June 26, 2008 (Morgan Hill, CA) — For the Specialized 2009 we headed to Specialized USA headquarters in Morgan Hill California, where we’ll will spend the next 8 days immersed in the world of the Big Red S. From road to mountain, helmets to shoes, we are covering it all and getting in more than a few kilometers to get a real feel for the 2009 product line.
Specialized is passionate about their Body Geometry Fit program, a program designed to make riding more comfortable and efficient and they have spent a huge amount of time, money and research on designing a fit program that achieves these goals.
For the first 2-1/2 hours of our day we were treated to a custom 3D Body Geometry fit program, customizing everything from shoes to bike position. No detail was left out as highly trained fit technicians measured us up to ensure our rides would be as comfortable as possible. There are over 27 stores in Canada offering 3D Body Geometry Fit but at present only three are providing it with Data Capture, using multi position video cameras to capture a riders movements on the bike. The three stores offering Data Capture are Gears (Mississauga, Ontario), Ski Velo (Magog, Quebec) and Sport Neron (Boucherville, Quebec).
Following our custom fit session we moved over to seminars on the latest and greatest for 2009. The highlight of the day had to be the introduction of Specialized’s 2009 Roubaix SL2, a bike that Tom Boonen rode to victory at this year’s Paris Roubaix. In fact Boonen had a lot to do with the development of the 2009 Roubaix, providing Specialized engineers with some challenging goals to achieve.
Boonen’s weapon of choice against the pavÃ© in the past was an S-Works Tarmac SL but his request to Specialized was for an equally stiff frame with a smoother ride, basically adding the stiffness and acceleration of the Tarmac SL to the Roubaix’s tried and true level of comfort and smoothness. The Roubaix SL2 is Specialized’s answer to Boonen’s requests, A stunningly aesthetic bike with a whole new level of lateral stiffness.
Torsional stiffness has been increased 9%, bottom bracket stiffness 12%, and the rear triangle 21%. This has been achieved through a number of design changes whereby the frame, fork, and crank are engineered as a single integrated system.
Larger lower bearings, 1-3/8″, are a fine balance between stiffness and compliance and are positioned in-line with the downtube’s lower wall. This allows for a larger downtube and thus a larger, stiffer bottom bracket interface. An asymmetric seat tube also adds to stiffness and a flatter drive side profile allows for better front derailleur placement. BB stiffness on the 2009 Roubaix is 12% greater than the 2008 model. New triangulated, seatstays, improve lateral stiffness while integrated Zertz maintain vertical flex. The Crank on the 2009 Roubaix has also been tweaked and its hollow molded carbon fibre design is stiffer than 2008.
Another highlight product announcement from the Big Red S is the introduction of the Turbo Tubeless tire. The Turbo tire was the first product ever to carry the specialized name and has now been re-released as a tubeless system.
The initial Turbo Tubeless S-Works model will roll out this month and additional models later in the year. Specialized will be the first company to market a complete line of tubeless road tires. The Turbo Tubeless will offer super low rolling resistance, with superior ride quality while remaining virtually flat proof.
The tires have been designed as a system with Roval Tubeless Wheels, which will be introduced mid-year 2009, and feature 127 TPI casing, dual radius tread with triple compound and weigh in at 290 grams (23mm width). The Tubeless Rovals rims have been developed in partnership with Campagnolo and the hubs in partnership with DT Swiss.
Other upgrades in the 2009 Specialized tire line include the updated Armidillo, with a lighter casing and more puncture protection; the Purgatory, a 26 x 2.2 tire for wet loamy condition and a great option for Enduro’s; the Clutch, a DH line for roots, rocks, mud, and wet is lower weight and has a new SX casing in 2.3 and 2.5; and the Rythem, a 26×2.3, which has dropped weight to 600 grams.
In their optics category Specialized introduced the new Roulette, a Women’s model from the Arc family, and the more casual Strafe, an optic based on an aviator style. The Roulette is a hingeless, nearly weightless, ultra minimal road racing optic with micro air channeling, sweat cushion and features Adaptalite photochromic lens technology — lenses that auto darken and lighten in response to light conditions.
As we head out on the road to get a real feel for the products we head out knowing we are on some of the best equipment in the world and look forward to bringing you more over the next couple of days. Stay tuned for more new products from the road line and later on in the week reports from the MTB launch.