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Check out Remco Evenepoel’s Specialized S-Works Shiv TT

Soudal Quick-Step rider stormed to victory in opening time trial of Giro d’Italia on aero speed machine with a 60-tooth chainring

Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) might have lost his Giro d’Italia race lead today but he’s the best placed of the overall GC contenders thanks largely to a dominant performance in the opening time trial which he won by 22 seconds, and this is the Specialized S-Works Shiv TT that he was riding.

2023 Giro Stage 1 Remco Evenepoel - 2 (1)

The Specialized Shiv TT was added to the UCI’s List of Approved Models of Frames and Forks back in March 2019 and it made its race debut in that year’s Tour de France, so it’s knocking on a bit for a top-level race bike. That said, TT bikes don’t tend to be updated as frequently as road bikes where a three-year product cycle is about normal.

When the latest Shiv was introduced, Specialized said that it was as aerodynamically efficient as the model it replaced but with a 500g lighter frame thanks to smaller tube profiles. All other things being equal, a lower weight is obviously useful, especially on a hilly course. On Saturday, Evenepoel gained an early gap on the flat start and built on it during the climb to the finish.

Although many bike designers build more or less to the maximum tube depths that UCI rules allow in order to gain an aero benefit, Specialized took a different approach with the Shiv, largely as a result of investment in its own wind tunnel. Along with a library of tube shapes developed using bespoke computer software, Specialized says that the wind tunnel allowed it to balance the competing demands of aerodynamics, weight and stiffness.

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Pictures from here to the bottom of the page: ©cauldphoto

One key feature is the down tube that Specialized says is lighter and stiffer than that of the previous-generation Shiv while being narrow enough to be hidden in terms of drag behind the front wheel.

Most time-trial bikes have a seat tube that closely wraps around the leading edge of the rear wheel to manage the airflow in that area, but check out Evenepoel’s bike and you’ll see a shallow lower section of the seat tube and a big gap back to the Roval 321 disc wheel.

Specialized says this wheel is vital to the Shiv’s performance, claiming it doesn’t need to draft the seat tube, meaning that tube’s size could be reduced.

An aero seatpost slots into the seat tube, held in place by an internal clamp that’s accessed from the top tube.

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The seatstays are dropped incredibly low with a horizontal section running backwards from the seat tube junction. Specialized says they are right at the UCI’s limits and are “invisible to airflow”.

Like many high-end race bikes these days, the Shiv is designed solely around disc brakes, Specialized saying that the overall aero performance is boosted by the absence of brake callipers at the fork crown and seat stays, areas that can then be shaped to minimise drag. It looks like Evenepoel has a 160mm disc rotor at the rear and a 140mm up front.

The bike is compatible with 1x and 2x drivetrains, Evenepoel going for a double chainset and a front derailleur in Italy. The front derailleur hanger is removable for those who want to run a 1x system, as Evenepoel sometimes does. That dinner plate of a chainring is 60t.

The Shiv is compatible only with electronic groupsets, Specialized saying that the ability to use mechanical shifting would have added weight and complexity to the front end. Routing cables through that lot would be a nightmare, plus you can have multiple shift points with electronic systems. Soudal Quick-Step use Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets.

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The cockpit is custom-built to Evenepoel’s dimensions with the shifters positioned underneath the handholds. His hands are so close that his fingers touch as he rides.

As mentioned, the rear wheel is a Roval 321 Disc but that super-deep front wheel isn’t from the Roval range. We could be wrong but it looks like a logo-less AeroCoach Aeox Titan in a 100mm depth, as used by many top teams in search of an aero advantage.

Evenepoel’s bike was fitted with Specialized’s Turbo Cotton tyres and a Sitero Body Geometry saddle. The Sitero a time trial-specific option with a wide channel that’s designed to relieve pressure when you’re riding in an aggressive position.

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Evenepoel uses the S-Works TT5 helmet complete with integrated optics shield that debuted at the 2022 Tour de France. The idea is that the rear of the helmet is positioned close to the rider’s shoulders to reduce the eddy of air that creates drag. You can see that there’s very little gap between where the helmet ends and Evenepoel’s body begins,

> Specialized launches new S-Works Evade 3, Prevail 3 and TT 5 helmets just in time for the Tour de France 

Specialized says, “To allow cleaner internal airflow, the helmet is built around an integrated aero head sock, compressing a rider’s ears and hair for optimised aerodynamics through the helmet.”

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Evenepoel uses S-Works Ares Body Geometry shoes but you can’t see them because he’s wearing aero covers over the top

Check out loads more Bikes at Bedtime here. 

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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