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  1. The Epic is a race bike built with few compromises in mind as it aims to be the fastest endurance bike it can. It’s sold to the public pretty much as the professional team would race it. The Epic EVO goes a bit off-piste, throwing on a sturdier trail fork, a grippier front tyre, and applying a dropper seatpost. All these parts are traditionally seen as heavy and slow but the Epic EVO looks to challenge that thinking for the non-professional rider. In 2016, I rode the previous generation S-Works Epic at Wines2Whales where I was supremely impressed with the bikes racing abilities and our impressions of the current Epic are much the same. My view of the Epic as a pure race bike was somewhat fixed. While I have fitted 120mm forks and burlier tyres to my own bikes, I had never considered the Epic as a suitable candidate for such treatment. But when reading about the launch of the Epic EVO, it suddenly dawned on me that it could actually be an excellent fit. Yes, slapping a longer fork, bigger tyres, wider handlebars, and a dropper seatpost on a bike is nothing new. And Specialized are not claiming to have reinvented the mountain bike here. They previously released an Epic EVO with similar thinking back in 2011, although I do not think this bike reached South Africa shores. The 2011 Epic Expert EVO. But as obvious as it may seem, and considering the number of similar modifications you see out on the trails, it is not a formula that has seen widespread adoption across the mountain bike industry. Most brands tend to offer a light duty trail bike instead. But in South Africa, where many mountain bikers seem to aspire to endurance rides and races, this type of cross-country bike sub-genre is bound to serve a sizeable market. The Frame The Epic EVO and current Epic range share the same frame. Specialized has made no changes to the frame for the Epic EVO with the only difference being a change in component choice. The Epic Expert EVO is constructed using Specialized’s Fact 11m carbon layup. The Epic Expert EVO is available in two colourways: Gloss East Sierras/Tarmac Black (pictured) and Satin Carbon/Storm Grey (which is a black frame with blue detailing).Along with some changes to the geometry, one of the bigger developments to the new Epic was replacing the FSR suspension with a single pivot design, removing the rear pivot. The new design engineered compliance into the chain- and seatstays to assist the suspension as it moves through the travel. Specialized say that by removing the pivots in the chainstays, they reduced weight, improved stiffness, and pedalling efficiency. The Epic frame has removed the rear pivot system replacing it with flexible stays. The new Epic geometry had a moderate touch of the long, low, and slack influence but the 120mm fork on the Epic EVO pushes the geometry further in that direction. Compared to the Epic, the Epic EVO has a 1-degree slacker head angle at 68.5 degrees, a slightly longer wheelbase, a higher handlebar, and an ever so slightly raised bottom bracket. These changes, in theory, should lead to a more comfortable and confidently handling bike at speed and on rough sections while keeping the Epic EVO firmly within range of the geometry seen on a number of modern endurance race bikes. Specialized’s Rider First Engineering design approach means that the frame tubes are specifically constructed to best match stiffness and compliance across the size curve. The result is a bike that behaves in the same manner across the size range. As a taller rider who typically rides at the far end of the size spectrum, it’s something I’m glad is being addressed, as I often wonder just how much thought has gone into the largest and even smallest bikes in a range. The Brain system is placed behind the rear axle with hosing travelling neatly up the seatstay into the shock. The Epic EVO uses exactly the same Brain system used on the Epic. The newer Brain 2.0 design moved the location of the brain unit to behind the rear axle with Specialized having worked on the internals to improve oil flow, which they say leads to a more responsive, sensitive system. The forks used on the two currently available Epic EVO models do not make use of the Brain technology. Two bottles, full throttle! The frame has space for two water bottles within the front triangle. This becomes even more of a consideration when the bike arrives fitted with a dropper seatpost, making it trickier to apply a seatpost mount. The Epic EVO includes a Specialized side entry bottle cage and accompanying multi-tool attached. There is also the additional mount to fit the Specialized SWAT box which can carry a tube, bomb and adaptor, tyre lever, and multitool. Other frame features include internal cable routing, for everything but the Brain hose, and an integrated chainstay protector. The internal cable routing is neat and silent. The Build: Expert EVO There are just two Epic EVO models currently available. The Epic Expert EVO with a carbon frame and the lower specced Epic Comp EVO with an aluminium frame. There is no word yet on whether we will see more Epic EVO models appearing in the future.Shock: The shock is a custom collaboration between RockShox and Specialized. The shock is connected to the Brain system via hosing that travels down the seat stay to the non-drive side rear axle. The shock features Specialized's AutoSag which assists in getting the air pressure within range quickly. Fork: The 120mm fork is a defining characteristic of the Epic EVO and on the Expert model it is a Fox 34 Step-Cast. The Fox 34 a trail fork with a slightly beefier build than lightweight cross-country fork. It provides a sturdy platform to charge through technical trails.Considering the pricing and specification level of the Expert, I was initially a bit underwhelmed to see the GRIP damper used over the premium FIT4 option. But after spending some time with the fork, I struggled to find any significant shortcomings in the forks performance. Drivetrain: The drive system is a SRAM GX Eagle groupset, apart from the Truvativ crankset. The GX Eagle drivetrain arguably performs as well as the pricier X01 and XX1 levels but at the cost of a few hundred grams. The GX components are also much more affordable to replace when they wear out or get damaged. Wheels: The Epic Expert EVO rolls on Roval carbon rims with a well-suited 25mm internal diameter. It is a tricky task balancing the right level of parts with the bikes final price tag. In this case, the additional stiffness, acceleration, and control through rough trails that carbon rims offer are well worth the upgrade over aluminium hoops. Even if it comes at the cost of a fitting a ‘cheaper’ GX Eagle drivetrain. Tyres: The Epic EVO sticks with the light, more efficient rolling Fast Trak tyre (although the tougher GRID version) on the rear while bulking up on traction with a Ground Control on the front tyre. A logical choice for a bike with the EVO’s intentions. The newer Ground Control is an excellent tyre for the EVO, providing a surprising amount of grip without feeling heavy or clumsy on the flats and climbs. It’s a tyre that happily keeps up with the versatility of the Fox 34 fork.Brakes: The SRAM Level brakes are good, providing sufficient braking in most conditions, but a set of hardier Guide brakes would probably be a better match for riders seeking out the steeper, longer trails. Controls: In the cockpit, the most obvious deviation from the typical Epic formula is the dropper seatpost. The dropper seat post can help keep us amateurs out of the hospital and smiling on the single track. Use it! Interestingly, Specialized has shied away from their own Command Post dropper posts on the Epic EVO. Instead, equipping an X-Fusion post with 125mm travel on the larger sizes. While I do prefer more travel on a dropper post for trail riding, on a cross-country bike I find 125mm to be more than adequate.The Epic EVO also sports a longer aluminium handlebar than the racier Epic, growing from 720mm to 750mm. Easily shortened should you not appreciate the added width. The stem length on the extra large bike was a suitable 80mm. My butt thoroughly enjoys Specialized saddles, so the stock Phenom saddle needed no changing. I found the Specialized grips a bit hard for my desk jockey hands, with the raised bits causing some irritation on longer rides. Specialized Epic Expert EVO specification list: FRAMESpecialized FACT 11m, XC Geometry, Rider-First Engineered, threaded BB, 12x148mm rear spacing, internal cable routing, 100mm of travelFORKFOX Step-Cast 34 Performance series, GRIP damper, 44mm offset, 15x110mm Kabolt thru-axle, 120mm of travelREAR SHOCKCustom RockShox Micro Brain shock w/ Spike Valve, AUTOSAG, 51x257mmCHAINSRAM GX Eagle, 12-speedBOTTOM BRACKETSRAM DUB, threaded BBCRANKSETTruvativ STYLO, DUBSHIFT LEVERSSRAM GX Eagle, trigger, 12-speedCASSETTESRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed, 10-50tCHAINRINGSSRAM Eagle, 32TREAR DERAILLEURSRAM GX Eagle, 12-speedSEAT BINDERAlloy, 34.9mmSADDLEBody Geometry Phenom Comp, hollow Cr-Mo rails, 143mmSEATPOSTX-Fusion manic, 30.9mm, (S: 100mm, M-XL: 125mm)STEMSpecialized XC, 3D-forged alloy, 4-bolt, 6-degree riseHANDLEBARSSpecialized Alloy Minirise, 10mm rise, 750mm, 31.8mm clampGRIPSSpecialized Sip Grip, half-waffle, S/M: regular thickness, L/XL: XL thicknessFRONT HUBSpecialized, sealed cartridge bearings, 15x110mm spacing, 28hREAR HUBSpecialized, sealed cartridge bearings, 12x148mm thru-axle, 28hSPOKESDT Swiss IndustryRIMSRoval Control Carbon, 25mm internal width, tubeless-readyFRONT TIREGround Control, GRIPTON compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.3"REAR TIREFast Trak, GRID casing, GRIPTON compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.3"BRAKESSRAM Level TL, hydraulic discACTUAL WEIGHT11.97 kg (size large)RETAIL PRICINGR 93,000 Geometry On the trails The Epic EVO’s geometry is right in the sweet spot of most modern cross-country bikes which meant that I immediately felt composed on the bike. Previous generations of the Epic’s extra large frame have fitted me well and the new Epic frame continues to hit the right buttons for my 193cm length proportions. The constant up and down of the Piket-Bo-Berg single track is the perfect testing ground for the Epic EVO. Photo credit: Delanie Jooste. Jumping on the Epic EVO for the first time, the only changes I made to suit my preferences were flipping the stem to angle downward instead of up as well as dropping the stem down a spacer or two to get the handlebar a bit lower. The Autosag shock does a good job of getting the shock pressure to a rideable state with some minor tuning required to get it just right. The Epic EVO climbs as economically as the racier Epic, which climbs with the utmost mechanical efficiency. The Epic EVO is rewarding to pedal, urging the rider to dig deep and push harder. Despite the enthusiastic climbing characteristics, there is no escaping physics and the slightly heavier components of the Epic EVO will require slightly more watts to move up a hill than a similarly kitted Epic. A large part of the Epic EVO's climbing ability is down to the Brain system. It works supremely well to keep the bike stiff under pedalling power while opening up for most bumps, even working to hold traction well on technical ascents. It is hard to gauge on the rough mountain side climbs but smashing the pedals on the tar shows no sign of suspension movement. It may sound trivial but I appreciate freeing up my own brain without the need to consider a lockout. Hit a climb, it’s already locked out. Drop down single track, it opens up when needed. It’s a similar sense of relief that you feel when making the switch from two-by to a single chainring drivetrain. It also makes the Specialized cockpit one of the cleanest looking in the business. Even with the dropper post lever, the Epic EVO offers clean controls. Of course, there’s the infamous knocking sound and feel as the Brain opens to allow the shock to absorb the bumps and jolts. It’s still there with the newer Brain design and I can understand how the feeling might grate your nerves. I found that after a few rides I quickly tuned it out. I’ve always taken the knock as a reminder that the system works. While the Epic EVO climbs like its race-focussed sibling, the descents are where the EVO sets itself apart. The racier Epic is not all that bad on the technical sections and, in skilful hands, can handle some seriously treacherous terrain. But we’re not all Alan Hatherly racing for the rainbow jersey, so thankfully there is the Epic EVO to help the average rider feel a bit like him. Although the changes to the Epic EVO are simply component choices, these modifications make a material difference to the way the bike handles on the descents. The Fox 34 fork proved to be reliably sturdy, even through fast-paced repetitive beatings. The carbon rims paired with the Ground Control tyre hold a line well, staying true even in the messiest of situations. The lifted front end positions the rider slightly backwards, and with the slackened head angle, lessening the feel of an impending over the bars episode. All the while having the seatpost dropped, safely tucking the saddle out of the way providing the rider room to move around and balance on the bike. It’s a recipe for confident, fun, and fast descending. Matt (aka Admin) charging through the trees at Piket-Bo-Berg. Photo credit: Delanie Jooste. The latest Ground Control design adds an additional knob offering reliable and predictable grip which urges the rider to push the front wheel into the bends. The previous tyre had problems with a vague feel when leaning over in a turn, making it susceptible to a scary washed out feel while transitioning to the outer tread. The combination of all these changes makes for a remarkable transformation. The Epic EVO had me seeking out the roughest and toughest race lines and encouraging me to attempt some outlandish overtaking manoeuvres through hazardous terrain. One positive side effect is an immensely huge grin after each piece of singletrack. I was without a doubt faster and more comfortable on the downs, opening up some significant gaps on race day. Riders often seem to ignore the time you can make up on the technical (and even non-technical) descents, the Epic EVO does not. I came into the test thinking that the Epic’s rear end might struggle to match the ability of 120mm Fox 34 paired with the beefier front tyre but my pre-judgement was pleasantly proved to be false. Although the rear end feels nothing like a trail bike, with a linear cross-country bike feel, it manages to soak up the bigger punches with aplomb. The bike feels remarkably balanced as if it had always been designed to be dressed this way. Sidebar: Is the Epic Evo the replacement