Specialized have been up there as one of the biggest bike manufacturers for a long time now. They have been a significant influencer in the cycling industry and are always innovating. Arguably, in 2018 they have topped the desirability league tables especially with the introduction of the new Tarmac model and the improvement in the Venge Vias from its earlier incarnation.
The future shock on the Roubaix (introduced in 2017) continues to divide opinion but sells (alot). The paint schemes used for the 2018 stable are absolutely divine, with colourways such as Chameleon Green and Purple they have been designed to catch the eye but still in an understated way. Thumbs up to that.
We have just received a batch of ex ride captain bikes from Hot Chillee that covers some of the Specialized range, let's take a quick walk through the different models.
First up is the ever popular endurance specialist Roubaix, designed with comfort in mind, they have always adapted the frame for a buttery smooth ride. Initially the Zertz system of rubber inserts like in Nike Air Max trainers, which was not of obvious benefit. This has developed into the new Futureshock which is completely obvious. A form of suspension under the stem it smooths out the bumps in the road without the various downsides of other suspension or dampening approaches.
With the Futureshock still in mind we take the diverging path to gravel and the Diverge. A super fun on off road bike, by carrying the same front end suspension tech you get a platform that is perfect for adventure - which includes the UK commute roads. Wide berth, fat tyres, low centre of gravity, the usual story.
Next up in the range is the Specialized Tarmac SL6, one of the most anticipated bikes to come out in 2018 and it didn’t disappoint, a racing pedigree, all rounder, mountain goat - something for every serious cyclist. The noticeable difference from the SL5 was the dropped chainstays. Original impressions of the aesthetics of the SL6 were 'bit boring' but it's just grown on people and 2018 was peak year. The Sworks Tarmac disc was unavailable to buy for alot of the summer. We think the SL6 has at least another year of being the sought after bike. We had this S Works Tarmac SL6 with Dura Ace Di2 and Roval CLX 32, coming in at 6.5kg this is one seriously lightweight bike.
Last but not least we have the Specialized Venge Vias disc, a bike which has lead riders such as Peter Sagan and Ella Vivani to the top steps of many podiums. If you want something fast and with superb tight handling then this is the bike for you. Wind tunnel tested to aerodynamic superiority, Specialized can bamboozle you with the stats. The Venge Vias Pro disc we currently have in has the Dura Ace 9120 and the Roval CL64 wheels, once you get used to this you will be hitting PB's all over the place. Seriously fast but still pretty comfortable.
So it’s that time of year again where we all start to look back and pick out our favourite moments, products, and memories. Despite 2020 not going to plan, shall we say, as far as new bike tech goes there have been some real highlights. Here’s our bikes of the year list for 2020!