Amazingly, only a year after Macca won with the Shiv on it’s debut run at Kona Specialized released the new Shiv Tri. Mark Newton was fortunate to be in Kona last year with Specialized for the official athlete and press launch, rode it on the Queen K for the better part of a week and was on hand to see Craig Alexander set a 13min PB and a course record and Trizone asked for a review.
The challenge with reviews is they are opinionated, biased and full of claims that can’t be substantiated. Trizone highlighted the fact that you can’t verify the claims made by Trek about their Speed Concept. A review should be in accordance with the majority and the majority are in the $3500-$4500 area.
So rather than write a review, the article focuses on the 10 components that people look for in a great triathlon bike.
1. The first modern non UCI triathlon bike
Specialized has done what no other manufacturer would do â€“ drop the UCI regulations and build a triathlon bike, by triathletes, for triathletes. No more compromises using time trial bikes with performance restrictions attached.
2. Track record of proven performance
Specialized has the best track record for building race winning bikes at Kona. Specialized has had four wins at Kona in the past decade and amazingly this has been with four different bikes. They innovate and improve faster which keeps them ahead of the bell curve and up to date in technology and performance and delivers athletes at all levels results.
3. Affordable super bike
Joe Triathlete can now afford the â€œbestâ€ (Kona winning) performance technology. That’s right all the performance innovations that helped Crowie to win his third Kona title, ride a 13min PB and set a course record are in the entry level bike at $3500. Specialized has delivered to the entire tri market. Who else can deliver you a bike with Kona features for $3500? Well it’s not the first time they have done it â€“ The Transition has also won Kona and was available for $3399 last year.
4. Fit and size
Specialized are the kings of sizing and fitting. Historically no one knows body geometry and aero bike fitting better. Specialized are the industry leaders when it comes to using world leading medical experts for designing products that improve rider’s fit such as saddles and bar shapes to the sizing of the bikes. You have geometry that provide great handling, 73-83 degrees of seat angle and a front end that provides sufficient adjustability to from a petite ballerina to a front row rugby player. And you can add in your favourite extensions from other manufacturers with ease. With all of this adjustability, cross over and five sizes, there is a bike that offers a no compromise position for everyone.
5. Hydration, aerodynamics and functionality
The most effective and common way triathletes stay fuelled for performance is through fluid. Specialized focused on a hydration system that improved aerodynamics, control, the ability to refill on the fly. Imagine the benefits of drinking through a straw while you stay in aero and in control. The internal bladder system in new Shiv eliminates the need to strap on â€œaeroâ€ drink systems – saving you time and money. Best of all, it’s easy to refill on the fly and simple to remove and clean. No longer will your bike be covered in a sticky mess, as you go over bumps in the road. Does it work â€“ ask Crowie or look at the scoreboard.
6. Stable aerodynamics
That’s right the aerodynamics provides more stability. That enormous down tube not only houses a fuel and hydration bladder and provides more aero by keeping the airflow attached for longer, it shifts the center of pressure rearwards under the rider. That means you don’t get blown around and lose stability in a crosswind. The cambered tube shapes are also better in cross winds than a tear drop shape as the airflow remain attached for longer reducing drag, so no more buffeting around. Who doesn’t want a confidence inspiring, slippery triathlon bike suitable for all conditions?
7. Practicality reigns supreme
They are practical in execution. The bikes are easy to ride, easy to build and easy to own and live with. The brakes are accessible for adjustments to accommodate different wheels and brake pads. No hidden or integrated brakes, which are difficult to tune and can mean getting a spare is close to impossible. We have countless super bikes in to see Jarrad our expert Tri bike technician so he can weave his magic and get them to run practically â€“ changing pads on some is quite an effort.
8. Innovation not gimmicks
Fit Fuel and Aero the Shiv tagline sums up triathlon perfectly. Is there any reason to go beyond this level of simplicity these are the areas that affect performance? There are no components that have unnecessary complexity and challenge even a master technician. I don’t know how much of a performance advantage is gained from an inbuilt magnet or hydraulic brakes, it’s debatable and that stuff exists. It’s not yet proven to as race winning spec but there is always the future. I am sure it were necessary to help Macca, Crowie or yourself go faster, Specialized would have added it. These things may come later, but they addressed the key areas of tri performance first, not last.
9. Easy to transport
Triathletes like to travel and you can travel and transport the new Shiv as easily as your off the shelf $999 road bike. That’s right, no integrated seat post that means you can’t fit it into a bike bag. No tricky single piece front ends that are heard to dismantle. Get yourself a bike box or bag, pull of the pedals, remove the seat post, detach the bars and stem and you are done â€“ nothing tricky.
Everyone loves a winner, well not everyone, but most people do. Specialized aero bikes were undefeated in 2011 at the World Championships. Their bikes won the World Road Championships, World Time Trial Championships and Hawaii Ironman and World Long Course Championships. In fact the Shiv has a 2 year unbeaten record in both the World Time Trial Championships and Kona.
Whether you love Specialized or not, they have delivered yet again and innovated better than their competitors and you can easily verify it on the scoreboard. No claims just results and let’s face it that counts for everything. Claims of most aero, grams of drag and fastest bike split mean nothing when you don’t win, and every bike company play’s to win some are just better at winning than others.
For those who like facts, results and performance it’s going to be an easy decision to make for the average triathlete wants a Kona crushing bike with the the full suite of FIT-FUEL-AERO benefits as used by the Worlds best. If these are not the elements you like then there is definitely something else out there.
Shiv Comp with SRAM Rival – $3500
Shiv Expert with Dura Ace – $4499
Shiv Pro with SRAM Red – $5999
S-Works Module – $6499
S-Works Di2 Zipp 404 – $14999
If you want verification then look at the Kona Scoreboard winner!