for the Camber? Short answer: It will depend on your riding style but, from a bike design perspective, the Camber was a modified Stumpjumper and the new Stumpjumper ST (short travel) is adapted in the same way the Camber was. The Stumpjumper ST is the Camber replacement.In South Africa, I felt riders were drawn to the Camber for two different reasons. Some wanted a short travel trail bike with good versatility while others were looking for a marathon race bike that did not have the knife-edge handling of the Epic. The Epic EVO comfortably covers the requirements of the later group looking for a more confidence-inspiring bike while maintaining the efficient pedalling platform of the Epic. If you are going on design DNA, then new Stumpjumper ST is the direct replacement for the Camber. The outgoing Stumpjumper and Camber shared largely the same frame design with minor changes for the shortened suspension travel. The new Stumpjumper and Stumpjumper ST share much the same formula. The Stumpjumper ST should appeal to those riders who want a more trail bike riding experience with greater versatility than the 100mm single pivot Epic rear suspension offers. I have yet to ride the Stumpjumper ST but all signs point to a bike also capable of being called upon for the occasional marathon race. Who is the Epic EVO for? The selfish answer, me. But also probably you. Unless you are racing for the top positions at events, the weight penalty of the Epic EVO is unlikely to make any material difference. On the flipside, the added confidence provided by the longer fork, larger front tyre, and adjustable seatpost will likely make you enjoy your riding more and, invariably, make you go faster. Outside of racing, when you want to have fun on the trails, the Epic EVO can make do as an adequate trail bike. Conclusion The Epic EVO is still very much an Epic at heart. The EVO is a stellar race bike but without the unforgiving razor edge of the racier Epic. Yes, compared to a similar priced Epic, the EVO models are a little bit heavier. But the EVO will likely help most riders to achieve better results and have more fun through a more comfortable and confidence inspiring ride. The Epic EVO offers the best of two worlds in one neatly executed package without unreasonable compromises. It's a superb bike and one of the best in the growing genre of practical race bikes. ProsFull gas on the back while a party on the front Retains the classic Epic feel when putting down the power Confidently capable on technical trails A well-balanced bike A bike for racing, training, and playing about on trails ConsIn a spec for spec comparison, there are cheaper bikes Slightly more powerful brakes to match the rest of the bike on longer descents would be welcome Limited models in the range
  2. 2006 - 2007 This Epic was a purebred World Cup XC race machine. Designed for short, intense racing on World Cup courses, the setup prioritised weight saving over durability. Lightweight rims, Aluminium rotors, a raw carbon frame: anything to save a few grams. This was the age of 26-inch wheels, narrow 680mm handlebars, gigantic bar ends and 2x9 drive trains. Christoph Sauser’s 2006 Cape Epic-winning S-Works weighed in at 9 kilograms. 2009 - 2010 In June 2008 a new iteration of the Specialized Epic was launched with an explosive win for Christoph Sauser at UCI Mountain Bike XCO World Champs.The new frame shaved nearly 700 grams off its predecessor and debuted an updated version of the Brain Suspension System which improved weight distribution by moving the brain out of the shock to the rear of the bike. This left space for only a single bottle cage, but radically improved the performance of the suspension. The new Epic made its first appearance at the 2009 Absa Cape Epic. It was this year that the powerful combination of Stander and Sauser came to the fore. The pair won the Prologue and the first three stages and appeared in command of the overall race. However, a momentary lapse of concentration on Stage 4 put an end to their overall hopes when Burry smashed his front wheel. In 2010, illness put Burry Stander, who was just 22 years old at the time, out of action early in the race but he and Christoph Sauser went on to make good with three stage victories. https://static.bikehub.co.za/uploads/monthly_02_2019/ccs-62657-0-54694300-1550746066.jpg[/url'>']When all is said and done, this is one kick-ass bike. Photo credit: Ulf Beckman. Jaroslav Kulhavy will team up with Howard Grotts once again for Investec-songo-Specialized, as they attempt to defend their 2018 title. U23 World Champion Alan Hatherly with join forces with former U23 World Champion Sam Gaze, for their first attempt at the Absa Cape Epic as team Specialized Foundation-Spur Schools League. They will be riding as the primary backup for Kulhavy and Grotts, and as Absa Cape Epic newbies they are a dark horse team and are likely to spice up the racing, especially on the more explosive, technical stages. Finally, Christoph Sauser will ride with Simon Andreasson, in the role of mentor. The pair ride for Investec-songo-Specialized with aim of providing Simon with valuable racing experience. With Sauser’s race pedigree and experience and Simon’s talent, they could still provide the field with a few surprises. Annika Langvad and Jaroslav Kulhavy will be riding striking custom-painted S-Works Epic frames, equipped with SRAM’s range-topping XX1 Eagle 12 speed drivetrain, and ultra lightweight and strong Roval Control SL 29 148 wheels. The suspension will be taken care of by the race-ready 100mm RockShox SID WC fork with Brain Technology paired with the RockShox Brain shock. This bike is perfectly equipped to handle everything the Absa Cape Epic can throw at it. Ride away with Langvad or Kulhavy’s custom painted S-Works Epic race bikes In support of songo.info, Specialized will once again be donating both Annika Langvad and Jaroslav Kulhavy’s custom painted S-Works Epic race bikes, as ridden in the 2019 Absa Cape Epic to raise funds for the charity.For more information, please visit www.songo.info/bike-auction/
  3. I bought a Specialized Roubaix SL4 Sport through the classifieds (not disk brakes). I want to give road cycling a go. The bike is very cool. It's pretty, unbelievably light (especially compared to my Camber). I'm investigating putting gravel wheels/tyres onto it. There are a few fun back roads near Durbanville including lots of gravel to explore. It's probably not possible to install gravel tyres/wheels, there's very little clearance between the front fork and the current tyre (enough for a finger). Does anyone have any experience or advice for putting gravel wheels onto a Roubaix SL4 ? Unreasonable ? Buy a Diverge ? Stick to your MTB ? Thanks
  4. Has anyone done the basic 50hr service on their brain fork? Just the simple lower, stanchion clean and oil replacement. From what I've gathered on the net it seems as though you just need to let out the air in + and - remove the 10mm nuts on the lowers tap out the uppers drain the oil, clean/replace wipers, replace oil and bolt lowers and uppers back together. Is there any more to it? (Don't wanna service the brain at all) I do not have an S-Works fork with the brain fade control on the uppers, apparently you have to reset the brain on these forks when you take them apart. If anyone has serviced successfully please comment.
  5. Specialized recalls Future Shock steerer tube collar: Models affected include Roubaix, Ruby, Diverge and Sirrus https://www.bikeradar.com/road/news/article/specialized-recalls-future-shock-steerer-tube-collar-53446/
  6. What is ANGi? ANGi is a helmet-mounted sensor that notifies selected contacts when it detects that you are involved in a crash. ANGi also allows your contacts to monitor your progress through live tracking during a ride. The Specialized S-Works Prevail II sporting the new ANGi sensor and MIPS SL integration. The ANGi sensor uses an accelerometer and gyroscope to detect movement and forces. These sensors can measure impacts to the head in a crash and even harmful rotational forces that might not involve a direct knock to the helmet. The device pairs with Specialized's Ride App on your Android or iOS smartphone via Bluetooth to warn your contacts should it detect that you have been involved in a dangerous crash. The ANGi acronym stands for Angular and G-Force indicator. The ANGi sensor attached to the Mindset retention system on the S-Works Prevail II. How does ANGi work? When heading out for a ride, you connect the ANGi sensor to the Ride App on your smartphone and start a ride. If the ANGi sensor detects forces that it associates with a crash, it will notify the Ride App which will start the notification procedure. Beginning setup. Shake to wake. ANGi found. Choose wisely. The Ride App will first initiate a countdown which you can cancel should you be alright. If you’re in trouble, however, the countdown will expire and the Ride App will send out an alert to your emergency contacts via text message and email. The warning notifies all your contacts about the potential harm and includes the GPS coordinates (using the GPS functionality of your smartphone) of your position. Ready to roll. Emergency alert countdown. The rider can also call for help. Activity recording coming soon. When starting a ride, you can also opt to let your contacts know that you are heading out. The notification will include a link to a map where they can track your real-time movement. The rider can also send out a distress signal should they be in an emergency that might not have been detected by ANGi using the Ride App on the smartphone. What if I am riding in an area without signal? The Ride App, through which ANGi communicates with the world, requires a data connection to send out any distress calls and tracking information. This means that if you are not within signal these features will not have full functionality.But ANGi does try to provide a solution in such situations. All you need is a data connection at the start of your ride so that you can input an estimate of your ride time. Should you not complete your ride within the estimated timeframe, ANGi will notify your contacts that you have not returned in time and include your last uploaded location. The Ride App The Ride App is a necessary part of the ANGi ecosystem acting as the communications hub for the ANGi sensor on the helmet. The app uses the phone's data connection to send out emergency messages and location information. The Ride App will also record your activity data like ride time, distance, route, etc. It can be linked to Strava so that the ride will automatically appear there too.A Premium subscription is required to make use of the ANGi sensor. A free 1-year subscription is provided with every ANGi equipped Specialized helmet or aftermarket ANGi sensor. After the 12-months end, an annual subscription costs US$ 29.99. Subscription payments are processed through the Ride App. ANGi First Ride We received an S-Works Prevail II with the ANGi sensor for testing. It is fixed to the Mindset retention system just to the left of the adjustment dial. The sensor is attached with adhesive to a mount that is screwed onto the Mindset system. As you might expect, when wearing the helmet, there’s no indication that the ANGi sensor is attached. The Ride App version that Specialized provided us with was clearly a pre-release version. It lacked certain functionality like recording the ride data but the core ANGi crash detection and warning system worked a treat. Pairing the ANGi sensor to an iPhone through the Ride App was an intuitive process with no communication problems between the two devices. The sensor requires a gentle shake to wake it up before a ride. Admittedly, we’ve only had a few days with the ANGi equipped Prevail II helmet but in our initial testing, the system worked well. We had no false alarms when out riding. In fact, we had no alarms to report at all, as we did not crash. This meant that we had to resort to some rather unscientific testing back at the office. Shaking the helmet around, the ANGi sensor ignored our 'normal riding forces' test that we’d expect not to set off the crash alarms. When we ramped up the violence, two of the more vigorous efforts resulted in the Ride App setting off the countdown screen and alarm, followed by sending off notifications of the incidents to our emergency contact. We were satisfied that in the case of both ‘impacts’ having been real crashes, we’d have wanted ANGi to kick into action. The location of the incident. ANGi also takes note of the severity of each impact and reported them to the emergency contact differently. It distinguished the more forceful test as an Impact Event while the milder collision was labelled as a Potential Crash. During the pre-launch testing, the SMS reporting appeared to not be operational. Instead, we received the warnings via email. From the time the countdown alarm expired, it took around 40 seconds for us to receive the email notification. Of course, like any system reliant on a smartphone there are obvious potential problems. For example, should the smartphone run out of battery, lose signal, or be destroyed in the crash, the ANGi system would likely fail. ANGI Technical specifications Connectivity: Bluetooth Battery: CR2032 Battery life: Six months Waterproof: IPx7 (30 minutes at 1 meter) Warranty: 2-year Specialized introduces MIPS SL In addition to announcing ANGi, Specialized has committed to adding a MIPS option to all its helmets with certain models receiving the exclusive MIPS SL, created in partnership with MIPS researchers.A brief MIPS refresher. While foam is good at absorbing direct linear impacts, it fails to protect against rotational forces created when a helmet strikes objects at an angle. MIPS is designed to allow movement of the helmet to reduce the twisting forces in these angled collisions. In most applications of MIPS, the system is applied independently between the foam shell and the padding. MIPS SL is different in that it combines the MIPS technology and the helmet padding into a single piece. This more compact system offers weight savings, a more comfortable fit, and better airflow for cooling and ventilation. This minimalist application of MIPS is claimed to offer between 10 and 15 millimetres of rotational movement in every direction and the same level of brain protection that other versions of MIPS offer. The MIPS SL technology will debut on the following Specialized helmets: Ambush, S-Works TT, S-Works Evade II, and S-Works Prevail II. Specailized S-Works Prevail II with MIPS SL. Giro Synthe with MIPS. Our test S-Works Prevail II with ANGi is fitted with the MIPS SL system. We are impressed with how clean the application of MIPS appears compared to other helmets, as it blends in seamlessly with the padding.
