Red Devil
Bicycling South Africa|September/October 2020
Alan Hatherly’s 2021 Specialized S-Works Epic
Jon Minster

A Alan Hatherly (24) is one of South Africa’s fastest mountain bikers – and one of the best young XC riders in the world.

In 2018 he won the U23 Cross Country World Championship in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, and he proved his versatility a year later when he won the inaugural e-MTB cross-country race at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Mont-Sainte Anne, Canada.

A rider of such pedigree deserves a speedy steed, and he’s got one in the new S-Works Epic. The bike has been reimagined almost from the ground up, to be as lightweight and nimble as possible.

The geometry has been updated, the Brain suspension system has been improved, and a new carbon lay-up actually shaves 100g off the frame weight of the previous model: the FACT 12m frame – including shock, hanger, axle and bolts – comes in at a stupendous 1 869g.

With a 67.5° head angle, shorter chainstays, a lower bottom bracket and a steeper seat tube, the new Epic can cope better with increasingly technical cross-country courses – it’s more stable on descents, and rolls better over obstacles. But it’s still a supremely competent climber, as an XC race bike should be, rocketing uphill without hesitation.

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