Specialized Launches Epic World Cup Superbike

Another contender for the death of the hardtail has hit the market in the form of Specialized's new Epic World Cup.

Specialized |


Travel: 110/75mm
Weight: 1765g


Epic World Cup S-Works
Epic World Cup Pro
Epic World Cup S-Works Frameset


XS (Frameset only), S, M, L, XL

Following on the trend for short-travel rocketship XCO bikes, Specialized has launched it’s own monster machine in the all-new The Epic World Cup. This is a purpose-built machine; and its purpose is to win. In building it, Specialized designers challenged themselves to eschew the conventional understanding of what it takes to be the fastest and rose to that challenge with an unprecedented integrated system approach to chassis engineering, revolutionary shock design, and peerless ride dynamics. The result? An unmatched combination of efficiency, control, and lightweight. The whole is faster than the sum of its parts.




Epic World Cup VS. Epic Hardtail

The Epic World Cup sets racers up with breakthrough performance of instant pedal response and maximum efficiency delivered through a fully integrated development approach to the chassis, custom shock design, and ride dynamics.

The chassis is an example of minimalist form following maximum function, taken to 11. The engineering team set and achieved new standards in torsional rigidity (for steering precision and upper body power transfer) and BB stiffness (for pedal response and efficiency). The double diamond layout supports this goal by integrating the shock as a structural member, with shock bushings engineered with the widest stance on the market to handle the loads. The top tube integration further ensures longevity by protecting the shock and upper link from mud and debris.

With the help of the co-developed RockShox SID WCID (World Cup Integrated Design) shock, the Epic World Cup delivers the snappy pedal response of a hardtail, but dispatches bump forces with aplomb to maximise momentum carry and decrease rider fatigue. Due to the engineered characteristics of the Epic World Cup, its 75mm of travel behaves like much more. When the bike is ridden in the firm setting it is topped out, delivering the same positive travel as a 100mm travel bike set up with 25% sag.

What’s going on with the Epic World Cup, that it can deliver the crispness of a hardtail until you want the performance of full suspension? Well, one key to this unique performance breakthrough is the rear shock has independently adjustable positive and negative air springs. Thanks to this feature, in combination with optimised air volumes and damping characteristics, the Epic World Cup has the sought-after hardtail “snap”, combined with terrain- devouring forgiveness, and the ability to tailor your set-up to a specific course. On top of that, the ride quality can be personalised to accommodate a wide range of rider styles and course conditions through simple tuning of three air spring setting options.

Due to the engineered characteristics of the Epic World Cup, its 75mm of travel behaves like much more.

The digressive nature of air spring, combined with custom Jounce Bumper provides aggressive hook to the end of the stroke to manage bottom-out on the biggest impacts.


“No Gulp”, firmest, snappiest feel. Best for smooth courses. Zero sag.

  • Nose: Maximum initial force required to initiate travel, due to no negative spring.
  • Knee: Relatively flat spring-rate of large positive air chamber handles majority of bump forces through majority of shock stroke.
  • Delivers the feel of a 100mm travel bike from 75mm travel, due to no sag.


“Half Gulp”, balanced hardtail vs full suspension feel and performance. Ideal for intermediately rough terrain. 5% sag. 2.5 mm sag

  • Nose: Moderate force required to initiate travel due to increased negative spring pressure, increasing small bump sensitivity.
  • Knee: Flatter spring-rate, thanks to increased negative spring contributes to a plusher ride feel.


“Full Gulp”, Most plush setting, optimal for rougher courses. 10% Sag. 4mm sag

  • Nose: Lowest initial force required to initiate travel due to maximum negative air spring pressure, making for a supple, complaint ride on small bumps.
  • Knee: Flattest effective spring rate, contributes to making this the plushest setting.


The Ride

When your tyres are off the ground, you lose control over your speed and direction. Whether it’s that extra bit of dig during an all-out sprint, or dissecting a rock garden, maintaining contact makes the difference between winning and crashing. Compared to a hardtail or lesser suspension bikes, the Epic World Cup keeps your tyres on the ground a greater percentage of the time, directly translating to more control. More control means more speed.

