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Cape Epic: Laura Stigger's Specialized S-Works Epic

Laura Stigger's Specialized S-Works Epic
(Image credit: Max Sullivan )

The Absa Cape Epic's return was a terrific event for Specialized, with wins in both the men’s and women’s general classification.

It was the women’s team of Sina Frei and Laura Stigger, especially, who truly dominated at this year’s Cape Epic. They won by an enormous margin of nearly 41 minutes.

Rider power, skill and endurance make a significant difference at the Cape Epic, but it helps to be on a great bike, too. And Laura Stigger’s choice was an S-Works Epic, in resplendent cherry red – like all her Specialized pro teammates.

The Austrian Cape Epic champion’s core S-Works specification was what you would expect, if buying Specialized’s premium dual-suspension racing bike from a dealer.

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Laura Stigger's Specialized S-Works Epic

Laura dominated the Cape Epic with her teammate Sina Frei (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Laura Stigger's Specialized S-Works Epic

Forks are equipped with Specialized's Brain technology (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Laura Stigger's Specialized S-Works Epic

The SID forks also use RockShox DebonAir internals (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Laura Stigger's Specialized S-Works Epic

Super lightweight HT pedals add some bling and drop a little weight (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Laura Stigger's Specialized S-Works Epic

Quarq power meter measures effort output (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Laura Stigger's Specialized S-Works Epic

Eagle cassette offers huge gear range (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Laura Stigger's Specialized S-Works Epic

Wireless dropper remote keeps the cockpit tidy (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Laura Stigger's Specialized S-Works Epic

SRAM ultimate levers control braking (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Laura Stigger's Specialized S-Works Epic

Calipers have some upgraded bolt details (Image credit: Max Sullivan )

Boutique pedals 

Laura pedaled her way to victory with SRAM’s AXS Eagle XX1 wireless drivetrain. Mindful of those surprising and brutally steep climbs waiting along the Cape Epic route, Laura opted for a 32T chainring.

To keep her on pace and within her performance threshold, she used a Quarq power meter. Laura’s pedal choice is HT’s M1T. These pedals are impressively light, at only 252g per pair, with their gorgeously machined titanium axles.

HT has a rider weight limit for the M1T pedals of 80kg, but Laura is way under that weight ceiling and could ride her Cape Epic with confidence on these ultralightweight pedals.

Wheels were Roval’s latest SL carbons, with the 29mm internal rim diameter and 4mm bead, to guard against pinch flats. 

Laura opted for a set of Renegade tires, front and rear, unlike the winning Specialized men’s team Jordan Sarrou, who selected Fast Track tires upfront.

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Laura Stigger's Specialized S-Works Epic

Renegade tires are fitted front and rear (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Laura Stigger's Specialized S-Works Epic

The tires are fitted to Roval Control SL carbon wheels (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Laura Stigger's Specialized S-Works Epic

Specialized mimic saddle provides seating (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Laura Stigger's Specialized S-Works Epic

Saddle is moved into the perfect position using a Reverb AXS dropper post (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Laura Stigger's Specialized S-Works Epic

Carbon bars and foam grips give comfort and control (Image credit: Max Sullivan )
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Laura Stigger's Specialized S-Works Epic

Wahoo mount and course details are available for mid-stage referencing (Image credit: Max Sullivan )

Proving the latest Specialized saddle concept

There was nothing unusual about the suspension set-up on Laura’s S-Works. She ran RockShox's best cross-country suspension setup that's customized by Specialized with its S-Works Epic Brain valving and an RX tune. 

No additional lock-out cables or remotes crowded her handlebar, as she had a wireless dropper and could rely on the hydraulic platform and terrain sensing dampers of RockShox’s BRAIN fork and shock.

Few, if any, races test saddle comfort quite as severely as the Cape Epic. Keeping Laura comfy was a Specialized Power women’s saddle, with the brand’s latest MIMIC soft tissue relief ergonomics and stubby short-nosed shape.

Lance Branquinho
Lance Branquinho is a Namibian-born media professional who graduated to mountain biking after injuries curtailed his fascination with trail running. He has a weakness for British steel hardtails, especially those which only run a single gear. Rides: Morewood Kwela Cotic Simple 26 Pyga 160mm aluminium prototype