June 30, 2009 (Salt Lake City, Utah) – For its 2010 product launch, Specialized decided against visiting an exotic European city this time round and instead went for a closer, yet just as powerfully scenic location in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Specialized hosted its Global Product Launch at Snowbird Resort, located at 8,200 feet up the side of an 11,000-foot peak in the Rockies. Day one of the road product launch featured the competitive road segment, including an all-new Tarmac, a new time trial frame and a new little brother to the Roubaix.
When designing a next generation Tarmac, the Specialized engineers knew they had to make some big changes to make an already very good bike even better.
To do that, they wiped the slate clean and started from scratch on a whole new platform. “We design these bikes to win races. That’s our No. 1 goal,” engineer David Zurcher said. “Our collaboration with the teams has helped us really get to another level.”
The end result is a new frame that’s said to be the lightest production frame/fork/headset/seatpost/crankset (or module as Specialized calls it) in the world. It’s also 18% stiffer over the SL2. The module also includes carbon headset cups, ceramic bearing bottom bracket cups. The frame itself has a completely new construction design featuring a tapered head/steerer tube from 1-1/8th at the top down to 1.5″ at the crown, a one-piece chainstay/bottom bracket shell and hollow box section alloy dropouts. The total weight is just 875 grams for a 56cm frameset.
With the economy clearly at the forefront of the decision makers in the bicycle industry, Specialized wanted to bring in a lower-priced option to the Roubaix line. With a longer wheelbase and a more relaxed geometry, the Roubaix is considered an endurance road bike for those looking for something a little less racy than the Tarmac. The Secteur is built using identical geometry to the Roubaix, but in an aluminum frame. The higher end models still use the Zertz damping technology in the seat stays and in the carbon fork.
Mark Cote, one of the bike’s engineers, said he thinks it will be big seller. “It’s really a great bike for a lot of people getting into entry-level bikes.”
Although the bike is aluminum, it still weights in at just 1,300 grams for a 56cm frame. And as for the name? In keeping with the Paris-Roubaix theme, Secteur is a section or area of the famed cobblestones in the historic race.
When Specialized teamed up with the Saxo Bank ProTour team, the one thing they didn’t have to offer was a top-level Time Trial frame. So, when Specialized was courting Saxo Bank, they went to work on a completely new TT offering and brought their first designs to the team in January.
“We had to totally rethink the way we design the bike,” said Cote. “On this bike we went for the holy grail.”
Over the course of the next five months, the team of engineers spent 100 hours over 13 trips to the wind tunnel and the result was a truly stunning, yet completely rideable time trial bike.
The Shiv (as in, Specialized plans to slay the competition), will be offered as a 2011 model in the spring of 2010 in limited quantities. No pricing was announcing other than to say it will be “very expensive.”
The most noticeable element of the Shiv is the wildly-oversized and flat headtube and front cockpit.
The stem, headtube, fork, front brake and aero bars are all seemingly connected together in a massive front package. Though it seems counterintuitive to have such a large area in the front, Specialized engineers found out the design — when looked at from all sides and not just the front – creates a far more aerodynamic bike from the realistic 15 to 20-degree wind angle. The front brakes come down out of the “˜nose’ section and fit into the aero flow with the fork perfectly.
Aero bars sit directly on top of the stem section, creating a perfectly horizontal line across the top tube. However, for riders who find that too aggressive, there are aero risers that lift the arm pads up to 75mm. The rear brake is mounted under the rear chainstays, and all of the cables are internally routed. These are the same bikes that will be ridden by the entire Saxo Bank team in the Tour de France starting on Saturday, July 4 in Monaco.
Stay tuned at pedalmag.com for ride reviews of both the new 2010 Tarmac SL3, as well as the 2011 Shiv.