Giro Tech Video: Vincenzo Nibali's Astana Specialized Tarmac SL4 Shark special

Astana team mechanic Tosello Grabrielle builds up Nibali's Giro bike from scratch & Nibali explains about the shark motif before heading off for a spin

by Tony Farrelly   May 12, 2013  

Nibali's Specialized Tarmac SL4 Shark Special.png

Bike mechanicing art, craft, or both discuss? There's certainly plenty of both on display in this video which shows Astana mechanic Tosello Grabrielle building up Nibali's bike from scratch.

It's a beautiful thing to watch a pro team bike mechanic at work, a couple of years ago Mat and I had the chance to see the Astana mechanics building up the team bikes ahead of the 2011 Tour de France Grand Depart - they were a mixture of SL3s and SL4s including Rémy Di Gregorio's blood spattered machine, the following year Di Gregorio's cycling career came to a sticky end when, by then riding for Cofidis, he was arrested at the team hotel on the Tour rest day on suspicion of drug trafficking. But I digress, like all pro mechanics at the top of their game that day in France they made it all look very easy indeed.

As you'd expect this is no ordinary SL4 (though that's probably not the right word to use about such a high spec piece of kit) no this one features a custom paint job specifically for Mr Nibbles with a shark motif designed especially for him - he's from Messina in Sicily and his proper nickname is not in fact Nibbles, but the far cooler Shark of the Straits. So the bike features a blue shark on a blue background - in fact a number of them. Interestingly too, if you keep a sharp eye out you'll notice that he even has the shark logo on his base layer… or maybe that's a very big tattoo showing through? Of course now that Nibali is wearing the maglia rosa they will probably trot out a pink version.


This bike itself looks to be a standard Astana team build, Specialized finishing kit, cranks, bars and stem teamed up with Corima wheels - Astana are the only team to run them, and The Shark is a fan (you wouldn't expect him not to be). This season the Kazakh outfit switched from SRAM to Campagnolo drivetrains and the one difference from the official team spec is that Nibali seems to be running the mechanical version of Campagnolo Super Record rather than Super Record EPS - which  was fitted to another of Nibali's bikes that we had a look at a couple of months back.

According to the accompanying blurb with this film a very limited edition of this bike will be available in the coming weeks, though no word on whether it will be available in this country.

In the normal run of bike industry product cycles we would expect the Tarma SL4 to be replaced fairly soon - two years is about the maximum lifespan for a top of the range bike, and that's what the SL4 will be by the time the Tour rolls around in July. So an SL5 soon? The only question to ponder on that one is how much more stiffer and lighter the bike can actually be made.

11 user comments

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Well, I am sure everyone was expecting me to comment! Wink

Stunning bike. Although my loyalty is being pulled in more than one direction these days - more on that another time though!

posted by Super Domestique [1695 posts]
13th May 2013 - 10:58


"but I digress"?

It's my understanding that the suspicious substances found with di Gregorio in the end turned out to be just vitamins -

It would only seem fair and just to also mention this in your piece.

posted by Metjas [347 posts]
13th May 2013 - 11:13


'his investigation has not been formally closed yet.'


posted by andyp [1371 posts]
13th May 2013 - 11:38


Any idea on the music? Sounds like Mogwai...?

Zermattjohn's picture

posted by Zermattjohn [179 posts]
13th May 2013 - 12:03


Mr. Nibbles, brilliant. far better than the shark. Big Grin

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1097 posts]
13th May 2013 - 14:33


Blue bar tape or white?

How curious.

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1734 posts]
13th May 2013 - 14:45


If only Specialized offered some interesting colour options (s-works) to their customers instead of team colours (yawn) and black / white based....

posted by NeilXDavis [118 posts]
13th May 2013 - 14:47


When he was cutting the steerer down I was yelling at the screen "measure it again! measure it again!". Luckily, when I peered out from behind my hands he'd done it right (breathes deep sigh of relief).

posted by Rushie [41 posts]
13th May 2013 - 15:10


looks lovely, blue/white combo with graphics. And with campag, yum ....

posted by Karbon Kev [683 posts]
13th May 2013 - 17:32


I've always thought of him as Mr Nibbles. After my daughters gerbil... Cool

posted by Chrisc [146 posts]
15th May 2013 - 9:10


He needs to go back and fettle that front mech.....


posted by arrieredupeleton [587 posts]
15th May 2013 - 9:52