  7. What most riders don’t realise is that trails don’t just appear, and carve themselves down a hillside. There is back-breaking labour involved, and an art to it, which goes largely unacknowledged. The only tangible reward is the stoke generated for users of the trail. Grins, high-fives and war stories at the bottom. Recently Karkloof Hylton Turvey returned to the Jonkershoek Valley to work his magic on the dirt, alongside local trail wizard Bennet Nel. This is by no means the first time the two have worked together. Way back in 2013 they joined forces for the first time to work on Iron Monkey- also known as the Double Black. Take a trip down memory lane with that build in the video below: Since then with the support of MTO Forestry and Specialized Bicycles, the two have crafted a network of trails in the valley that attract mountain bikers of all sizes, shapes and skill levels. The drawcard: a network of trails from gnarly black lines to flowing switchbacks, and rocky red trails offering endless opportunity for progression. Whether a beginner or full-blown shredder, there is always an option to try something new, find a new line and develop your skills- and with this comes the high, the flow, the sense of achievement and pure stoke the bike riding brings. There was a big fire in 2009 and it destroyed the trails. Back then Never Ending Story was the main trail. I had just become an avid mountain biker and we had no trails. I was connected to Bennet Nel via Paul Morris. The Jonkershoek trails started out a personal project with Bennet Nel and some personal donations from a group of friends. Very soon after I realised that we needed to do some fundraising which was hard work. Around that time the Specialized South Africa subsidiary started and I allocated marketing budget to keep Bennet building. Just to keep building and maintaining rad trails.Then Lawrence Polkinghorne, the now CEO for MTO was appointed. He had a very different vision for the brand. They were focussed on forestry and didn’t want to be hassled by the needs of hikers, runners, and mountain bikers in Jonkershoek. Laurence changed that as he wanted to be actively involved in eco-tourism. MTO now pay the majority of the trail building with Specialized helping out a little bit. I’m still heavily involved. I connect with Bennet every week to monitor progress and I do the financial tracking. What started as something personal fell into being work-related. It was authentic. I simply wanted trails built. I do live close by to Jonkershoek and I love mountain biking. I (like other mountain bikers) like to get out on the weekend and ride with kids, family and friends. When that gets taken away by fires, it takes away a part of who we are and what we love. We have to live our passions in life. Riding is a big part of who I am so you’ll do whatever you can to go out and ride. Building trails in Jonkershoek is the biggest passion project I’ve ever been involved with. Bobby Behan - Specialized SA Market Leader In 2015 devasting fires razed much of this work to the ground, and part of the focus of Hylton’s recent excursion to the Western Cape was working with Bennet to resurrect Iron Monkey from the ashes. The trail has been rebuilt from the top down. Berms, jumps, and drainage all needed to be reworked. The main focus was the bottom jump line, which was constructed by hand. Rocks are brought in, and two truckloads of soil, brought in by wheelbarrow to fill in each jump. Novice riders have not been neglected by the build either, and 20 truckloads of soil have been put to work on a green trail on the lower slopes where harvesting has finally taken place after the fire. An ideal playground for young rippers. As an avid consumer of the work of Hylton, Bennet and the team, Hylton’s visit was a great time to learn more about the trail building process, and the work that goes into creating the buzz that fuels my love of bikes, mountains, and the unbeatable combination of the two. Looking at something as simple as a switchback corner, like those signature turns found on the Zululand trail at Jonkershoek, Hylton explained that it can take an experienced trail builder a day or more to complete, just a single corner. Once the line has been identified, the vegetation needs to be cleared. Then cut wooden posts have to be dug into the ground to support the banked corner, and posts laid across them. Clay or dirt then needs to be brought in, often by wheelbarrow; a slow and painstaking process, before it is packed down. If the radius of the corner is wrong, or the banking not right, the whole process may need to re-started from scratch. A normal day sees the team start at 7 am, and work until about 3 pm. The build crew. Left to right: Bongani, Mia, TMan, Eckhardt, Carlos, and BonazanThanks to the support of MTO, Bennet employs a team of five, who work full time, as well as seven casuals when things get busy. This is more than just a hobby for Hylton, Bennet and the team. It is a skill, a source of income, a way of life, and most importantly, a way of sharing some of the happiness that trails bring with the wider public. As Hylton’s wife Dané says: “a good trail is art, just like a painting. Only, unlike a painting which hangs on someone’s wall, a trail is accessible to everybody. Each rider’s experience of a trail is unique, in the same way that everyone viewing a painting will have a different interpretation and experience of the work.” Any rider lucky enough to ride the Jonkershoek trails is experiencing the art of the trail builders. Sharing in the stoke and the flow created by the hard work of many hands. Next time you ride, take a moment to consider the effort behind each carved turn, each jump and trail feature. When you see a trail closed for maintenance give the guys working on it a “howzit” and a “thank you”, and share some of the good vibes they have helped create. Entry into Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is R50 for mountain bikers, and a permit can be purchased at the gate. Please consider the labour, time and money that goes into building and maintaining the trail network and do not rogue ride.
  8. We are not always aware of the direct impact and ripple effect that this conviction has in the “real world”. But every so often, we are graced with a touch of “seeing is believing”.This is what happened when Nyaniso Morlock gave R50 to the trails in Karkloof. This donation also got him in line to win a 2018 S-Works Stumpjumper. 28 October was a hot, dusty Sunday afternoon at the Karkloof Country Club. The stoke was still tangible from the past two days of racing on Karkloof’s word class trails. A Hadeda sounds one more mating call in the distance, followed by a deafening silence as we got ready to announce the winner of the trail fundraiser competition… The rest, as they say, is history…or more appropriately…the future. A beautiful future for the mountain bike trails in Karkloof, with R140 000 raised from this fundraiser, and for Nyaniso and his two boys, Uthando and Sithaba… A testimony to SHARING THE STOKE! Fanie Kok, Soil Searching director and purveyor of stoke
  9. The Karkloof MTB Club will be hosting the 2018 SA Enduro champs on 27 - 28 October. The event will be held over 2 days incorporating the best gravity orientated trails both the Howick & Karkloof trail networks have on offer. If you're keen to enter the info for the event can be found here. In an effort to raise funds for the event the club has a 2019 Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper up for grabs. All the cash generated from this initiative will go straight back into the event and the trails! You can enter here.
  10. S-Works Evade Countless tunnel hours. Numerous iterations. One goal: Make the fastest road helmet in the world faster and cooler. We wouldn't be here if we didn't do it. The Fastest Just Got Faster The new Evade was dreamt of, conceived, and born in the Win Tunnel. Why? Because we can’t help ourselves but want to go faster. There's More to a Helmet than Speed Sweltering has never been cool—too bad aero helmets never got the memo. We pulled out all the stops to cool things off, and now the Evade is as cool as wearing no helmet at all. It's Just More ComfortableWe listened to you, and now the Evade has a shorter, more compact design and all the fit features you know and love. It doesn't feel like the world’s fastest helmet, it just feels good. Jigsaw Aero Testing A fast helmet is the sum of its parts, so it makes sense to test each part on its own, right? Having our Win Tunnel on the block lets us do this, and really, any other kind of aero testing we want. And while it may look like a bit of Mr. Potato Head configuring, our jigsaw testing method is our most refined aero testing to date. Cutting the helmet up into multiple pieces allowed us to test each part of the helmet on its own, so we could determine what vents and shapes were fastest. Put them together, and you have yourself the fastest road helmet in the world. Exclusive Thermal Testing Thermal testing helmets is a dark art, so rather than trust some strange wizard back behind the Win Tunnel, we developed our own protocol. Did we burn some helmet pads for science? Absolutely. Did we learn more than ever about helmet cooling? You bet. We're happy to say that the new Evade is actually just as cool as not wearing a helmet. Yes, you read that right. There's no longer a reason to not go aero on every ride. It’s Called the Win Tunnel for a ReasonWhat’s with all the airflow testing and why does it matter? First off, it created the fastest road helmet we’ve ever tested. It’s not only six seconds faster than the original Evade, on average, but nearly as quick as our S-Works TT. And just as importantly, we answered the question, “Why save watts when you’re dying of heat exhaustion?” The new Evade is not only cooler than the original, but it’s proven to be as cool as wearing nothing at all. Features:Through extensive Win Tunnel development, the Evade is the fastest road helmet we've tested. 4th Dimension Cooling System with deep internal channels, large vents, and aligned exhaust ports make it the best combination of aerodynamics and ventilation. Patented Energy Optimised Multi-Density EPS construction helps to manage impact energy. Patented Aramid-Reinforced Skeleton provides internal EPS support to help manage impact energy. Ultra-light Mindset HairPort II micro-dial fit system with height adjustability for the perfect fit. Gutter Action brow pad design for increased comfort and sweat management. Thin, soft, and lightweight 4X DryLite webbing won’t stretch out with sweat or water. Tri-Fix web splitter for improved comfort and ease of strap adjustments. Instrap webbing system for ultra-light construction and security. Iwan's First Ride I've been riding the new Evade II for the past couple of weeks and although it was not enough riding time to warrant a full review, I did get a good feel for the updated helmet compared to my current Propero 3 and the first generation Evade. We've had our fair share of hot days in Cape Town making it relatively easy to test the cooling factor on a ride. The first thing I noticed is how much quieter the helmet is compared to other helmets. White noise from air and aero wake has been cut down, which is the first sign of good aerodynamic properties. The Y-Straps could also be contributing to this effect. I'm not a big fan of the feel of the Y-straps as they sit too far forward on the side of my face, but once I get going they don't bother me. Speeding along on flat roads on early morning rides I could feel the air passing through the helmet. Most aero helmets achieve their wind-cheating figures by closing off most of the vents which tends to lead to a hot and bothered ride. Especially when climbing or on long summer rides. Although the Evade II does cut back on vents, the R&D time spent in a wind tunnel certainly shows as the Evade II is noticeably cooler than the original Evade and a number of other aero helmets I've ridden. But at low speeds, the Evade II does not feel any cooler than other helmets as it seems to rely on air flow to keep your head cool. One of the coolest features (excuse the pun) is the magnet closure of the chin strap. The two connecting pieces slide into place with a magnet securing them. It works so well that I could not place the straps too close together when photographing them, as they would snap into place. On the bike, this works really well as securing and releasing the chin strap is now a one-handed task.The actual weight is 244g for a size Medium. For comparison the Propero 3 weighs 278g. Not quite apples with apples, though. Overall fit is excellent and Specialized's Mindset fitting system works well with the micro dial offering the ability to fine-tune the fit. The helmet does not feel bulky. S-Works 7 shoes For generations, S-Works shoes have been all about comfort and performance. And now, we've taken all of the features you love to even greater heights. What makes the perfect cycling shoe? Is it exceptional power transfer? Superior Comfort? Undeniable style? The simple answer is "yes" to all of the above. With the S-Works 7, you get a shoe with no compromises. A Closer Connection Everything is new. Everything is better. Stiffer, lighter, closer—the S-Works 7 spares no expense in transferring your power straight to the pedals. Comfort for a Whopping 10,000km, Not Just 10km New materials. New construction. And the Body Geometry features you love. S-Works 7 will change your expectations forever. How the Best Should Look Seldom is luxury a feeling associated with cycling shoes—until now. We cleaned up all the lines, used exclusive materials, and added some functional pop with exclusive BOA dials. Body Geometry Body Geometry features are a vital link between you and your bike, and you won't find them from anyone else. Every aspect has been ergonomically designed and scientifically tested to boost power, increase efficiency, and to reduce the chance of injury. Comfort like this wasn't an accident, it's science. Longitudinal Arch Better power transfer. More efficiency. Our footbeds' longitudinal arch support prevent your arches from collapsing during your pedal stroke, so every watt is accounted for and nothing is wasted. Varus Wedge Hip, knee, and foot alignment are built-in. With 1.5 millimeters of angled support in the forefoot, S-Works 7 improves biomechanical efficiency. The result? More power and more comfort. Metatarsal Button Bye-bye hotspots. Our footbeds make hot spots and numbness things of the past. They do it by lifting and separating the bones of the forefoot, putting less pressure on nerves and arteries. The New Powerline Sole Did we have to use ply-by-ply carbon engineering developed for Formula One? Probably not. Was an extensive pressure mapping study performed by the same team that brought you Rider-First Engineering a bit overkill? Sure. We're not bashful that this is the most engineering ever put into a cycling shoe's outsole, though. And while it might “just” be an outsole to some, we see it as an extension of you. And you, friend, deserve the lightest and stiffest sole ever made. A New PadLock HeelThe first PadLock Heel was slip-proof, but this came at the expense of some comfort. Not content, we digested a ton of rider feedback and then took on the challenge of injecting more comfort into the equation without any loss of the efficient power transfer we've all came to love. Our engineers nailed—extra cookies for them. Every Detail Accounted For Form that complements function? Sign us up. Every detail of the S-Works 7 has been laboured over and scrutinised, so much so that features like bonded edges and exclusive BOA dials create an aesthetic that actually paves the way for performance. How's that for having your cake and eating it, too?Custom S3 BOA Dials We worked directly with BOA to create dials like you’ve never seen before. These CNC’d alloy dials not only add panache, but they feature spring clutch internals and one-millimeter micro-adjustments. Durable. Precise. Perfect. And yeah, you won't find them anywhere else. Dyneema MeshWhat happens when you take NASA parachute material use for atmospheric reentry and make some shoes out of it? You get a shoe so awesome all others are in its orbit. Dyneema Mesh is extremely malleable and adaptive, but it doesn’t stretch when pulled. And in these shoes, it conforms to the contours of your foot for slipper-like comfort without any power loss. Oh yeah, and these are the only cycling shoes to feature this out-of-this-world material. Features:Body Geometry sole and footbed are ergonomically designed and scientifically tested to boost power, increase efficiency, and reduce the chance of injury by optimising hip, knee, and foot alignment. Our stiffest and lightest FACT PowerlineTM carbon plate maximises power transfer: Stiffness Index 15.0. Dyneema Mesh is trapped between layers of four-way stretch mesh and TPU to create no-stretch zones for the ultimate connection and comfort. Independent alloy BOA S3-Snap dials for on-the-fly micro-adjustment, backed by the BOA Lifetime Guarantee. PadLockTM heel construction cradles the heel and is proven to improve acceleration. Titanium alloy cleat nuts can rotate to position pedal/cleats 5mm rearward. Non-slip, replaceable heel tread with internally recessed screws for security. Form Fit last with a roomy toe box for the ultimate in connectivity and comfort. Three-bolt cleat pattern fits all major road pedals. Approximate weight: 224g (1/2 pair, Size 42)
