Following the launch of its hotly anticipated new Venge aero road bike yesterday, Specialized has also unveiled a range of companion aero products, including new lace-up shoes and a skinsuit, each offering some sizeable claimed time savings.
It's the cyclist, not the bike, that produces the biggest wind resistance when cycling, as much as 80%, so ensuring you’re dressed in the most aerodynamic clothing is obviously going to make a difference if you’re racing or riding against the clock. It's clear Specialized has been putting its new wind tunnel to good use then, and has come out with a new skinsuit and aero shoes claimed to save you, if Specialized's claims are to be believed, a decent handful of seconds over 40km.
The Sub6 lace-up shoes follow in the footsteps of Giro’s hugely popular Empire SLX lace-up shoes, which swap buckles, ratchets and dials for simple laces. A significant benefit of the Sub6 lace-up shoes appears to be weight, as at 170g per shoe, they’re extremely light.
Specialized has also developed a rather natty Warp Sleeve, an elasticated cover that sits over the top of the laces and we assume will help to smooth airflow over the laces. The new shoes won’t be cheap though, at a cost of £299. Potentially quite fast though, Specialized claims the Sub6 lace-up shoes could save you 35 seconds over 40km.
If you’re not into laces, Specialized has also developed the new S-Works 6 road shoe, an evolution of its existing S-Works shoe. The new shoes use strategically place sections of a Dyneema Cubic Light material, which it says is used by NASA for the parachutes that slow down spacecraft. It’s non-stretch which it reckons provides much more efficient energy transfer than the previous shoes as it simply doesn't stretch when you're putting the power down. The rest of the upper is synthetic microfibre with perforations to provide breathability.
The last uses a one-piece construction to provide a better fit and there’s a carbon fibre sole, with increased stiffness over the previous shoes and a “PadLock” tapered heel and moulded heel cup to lock the foot into place and provide a more secure fit.
With a pair of Boa S2 Snap dials the shoes have a claimed weight of 205g. These new shoes won’t be cheap either, with a price tag of £369 putting them right at the top of the shoe market. Specialized claims these shoes save 35 seconds over 40km.
Lastly, Specialized has also developed the new S-Works Evade GC Skinsuit. Castelli has enjoyed great success with is San Remo one-piece outfit, which offers the aero advantage of a skinsuit but with the versatility and flexibility of a regular two-piece jersey and shorts combination. Specialized reckons the skinsuit, compared to a regular jersey and bib shorts outfit, can save 96 seconds over 40km. An impressive saving, but Specialized doesn’t provide any supporting data so we can only take that figure at face value.
The S-Works Evade GC Skinsuit uses woven fabric on the rear panels to keep weight down, with an aero Dimplex fabric used on the seamless shoulders which it claims reduces drag.There’s Cold Black technology in the material as well to reflect heat. There’s a full-length zip so the jersey can be opened up on the climbs and around the back are three pockets for your essentials.
It’s clear Specialized thinks fit is crucial to getting the best aerodynamic benefits, and so will offer the S-Works Evade GC Skinsuit in 11 sizes. Fit with an aero garment is everything and it’s even more critical with a one-piece skinsuit, which can compromise fit for cyclists that typically combine a size smaller jersey with larger shorts. The S-Works Evade GC Skinsuit is going to set you back £349 though, compared to £240 for the Castelli San Remo Speedsuit 3.0.
More at www.specialized.com
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.