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NEW - 2021 Specialized S-Works Aethos Road Bike

   Words by Scott Bristo

   on 08/10/2020 17:00:00

The new evolution in modern road bikes has arrived, The Specialized S-Works Aethos Road Bike. Available today, featuring the lightweight S-Works Aethos FACT Carbon Frame. The Aethos breaks all the rules to deliver unparalleled efficiency, bold innovation and a flawless rider experience.

Now available to view online and in store, see the Specialized S-Works Aethos @ Leisure Lakes Bikes Daventry & Leisure Lakes Bikes Cheltenham.

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The creation of the Specialized S-Works Aethos road bike started with a question: “What if?”

What if they built a bike focused around the purest imaginable road riding experience? What if they built a bike to maximize the timeless moments where everything disappears and human and machine become one. All cyclists know these moments, the ones where we lose ourselves in the reverence of gliding up a climb or effortlessly carving through a turn. We feel liberated from the constraints that surround everyday life and the miles just melt into hours.

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The Ride of Your Life

There are riders out there that yearn for more than just racing, that see the experiences of the open road as an equivalent to toeing a start line. The demands of this sophisticated rider equal that of any racer, for where racers want for speed, these riders demand a package that accounts for everything else, too. Sprightly climbs towards the clouds, wicked descents on the other side - they demand both superior handling and an unrivalled ride from a bike that’s built to be the epitome of quality, performance, and style.

Breaking The Rules

Specialized set themselves a goal: not to adhere to any of their preconceived notions around building a road bike. To do something different than simply apply everything that they’ve learned about making bikes over the last half-century.

But where did this take them? Specialized are, of course, as well-versed in the norms of cycling culture as they are in the rules of the UCI. However, neither of these confines would have any bearing on their process. Specialized instead placed all focus on the importance of creating an instrument of purely transcendent bike experiences.

What Rules Did Specialized Break?

  1. Break The Rules of Designing Bikes - Reshaping the future of Modern Road Bikes.

  2. Break The Rules Of Riding Bikes - Let’s not forget this is supposed to be fun.

  3. Break The Rules Of Racing Bikes - Accidentally (on purpose) went lighter than the rules allow. They’re rolling with it.

  4. Break The Rules They Created For Themselves - This is a big step for Specialized. Smaller logos, subtle paint schemes. You have to go a little rogue to make this happen.

“It was hard for many people here to wrap their heads around a high-performance road bike that wasn’t focused on racing. We were afraid that the project would meet resistance and get cancelled, so our team worked in relative secrecy for over a year. No one knew about the project until the design was finalized, and we were making our first frames.”

Road & Gravel Category Leader,
Stewart Thompson

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Billions of Calculations in Pursuit of One Thing - The Perfect Ride

Flipping The Script On How To Build Bikes

Specialized know that shape contributes to the vast majority of a bike’s performance, and that’s why the Aethos was born from a “Eureka” moment in the test lab. Specialized engineers studied the flexing and breathing of carbon frames in the pedalling test rig, and they realized the industry’s understanding of how forces flow through a frame was incomplete, with room still there for massive improvements.

Immense supercomputer simulations - more than any humans can do in a lifetime - were used to subtly alter round tube shapes. This made their shapes more conical in key areas, delivering huge gains in stiffness and balance with the absolute minimum amount of material. Specialized have added nothing extra here except more stability and integrity. They emphasize that this is a shape story of how and why the shapes work within this bike. The outcome of Aethos represents an entirely new way for Specialized in designing bikes. Why is this so important? Because it will shape how they build all of their bikes moving forward.

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No Lazy Fibres

“The first frame was 545 grams. We put it on the test machine and the frame behaved so beautifully - it was so stable. We only had to add 10 grams, and we could test-ride the frame. That was the moment we knew we had discovered something big.”

Aethos Engineering Lead,
Peter Denk

 

Specialized believe the only thing coming along for the ride should be you. If the vast majority of the frame’s performance is dictated by shape, then the other main focus should be on the materials used and the manner in which they are connected - the frame’s layup.

When continuing to study how these frames move under load, Specialized determined that there were too many “stiffness layers” (or extra plies) added in the creation of traditional frames. So, with these new tube shapes, they needed an entirely new way to lay-up frames. Thankfully, it’s one which resulted in reducing the number of needed plies by 11% compared to the S-Works SL6 (which was already well known for being pretty damn great). By utilizing larger, longer, and more continuous, unbroken plies, they were able to achieve more consistent positioning than on any frame they’ve made before.

The interesting thing to note is that the wall thicknesses of the tubes, themselves, are substantial throughout the frame, but because of the smaller number of the stiffness layers, the overall weight went down significantly. No dead weight - The only thing along for the ride should be you.

 

Aethos Frame stress chart

 

Accidentally  Illegal

Specialized chased ride quality with the S-Works Aethos, not a number. That said, we all know a light, stiff, and balanced bike is pure magic at the pedals. The result, however, is the lightest disc road frame ever produced, with no gimmick builds and a weight as light as 5.9kg.

To be blunt, the Specialized S-Works Aethos is very illegal in some racing circles. That said, it’s still rated for a 275 pound (124kg) rider and possesses all the telepathic handling, response, and stiffness targets that you’ve come to expect from every bike Specialized has made. (But don’t tell the UCI).

  • The New Modern Road Bike - To say that “everything has been considered with this bike” would be an understatement. Specialized spent weeks upon weeks iterating, designing, and obsessing over every piece of this puzzle. The rider is at the centre of this conversation, their goal was to make a bike that would fit your riding lifestyle - not the other way around.

  • Perfection is in The Details - From dropouts to derailleur hangers, no gram was overlooked. The same can be said about the approach of Specialized’s partners at Roval Components. They’ve been working towards the same North Star of ride quality, with the 1284 gram Alpinist Wheels and new Alpinist Bar/Stem combo tailor-made for Aethos and that perfect ride.

  • Founders Edition - A Founder’s Edition is introduced to celebrate every new platform Specialized introduces. Limited to just 300 bikes globally, this is the lightest build on offer, featuring an exclusive, stunning paint scheme with colour-matching finishes on some of the more unique parts. This S-Works Aethos includes the lightest Shimano Di2 componentry, the Roval Alpinist Bar/Stem combo cockpit (the first production bike to feature these), and upgraded CeramicSpeed bottom bracket and pulley wheels.

 

To find out more and secure your own Specialized S-Works Aethos, view the individual product pages, contact us via Live Chat, or get in contact with your local Leisure Lakes Bikes store!

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