  11. The new frame The new Turbo Levo is ground up redesign incorporating learnings (and exact design elements) from the Stumpjumper platform. The main differences being a downtube accommodating an integrated battery, a motor mounted in the bottom bracket, and some additional cable routing through the frame. Specialized claim that the new design achieves a stiffer bike with a weight distribution that achieves a lower centre of gravity for improved handling.Like the Stumpjumper, the Turbo Levo is built to ride trails with 150 mm of rear suspension travel. The new bike has a longer reach while maintaining the chainstays length and keeping the centre gravity low. The head angle has also be slackened for descending confidence while the seat angle has sharpened for a good climbing position. Specialized has tuned the bike with better mid-stroke support for pushing into the bike on the descents. Also carried over from the Stumpjumper is the Flip Chip which either slackens or steepens the geometry to suit riding styles or the terrain. The new Turbo Levo has been designed around a 29-inch wheel with a 2.6” tyre replacing the 27.5+ plus sizing on the first-generation Turbo Levo. Specialized explain that while the 6Fattie platform worked well, the designers preferred the speed, precision, and floatation of 29x2.6” wheel and tyre combination. The bike will still operate with 27.5 x 2.8” without detrimental changes to the bike’s geometry and can fit up to 3.0” tyres. Specialized has elected to continue with 11-speed drivetrains on the new Turbo Levo. Explaining that with the electronic support, 11-speed already provides a sufficient range. Another consideration is that SRAM only supports NX 12-speed cassettes for e-bike use which would have meant using the heavier NX cassette across the range, passing on a weight penalty to the higher level bikes. A weight penalty that is also located at the rear of the bike, where it is most noticeable. Lighter motor and larger battery The new motor is remarkably lighter compared to the previous model. By using a specifically shaped magnesium bodied Brose motor and a unique direct-to-frame mounting system, the new S-Works frame drops 800 grams over the previous S-Works frame. Even the full aluminium bike is now lighter than the outgoing full carbon S-Works frame. Specialized are celebrating a total frame weight saving of just under two kilograms. The Turbo Levo Expert model we tested weighed 21.4 kilograms. The new Specialized 2.1 motor is not only lighter but it is also 15% smaller allowing for a more compact frame design. The motor can provide up to 560 watts of pedal-assist and 90Nm of torque which can achieve up to 410% amplification of the riders input. Specialized promise the smoothest power delivery yet on an e-MTB with no awkward power surges for a better natural-feeling ride. Shedding weight on a pedal assist bike means improved range. To add to this the new S-Works and Expert models boast a 40% increase in battery capacity to 700 watt-hours. The other new models will make use of a 500 watt-hour battery with the option of an aftermarket upgrade to the 700 watt-hour battery. The custom Battery Management System regulates battery health, prevents overcharging, and monitors battery life to maximise distance. The Turbo Levo can last between one and five hours depending on the power settings. For riders with range anxiety, you can set the bike to ensure that the battery lasts for a set duration or until you reach a specified point. Specialized’s updated Mission Control app works on Android and iOS and lets you interact with the Turbo Levo. The bike can communicate to your devices via ANT+ or Bluetooth. Through the app, you can perform tasks like monitor battery life, customise your motor settings, control range, and perform basic diagnoses. The power on button and battery indicator has been moved to a display close to the steerer on the top tube. The Expert model we tested arrived with a mode handlebar remote fitted.Unfortunately for existing Turbo Levo owners, due to the integrated shape of the new motor and battery packs, neither are compatible as an upgrade to the first-generation Levo. Geometry South African availabilityThe new Turbo Levo will be arriving in stores in the next few days. Contact your local Specialized store for more details. Launch video Specialized's marketing has continued the whacky launch video theme from the Stumpjumper video. Iwan's First Ride We had an Expert level Turbo Levo for a rainy morning in Jonkershoek. I find that Jonkers provides steep, rocky climbs to test the suspension's pedalling performance as well as a variety of single track downhill sections to get a feel for a bike on a mixture of terrain.Specialized Turbo Levo Expert specifications: FRAMEFACT 9m Carbon w/ M5 alloy rear triangle, 29 Trail Geometry, Integrated down tube battery, enclosed internal cable, Command Post routing, 148mm spacing, fully sealed cartridge bearings, 150mm of travelREAR SHOCKRockShox Deluxe RT3 w/ custom valve, 150mm of travelFORKRockShox Pike RC29, 150mm of travelSTEMSpecialized Trail, forged alloy, 4-bolt, 6-degree, S/M 40mm / L/XL 50mmHANDLEBARSSpecialized Trail, 7050 alloy, 8-degree backsweep, 6-degree upsweep, 27mm rise, 780mm, 31.8mm clampGRIPSSpecialized Sip Grip, half-waffle, S/M: regular thickness, L/XL: XL thicknessFRONT BRAKESRAM Code R, 4-piston caliper, hydraulic disc, 200mmREAR BRAKESRAM Code R, 4-piston caliper, hydraulic disc, 200mmREAR DERAILLEURSRAM X1,11-speedSHIFTERSSRAM S700, single-click leverCASSETTESRAM XG-1175, 11-speed, 10-42tCHAINKMC X11ET, 11-speed w/ Missing LinkCRANKSETPraxis, 2D cold-forged alloy, custom offset, 165mmCHAINRING32T, custom steelRIMSRoval Traverse 29, hookless alloy, 29mm inner width, tubeless ready, 28hFRONT HUBSpecialized, sealed cartridge bearings, 15x110mm spacing, 28hREAR HUBDT Swiss 360, 3-pawl design, SRAM XD driver body, 12mm thru-axle, 148mm spacing, 28hSPOKESDT Swiss RevolutionFRONT TYREButcher, GRID casing, GRIPTON compound, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.6"REAR TYREButcher, GRID casing, GRIPTON compound, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.6"SADDLEBody Geometry Phenom Comp, hollow Cr-Mo rails, 143mmSEATPOSTSpecialized Command Post 34.9mm, 130mm of travel (Size: Small), 160mm of travel (Sizes: M/XL)MOTORSpecialized 2.1, custom Rx Trail-tuned motor, 250W nominalUI/REMOTESpecialized TCU, 10-LED state of charge, 3-LED Ride Mode display, ANT+/Bluetooth, handlebar remote with walk-assistBATTERYTurbo M2-700, fully integrated w/ rock guard, 700 WhCHARGERCustom charger, 42V4A w/ Rosenberger plugWIRING HARNESSCustom Specialized wiring harnessWEIGHT21.4 kg (size large) Getting a pre-embargo ride meant keeping the bike undercover, a wet Friday at Jonkershoek ensured that there were no other riders around.Specialized has really nailed the component choice on the Expert model. It did not feel like they have short-changed the spec sheet anywhere. Wide bars, a short stem, dropper seatpost, comfortable saddle and grips, good brakes with sensible rotor sizes and great suspension parts all make for a well-rounded bike that frees the rider to focus on the ride rather than riding around component shortcomings. I preferred the 27.5+ (6Fattie) tyres and wheel combination over the 29er version on the previous model, as I felt the bigger wheels and skinny tyres did not cope well with the extra weight and speed potential on offer. The 29x2.6 combo on the new Turbo Levo, however, strikes a perfect balance between extra grip and traction while not being too spongy or wallowy when you don't get the tyre pressure perfect for every ride. On my ride in Jonkershoek, I found the perfect pressures to be closer to what I usually ride and I did not feel that the tyres were as sensitive to pressure as the 6Fattie tyres. This is a good thing, plus tyres can take some time to get right, as too soft left the bike handling like a pool noodle and too hard had it skipping out of control with the smaller change to pressure tipping it either way. Get it right and it worked beautifully, get it wrong and you'd be in for a long day on the bike. Gone are those days! On the practical side, 29-inch wheels mean that it is easier to find spares for tyres and tubes. Also, the 29-inch tube is less bulky than a plus size tube so easier to carry on the trails. Other changes that I found a step in the right direction include moving the Turbo Connect Unit (On / Off switch, battery level, and mode display) to the top tube just behind the stem and the addition of a handlebar remote. The display unit used to be on the side of the top tube which made reaching it on the fly a near impossible task at speed. The remote makes switching between the power modes much easier and being able to see which mode you are in with a quick glance is a major plus. For my riding, I've never been too worried about an integrated display unit with speed and battery details, as I can get that from my paired Garmin head unit. If you don't use a GPS unit or have one that can't pair to the bike to display vital information, then it will most likely be of greater importance to you. The suspension performance deserves a specific mention. I climbed from the bottom of Jonkers to the top of Saaltjie with the rear shock wide open and not once did I feel like I had to bump the dial to make my journey easier or better. I really appreciate this in a place like Jonkers where you often get spat out of trails and have to ride to another spot to drop into the next piece single track. Not having to fiddle with levers or remotes every time one enters or exits single track makes for an even more enjoyable ride as you can just focus on the ride and being out on the bike. Add how well-behaved the suspension is on downhill sections and you have yourself a riot of a ride. Riding as much single track as I could in one morning I never once thought "oh, I'm on an e-bike". The fork and shock does an excellent job of absorbing whatever the trail or rider throws at it. The lighter weight and lower centre of gravity of the new Turbo Levo further add to the 'normal' feel of the Turbo Levo. Did we mention it was wet?In my previous review, I've made mention of the Mission Control app and the adjustability it offers. This should not be underestimated as it paves the way for a characteristic that sets the Turbo Levo apart from the competition: the way it delivers its power. The kick-in is incredibly smooth with a predictable ramp up. Some other e-bikes suffer from a brutal on / off feel that can catch one out and lead to nasty surprises. For example: when going around a corner and you give half a pedal to get your outside foot down. The bike will pick this up as a pedal stroke and the motor will kick in to deliver its pedal assist. When going around a berm or climbing switchbacks this can be quite nasty. Not fun. No such problem on Specialized's e-bikes. The motor also totally disengages when you hit the 32 km/h speed limit for a resistance-free pedaling feel. I have ridden other bike where it feels like you hit a retarder making it harder to keep the unassisted momentum going above the governed limit. Then there is the motor noise. Add a whizzing sound, brutal kick-in and retarder feel at the top end and you're quickly and constantly reminded that you are riding an e-bike - none of which is an issue on the Specialized. It is quiet (both the motor and the bike itself), smooth, and controlled. Early Verdict As stated, this was the first ride and is not meant to serve as a full review. Even so, all the signs of a winning recipe are present with the solid base Specialized had to work from making things easier. Just as the competition has been closing up, Specialized stretched the Turbo Levo's legs and made it better.I'll soon swing a leg over a couple of competitors' 2019 e-MTB models, but until then the new Turbo Levo is the best e-bike I've ridden and the closest an e-bike has come to being a genuine trail bike with pedal assist rather than an e-bike up-skilled with trail travel. The level of seamless integration and technology features of the new Turbo Levo cements it as the category benchmark.
  12. This isn’t the typical stage race that most of us are used to. What York Timbers have done is create an event for a five-man team with up to 16 timed enduro stages. The rally ranged from cross country, downhill, hill climbs, dual slalom, and even the occasional Kurt Darren skoffel-sokkie to keep the legs warm on cold Sabie nights. The event tests a full range of mountain biking skills: fitness, technical bike handling, and the ability to share stoke and have a good time. The Event There are no early morning jitters before the race, everything is taken care of and you dictate your own pace, with enough time to get a breakfast twice, before lining up at the start line.Tea anyone? The air in the Mpumalanga mountains was so thin it had our seaside lungs clapping hands, paying for each breath taken. Although, the tougher the climb, the better the descent. Well, best believe the descents were sweet because the climbs were tough as nails. On average we were climbing 1500 metres within 35-40 kilometres. As soon as we started climbing, we had to settle in, buckle down, and pay attention. There are no climbs under 30 minutes in the good old granny gear at York. Trails are specifically built for the event and the majority of the trails had a perfect balance between gravity riding and pedalling. Not overly technical, yet just enough to keep you on your toes, always excited and anticipating the next piece to carve up. Conrad Stoltz getting festive Piet van Zyl (CEO of York Timbers) mentioned that the faster you go, the more the tightly spaced trees tend to jump in your way. I realised my 780mm Specialized Trail handlebars could just as well have been a Stihl chainsaw with all the close calls I had inside the narrow plantation single tracks. The sweet pine scents of the forest and sick trails were complimented by the other-worldly waterpoints stocked to the brim with what could be compared to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Karkloof trailbuilder Hylton Turvey putting the Stumpjumper through it's pacesSpecial treatment came daily, and being spoilt became the norm. Shuttles aided us to the very top of Long Tom Pass, and the downhill course from where the whip-off jump sets off. I could not only watch the best in the business go down, but also slay some berms in the dual slalom eliminator myself. To balance out the downhill runs, York also included an uphill team time trial, a team cross country relay and finally a 55-kilometre neutral marathon, which would contribute to the team’s overall score. Every day was rounded off with a banquet of good food and top-notch entertainment. All of which was only a two-minute walk from your bed, as all guests were accommodated by York Timbers, who also own the onsite Floreat Riverside lodge, making it conveniently close and comfortable for those with tired legs. Braaaap! The Team Each four-man corporate team at the York Enduro are assigned a pro-rider to mix things up and improve their scores. Our team was completed by our assigned pro-rider: 17-year old downhill and cross-country powerhouse, Zandri Strydom. From overseas freeride legend Matt Hunter and Hannah Barnes joined in the fun, alongside a long list of local pros including the NAD Pro MTB team, triathlon legend Conrad “Caveman” Stoltz, and many more. Zandri Strydom Bobby Behan Tim Wilkins Werner Roux Stephan Senekal Our team consisted of our wolf pack armed with our weapons of choice as follows:Lycra bandit and our Sales representative for northern territory stores, Werner Roux, opted for a purebred XC race machine, the 2019 S-Works Epic. Managing Director, Bobby Behan, chose the 2019 Epic Expert EVO: a more capable Epic, specced with a dropper post, 120 mm fork and burlier tyres than the standard Epic, while still offering the climbing pedigree of the Brain Shock and Epic chassis. In-house sales support, and the primary connection to our Sales people in the field, Tim Wilkins chose the new 2019 S-Works Stumpjumper, a 140mm rear travel trail slayer. I opted for the 2019 S-Works Stumpjumper ST. A capable short travel trail bike with 120mm rear travel. Offering a bit more beef than the Epic EVO, but nippier handling than the Stumpjumper. Specialized Epic Specialized Epic Evo Specialized Stumpjumper ST Specialized Stumpjumper By the end of the event, Bobby and I were the happiest with our bike choice, the Epic EVO and Stumpjumper ST respectively. Both bikes were more forgiving of the climbing required than the Stumpjumper, and allowed us to have a little more fun on the gnarly trails than the Epic.At the end of the day bike choice is always a tough one, but for those looking for a versatile, one-bike-to-rule them all, here’s what we found: If you’re predominantly a stage racer but like trail riding go with the Epic EVO. If you’re more a trail rider who does some stage events go with the Stumpjumper ST. For me, the two bottle cages on the Epic EVO make this bike a winner. Either way you won’t be disappointed! Bobby Behan The York Enduro dishes out challenging trails and curveballs from every angle, challenging a range of skills, encouraging teamwork and embracing the true spirit of mountain biking. It is the ultimate test of rider and bike versatility, all the while keeping it fun, which is after all, why most of us ride. It is a completely left-field and unique experience, and the best event we have been lucky enough to participate in. A huge thank you to York Timbers for hosting us. Visit the Specialized website to learn more about our mountain bike range.
