It's undeniable that hardtails still play an extremely important role in XC racing. So what to do? Specialized put their XC offerings on a diet, went back to the drawing board, and created the lightest damn mountain bike they've ever made—the S-Works Epic Hardtail. To do so, they built the entire frame from their highest-end carbon fiber, FACT 11m, and then took some cues from the road bikes. This creates the optimal balance of rigidity, weight, and responsiveness, so every frame, regardless of size, performs just as intended. They've also tweaked the geometry for more speed and stability by slacking-out the head tube angle, lengthening the top tube, and correcting the seat tube angle. This way, it feels more planted then ever, and frankly, it's stupid fast. On top of all that, they also widened the rear spacing to 12x148mm for added rigidity and control.