If you are a cyclist you simply cannot avoid Specialized. The chances are that even if you don’t ride a Specialized bike you probably own something with the ‘Big S’ on it. Shoes, clothing, equipment, and helmets, Few cycling manufacturers have done as much to provide a cyclist with what they need in any circumstance. They are a company that really does breathe cycling and the bikes they make have been hugely popular across every platform.
When it comes to road bikes Specialized can be credited with pushing the envelope when it comes to new ground. The Roubaix took relaxed geometry bikes and gave them some tricks of their own. A few companies had considered the effect a road surface had on the rider but this had often lead to some of the worst faux pas in cycling design history. Specialized took a subtle but important issue and introduced a subtle but effective solution. A redesign of the front fork with elastomer inserts absorbed high frequency vibration form the roads surface providing a smoother ride which could be sustained for longer. The seat stays took on a graceful ‘gazelle leg’ look and with more elastomer stopped vibration and bumps getting to the saddle. It helped reduce the problem of road noise whilst keeping the bike looking like something that you wanted to ride.
We want cycling to be for everyone, we’re not all tour pros riding on immaculate tarmac and we want cyclists to know that the guy riding a twenty mile loop from his front door is just as important to us, as a Tour de France champion. We want to cover every aspect of road cycling to ensure that as many people as possible, from all disciplines and abilities, can get out there and ride. And that’s what we want to do at the Rutland Cycling demo days, get everyone on the bikes. David Alexander
Whilst Specialized pushed the envelope for the ‘everyman’ they also pushed it for the performance orientated cyclists. Upon it’s debut at Milan-San Remo the Venge stole the victory, delivering Matt Goss to the finish line as the first Australian to win the classic. The Venge was the culmination of a collaboration between Specialized and McLaren engineers, a melding of aero expertise from cycling and motorsport to overcome one of a riders biggest enemy. Air.
Semi-aero bikes, a hybrid of a race and TT bike was not a new concept, but it was first time that the problem had been addressed in such a highly engineered fashion. Air can do funny things when you punch through it at speed (as anyone who watched Guy Martin’s recent speed record will know) and it took four years of wind tunnel development to ensure that the bike was ‘slippery’ enough to do it’s job. The result was a machine that re-defined the way in which aerodynamics were applied to the world of cycling.
Of course a semi-aero bike is all very well but to truly dominate you need the do-it-all bike. Mountains conquered? Check. Sprints won? Check. Descents torn down at break neck speeds? Check.
The Tarmac has been the workhorse in Specialized’s stable for over 8 years. The tagline ‘It’s what we win on’ shows where Specialized stake their reputation. Since 2005 the Tarmac has been through many incarnations, tweaking and redefining has resulted in today’s incredible SL4 frame. The one piece BB shell and chain stay delivers unrivalled power transfer from the rider to the wheel whilst the FACT offers a 19% improvement over the previous frame.
No matter what you’re looking to do on the road Specialized have got your back and if you want to see what this means for you get down to the Rutland Cycling Road Demo Days on the 12th and 13th of April at Grafham and Whitwell to experience the Specialized speed.