Pinner’s Perspective: Riding the 2018 Specialized Epic before It Existed

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Unveiled on July 1st 2017, Oli Munnik has the honour of riding the Epic before it was publicly released.


I should have known it would be cycling that would be the catalyst in realising my dream of travelling to the USA …

Hey Pinner,

Would you be keen and able to attend Specialized’s Summer Camp on the East Coast of America and ride the new Epic (keep it a secret for now!)? It’s scheduled for the 1st week of June 2017.

Chat soon

Reply, within seconds:

My bru. 

Let’s pull the trigger on this, what do you need from me other than a high five?!


International press camps are often quite different from what many would imagine. While there is of course ample time to ride, there is usually also a heavy focus on educating journos about the new products and their respective technologies. The schedules can be ludicrously demanding.

Thankfully, Specialized’s Summer Camp, hosted in the beautiful resort of Mountain Creek, New Jersey on America’s East Coast was intentionally focused on us getting to grips with the bikes in their natural habitat, as opposed to via lengthy presentations.

It is a rather peculiar feeling though being immersed in so much awesome new and exciting product – some of which won’t ever reach South African shores (sad face) – but not being in a position to share it. Embargoes are after all, a serious aspect of any camp and need to be strictly adhered to. No exceptions to the rule as a Swedish journo rightly found out!

A highlight during the three days of the Summer Camp (which was less time than it took to get there and back from America) was definitely cranking it up to Mountain Creek’s summit, alongside the man behind the new Epic, Brian Gordon. Gordon, incidentally is no slouch on the cranks having recently been crowned the amateur US marathon champion.


I’m not gonna lie, Brian put me in the pain cave. Fortunately I managed to find some watts I didn’t think I had, and stuck to his wheel to the top. Needless to say I wasn’t able to offer much in terms of conversation! We ended up setting the KOM, which was pretty fitting for the occasion seeing we were riding one of the world’s fastest mountain bikes, the 2018 Specialized Epic.

Within a few hours of our KOM being posted, our efforts were to be eclipsed by an icon of mountain bike racing, none other than Ned Overend. Now 61 and an invaluable part of Gordon’s Epic ‘test and advisory team’, Overend is still very much a weapon. He proved this by going out and smashing our KOM, beating it time by a considerable margin. I have without doubt, discovered America’s version of Linus van Onselen.


Riding the 2018 Specialized Epic revealed a bike that has received an array of seemingly subtle, but very effective tweaks … making it more suitable at tackling aggressive terrain.

Click on the link below to read my comprehensive report on the improvements, as well as my thoughts on how the Epic rides, and who should have it on their wish list.

All You Need To Know About Specialized’s 2018 Epic


Thinking back to my brief jaunt to America, what will forever be engrained in my mind is the surreal feeling of being one of the first people in the world to ride a bike, which ‘didn’t yet exist’, at least in the public eye. And being soundly beaten by a 61 year old. Bravo Ned!

Ciao ciao, Oli


Oliver Munnik is a former professional mountain biker. Pinner by trade, he travels the world testing the latest and greatest cycling products as Bicycling’s Gear Editor.