Day 2 Specialized Dealers Event August 07 2014
Day two of The 2015 Specialized dealer event and we're up bright and early. A quick discussion and we're bundled into the bus for our second session of bike testing. Today is all about road bikes or is it?
Specialized have a long history of awesome road weapons and naturally 2015 is no different. Stiff and light are always going to be core concerns but what do you do to better a bike as successful as the SL4 Tarmac. The rider optimized Tarmac is a pretty serious achievement in that respect. Often a small rider might find him or herself on an overly stiff bike while the larger rider flexes the scaled up version excessively. The end result can be handling that is only really ideal for those lucky (or average) enough to fit a 54'. With the new Tarmac each frame size is individually optimized to suit the weight and proportions of different sizes of rider. You can really see the differences in tubing size and layup across the range. With Pete being a pretty big dude and myself somewhat more diminutive, we were keen to check out the bikes side by side. I don't have the space to discuss this fully but needless to say the benefit for riders either side of the spectrum is pretty amazing. The Tarmac has always been a rippingly fast bike to ride but now it's stability and quick handling on descents are optimized for every rider.
Next up came the new Diverge and this is when the 'road' designation of our riding started to blur. In addition to Specialized's trademark compliance in the frame, The Diverge features larger rubber, burlier rims and, of course, disc brakes. Here is a bike where, if you find your self off the edge of the tar-seal, you're not necessarily going to eat it. A seriously fun bike to ride and I can see it being amazing on New Zealand's huge variety of surfaces. It was also a real eye opener going back to rim brakes too. In my humble opinion disc brakes shouldn't just be made UCI legal, they should be mandatory! Anyway, I'll just climb down from my soapbox here and...
I'd been keen to ride the new Crux on this trip and this is another bike that blurs the line between road and otherwise. I took my test bike into the bush to hammer one of the mountain bike loops that I ran yesterday and emerged grinning.
One bike that I missed riding the previous day (while lost in the Aussie scrub) was the new E-bike the Turbo. We have some great E-bikes at Burkes but the Turbo is a real step up the ladder. Fully integrated, a low centre of gravity, a seriously stiff frame and FAST. It's pretty amazing to rip past a guy going flat out in an aero tuck on a Shiv! On the Turbo you can and smile and wave in the process. Very, very fun. It didn't take long before the bike was out on the velodrome leading drafts. Big laughs from the kiwi contingent as folks grabbed Venges & Shivs (the bike not the prison weapon folks!) and headed out onto the course in an attempt to reclaim one for leg power, with varying degrees of success.
But all good things must pass and we were soon back in the bus, showered and off for more presentations. The new Flux lights have some awesome features as Specialized look to up the riders visibility in the night and in the day. Powerful but cleverly designed to avoid blinding the oncoming traffic. One of those, slap your forehead, why hadn't someone thought of this sooner moments. Can't wait to test these on kiwi roads. Cool new shoes in the cadet (& cadette!) and the inclusion of the awesome magnetic buckle on the Dissident full face and Evade tri helmets to put and end to loose chinstraps with almost hands free fastening. Awesome.
It's a long day, when you get started at 8:00am and finish at 7.30pm but that didn't stop the Kiwis from gathering to summarize and scrutinize the days information and if that has to happen at the bar then so be it but now I need to have a wee lie down. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more pics. Stay tuned for day 3.