Pro bike: Chris Anker Sørensen’s Team Saxo-Tinkoff Specialized SL4

WorldTour 2013 bike: SRAM Red and Zipp wheels for Sørensen’s SL4

by David Arthur   February 5, 2013  

This is the Specialized SL4 of Saxo-Tinkoff’s Chris Anker Sørensen. The team, as we covered in our WorldTour 2013 bikes roundup, continues to be sponsored by Specialized (one of three teams to get the Big S’s backing).

The 28-year-old Danish cyclist has ridden for the Bjarne Riis run team since joining the then CSC squad in 2007, the year he turned professional. He's an aggressive rider with good all-round capability, and has often been talked about as a potential Grand Tour winner - he finished 12th in the Vuelta in 2011 and 14th in the Tour de France last year.

He uses the SL4 over the more aero Venge as his bike of choice, a common trend with those riders with sights set on overall victory and not sprint finishes. Both frames share the same geometry so switching between the two is easy enough.

The Tarmac series of bikes were first introduced in 2005 and have been steadily evolved over the years. This latest incarnation is the lightest yet, at about 950g. It’s made from the company’s own FACT IS 11r carbon fibre. FACT refers to the ability to be particular about the lay-up of each layer of carbon, so the designers can adjust the directional stiffness and vibration absorption of a frame for a given requirement.

It’s used to construct a frame that is significantly stiffer than its predecessor. It has a tapered head tube with 1-3/8in lower bearing (down from 1-1/2in on the SL3), which does go against the grain of most other manufacturers, but has been done to save weight. The bottom bracket and chainstays have been moulded as one-piece, leading to the impressive stiffness the frame exhibits when you stand on the pedals. Details like the dropouts, and those on the forks, are carbon too. Like most modern high-performance frames, all the cables are routed internally. The gear cables pop out briefly at the bottom.

As in 2012, the team enjoy the backing of SRAM so there’s the full complement of SRAM Red. SRAM offer coloured replacement hoods and the entire team have switched to blue hoods, to match the colour of their title sponsor. Specialized’s own S-Works carbon crankset breaks up the Red vibe.

http://road.cc/sites/default/files/imagecache/lightbox-large/images/Eurobike%202012%20Zipp%20/Zipp%20202%20Firecrest%20CCL%20-%20Beyond%20Black.jpg

SRAM own Zipp and so it’s Zipp wheels all round. Pictured here are the newly introduced shallow 202s, with 32mm rims. The team also have the deeper 404 to hand for flatter stages where weight isn't so critical.

And it’s the same story for the handlebars, stem and seatpost, which come from the Zipp range. In typical PRO fashion, there’s a lengthy stem fitted to the steerer tube, in this case it appears to be at least 13cm, possibly 14cm. Where’s a tape measure when you need one...

Riders are usually fussy about saddle choice - well, you would be if it’s your job to sit on one for 6-hours a day - and Chris opts for a flat Prologo Nago.

Is an SL4 replacement due? Well, the SL4 was introduced in 2011 and with the release of the Roubaix SL4 last year, we could see an SL5 being launched at some point this year.

Thanks to www.sram.com for the photos.

7 user comments

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2 teams to get the big S backing?

Saxo, Astana and OPQS.

posted by Super Domestique [1598 posts]
5th February 2013 - 13:10

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Super Domestique wrote:
2 teams to get the big S backing?

Saxo, Astana and OPQS.

Yes I forgot about Astana didn't I. Which is odd as I wrote the WorldTour bikes roundup the other day!

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1470 posts]
5th February 2013 - 13:35

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David Arthur wrote:
Super Domestique wrote:
2 teams to get the big S backing?

Saxo, Astana and OPQS.

Yes I forgot about Astana didn't I. Which is odd as I wrote the WorldTour bikes roundup the other day!

If you look at pics from the Tour Down Under you will see that Astana are actually on Campagnolo this year, so you were initially correct that only 2 teams are using Sram.

posted by JayDawg [4 posts]
5th February 2013 - 14:14

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JayDawg wrote:
David Arthur wrote:
Super Domestique wrote:
2 teams to get the big S backing?

Saxo, Astana and OPQS.

Yes I forgot about Astana didn't I. Which is odd as I wrote the WorldTour bikes roundup the other day!

If you look at pics from the Tour Down Under you will see that Astana are actually on Campagnolo this year, so you were initially correct that only 2 teams are using Sram.

The big S in question was Specialized.

posted by Super Domestique [1598 posts]
5th February 2013 - 14:27

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David Arthur wrote:
Super Domestique wrote:
2 teams to get the big S backing?

Saxo, Astana and OPQS.

Yes I forgot about Astana didn't I. Which is odd as I wrote the WorldTour bikes roundup the other day!

No worries - can't help that I am big Spesh fan!

Hope you didn't mind me pointing it out.

posted by Super Domestique [1598 posts]
5th February 2013 - 14:29

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There's something I just don't like with Specialized bikes..

The curving top-tube, or maybe its because they spell it wrong. Dunno.

seabass89's picture

posted by seabass89 [235 posts]
5th February 2013 - 19:12

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the qauzimodo of the pro-peleton.. Big Grin

posted by SPAM Naval [136 posts]
12th February 2013 - 16:00

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