The 2013 S-Works road shoe has been in development for two years and seen 35 prototypes. The result is what they call the lightest, stiffest, best fitting cycling shoe ever created. It gets a new last with thermo bonded upper and two S2 Boa retention systems plus a small strap on the forefoot. The new SL2 FACT carbon outsole has an asymmetric design, and the entire package tested 7 seconds faster over a 10k time trial than a competitor’s traditional shoe.
How? primarily because it’s super stiff, which maximizes power transfer. As an anecdotal explanation, Dr. Andy Pruitt, Specialized’s in-house fit guru behind Body Geometry, said Tom Boonen was using another brand shoe that wasn’t as stiff. Because the sole had too much flex, he was putting his cleats too far back, which didn’t allow him to maximize power transfer. With the S-Works shoes, he could put the cleat further forward (where it should be, generally under the ball of the foot), which allowed him to use his foot as a lever and improve efficiency, too.
Details, prototypes and so much more from their component (bars, pumps, computers, etc.) and clothing (helmets, gloves, etc.) lines after the break…
The glamour shot.
Less glamourous duct tape and other prototypes. Pretty cool to see how many design variations were tried.
The outsole was created through pressure mapping. The foot leans inwards, so the structure was designed with more material on the medial side where more pressure is put on the sole.
The outer edge of the base plate is just 1.7mm thick. Under the cleat is just 4.5mm, which is still thin. In order to make it strong enough, the carbon wraps up the inside of the upper and it uses a box section construction that sandwiches a noncompressible lightweight PU material. They provide their own short cleat screws because the ones that come with most pedals are too long for their super thin soles.
Air vent is offset to a nonstructural section. The upper has two mesh sections with plenty of perforations throughout. They have replaceable heel lugs, and small gripper dots inside the heel cup to keep your foot in place.
Weight is 221g for a men’s 42.
Women’s versions get all the same features. The white one’s graphics carry over onto the carbon outsole and looks really good.
MOUNTAIN BIKE GLOVES
Body Geometry Gel Gloves (left) get a new lightweight mesh top and Wiretap pointer finger for working your touchscreen without having to take the gloves off. I’m a fan of the gel padding on these (had a pair for years now), and the new features make them even better. There’s also an Enduro gloves (right) with Airpreen Knuckles and double layer construction on the outer palm with minimal padding.
All 2013 MTB gloves use their new Lifeline Palm design (the curved cut visible around the thumb on the Enduro), which shouldn’t bunch up when gripping the bar.
Not shown: There’s also a new XC Lite with lightweight mesh upper, Clarino palm and silicone fingertips, and the Lodown with a mesh top, Clarino palm and finger seams that sit higher up around the finger for less chafing.
The big news for the entire helmet line is that all helmets, including kids’ helmets (nice!) but excluding full face helmets, get their Trifix fixed strap assembly. Their goal with Trifix was to make fit quick and simple and eliminate the chance for improper fit. Because it’s fixed, it simplifies “installation” and the wider base fits well around the bottom of the ear.
The Tactic all-mountain helmet gets redesigned with a bit edgier look. Rear coverage has been extended lower for more protection, and colors and graphics are refreshed. Visor is removable, and the shape is somewhat less bulbous than most “all mountain” style helmets. In fact, with the visor removed, it actually looks a bit small.
There’s a new Aspire women’s road helmet (left) and Andorra MTB helmet. Both have plenty of big air vents and inmold construction, the latter with a removable visor and extended rear coverage.
They get the Hairport fit system, which has room for ponytails without affecting retention efficacy. The girls I spoke to about seemed pretty pleased.
Just a few of the best color options for 2013.
New Toupe Pro gets a molded one piece carbon construction with Adaptive Edge design. That lets the outer edges and corners flex with your body. It also gives the sides a smooth, clean look, which they call Invisible Edge, because every feature needs a good branding. The design idea came from their footwear, which has welded seams and recessed edges where the upper meets the sole.
