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Ultimate time-trial setup: Specialized Shiv TT Module

As a brand that makes everything from bikes to bidons, Specialized offers a holistically designed aero package from the ground up

Cyclist magazine
24 Aug 2017

This feature was produced in association with Specialized

‘At the sharpest end of competitive cycling we have to look at the rider together with their equipment and apparel as an interdependent system,’ says Specialized’s Will Watt.

‘We’ve built a team of aerodynamic experts and developed tools such as on-bike data acquisition and our “Win Tunnel” wind-tunnel to create products optimised to work as a system to best benefit the rider, as well as provide gains as individual products.’

At the core of those products is Specialized’s S-Works Shiv TT Module (the frame, fork, bars, seatpost and brakes), which swept the board at last year’s UCI World Championships, winning the individual and team time-trials in both the men’s and women’s categories.

‘A one and one eighth tapered steerer makes the Shiv ultra-narrow, and dropped seatstays and a flat top tube add to the aero package,’ says Watt.

‘Apart from the extra-small size, all the frames have the same stack height, with just reach the differentiator.

‘There’s 100mm of vertical adjustment to the bar extensions and pads of course, but the idea was to afford every size of rider an aggressive position.’

The Shiv TT is sold as a frame module, with the rationale being that different riders may favour different components to suit their conditions or riding style.

However, Specialized has gone to great lengths to provide riders with a host of free-speed options, designed not just to be fast in their own right but also to complement each other.

As such, Specialized says the Shiv frame module is 120 seconds faster than its S-Works Tarmac over a 40km time-trial, but start factoring in the company’s other aero offerings and those gains only increase.

Put a pair of Roval CLX64 wheels between the stays, for example, and wrap them in S-Works Turbo tyres and that figure jumps up by another claimed 35 seconds.

That’s no small accident – the wheels are spinning on CeramicSpeed bearings, for one thing. But as with the frame, these gains are also the result of Specialized’s holistic design process.

Built for speed

‘The wheels were actually built around the tyres to maximise speed. Our engineers created an extra-wide 21mm internal rim and seamless profile that optimises aerodynamics while minimising rolling resistance.

‘Tyre width is extremely important, and our testing has shown a 22mm tyre up front and 24mm at the rear to
be the fastest combination.’

In building its Win Tunnel and creating one of the most successful time-trial bikes of the moment, Specialized clearly has your back when it comes to going fast against the clock.

But it also has your head. And your feet.

‘With such a focus on hardware it’s often surprising that apparel offers proportionately the most significant gain, yet is arguably the most affordable element.

‘Poor-fitting clothing is one of the most significant contributing factors to drag,’ says Watt. ‘The S-Works Evade GC skinsuit has patent-pending seamless shoulder design to reduce drag, along with very specific fabrics.’

Testing has shown the Evade GC skinsuit will provide the wearer with a 96-second improvement, again over 40km, compared to a rider wearing the standard Specialized SL jersey and bibshorts.

Add in the S-Works TT helmet and that’s a further 62 seconds, then slip your feet into the S-Works Sub 6 shoes with Warp Sleeve – a tight-fitting silicone cover to smooth airflow over the laces – and the total Specialized aero package stacks up to a whopping 5 minutes 48 seconds saving over 40km.

Who said you can’t buy fast?


Specialized S-Works Shiv TT Module, £4,400.
Roval CLX64 wheels, £770 front, £1,100 rear.
Specialized S-Works Turbo Road tubeless tyres, £70 each.
Specialized S-Works TT helmet, £275.
Specialized S-Works Evade GC Skinsuit, £300.
Specialized S-Works Sub6 shoes, £275.


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