It has been my fortune to be able to ride some nifty bikes lately, most recently the Specialized Epic Marathon. This has let me compare a more modern approach to a 29er FS to my trusty Lenzsport Leviathan 3.0.
The Epic has slightly shorter chainstays, a longer toptube, a much stiffer front end/fork combo, the correct offset and fork height for the frame, hydroformed tubing, and the super Brain Shock tech working for it, all backed by the might of a mega bike company with cutting edge resources and multimedia all over the place.
The Lev has old geometry, 18" chainstays, a 3/4" shorter top tube (also an XL frame), a pretty stiff front triangle paired with a noodly old Reba, was never meant to run at 100mm (designed around 80mm) and has the wrong fork offset for the slacker HT angle, no hydroformed tubes, but plenty of hand formed and nicely welded aluminum pieces, and Propedal is required to keep it from being a bunny rabbit when pedaled vigorously, all backed by one man...Devin Lenz from a one man shop in Colorado who has not updated his website since WWII.
The Epic is more agile, steers more precisely, has the amazing Brain, and has better overall balance.
It is amazing how well the aging Leviathan holds up to times passing. I rode it again last night on the group night ride. I could feel the flexy Reba and the slightly slow steering when it needed to dance a jitterbug and not a salsa beat. And, I needed to do the Propedal Boogie to keep it climbing well AND descending well, but honestly other than that, it is a great bike still. If I upgraded the fork, say to a Fox 100mm with 15QR, that stiffer front end and increased offset would be a big improvement. I can't help the longer rear stays and shorter TT nor can I do much about the RP23 needing Propedal to perform well, and frankly, that is not a big deal to me, but it goes to show how well done the Lev was from the get-go.
Devin at Lenzsport continues to push the envelope of 29ers with his Milk Money FS SS and the PBJ 7" travel 29er models. I know the new Levs have shorter chainstays, tapered HTs, and longer TTs available. It goes to show how a little fish can still be relevant in a big pond.
Besides that, he is a darn nice guy.
"Please don't let me die."
4 years ago