While the new frame design and integrated shock make the statement—that is the Epic World Cup—the finishing touches are the exclamation point. In this story of stiffness, you’ll be interfacing with this highly-tuned race bike through a range of meticulously-crafted components. From the confidence inspiring Roval Control SL Cockpit, to the micro-adjustable Control SL Seat post, to the integrated through-bearing headset cable routing. When it comes to winning, clean is fast, and every inch of this bike has one job – to win races.

Less Mass, Hauls Ass

Mass is the enemy of speed. Maybe not in scientific terms, but we’re here to win races—not Nobel Prizes. With a frame weight of just 1 765 grams (painted with shock and all hardware), the Epic World Cup edges out the lightest of competitors. This translates to the same rider, with the same output; accelerating faster, changing direction easier, and climbing using less energy. All of that adds up to shaving seconds off your splits, and on a world stage, only seconds separate out the champion

In 2020, Specialized introduced the lightest road bike ever made, the Aethos, boasting an unheard of 585 gram frame and astounding BB, torsional, and overall frame stiffness. Naturally, they’ve applied these learnings of lightweight and stiffness to the Epic World Cup, but cranked up the dials to meet the rugged demands the chassis will encounter.

The Epic World Cup’s deceptively simple shape delivers the most efficient stiffness for the rider’s demands. Small diameter tubes at the bottom bracket and seat cluster are ideal, but we also needed a large diameter top tube and down tube to mate to the larger head tube. So, how the top tube and down tube taper to the bottom bracket and seat tube are equally important. The shape of these junctions have a significant effect on stiffness and stability under load, which enabled us to create massive performance gains through subtle change in curvature.

Through the largest simulation project in Specialized history, the team created over 100 000 virtual frames across the spectrum of design. On this virtual test rig, they tested for BB stiffness, front end stiffness, and overall stiffness — three key measurements that allow us to predict how a frame will ride. The data derived from this testing was so massive, it required the processing capability of supercomputers running advanced FEA (Finite Element Analysis). Of course the computers don’t tell you which of the 100 000 frames is best, they only deliver a landslide of data.

In order to filter and analyse this amount of data, they needed a system that could apply and identify trends in their 25+ years of carbon fibre bike frame engineering and test results. With that custom software, they were able to discover the single combination that delivered the best overall frame performance.


Control SL Family

When stiffness is king, the biggest flex is no flex. With modern XCO race tracks cranking up the dials on hairy descents and gut-busting features, there is no margin for error when it comes to controlling your bike—and the need for efficient power transfer is even greater.

Control SL Cockpit

For the racer who needs full integration for full-gas efforts, the Roval Control SL Cockpit answers the call. An engineering masterpiece designed to master the full throttle XC world. Built with high-modulus carbon fibre, and race-proven geometry, there is no greater combination of light weight, stiffness, and control on the World Cup today

  • Material: High-modulus carbon fibre
  • Width: 780mm (includes cut marks to customise for rider)
  • Rise: 0mm rise, -12 degrees
  • Backsweep: 8 degrees
  • Location for bolt on computer mount
  • Weight: 250g (in 70mm stem x 780mm width)

Control SL Seatpost

Finding your rhythm can make or break your race. Our ultra-light Control SL seat post puts you in and ideal position for high-output efforts. Thanks to the 2-bolt system, it’s easily adjustable down the the millimetre, letting you dial in your perfect attack position.

  • Material: High-modulus carbon fibre
  • Length: 415mm
  • Offset: 0mm
  • Post Diameter: 30.9mm
  • Seat Clamp: 2-bolt Micro Adjust with 46mm saddle rail cradle (Same as on Alpinist Seat post)
  • Bolts: Titanium
  • Weight: 180g

Control SL Wheelset

The ultimate XC wheelset. A wheelset intent on destroying every benchmark thrown at it, the Roval Control SL wheelset is wider, lighter, faster, stronger, more compliant and more durable. Built around the new rim design, it’s 29-millimetre-wide profile provides a better tyre profile for increased traction, while the system weight achieves a featherweight total of just 1240 grams. The bead-hook design with wider hooks feature a flat profile that not only offers greater impact strength by distributing impact force over a larger area, but also increases the impact force needed to pinch flat by 22 percent. Offset spokes and an asymmetric rim profile paired with two-cross lacing provides a better bracing angle for increased lateral stiffness and allows for the use of a single spoke length across the entire wheelset.

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