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Specialized – more 2006 news

We’ve already seen most of the new bikes from Specialized and some of their new clothing and components, but while we were out in Santa Cruz, California, they showed us a few other things of interest.

Tricross

First up is their Tricross bike, their cyclo-cross bike. They’ve even come up with a new category of riding, Freeroad. According to the official release, ‘Freeroad riders find their motivation in a multiplicity of terrains, conditions, and environments’.

To construct a frame capable of taking the extra abuse this kind of riding would incur, they’ve built the frame to be tough. E5 Aerotec SLX tubing exhibiting similar lines to the racers, but with some uniqueness – the underside of the top tube is flattened, designed to be more comfortable when carrying. In fact, any area you would touch or hold when shouldering the bike has been flattened for comfort.

They’ve thought about more than just the frame though. As well as spoonfuls of mud clearance through the rear stays, the forks are dramatically curved around the front wheel to increase the mud clearance, and it looks like nothing could clog this bike up. The forks have massive Zertz inserts, well, not really inserts, as they wrap around the top part of the forks, offering a lot of high frequency damping. The frame weight is 1,300g.

To make this bike appeal to a wide audience the frame has a full set of mounts for taking all manner of racks and mudguards, ideal for touring and commuting. We think this bike could be the perfect commuter, and we’ll be getting one on test when they’re available. The only build coming to the UK will be the £699.99 Sport Black though, it’s a pity the S-Works frameset won’t be hitting these shores, allowing for some great build options. The Sport should be available this Autumn.

Roval Classique Pave wheelset

We’ve already mentioned before that Specialized have resurrected the old Roval brand. It’s a partnership between Claude Lehanneur and Specialized that see’s no exchange of money. Instead Lehanneur is happy for his name to be used as long as the wheels are good enough.

This wheelset was developed for the Tricross. Where the Rapide wheels are light and aerodynamic, the Classique Pave goes for strength and durability. Huge flanges on the hubs with more spokes (20/24) and a more robust rim will allow them to take a lot of abuse. Cartridge bearings will keep maintenance low.

Tyres


All Condition Pro.

Borough CX.

Houffalize CX.

To make it clear that the Tricross has multiple personalities, they’ve developed a couple of new tyres, the Borough CX and the Houffalize CX. The Borough has long directional grooves on the sides leading into the middle, stopping short to leave the central area slick for fast rolling. This will be a great tyre for riding to work, but with enough bite at the edges should you chuck your bike in the direction of some dirt. For cyclo-cross racing and more severe conditions the Houffalize has a chunkier tread pattern for grip, but still keeping the blocks quite close together for fast rolling.

Other tyres they’ve released, the S-Works Mondo, S-Works Roubaix and the fatter All Condition tyre both feature dual density compounds. The most interesting feature though is the dual radius concept. When you’re riding on the top of the tyre, the contact patch is very small. However, lean the tyre over where the radius is different, and you get a larger contact patch.

Transition

Time trailing more your thing? The Transition is Specialized’s first time trial bike, and what a stunner. It’s made of E5 aluminium, and all the tubes, as you’d expect, are shaped for minimum drag when slicing through the air. The head tube angle is quite relaxed, though a steep 76-degree seat tube keeps the rider in the optimum position, and short chainstays keep the rear wheel tucked into the frame. The carbon seat post has a large Zertz insert, and the saddle is specially designed with more padding around the nose area, so riding ‘on the rivet’ doesn’t have to hurt. Frame weight is 1,400g.

Shoes

The new S-Works show is last years Boa, but reworked. The BOA closure system has been moved further up the side of the show and lightened, with a set-once Velcro strap across the toe box (you use it to tailor the width of the shoe). These shoes are 100g lighter, by refining the carbon sole, and as before the sole utilises Specialized’s Body Geometry technology. We’ve got a pair on test and so far we like them, especially the Yellow colour (a limited edition version).

Gloves

The BG Pro fingerless glove has a slip-on design with mesh covering the top of the hand area. There’s three gel pads on the palm, with one covering the Ulnar nerve area. There’s also a Velcro strap version if you prefer.

BG Pro Bib Shorts

These shorts feature the latest BG chamois design. As you can see from the picture the moulded foam is cut and shaped to offer the best comfort, and is intended to perfectly partner their range of saddles. A new Fieldsensor fabric offers the latest in moisture reduction, and interestingly they’ve reduced the number of panels, as the Fieldsensor fabric has enough stretch that they fit better with fewer panels.

Jerseys

External zippers are where it’s at next year. The Jet jersey employs the new Fieldsensor fabric, offering high breath-ability and wicking properties, and silicone grippers around the waist prevent the jersey from riding up. Three pockets on the back plus a small zippered pocket – perfect for your house/car keys.

The Avilan jersey is similar to the Jet, but with a closed mesh on the front and back, for more cooling in warm conditions. In keeping with the enhanced comfort factor, the cuffs are constructed on the outside.

S-Works Barmac

We briefly touched on these in our earlier report. The one-piece carbon bar will come in 11 sizes; bar widths of 40, 42 and 44cm and stem lengths from 90mm to 130mm. Dual cable grooves on the underside keep the cables tucked away and tidy. Weight is just 370g.

Optics

A couple of new shades. The non-folding 16g Arc, with claims they’re the lightest in the world, and they’re probably right. A Titanium frame attaches to the Adaptalite lenses (supposedly the same NXT material as used on Apache’s!), via two tiny screws. Rubber grippers on the end of the arms, and a slim rubber nosepiece keep them firmly in place.


Helix Optics

We’ve been wearing them for the last week and you really do forget you’re wearing them. The lens shape is great for heads down riding as many frames can obscure your vision when riding on the drops.

The Helix pictured here is an Oakley Half Jacket look-alike. A folding design, with Adaptalite lenses and small slivers removed near the outer sides to reduce misting.

Visit the Specialized wesbite for more info.

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