  13. Opinions please. Images of item attached... Purchased 2FO 2.0, from Cedar Square (JHB), after two rides at the PWC Bike Park and Northern Farm, if anything +- 60km the left front foot toe area, pinkie toe side, started coming undone. Dropped the shoes off at Cedar square and they were sent off to Cape Town. Received feedback today to say warranty has been declined. Called Cape Town Head Office and spoke to Mark who actually did a report on the shoe. No, I haven't seen the "report". The warranty was declined as a result of the shoe being caught on "something". Maybe my pedals. No matter who this is taken up with me the warranty decision won't be changed - this after Mark apologising for "I'm sorry I feel that way". One of the main points on the Specialized website is "Smooth, thermobonded upper for lightweight durability and a snag-free profile" https://www.specialized.com/us/en/2fo-flat-2-0-mountain-bike-shoes/p/134052 After close on 4 years the impact vxi have started to come undone. Totally reasonable and exceeded expectations. Thought I'd give the new and improved 2FOs a go and never expected them to make it through through only two rides. Beyond annoyed... Looking to take this further and would like to know if the wear on a flat pedal shoe - that have never been ridden anywhere near the terrain of Whistler or an Enduro event (for goodness sake Northern farm & PWC??) - is acceptable after two rides due to snagging on, maybe, my pedals (Spank Spoon); or should these be considered snagged on my pedals and be done with it? Images: Left foot "snag" image (snagless design according to the site) Both shoes - right shoe for reference Sole - still in good nick
  14. The Specialized Epic Expert Carbon EVO. Specialized's EVO models typically feature beefed up specifications for harder riding conditions and the Epic EVO is no exception. The Epic EVO looks to be a bike that retains the pedalling ferocity of the race-weapon Epic but with some sensible trickle down components from the trail riding world to make a more manageable, confidence inspiring race bike. The Epic and Epic EVO share the same frame meaning the Epic EVO retains the lightweight pedalling focussed design with the 100mm rear Brain suspension system. The Epic EVO will be available in two models: the carbon frame Expert level and aluminium frame Comp level. The full specifications for each of these models are available further down the page. The Epic EVO forks do not carry the Brain suspension found on Epic forks. The travel is also boosted to 120mm. The increased travel means that the front of the bike is ever so slightly higher resulting in some geometry changes over the Epic. Most notably a slacker 68.5-degree head angle which is better suited for rolling through tricky terrain. With dropper seat posts now commonplace in elite and amateur ranks, it's little wonder that the Epic EVO range comes equipped with dropper seat posts. Instead of Specialized's own Command Post that we usually see on their bikes, Specialized has equipped the EVO with an X-Fusion Manic on the available Expert and Comp models. Continuing the EVO makeover, the handlebars have grown to 750mm and the stems shortened for a more trail-like steering experience while the Ground Control tyre on the front adds confidence inspiring grip over the FastTrak fitted on the standard Epic. A quick glance back in history shows that this is not the first time Specialized has given the EVO treatment to the Epic. Back in 2011 they released an Epic EVO with a similar thinking to this new bike. You can take a look at this bike on the Specialized website here. Pricing and Availability The Specialized Expert Carbon EVO retails for a recommended R84,000. It is available immediately through Specialized dealers. The Comp EVO, with a suggested retail price of R44,000, should appear in stores in September. For more information and specification details, please see the press release supplied by Specialized below. Press Release and Model Details The Epic has rocketed more World Champions, Olympians, and mere-mortal-racers to the podium than any bike in its class. And with the introduction of the Epic EVO's dropper post, longer-travel fork, wider handlebars, and meatier tyres, we’re making the world's fastest XC race bike even more versatile. Can you race this thing? Hell, yes. Epic EVO models use the same frame and Brain 2.0 rear shock as our current Epics. The Epic EVO's more aggressive component spec, however, also makes it the perfect choice for long rides and marathon races. Think BC Bike Race, the Cape Epic, or any local death march that your inner sadist dreams of churning through at soul-crushing speeds. Here's what's new: MORE FORK, MORE CONTROL: Day after day of marathon racing hammers your upper body. Remote singletrack is never groomed. The EVOs get longer-travel forks with 120mm of travel.WIDER BARS: We didn't go "full enduro" here, but stretching the bar width from 720 to 750 millimetres adds confidence. DROPPER POSTS: There are a ton of things that you can do. Sure, you can high-post it on technical trails, but why would you? We're with you, and that’s why dropper posts come stock. GREATER GRIP & DURABILITY: There's no such thing as "too much grip." Durable, traction-boosting, 2.3-inch Ground Control and Fast Trak tyres get the nod with the EVOs. SAME EPIC CHASSIS & BRAIN 2.0 REAR SHOCK: The Epic EVO is a more capable Epic, yes, but it’s still an Epic. This means that there's no bobbing and no energy-sucking suspension squat. Just pure fast. Epic Expert Carbon EVO Gloss East Sierras/Tarmac Black. Satin Carbon/Storm Grey. Ripping around between the tape is one way to worship at the altar of speed, but for all the other long, fast rides or marathon races on technical terrain, there's our all-new Epic Expert EVO. Consider it a more "epic" kind of Epic.A FOX Step-Cast 34 Performance Series fork handles suspension duties up front with 120mm of travel and a GRIP damper that has Open, Medium, and Firm modes for every kind of terrain. The hand-built Roval Control Carbon wheels feature a modern 25mm (internal width) hookless rim, so you get the low weight, low rolling resistance, and the best possible grip with the 2.3" tires. An X-Fusion Manic seatpost brings you some much-needed drop for tackling steep descents, but it also features a zero-offset design that keeps your weight over the bottom bracket for the climbs. Epic Expert Carbon EVO Specifications: FrameSpecialized FACT 11m, full carbon frame, XC Geometry, threaded BB, 12x148mm rear spacing, internal cable routing, 100mm of travelForkFOX Stepcast 34 Performance series, GRIP damper, 44mm offset, 15x110mm Kabolt thru-axle, 120mm of travelShockCustom RockShox Micro Brain shock w/ Spike Valve, AUTOSAG, 51x257mmHandlebarsSpecialized Alloy Minirise, 10mm rise, 750mm, 31.8mm clampStemSpecialized XC, 3D-forged alloy, 4-bolt, 6-degree riseGripsSpecialized Sip Grip, half-waffle, S/M: regular thickness, L/XL: XL thicknessSaddleBody Geometry Phenom Comp, Adaptive Edge design, hollow Cr-Mo rails, 143mmSeatpostX-Fusion manic, 30.9mm, (S: 100mm, M-XL: 125mm)Front BrakeSRAM Level TL, hydraulic discRear BrakeSRAM Level TL, hydraulic discShift LeversSRAM GX Eagle, trigger, 12-speedRear DerailleurSRAM GX Eagle, 12-speedCassetteSRAM GX Eagle, 12-speed, 10-50tCranksetTruvativ STYLO, DUBChainringSRAM Eagle, 32TBottom BracketSRAM, DUB, BSAChainSRAM GX Eagle, 12-speedRimsRoval Control Carbon, 25mm internal width, tubeless-readyFront HubSpecialized, sealed cartridge bearings, 15x110mm spacing, 28hRear HubSpecialized, sealed cartridge bearings, 12x148mm thru-axle, 28hSpokesDT Swiss IndustryFront TyreGround Control, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.3"Rear TyreFast Trak, GRID casing, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.3" Epic Comp EVO Satin Cast Battleship /Mojave. Gloss Rocket Red/Tarmac Black. If we're being honest with ourselves, alloy has always been at the heart of the EVO family. It's tough, it's stiff, and at least with our bikes, it's pretty damn light. Basically, it embodies everything that's good about mountain bikes, and that's what EVO is all about. But an Epic Comp EVO made out of aluminum? We say, "yeah, it's a perfect fit." And that's because this bike brings all the uphill racing, singletrack-ripping fun you want, and puts it in a durable, on-budget package. So get excited, because this is the most "epic" Epic yet.A RockShox Reba RL fork, with 120mm of travel, soaks up rocks, roots, and bumps, and it also features both compression and rebound adjustments. The 12-speed SRAM NX Eagle groupset brings the performance of Eagle at a value anyone can appreciate. An X-Fusion Manic seatpost brings you some much-needed drop for tackling steep descents, but it also features a zero-offset design that keeps your weight over the bottom bracket for the climbs. Epic Comp EVO Specifications: FrameSpecialized M5 Aluminum w/ D'Aluisio Smartweld Technology, threaded BB, 12x148mm rear spacing, internal cable routing, flex pivot, 100mm of travelForkRockShox Reba RL 29, Motion Control damper, 42mm offset, 15x110mm thru-axle, 120mm of travelShockCustom RockShox Micro Brain shock w/ Spike Valve, AUTOSAG, 51x257mmHandlebarsSpecialized Alloy Minirise, 10mm rise, 750mm, 31.8mm clampStemSpecialized XC, 3D-forged alloy, 4-bolt, 6-degree riseGripsSpecialized Sip Grip, half-waffle, S/M: regular thickness, L/XL: XL thicknessSaddleBody Geometry Phenom Comp, Adaptive Edge design, hollow Cr-Mo rails, 143mmSeatpostX-Fusion manic, 30.9mm, (S: 100mm, M-XL: 125mm) SRAM Level TL, hydraulic discFront BrakeSRAM Level TL, hydraulic discRear BrakeSRAM Level TL, hydraulic discShift LeversSRAM NX Eagle, trigger, 12-speedRear DerailleurSRAM NX Eagle, 12-speedCassetteSRAM NX Eagle, 12-speed, 11-50tCranksetTruvativ STYLO, DUBChainringSRAM Eagle, 32TBottom BracketSRAM, DUB, BSAChainSRAM NX Eagle, 12-speedRimsRoval Control Alloy 29", 25mm internal wdith, 28hFront HubSpecialized, sealed cartridge bearings, 15x110mm spacing, 28hRear HubSpecialized, sealed cartridge bearings, 12x148mm thru-axle, 28hSpokesDT Swiss IndustryFront TyreGround Control, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.3"Rear TyreFast Trak, GRID casing, GRIPTON® compound, 60 TPI, 2Bliss Ready, 29x2.3" Geometry
  15. Matt was in South Africa a couple weeks back to take part in the York Timbers Enduro in Sabie, bringing along his Specialized Stumpjumper for the riding. The Storm Grey with Rocket Red details colourway is also found on the current Stumpjumper Expert model but that's where the similarities end. Matt Hunter carving turns at the York Enduro in Sabie. Matt rides Factory specification Fox suspension with a 36 fork and a Float DPX2 shock tasked with the job of absorbing the bumpy stuff. The Stumpjumper features a Shimano 11-speed drivetrain with a mixture of XTR and XT components. Matt employes the services of a small top side chain guide to keep the chain in check. He powers the cranks using Specialized's Boomslang flat platform pedals. Matt's steering is handled by RaceFace who provide the stem and handlebars. The saddle is a Specialized Henge Expert which Matt explains as "comfy for long days, but doesn't look like a sofa". Braking is performed by a Shimano's big stopping Saint downhill spec brakeset. The Stumpjumper rolls on a Roval wheelset with carbon Traverse rims and DT Swiss hubs. It's Specialized rubber for Matt with a Butcher on the front and Purgatory on the rear, both using the tough GRID tyre casing. The tree on the top tube is a reference to The Collective videos. It was the first project Matt worked on with Specialized in the mid-2000s. The black Soil Searching sticker on Matt's downtube is an initiative seeking to recognize, celebrate, and support the unsung heroes of mountain biking, the trail builders. Teach a man to fish, and he'll store the rod and reel in his SWAT Door? Matt says that he tends to take his fishing rod and reel on most trips where he reckons that he might encounter a stream or river. Back home, he usually carries a slightly bigger rod although with the reel safety stowed in a backpack instead. Warming up after a wet day's riding.