The shell has Tuned Stiffness, using different thicknesses and wall shapes to keep it from sagging in the center like the original Toupes but remain flexible at the Adaptive Edge. It does gain a bit of weight (about 40g) over the 2012 version, but it looks better and actually looks like it could be pretty comfy. Retail will be $180. Available in October.
Same changes go for the Ruby Pro women’s saddle. The angles and shaping are women specific, and it has a bit thicker padding.
The Chicane keeps the $300 S-Works level saddle that was developed for Boonen, who gets a signature edition that’ll only be available with a special frame (left). Word is the S-Works level saddle will drop to about $250 for 2013. Now, there’s a Chicane Pro (center), which uses the same carbon rails but gets a plastic base, and the Chicane Expert (right) with hollow titanium rails. Pricing is $180 and $120 respectively.
The Riva Road (left) is a base level saddle that gets redesigned. It now uses vacuum form construction and durable, waterproof polyurethane cover. The result is a virtual one piece saddle. Shape is based on the new Toupe Pro but with more padding. Retail is just $35. Mountain and Women’s Rivas available, too.
New Body Geometry saddles (right) are comfort saddles for casual riders. There’s gel pads under the sit bones and a center relief channel. Foam is dual layer with a former foam core so the rider doesn’t sink too far into it. $40 retail, and a non-gel version is $30. Men’s and women’s models available.
Flex Pumps for road (shown) and MTB have a short flexible hose that slides out. Road pump is Presta only and should get up to 120psi. MTB version has a dual valve head with larger volume and dual pistons that move in both directions to deliver more air per stroke. Retail should be around $35-$40, available end of month.
Also new Air Tool MTB high volume floor pump (green). The goal was to be able to seat any tubeless tire. The massive gauge only goes to 70 and it has a pressure relief button on the handle to make it very easy to get your psi just right. Good for cyclocross, too.
The new UHP Airtool floor pump (silver, third from left) was designed with their Autosag in mind. So yes, this is a shock specific floor pump. To set Autosag shocks, you simply pump the shock to 300psi, sit on the bike and hit the release valve. To get it up to 300psi, the UHP makes short work of it, and the high pressure hose (good for 2,500psi!!!) is super flexible and all but impervious to shock oil, which can degrade the hoses on standard pumps. The head threads on with a second seal that threads separately to close the shock’s seal so you don’t lose pressure when you remove the hose. Bleed valve, too, let’s you fine tune your shock pressure and release pressure from the hose before you remove it.
Airtool Pro (black, far right in lineup) gets a new die cast alloy handle and a more brushed, classic finish.
COMPUTER & POWER MEASUREMENT
Speedzone Expert is a new ANT+ computer that mounts inside their stems or on your bar. The Expert model comes with wireless computer syncing for Mac and PC and has an altimeter. The Comp gets everything but the latter two features, and both claim to be the smallest, lightest power reading ANT+ computers on the market. Because they’re ANT+, both will read data from other brands, too. It runs off a standard coin button battery Now, if they only had GPS…
The new Quarq power meter spiders for their cranksets are finally available. They use Quarq’s updated, smaller electronics part with easier to replace battery. All electronics are inside the spider for better weatherproofing. It’ll be retrofittable to their S-Works cranksets in both 110 and 130 BCD. Full specs are in this post.
Carbon Aerobar and Aerostem originally spec’d on the Shiv, it’s now available aftermarket. Comes with elbow pads and carbon ski pole shaped extensions.
It includes a parts kit that lets you raise the aero extensions and arm rests up to 50mm in 5mm increments. There’s 90mm of width adjustment, too. Retail for the kit is $575.
Main piece weights are 309g (bar), 278g (stem) and 136g (extensions).
Alloy version comes in at $200 and has all the same parts (except stem) and adjustment but uses a regular OS stem. Branding on both is almost non-existent, which makes it easy to put it on any brand bike without looking out of place.
The new Chisel full monocoque carbon fork will come in matte and gloss black for aftermarket, or color-matched on the Stumpjumper HT.
630g with uncut steerer.