What would you do with an extra five minutes? That is the question Specialized has started asking this week with the introduction of their new suite of aero products. Combined, Specialized claims that these six products will save an average rider more than five minutes over a 40 kilometer distance.
The largest time saver comes in the form of the new S-Works Venge ViAS and CLX 64 Wheels, which together save you 120 seconds. Next is the new S-Works Evade Skinsuit that nets you another 96 seconds. The S-Works Evade helmet (with which we are very familiar with) shaves off another 46, and the S-Works Turbo 24 tires gain you 35 seconds via improved rolling resistance. Finally, the new S-Works Sub6 shoes can save you up to 35 seconds, depending on pedaling motion.
All together, you are looking at a total of 5 minutes in time savings, which is a very bold claim. Although this isn’t quite the boldest claim Specialized will make, but we’ll get to that later. So how did they accomplish this? Let’s break down each product to determine just what special sauce they are cooking with out in Morgan Hill.
S-Works Venge ViAS
We are planning a deeper dive into the new Venge later this week, but first let’s cover the basics here by discussing what we believe is the boldest claim Specialized made. They’re claiming that the new Venge is just as fast as the Shiv TT—and in some cases, faster. Keep in mind that they’re not talking about the Shiv Tri. Specialized is talking about the TT, the bike Tony Martin has used to win countless time trials. That is some serious speed.
The new Venge features complete internal cable routing and brake lines. And the brakes look like nothing we have ever see on a road bike before. The front brake is hidden behind the fork, creating a single unified shape from the fork to the down tube.
The rear brake is mounted on the seat tube directly behind the bottle cages, effectively shielding them from the wind.
The ViAS features a truncated head tube with an integrated negative 17-degree stem. To compensate, the handlebars actually feature a 25mm rise to come up and meet your hand instead of being level.
Roval CLX 64 Wheels
The Roval CLX 64 wheelset and S-Works Turbo tire were jointly engineered in Specialized’s Win Tunnel, resulting in the fastest balance of aerodynamics and lowest rolling resistance Specialized has ever created. When compared to a standard aluminum wheelset, Specialized claims the CLX 64s are 44 seconds faster over 40 kilometers. And in a crosswind, they’re 104 seconds faster.
The CLX is a tubeless-ready carbon clincher with a rim depth of 64mm. The internal width is 20.7mm with a max external width of 29.9mm. The front wheel uses 16 DT Swiss Aerolite spokes while the rear uses 21 spokes. Both hubs use CeramicSpeed bearings.
Specialized has a claimed weight of 695g for the front and 850g for the rear.
In the Win Tunnel, Specialized is showing that a CLX 64 set will beat a Zipp 404FC Front / Super9 Disc combination at almost all angles.
S-Works Evade Helmet
We have covered the Evade here and here. But for those unfamiliar, let’s recap. The Evade’s shape mimics the shape of the S-Works McLaren TT helmet. When compared to the S-Works Prevail, which we just happen to be testing as well, the Evade will save 46 seconds over 40 kilometers.
What makes the Evade such a successful road helmet is that it’s not only fast, but cool as well. The Evade features strategically positioned air vents that draw in air around the head, channeling it out at the rear exhaust ports in order to create a cool microenvironment.
S-Works Evade GC Skinsuit
The Evade GC Skinsuit is Specialized’s answer to the question of how you deal with one of the largest contributing factors to aerodynamic drag. Jerseys that aren’t connected to your bib shorts flap in the breeze, and where there are bunches or wrinkles, drag is soon to follow. The GC Skinsuit is a one-piece skinsuit that comes in 11 different sizes to ensure that it will never bunch or wrinkle.
The skinsuit’s shoulders are seamless and feature Dimplex aerodynamic fabric composition to reduce pressure drag over the shoulders.
The GC Skinsuit features three welded, low-profile rear pockets taht provide ample storage without impeding on airflow over the back. The full-length front zipper allows you to adjust ventilation levels on the fly. The Cold Fabric technology reflects heat rays typically absorbed by dark colors in order to reduce surface temperatures.
The net result of all this is 96 seconds saved over 40k.
S-Works Turbo 24 Tires
Specialized’s Turbo tires are meant to be that ultimate balance of speed and traction, resulting in the fastest tire that Specialized has ever made. To that point, Michal Kwiatkowski took home the World Championship on a rain-slicked course on them earlier this year. Specialized claims a 35-second decrease in time over 40K, due purely due to a decrease in rolling resistance as compared to other tires.
S-Works Sub6 Shoes
The final ingredient in Specialized’s “special sauce” is the new S-Works Sub6 shoes. The traditional lacing system cuts down weight, while the Warp Sleeve lace cover—a sleeve worn directly over the laces—is Win Tunnel Engineered to reduce drag and clean airflow over the shoe. When combined with the narrower heel cup, you can save up to 35 seconds over 40 kilometers, compared to the previous S-Works Road Shoe.
This introduction clearly demonstrates the benefits of a manufacturer expanding their focus beyond the frame. By treating the bike, wheels, tires, and rider as a complete system—and then spending thousands of wind tunnel hours optimizing it—you end up with new products that give every possible advantage engineers can think of.
For us, the next step is to start using this gear to see how the new Venge, CLX64, Turbo tires, and Kit react to long days in the saddle. Because if you cant stay aero in it, its all for nought.
So what would we do with 5 minutes? It would probably start with at least one extra post-race refreshment, and then we’d go from there.