  16. Hello everyone, I want to start riding dirt jumps, but I can't seem to find any stockists. Does anybody know of a stockist in South Africa? Few options I've looked at: Scott Voltage YZ 0.1 Specialized P.3 Canyon Stitched 360° (*) *Only available through shipping, but if someone has it for sale,I'd really like to buy it! Thanks a lot, Oscar
  17. How well would a 120mm travel fork work on a 2015 model Specialized Epic? Anyone who's tried this, or has seen it done? Bought the bike 2nd hand last year after a few years on my trusty Scott hardtail and have been enjoying how nicely the Epic balances comfort of full suspension vs keeping a "racy feel". I'm by no means a racing snake or trail machine, but I enjoy mixing up Jonkershoek/OakValley/Welvanpas in-between longer "dirty roady" type routes. I find though that the 100mm travel upfront is a little lacking on some trails and reckon 120mm would make a big difference. Buying a Spez Camber (or similar alternative brand model) not an option - because let's face it, bikes have become silly expensive, and I really like the Epic as a general purpose type bike. How would going from 100 to 120mm affect the Epic? The obvious points would be slightly slacker headtube angle, and slight increase in bike front height requiring saddle & stem adjustments. Any risks or potential issues I might be missing?
  18. In the market for a good all round trail bike. My 2 top choices are the santa cruz hightower and the new stumpjumper comp alloy. the stumpjumper is around $3k while the hightower is $1k more. Anyone have any suggestions on which one they prefer?
  19. The new Venge has a redesigned frame and fork to improve aerodynamic performance over the outgoing Venge ViAS. Specialized claim that the new Venge will outpace the old bike by 8 seconds over 40 km with a 0-degree yaw with some crosswind conditions promising even further gains. In the name of aerodynamics, the new Venge is only available with flat mount disc brakes and electronic groupsets. Shimano Di2, Sram eTap, and Campagnolo EPS systems are all compatible, with the Di2 junction being integrated into the seatpost. Specialized have improved the look of the cockpit doing away with the gully wing handlebars and replacing them with a neat new Aerofly II handlebar. They have also made the cockpit more user-friendly allowing the fitment of aftermarket stems and handlebars which will help riders needing a unique fit. Lastly, weight. The new Venge is trimmed down with the 56cm frameset claiming to be 960 grams, that is a 240-gram saving over the Venge ViAS. Throw on all the necessary parts and the S-Works Venge using Shimano Di2 gearing is said to tip the scale at 7.1 kg. Read the Specialized press release below for more information. Press Release: Specialized Venge The new shape of speed In the seven years since we first introduced the Venge, we’ve proven that aero is, indeed, everything. The Venge took a burgeoning concept and transformed it into an ideology, one that empirically proves that aerodynamic optimisation is the most important thing we can do to make our athletes faster. And today, our commitment is even more laser-focused on the performance advantages that aerodynamics can provide. Our pros, after all, are fully invested in aero, and this is reflected in the equipment that they’re using today. But that’s putting it lightly. For the Venge’s debut race, it won the 2011 edition of Milan-San Remo. And the Venge ViAS has proven itself to be the most-winning aero bike in history, with nearly 20 race wins in 2018 and a 2016 World Championship. But we’re never satisfied in our quest for speed, and there’s always room for improvement. Until now, every aero bike has come with some compromises, like in weight, handling, speed, or complexity. And because aero is so important for speed, regardless of where you’re riding or what the course profile looks like, we knew that it’s not enough to just make an aero bike that’s only practical in specific situations. With the new third-generation Venge, we created a bike that’s faster everywhere, over every kind of terrain and condition, while still improving aerodynamics, shedding weight, and perfecting responsiveness and handling. The all-new, third-generation Venge outperforms in every imaginable area. It’s faster than a Venge Vias and lighter than a Tarmac SL5 (*we’ll be using disc brakes for all comparisons). Let’s look at the features and development. The new Venge had three goals:Improve aerodynamics Reduce weight by reducing surface area Maintain Rider-First Engineered handling characteristics In order to achieve these goals, we took an entirely new approach to aero frame design. Instead of starting in our Win Tunnel, we started by creating optimisation software that generates millions of tube shapes and analyses them based on aerodynamics, surface area, and stiffness. This process resulted in a collection of shapes that we call the FreeFoil Shape Library. These shapes are the building blocks of the new Venge. Aerodynamics The Venge Vias was targeted to be as fast as our Shiv TT. But with the new Venge, we pushed the improvements even further. Have a look at the chart below to see the progression of speed over the three generations of Venge. Compared to the fastest aero road bike to date, the Venge ViAS, the new Venge is 8 seconds faster over 40km at 0-degree yaw. Out on the road, where riders experience crosswinds, the new Venge is even faster with its tube optimisation that excels in crosswinds. The chart to the left compares the aero performance across all three generations of Venge. All bikes were tested with the same fit dimensions, and all bikes tested use the following components: Roval CLX 64 wheels, Turbo Cotton 26mm tyres, Shimano’s newest Di2 groupset, two water bottles, an S-Works Power saddle, and their respective spec’d cockpits. This is the exact same setup across all three bikes, except where rim brakes and disc brakes differ. This was done to highlight the differences in chassis only. Weight As a system, the new Venge module is 460g lighter than the Venge ViAS Disc The new Venge frame is lighter than our first race frame with disc brakes, the S-Works Tarmac SL5 Disc (1020g). In fact, the 2019 Venge frame weighs in at a scant 960g +/-30g in size 56cm in the “Satin Black/Holographic Foil” colourway. Please note that this frame weight is calculated without any small parts, such as a rear derailleur hanger, water bottle bolts, seatpost clamp, bottom bracket bearings, or headset. Also, this weight claim only applies to the specific colour and size as noted above. Smaller frames, larger frames, and different paint jobs will often times result in a different weight than our claim above. The overall bike weight for a 56cm S-Works Venge Disc w/ Dura-Ace Di2 in Satin Black/Holo Silver is 7.1kg +/- 100g Handling The Venge uses a Rider-First Engineered design to ensure that every frame performs flawlessly, regardless of its size. This is achieved through a mix of extensive data acquisition, expert feedback from professional riders, and a meticulous approach to carbon construction. But you’ll never notice that when you’re riding—it just feels like you’re riding the perfect bike. Geometry and Fit This geometry was designed using over 40,000 Retül data points from both female and male riders. And what this amounts to is, finally, a shared Venge platform that truly uses one frame design for all riders, regardless of gender. Even though the frame stack and reach numbers differ from the Tarmac, the fit is actually identical. The Tarmac SL6 has a 10mm-tall headset cone and the Venge has a minimum of 18mm of spacers in its “headset cone.” This means that the lowest position your stem can be is actually identical between the two platforms. The Venge seatpost is offered in two offsets: 0mm and 20mm. It also comes in two lengths: 300mm and 390mm. The Venge stems, meanwhile, are offered in two different angles and multiple sizes. The 6-degree stem is offered in the following lengths: 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, and 140mm. And the 12-degree stem is offered in following lengths: 110, 120, 130, and 140mm. The new Aerofly II Handlebars are offered in four widths: 380, 400, 420, and 440mm. Cockpit In working with our pro teams, we received feedback that stem stiffness is very important to riders, especially for the powerful sprinters. The Venge stem exceeds the stiffness of any stem we’ve tested, including the Zipp SL Sprint stem that has been the benchmark for stiffness and is ultra-prevalent in the pro peloton. The all-new Aerofly II benefits from the same knowledge that we’ve gained from creating three generations of the Venge. The new bars are faster, lighter, and stiffer, and the tops feature a textured pattern for extra grip and control. A built-in bar tape stop also ensures that your bar tape looks super pro and makes wrapping it a total breeze. The Venge stem is compatible with most other aftermarket road bars, but the Aerofly II was designed to serve as the fastest and most aero-optimized setup. If a rider prefers different handlebars, they can easily be swapped out. Likewise, the Venge is also compatible with most aftermarket stems. There’s a universal stem transition spacer that’s used in place of the Venge spacers. Additional stack is achieved with regular 1-1/8” headset spacers. Tyre Clearance The Venge comes spec’d with 26mm tyres to provide the best combination of aerodynamics performance, handling, and rolling resistance. Now, the Venge has no problem clearing 32mm-wide tyres. Yes, that’s super wide, and we know riders are going to love it. We recognise, however, that clearance has become a murky subject with the proliferation of wider rim widths and plenty of variance in separating actual tyre widths from claims. Let’s give an example of the clearance on this bike, though. Our Roubaix 30/32mm tyres @ 50psi, on Roval rims with a 21mm inner width, measure 34mm-wide and have over 1.5mm of clearance on the new Venge in the tightest spot. Component Compatibility We made the decision to design the Venge to only be compatible with electronics shift/drivetrain systems. It’s compatible with Shimano Di2, SRAM eTap, and Campagnolo EPS systems—provided that they’re using an internal battery. The Disc brake system on the Venge follows the Shimano flat-mount standard. Thru-axle standard is 142x12mm for the rear and 100x12mm for the front, and the thru-axles provided with the Venge bolt-on with a 6mm hex. Axles with the DT RWS ratcheting handle are available through Specialized service. Lastly, the bottom bracket is a Specialized OSBB/BB30. Aerobars We’ve made a clamp for the Venge ViAS clip-on aero bars that clamp around the new Venge stem. This allows riders to run a clean and compact aerobar on the Venge if they wish, and this bar will be available in two lengths: A longer length for time trials and triathlon and a shorter length that’s legal for ITU racing. Off-the-shelf, clip-on aerobars will require riders to change the handlebars to standard, round road handlebars instead of the Aerofly II. Please note that the Aerofly II handlebars are not compatible with clip-on aerobars. Tech Details In the quest for the cleanest possible Di2 setup, we relied on feedback from our pro teams. Now, we’ve taken advantage of the deep section seatpost by integrating the Di2 Junction-A cylinder into the seatpost. This keeps the cockpit super clean and allows team mechanics to reach out of the team car to make adjustments mid-race. The thru-axles on this bike sit super flush to the frame and fork dropouts, and they’re also incredibly light at only 67g for the pair—that’s half the weight of standard QRs. There’s also a new Shimano direct-mount rear derailleur hanger available. This was specifically requested, and developed by, our pro teams, and it’s now available for aftermarket. And lastly, the front derailleur hanger has a built-in plate behind it for the Shimano front derailleur’s adjustment screw to back into, so we can all say goodbye to the annoying sticky plate from Shimano.
