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Products That Win – Part 1 – Specialized

August 5, 2010

Contador with TdF Yellow Tarmac SL3It is no coincidence that athletes on Specialized bikes have had numerous wins this year, crowned by two podium places at the Tour de France. This success is founded on Specialized’s intense focus on research and development of the most advanced bicycle racing technology in the world.  Dedicated to making a product that wins, Specialized spends countless hours researching, testing, and tweaking their designs based on real world experience and rider input. With technology playing a bigger role in pro cycling every year, Specialized works hand-in-hand with the pros to dial in the perfect combination of ride feel and efficiency, resulting in the fastest, best-performing, most comfortable bikes possible. And unlike most companies who provide only road and TT bikes, Specialized developed three different race-ready bikes for this year’s tour, specific to the ride experience of the day: Tarmac SL3 for road stages; the Shiv for time trials; the Roubaix SL3 for cobblestone-heavy Stage 3.

The results speak for themselves: along with the 1st and 2nd places on the podium, Specialized equipped riders garnered 5 individual stage wins, including two on the Shiv and three on a Tarmac. The Shiv’s unequaled combination of wind-slicing aerodynamics and road-bike handling allowed Fabian Cancellara to blow away the field in the race’s two time trials.

The Tarmac, with its industry leading stiffness-to-weight ratio and race-proven geometry, helped propel Andy Schleck and Alexandre Vinokourov to three dominant victories in the mountains. Perhaps the biggest story though was the 2011 Roubaix SL3. After its early success this spring with the win at Paris-Roubaix, the riders appreciated its benefits over the cobblestones of Stage 3. “I’m not going to lose any sleep over Stage 3,” Contador said before the race. “The new bike (Roubaix SL3) Specialized has provided for me will be crucial.”

Proving again that “smoother is faster,” the Roubaix helped Contador and Schleck float over the brutal cobbled roads, gaining valuable time over their main rivals and laying the groundwork for their eventual head-to-head battle for the overall title.

Tarmac SL3

Contador and Andy climbing

The S-Works Tarmac SL3 offers the best of three critical attributes in a road racing bike:  lightest frame system, greatest torsional stiffness and most responsive handling. So whether your goal is a podium at a local race or the city limit sign on your group ride, the Tarmac SL3 delivers.

Light Weight

Teams Saxo Bank and Astana were very active in the design process of the Tarmac SL3, providing key insights on performance and handling under grueling race day conditions. The result – the lightest production module in the world. more.


The efficient transfer of power is key for a bike to deliver in sprints or on climbs. With the best stiffness to weight ratio on the planet, the Tarmac SL3 is 10% lighter and 18% stiffer than the already exceptional SL2 thanks to the redefined rear triangle, innovative internal ribbing and a revised lay-up schedule. more.


Whether you are diving down Jester or sprinting it out at the Driveway, a race bike should be highly responsive and predictable. The Tarmac SL3’s superior torsional stiffness drops the rest of the peloton when it comes to handling. more.

Roubaix SL3

Fabian Cancellar on the cobles

The perfect balance between vertical compliance and lateral stiffness, the Roubaix SL3 is the right ride for someone looking for a smooth, vertically compliant, stable ride. The Roubaix SL3 features a slightly more relaxed geometry than the Tarmac series race bike. However, it retains the same fork trail dimensions for neutral handling. Now you can enjoy long days in the saddle at your favorite charity ride or weekend excursion without sacrificing performance.

“We’ve made sure the Roubaix delivers the highest performance for the greatest number of riders,” said Brent Graves, Specialized’s Road Product Director, in an interview with Jeff Jones from
Vibration dampening through the Zertz elastomer inserts and  vertical flex that has been engineered into the frame is the feature that makes for a smooth ride. The flattened tube shape is the primary factor in vertical deflection, while the triangulation between the seat stays, brake bridge and seat tube make this bike both laterally and torsionally rigid. As with the Tarmac, Specialized’s primary focus with the Roubaix is the efficiency of power transfer. With this in mind the bottom bracket to chain stay is one piece offering incredible stiffness in order to meet the high demands of the world’s best riders.


The Specialized Shiv is super stiff and incredibly aerodynamic. Designed for the fastest TT specialists and triathletes, this FACT IS 10r carbon frame features a fully integrated cockpit and radical tube shaping for the ultimate optimization of aerodynamics, stiffness, and weight. The integrated aerodynamic carbon stem integrates with the 1″ to 1-1/8″ tapered steerer to form a super stiff structure with ultra-low drag.  The S-Works FACT carbon crankset and oversized BB with interchangeable spider and ceramic bearings provides maximum power transfer at minimal weight.

Here is a great video (barring the techno) of Fabian tearing through the streets to victory on the Shiv. I think the best part is the bunny hop over the curb at :44.

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