 200-millimeter HS2 rotor up front and new SRAM Code Stealth brakes, the bike delivers solid stopping power for a full-size man like myself, allowing me to come into corners with speed. I found it very natural to weight the bike correctly in corners. The reach and bar height seem to facilitate getting your weight forward and adding pressure to the front tire. Also, the tire spec was a welcomed addition to my wintery test conditions—with a Specialized Ground Control T7 rear keeping things grippy yet fast and a Purgatory T9 for added security for the front end. I was blown away by how well spec’d the Epic Evo was for the sloppy Northwest.

A Fox Float Factory shock with low speed compression and rebound adjustments provides just enough squish while still enabling heaps of pedaling efficiency.
SRAM's X0 Eagle Transmission rear derailleur is snappy and durable.
SRAM's X0 Eagle gives a slightly more utilitarian look to a bike that used to be spec'd with carbon crank arms.
In-frame SWAT storage is a new addition to the Epic Evo line.

The rest of Epic Evo’s component spec is a testament to its versatility. The new Evo now includes an integrated SWAT box—a welcome addition to a model that’s perfect for long days in the saddle. I enjoy throwing my jacket in the downtube and leaving my pack at home. The SRAM Transmission X0 drivetrain proved to be quiet and reliable. While editing the footage for this review, I noticed how quiet of a ride the Evo is. I found the saddle a bit too firm for my taste, but it does keep things rigid and efficient feeling. The Fox 34 fork with a Grip 2 damper feels like the perfect amount of stiffness for the front end.

The Fox Transfer Factory dropper with 1x remote is a flawless performer.
SRAM's new AXS Pod shifter is smaller than the older generation of the company's electric shifters and provides some ergonomic customization options.
A small multitool housed in the bike's steerer tube makes for a handy option for quick repairs, though riders will likely need to carry something more substantial to handle more serious trail-side fixes.

The Specialized Epic Evo is an exciting new implementation of flex stays with tuned rear-end stiffness. Whether embarking on 50-mile suffer-fests or cruising local trails, this bike keeps things efficient while providing stability and agility for higher speeds. If you're in the market for a bike that prioritizes covering a lot of ground quickly but want something that won’t shy away from the occasional run down seriously technical terrain, then the Epic Evo would be an outstanding choice.