  20. Press Release The new Stumpjumper is the ultimate trail bike. Seriously, the damn thing rides like it’s on rails. It’s the most versatile trail bike we’ve ever made. And yeah, we’re stoked about that, but we’re even more excited about how well it’s tuned to you. We’ve said goodbye to proprietary bull****, focussed on your needs, and made, what we feel, is the new benchmark in trail bikes. Real-world testing We loved the last Stumpjumper, but we can admit that it didn’t want to party when situations got a little hairy. We wanted to push it harder, and after identifying that this was really the result of a lack of stiffness, we developed our own mountain- specific stiffness test that examined the connection between a rider’s hands and feet. When each get different signals, you get confused. Extensive field testing was performed in order to fine-tune the front-end stiffness. Our team would go ride a working version of the frame, provide feedback, and then we’d overwrap the frame with carbon plies, test it in the lab to record the stiffness values, and then give it back to the rider. We did this exact fine-tuning process over and over until we hit the perfect balance of stiffness and handling. And the result is a bike that feels like it’s riding on rails. Point it where you want, and you’re going there. This is Rider-First Engineered for mountain, and it delivers the ultimate trail ride—regardless of size. All-new sidearm frame We pulled out all the stops to lighten and stiffen up the frame, and what we arrived at was a vastly more efficient structure with a new sidearm design. The sidearm design directly connects all three mounting points of the rear-end and shock to the frame, and this creates a significant increase in both stiffness and performance over bumps. More explicitly, frame flex has been minimised when the rear suspension is active. In CAD, we were able to put the new 3D shape against the last iteration of the Stumpjumper, and with Finite Element Analysis (FEA), we were able to prove that the new layout was 20% more efficient. At the end of all of this, we’ve ended up with one of the lightest trail frames on the market. A new frame yields a new approach With over two decades of experience with FSR, we refined our proven design. We love it, because FSR allows us to tune every part of the suspension with the least amount of compromises. Bike suspension is a marriage between the frame kinematics and the shock, after all. And given that we have our own Suspension Team, we had them working hand-in-hand with the frame engineers on the bike design from day one. Because of this union, we’re now able to rely more on the frame kinematics and less on the shock damper. What does this mean for the ride? Well, it’s now supple for the small bumps, with a firm mid-stroke and exceptional bottom-out support. This is the suspension that makes the Ultimate Trail Bike. Rx Tune Every shock and fork gets a custom tune. Our in-house Suspension Team adjusts every shock to ensure that it’s perfectly paired for the specific kinematics of your bike, so it’ll ride in the sweet spot with an ideal range of adjustability. We do this by adjusting the shim stacks for both compression and rebound, as well as by adjusting the air volume ratios. The aim is to land in the middle of the adjustment spectrum, so you can still fine-tune to your heart’s content.Women's Rx Tune We’re confident that female riders won’t get a better tune than what’s on offer, here. Female riders are typically lighter, so we adjust the volume, compression, and rebound accordingly for every frame and wheel size. The goal is for the rear shock and fork to perform the same as with our men’s Rx Tune at lower pressures. Ultimate adjustability This is the best mountain bike we’ve ever made when it comes to customising it however you want. All of the configurations use standard stroke and eye-to-eye metric shocks, so you won’t find Shock Block anywhere. So yeah, if you want to swap shocks—be our guest. You won’t have any problems from us or the Stumpjumper. We’ve also ditched the PF30 bottom bracket of yesteryear in favour of moving back to a threaded BB system, and both 27.5 and 29 frames can fit up to 3.0” tyres, now. You’ll still want to check with your fork manufacturer to make sure a high-volume tyre can fit, but this should be music to everyone’s ears. Flip chip The Flip Chip allows you to change the frame geometry with ease, all to support your riding style. There are two settings, High and Low, and when you “flip the chip,” you effectively change the bottom bracket height by 6mm and the head tube angle by half-a-degree. Improved cable routing We seriously couldn’t make cable routing any easier on carbon models. Full tubes can be found throughout the carbon frame, so all you have to do is push the cable housing and it’ll come out the other end. No more lazy loop, hidden stashes of magnets, pokey spokes, or pillows to cry in. SWAT down tube storage The new SWAT Down Tube Storage takes everything we loved from the last generation and makes it sleeker and lighter, while also adding 20% more volume. Quieter drivetrains await The revolutionary new chainstay protector makes drivetrains virtually silent and pretty much makes chain slap a thing of the past. Here’s how it works. Imagine doing a belly flop into a pool, that’s how any current chainstay protector works. The chain just slaps flat onto a flat surface. But if you add large waves to that pool, you won’t feel the sting—you’ll just gently splash into the water. The nubs on this protector disrupt the slap of the chain, and this reduces the overall chain movement due to the nubs/waves breaking down the “frequency” of the chain. Three versions We’ve made three versions of the new Stumpjumper to give every kind of rider the best bike imaginable. The Short Travel (or ST) is snappy and nimble, while the Stumpjumper rides fast and planted. And for anyone that eats and sleeps gravity riding, we’ve brought back the EVO in all its slacked-out glory. Stumpjumper short travel - Snappy and Nimble We love the fast and planted feeling of the new Stumpjumper, but not everyone needs 150mm of travel. And if you're in the market for a trail bike that’s more nimble and snappy in hard accelerations and long climbs, the Stumpjumper ST 29 should be your first choice. Its shorter travel (130mm front/120mm rear), and slightly steeper geometry, bring out the true “feel” of the trail—making popping off lips and railing berms even more lively and fun. Stumpjumper - Fast and Planted The Stumpjumper features 150mm travel front and back on the 27.5 frame and 150mm front, 140mm back on the 29" frame. Stumpjumper EVO - Gravity-Focussed
  21. A pair of two-of-a-kind custom Specialized S-Works Epic bicycles has been donated by Specialized Bicycles to go under the hammer, to raise funds, for songo.info. Photo by Etienne Schoeman. In 2018 the bikes set to go under the hammer once more, from Monday the 26th of March at 12:00 CAT. They are arguably two of the most beautiful incarnations of the Investec-songo-Specialized custom design yet and boast the unique pedigree of having been piloted to Absa Cape Epic victory. For the first time, in 2018, the bikes were ridden to Epic glory in separate categories – by Specialized XCO Racing’s brightest stars Jaroslav Kulhavý and Annika Langvad. Jaroslav Kulhavý’s Absa Cape Epic winning bike features a large frame size and the distinction of having spent more time at the front of the 2018 Epic field than any other machine. Photo by Michal Červený. Kulhavý’s impressive palmarès includes the 2012 Olympic gold medal, silver from Rio 2016, 3 Marathon World Championship titles, a cross-country World Champions’ jersey, a Mountain Bike World Cup overall title and 3 Absa Cape Epic titles. Langvad, despite only taking to elite mountain biking in her mid-20’s has already notched up 3 Marathon World Championship titles, a cross-country World Champions’ jersey, numerous Mountain Bike World Cup race wins, an overall Mountain Bike World Cup Champion’s title and of course 4 Absa Cape Epic titles. In total the bikes notched up 9 stage victories, out of a possible 16 in the UCI men’s and women’s categories. In addition to the Cape Epic success Langvad’s bike was also ridden to UCI Mountain Bike World Cup gold the weekend before the Cape Epic, making it a the most successful bike ever to be auctioned by songo.info – defeating programme founder Christoph Sauser’s 2013 Cape Epic machine from the Swiss legend’s most dominant victory at the world’s most famous mountain bike stage race. Annika Langvad’s custom Specialized S-Works Epic boasts a medium frame size and the honour of winning every race it has been ridden in; including the Stellenbosch UCI MTB World Cup, the songo.info Champions’ Race and 7 stages of the 2018 Absa Cape Epic. Photo by Ewald Sadie/Cape Epic/SPORTZPICS. The two-of-a-kind bikes are 2018 Specialized S-Works Epic mountain bikes, with custom songo.info inspired livery. The primary white, black and world champion rainbow colours are drawn from the songo.info logo. With 2018 marking the 10th anniversary of the charity the design was updated to include the silhouettes of stylised children, holding hands, to symbolise the young people of Kayamandi whom the programme has already aided in its first decade. These silhouettes are displayed in the rainbow colours on the cuffs of the songo.info jerseys and bib shorts. They also appear in the S-Works decaling on the bike’s downtubes. The chain- and seat- stays feature icons denoting the sport and education functions of the charity, while the downtube also features a list of children in the songo.info programme. At the junction of the head-, top- and down- tubes the iconic Investec zebra and Specialized S logos are displayed in black, with the multi-coloured songo.info logo providing a flash of colour. Both bikes have been meticulously maintained by Specialized XCO Racing team’s mechanic, Holger Friesen (pictured). Photo by Michal Červený. The S-Works frames, in size medium and large, are built with top of the range components from Specialized XCO Racing’s co-sponsors SRAM, RockShox, Magura and Rotor. The wheels are supplied by Specialized’s Roval brand, while the tyres, bar, stem, saddle and seat post are all from Specialized’s ranges too. The songo.info auction of the Investec-songo-Specialized custom S-Works Epic bicycles will start at 12:00 (South African time) on Monday the 26th of March and will close at 12:00 on Thursday the 29th. Bids can be placed online at www.songo.info/2018bikeauction. The reserve is set for R100 000 (€6 900) and bidding increments are fixed to R5 000 (€350). Following the closure of the auction on Thursday, at midday, the two rivals with the highest bids for each bike will be contacted and the auction will then be concluded telephonically.
  22. Annika's Specialized S-Works Epic has been customed painted to celebrate the songo.info organisation that is uplifting the Kayamandi community in Stellenbosch through cycling and education. In fact, this bike will be auctioned to the public after the Cape Epic to raise funds for the organisation. The artwork includes a number of symbols relating to the work done by songo.info including the names of some of the kids benefitting from its work on the underside of the downtube. Annika is riding a SRAM XX1 Eagle drivetrain with a Rotor 2INPower crankset and 34 tooth Rotor chainring. Stopping is controlled by Magura's MT8 Raceline brake set with Shimano XTR pedals propelling the crankarms. Annika raced with a Specialized Command Post for the first three days of Epic. Right after we had taken these photos, her mechanic set about replacing it with a rigid carbon seat post. He explained that Annika likes the dropper post for confidence but believed that she would benefit more from the weight saving on the following day's stage. Funnily, he chuckled saying that he doesn't understand why as she is so powerful with or without the extra weight. Annika has chosen Specialized's Fast Trak with a 2.3" wdith and GRID casing on the front wheel with a Renegade 2.1" GRID tyre displaying prototype markings on the rear. The wheelset is Roval's carbon rim Control SL with DT Swiss rear hub internals. Specification list: FrameSpecialized S-Works Epic (Medium)ForkRockShox SID BrainShockRockShox SpecializedWheelsetRoval Control SL 29Front TyreSpecialized Fast Trak GRID 2.3"Rear TyreSpecialized Renegade GRID 2.1" PrototypeHandlebarS-Works carbon 720mmGripsSupacazStemS-Works SL 100mmHeadsetFSASeatpostSpecialized Command Post IRccSaddleSpecialized PowerBrakesMagura MT8 RacelineBrake rotorMagura 160 mmShiftersSRAM XX1 EagleRear derailleurSRAM XX1 EagleCassetteSRAM XX1 Eagle 10-50TCrank armsRotor 2INPowerChainringRotor 34TChainSRAM XX1 EagleBottom bracketRotorPedalsShimano XTRBottle cagesSpecialized Zee with SWAT BoxSealant125ml in each tyreWeight11.53 kg (race ready as pictured)
  23. The Specialized team appear to favour the dual suspension S-Works Epic over the hardtail Epic and Sam Gaze is no exception. His Epic is tricked out with all the top of the range goodies from the S-Works stable, right down to the carbon bottle cage. The ROTOR 2INpower crankset measure power readings from each crankarm independently giving the rider an accurate reading from every down stroke. Sam paired the crankset with a ROTOR oval Q-Ring sized at 36 teeth. The suspension features Specialized's Brain technology in a custom adapted RockShox shock and SID fork. The fastest number on the day. Despite starting a few rows back, Sam managed to get himself to the front of the race right from the get-go. The team uses Specialized's in-house Roval brand for wheels. In this case, the Control SL wheelset with carbon rims, DT Swiss spokes, and Roval hubs featuring DT Swiss engagement internals on the back hub. Sam races on Specialized's fast rolling Renegade tyres. Sam appears to like his bike slammed with no spacers in sight. The 130 mm long Specialized stem with a negative 24-degree angle to the S-Works carbon 720 mm handlebars. The Specialized team are riding Magura brakes this year. The brand's MT8 Raceline with carbon lever and yellow calipers shine brightly on Sam's bike. By popular demand, the weight. While holding a scale in a field is probably not the most accurate means of weighing the bike, we have few alternatives when under pressure to get a bike back to the mechanics but in Sam's case the scale read around the 10.4 kilogram mark. Full specifications: FrameSpecialized S-Works EpicForkRockShox SID BrainShockRockShox/Specialized BrainRimsRoval Control SLHubsRoval Control SL, rear with DT Swiss Star RatchetSpokesDT SwissTyresSpecialized Renegade 2.1HandlebarS-Works carbon 720mmGripsSpecialized XC RaceStemS-Works 130mm, -24 degreeHeadsetFSASeatpostS-Works carbonSaddleS-Works PhenomBrakesMagura MT8 RacelineBrake RotorsMagura 160mmShiftersSRAM XX1 EagleRear DerailleurSRAM XX1 EagleCassetteSRAM XX1 Eagle 10-50tCranksRotor 2INpowerChainringRotor Q-Ring 36 toothChainSRAM XX1 EagleBottom BracketRotorPedalsLook X Track Race CarbonBottle CagesSpecialized carbonWeight10.4 kg
  24. Press Release: If you want to go fast, like go fast everywhere, this is the bike. This is the bike that's made for everything from Grand Tours to your local fondo, and with a ground-up redesign, a heavy dose of aero wizardry, and of course, disc brakes, our "most complete race bike" is, well, even more complete. Rider-First Engineered Seven different sizes with the same tuned ride. The only way to do this is to obsess over every carbon ply and arrangement. It isn't the kind of glamorous work that lands you on the cover of magazines. Nope. It's scientists scrutinising every thickness and shape, having heated arguments over stiffness targets and handling prowess like we have our own model UN, but you'd never notice that when you're riding a Tarmac. You'll just feel like you're riding the perfect bike. A Bike in 500 Pieces We added 200 more pieces to this carbon layup. Why? We asked ourselves that same question after our fifth cup of coffee one night, but the answer is easy. You. The last Tarmac's layup was the complex we'd ever created, but the added complexity found here has given us more opportunities to shave grams and tune the ride. You deserve the best ride in the world, after all, and it's our job to go to ridiculous lengths to give it to you. No One Else Would Go to This Length We literally examine every ply of carbon on every single frame size we make to ensure that all of our performance targets come through on the finished product. The process is absurdly detailed, because what works on a 49cm doesn't work on a 61cm. So, to make sure you get the perfect ride, every frame gets a unique layup schedule with different ply arrangements, orientations, quantities of material in specific areas, and sometimes, even exclusive thicknesses and types of carbon itself. Below, you'll find just a few of these places where this dark magic is applied:Seat Tube Materials When you think of the seat tubes of a 49 and 61cm Tarmac, there's a size difference, sure, but you probably don't know that different materials were used to make them. And actually, this is true throughout the size range. For example, the ply that reaches from the bottom bracket to the top tube on a 61cm uses a thicker, stiffer carbon fiber than what’s used on, say, a 49 or 56cm frame. This ensures that both big and small riders will feel just the right amount of seat tube deflection, which'll save your back and posterior on long, hard days in the saddle. Bottom Bracket Stiffness You know that instantaneous acceleration you get from a Tarmac? One of the main contributors is bottom bracket stiffness. Everyone talks about it, but most don’t realize that bottom bracket stiffness values aren’t linear throughout sizes. Say what? Well, a 61cm needs more material to meet the same stiffness standards as, say, a 49cm. And for this reason, we added three-times the amount of extra-long pitch fibers to specific areas of the bottom bracket in order to reinforce the larger sizes. This is where that race-winning Tarmac "snap" comes from—no matter the size. Head Tubes & Handling While bottom bracket stiffness may be the key to power transfer, head tube stiffness is paramount to the Tarmac’s perfectly precise handling. Railing corners, navigating through the peloton, dodging last-minute potholes— yeah, that’s all head tube stiffness, which is why we put such an emphasis on nailing it. Due to the nature of physics, larger bikes and their longer tubes need more stiffness to meet the same standards as their smaller counterparts. So, with the Tarmac, we determined that by adding plies in different orientations, and in precise locations, we could get the same “corners on rails” feeling throughout the entire size range. 40 Kilometres, 45 Seconds Faster Aerodynamics is the most important thing we can do to make you faster, and we spent half a year adding it wherever we could. If we found that more aero meant less of that golden Tarmac feeling, we cut it. Now, you get the best of both worlds—the Tarmac we always wanted to build, that just so happens to be as aero as the first Venge. Aero Theory The aero development of the Tarmac took place over a six-month iterative process, but the knowledge of over six years, plus the data of countless aero projects, real world testing, and computation fluid dynamics, were all pulled for the Tarmac’s development. In the end, three areas were discovered where we could add aero for free—a new fork shape, dropped seatstays with aero tubes, and a D-shaped seatpost and seat tube. The result? A bike that’s approximately 45 seconds faster over 40 kilometers compared to other lightweight bikes in the same weight category. That's One Slippery Fork Your fork is the first part of the frame to embrace the wind—we made sure it's slippery. This meant having to make aero-tuned fork blades in three different sizes, with each being individually tuned with a truncated airfoil. So yeah, you'll notice different sizes with the naked eye, but they all minimize the frontal profile as much as possible; especially when you take the smaller crown height into account. The Down Tube If you're talking responsiveness, there's a good chance you're talking down tubes. It's one of the key contributors to the Tarmac's precise handling, after all, but the dance between aero optimisation and handling is a delicate one—but one that we've mastered. Take a look and you'll notice that we've created a lengthy transition from the leading edge of the down tube to a relatively flat backend. This shape cuts through the wind while shielding the bottles from airflow, so you get big aero benefits without sacrificing a thing to handling or stiffness. Not All Seat Tubes are Created EqualYou won't sacrifice comfort, we won't sacrifice aero. Now, that's our kind of stalemate. Lucky for both of us, we both win on this one with a new D- shaped truncated airfoil seatpost. This new design performs better aerodynamically and feels awesome. There's some engineered flex at work here, with a progressive carbon layup that gets stiffer as you head down the tube. This means that you get flex and strength exactly in the places where you want it, so you get a blend of smoothness and aerodynamics that was previously impossible. Let's Drop It Just because we're in the business of hiding from the wind doesn't mean we're cowards. It means we're smart. We learned years ago with the Shiv TT that dropped seatstays hide the tube from the wind with no cost to stiffness, compliance, or responsiveness. Since then, we've pretty much done it to every road bike we make, and now you can find it here on the Tarmac. In the "biz," we call this a no-brainer. Aero is Still Everything If our name wasn't Specialized, we'd be comfortable hanging our hat on the Tarmac as our only aero offering. Good thing our engineers get free coffee. Disc Brakes Options—we want you to have them. That's why we've made a rim brake Tarmac and a disc version. No matter your preference, we have you covered. And better yet, the two versions are evenly matched on aero performance, speed, and handling, so your choice is really left to what you like and not what you're willing to sacrifice. The New S-Works Power Cranks No matter your skill level or experience on the bike, there's no better way to enhance your training and racing performance than by riding with a power meter. Lucky for you, we've combined our incredibly light and stiff, carbon fiber S-Works road cranks with dual-sided power measurement, making it the lightest (440g/172.5mm) and most accurate power meter available.
  25. Specification FRAMES-Works FACT 11r carbon, Rider-First Engineered, Win Tunnel Engineered, internal cable routing, 12x142mm thru-axle, carbon OSBB, flat disc mountFORKS-Works FACT 11r carbon, full monocoqueCHAINSRAM Red 22BOTTOM BRACKETSRAM BB30, 68mmCRANKSETSRAM Red 22, BB30SHIFT LEVERSSRAM eTap discCASSETTESRAM Red 22, 11-28tFRONT DERAILLEURSRAM eTap, Braze-on, wirelessCHAINRINGS52/36TREAR DERAILLEURSRAM eTapSADDLES-Works Power, 143mm, carbon rails, carbon base, synthetic leatherTAPES-Wrap w/ Sticky gelSEATPOSTSpecialized Venge Aero seatpost, FACT carbonSTEMVenge ViAS aeroREAR WHEELRoval CLX 64 Disc rim, Roval AFD2, Centerlock, CeramicSpeed bearings, DT Swiss 240 internals, 11-speed, 12x142mm thru-axle, 24hFRONT WHEELRoval CLX 64 Disc rim, Roval AFD1, Centerlock, CeramicSpeed bearings, 21hTYRESTurbo Cotton, 700x26mm, 320 TPIWEIGHT7.85 kgRETAIL PRICER145,000 A close look at the frame quickly reveals the level of attention to detail that Specialized has put into the Venge ViAS frame. Both the seat tube and down tubes curve around the rear and front wheels respectively, with the down tube taking a deep truncated aero shape. It does not stop there with detailed tube profiling found in the skinny chain and seat stays as well. A teardrop shaped seatpost is used which gets locked in place by an internal seat clamp hidden in the top tube. All cables are routed internally straight from the shifter hoods into the handlebar and stem before making their way down the frame and fork, only appearing again near the disc brake calipers. As SRAM's eTap gear system is fully wireless, there are no wires leading from the shifters to the derailleurs. Specialized developed the Aerofly handlebar with a negative 17-degree stem, as their testing found this to be the optimal aerodynamic profile. To counter this aggressive position the standard Aerofly handlebar features a 25mm rise (there is a flat option too for the very agile among us) which gives it a winged-shape. A further clue to the aero gains is the trailing edge of the stem and headset spacers which are shaped to best deal with wake or "dirty" air coming off the front of the bar. Due to the shape and level of integration, the Aerofly bar comes with an integrated Garmin mount that has a more positive click into place feel than the stock Garmin mount and K-Edge mounts I have been using and comes with some fore-aft adjustment to fine-tune the placement of your device. Specialized claim that the Aerofly handlebar is up to 20 seconds faster at 40kph over 40km than a regular round bar. As one would expect from the range-topping S-Works model, the bike comes standard with the best of the best. The 64 mm carbon clincher Roval wheels come standard on the top models in the range with the two S-Works variants getting the latest CLX wheels compared to the Pro Disc model's CL. Rim width on the CLX64 is a healthy 20.7mm internal / 29.9mm external with the wheelset weighing in at a claimed 1,615 grams (735g front, 880g rear). Maximum tyre clearance is set at 28 mm which is great considering that this is an all-out racer.The R&D team at Specialized has its own wind tunnel which they used to develop the shape of the Venge and wheels. Over a two year development period, 80 variations in rim design and with 300 hours studying tyre and frame interactions, they settled on the 64 mm depth, as they found it to be more aerodynamic with better handling than some 80mm+ wheels. The disc Venge makes use of thru-axles front and rear for maximum stiffness under load and is also convenient to use in real life. Quick release axles be gone! To top it all off, the rims are tubeless ready enabling you to run tubeless tyres for extra puncture protection. The drivetrain is an all SRAM affair with a Quarq power meter (dressed in Specialized's S-Works Fact Carbon cranks) powering the SRAM Red eTap drivetrain with stopping power coming from SRAM's hydraulic road disc brakes (HRD). We've already reviewed SRAM's Red eTap and Quarq power meter and won't go into too much detail here other than saying that my experience on the Venge ViAS echoes that of the review done in 2017. What I can add for those worried about batteries on a bike is that I am yet to get stuck next to the road with no power. Paired with my Garmin, I have received a low battery warning once or twice, but always in time to charge them before they completely ran out of juice.The finishing kit is of the same high standard as everywhere else on the bike with an S-Works Power being the saddle of choice and the bottle cage coming out of the box with a SWAT EMT Cage Mount Road Tool. Looks are very subjective and not something we comment on often, in this case, it is worth a mention though. For the first time ever, I had people slowing down to drive just a bit behind me when passing to check out the bike on my car's bike rack. I had a runner shouting "nice bike" when I cycled passed him, my neighbour asked for a picture to send to his riding buddies, and I had a small crowd of people gather when I photographed the bike at Struisbaai Harbour. The clean lines, sculpted tubes, space-age looking handlebar, deep wheels, and lack of cables make for a very good looking bike. Set Up The purchase price includes a bike fit to find the best set up which includes cutting the steerer to the ideal height to suit the buyer. As this was a review bike, I rode it with the steerer uncut. For reference, I am 179cm with a 77cm saddle height and the seat post was at maximum extension on the size 54 as tested. Something to keep in mind when shopping. The bike I rode came with Specialized Roubaix Pro 25/28C tyres which are a more all-round tyre compared to the 700x26mm Turbo Cotton the bike comes standard with. The Roubaix added some much-needed puncture protection against our glass-strewn roads and a level of comfort thanks to the wider profile. On the Bike What we have here is a full carbon road bike that is aero and runs on tubeless carbon wheels, comes with hydraulic disc brakes, wireless shifting, a power meter and levels of integration not fathomable only a couple of years ago. Marty McFly may have predicted flying cars, but I'm sure he would never have predicted all of that on a road bike. I can't even begin to imagine what road bikes will look like 10 years from now.The big story here though is the disc brakes. Braking tests showed between 66% to 75% improvement in braking power under best case scenario circumstances over rim brakes. The difference will jump significantly in adverse weather conditions as the rim brakes will suffer more when it is wet and slippery. For reference, both bikes were running eTap and Roubaix tyres and I did several runs with each bike back-to-back. (A vehicle was used to shuttle the bikes and me back to the top). Even though I was blown away by how controlled and effective the braking was after each run, I thought there could be more and it took several runs on the disc brake equipped bike before I felt I was nearing the grip limit of the tyres. And with each of those runs, the braking distance between the rim brake and disc brake bike grew. It would be nice to test the brakes (and bike) in the Alps, but on the hottest of Cape Winelands summer days, there were no signs of heat build-up and the subsequent brake fade that goes with it on the Venge ViAS. SRAM's HRD brakes are thankfully not on and off. Modulation is very good and there are no nasty surprises on the first ride. The lever feel is also good with positive feedback on the braking limit which allowed me to let the bike run free for longer before reigning it in to rail around corners. Add the grip of the tyres and the point and shoot nature of the stiff frame and you have a fun factor which motivates you to push even harder and enjoy the speed at which the Venge ViAS is happy to descent.The overall feel of the ride is in the ballpark for an aero bike - not early days harsh and unforgiving, but no silky ride either. Feedback is direct with the combination of a stiff frame, thru axles, and the Aerofly handlebar all contributing to the sensation of speed. The first time that I stood up to hammer the pedals, I was genuinely taken by surprise by just how stiff the bike is. There is absolutely no comparison with any bike I have ridden before this one. Although the comparative stats Specialized claims is for gains at 40km/h (116-second advantage compared to the Tarmac over 40km), there is no doubt that the aero advantages kick in earlier and that the bike is faster from slower. There is a genuine sense of speed and free watts from around 20 to 25km/h; push it beyond that and the smiles for miles kick in. To confirm that it wasn't just the Kool-Aid, I did several back-to-back runs with my Venge Elite to see what the computer (speed, power, and heart rate) says and time after time it showed the Venge ViAS was faster for less effort. It is remarkable how well the bike holds speed and manages a high average speed without having to burn your lungs. In short, it eats PB's for breakfast. What I did miss was the snap of a superlight bike at very low speeds. My Venge Elite saves 600g of which 300g is in the wheels and at lower speeds, there is a sense of immediacy that the ViAS with its deep section wheels lacks, but to be fair I'm talking sub 10-15 km/h here and the Venge ViAS won't see numbers that low very often. I reckon even standing still the ViAS does more than 15km/h! I found the Aerofly handlebar to be very comfortable in all positions. The reach to the hoods spot on and the flat top was just the right size for my hands. As one would expect it is every bit as stiff as it needs to be, but does an excellent job of keeping road vibrations to an absolute minimum. The S-Wrap bar tape is on the thin side but was still very comfortable. Even wearing no gloves on longer rides I never felt the need to wear gloves for extra cushioning. The wheels were predictable but not sidewind proof and it would be good to try Specialized's CLX50's for riding around in and around Cape Town during the windy months. Although, that is only when the wind is hitting you from the side. Head into the wind and the wheels cut through the air like a hot knife through butter. Catch the wind from behind and you will think you're on an e-bike with no governor. I feel it is worth mentioning that on this all-out racer the S-Works Power saddle with its minimal padding and carbon rails was still comfortable. Verdict If you skipped straight to the verdict to see whether this bike is fast, then I'm happy to say "yes" and I say that without a doubt. I can't remember spending time on a road bike that is this rewarding to ride. Other than actually being fast, it feels fast - on straights and through the twisties. It is the sheer sense of speed that motivated me to push harder myself and give maximum effort at every turn and after having sampled a disc equipped road bike for a couple of months, there is no way I will be spending my own money on anything other ever again. It is that good.However, for this bike to flourish under the correct rider and in the appropriate start group, it needs that stamp of approval from the governing body. At the sharp end of the pack, disc brakes will reward the last of the late brakers and have the potential to push up average speeds on descents as braking distances will reduce and riders will be able to carry speed for longer. The Venge ViAS will reward Joe Average too, so if you're shopping in this price bracket the S-Works Venge ViAS is definitely worth looking at. Specialized set out to build the fastest road bike based on what they know today working within the limits of the UCI. There are no compromises or middle ground, no meeting you halfway. A pure racer specced with the best of the best. That it is a piece of art is an added bonus. ProsIt is fast. Very, very fast Disc brakes are the real deal. Excellent stopping power with great control The latest, greatest tech in road cycling found on one bike with clever integration Great specification (comes standard with a power meter) Bar maybe the colour of the Di2 version, this is the one to go for ConsBit of a firm ride CLX32's will cope better with side winds
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