Specialized Shiv Build
article & images by Nick Salazar
Apr 30, 2013
This article has been a LONG time in the making. Since the first time I published a rig feature on this site, I've been wanting to do a detailed look at a bike that I could tell my readers is uniquely mine. Sure, I've done a lot of frame builds for the site, and reviewed a whole lot of bikes. And each build I do gets some special touches and equipment selections that gave the rigs my personal signature. But I've never done a top-down feature on a bike that would be my primary training and racing machine for a given season. So that's exactly what I'm doing today.
The reason I haven't done that kind of article is because I've been hesitant to “settle down” with just a single frame, even if it's just for one season. Part of what I love about TriRig is hopping around from bike to bike, reviewing one bit of gear after another. I ride it all, so that I can give you my honest impressions of the entire market. But TriRig has been in publication for almost three years, and this article is long overdue. Fear not, the nature of the site isn't going to change. I'll still be covering the whole gamut of gear out there. But what you're looking at in this particular article is the bike I currently call mine.
This bike was built up with Shimano Ultegra Di2 6770. I plan to upgrade to Dura-Ace Di2 9070, which will be an easy swap since both are built on the E-tube platform. The wheels I'm riding with are the FLO 60/90, but we also shot them with high-end wheels from Dash Cycles, which dropped the weight significantly (details in the gallery). A set of Lightning Cranks keeps things incredibly light, stealthy, and comes in a variety of lengths – mine are 165mm.
This bike is also a test mule for several prototype TriRig parts. It got the first working pair of Omega SV brakes, the first prototype TriRig Mercury pedals, the first TriRig Alpha aerobar, and first TriRig Sigma stem. And the result, in my obviously biased opinion, is stunning.
If you've been reading this site for very long, you may have noticed a certain theme running throughout my gear reviews. I have a certain appreciation for simplicity, minimalism, smart design, and clean lines. In building up this Shiv for myself, I wasn't about to settle for anything less than excellence. I wanted a bike that had Di2 shifting but completely hid the junction boxes. I wanted Omega brakes, and I wanted to showcase the upcoming TriRig Alpha aerobar. More than anything else, this bike was meant to be a proof-of-concept to show just how clean, beautiful, and just plain fast a triathlon bike can be, even when built up with standard-interface components. To that end, the Shiv was the perfect bike for the job.
I picked the Shiv as my main bike for a few reasons. One is for its utter simplicity: it uses a standard steerer fork, external brakes, incredibly simple and reliable cable routing, and has excellent flexibility in the seat post department, meaning it would be compatible with basically any saddle I wanted to use. My biggest complaint about the bike was the included TRP brakes, and I solved that with the introduction of my Omega SV prototypes (coming soon to the TriRig Store).
One critical question in building the bike was which size to get. Based on my reach, I'm ideally a size Medium. But I'd have a better time hitting my stack with a size Small. Traditional wisdom might suggest I should go with the Medium and just source a lower-stack bar/stem. But I deliberately decided to buck that traditional wisdom, and went for a Small. Why? Well for one, I'd already ridden a small Shiv in the past, and was happy with the handling. If you size down, but preserve your fit points, your steering lever becomes longer, effectively damping the steering inputs. Your ride becomes a little more mellow. And I've enjoyed what that's been like on the Shiv. Taken to the extreme, that could be a bad thing, but in this case, it was a moderate change, and a welcome one.
Even with the Small Shiv, I don't need a lot of spacers on my Alpha bar to hit my stack height. The Shiv is a fairly high-stack frame, which was why I sized down in the first place. The resulting build just looks good aesthetically, and also happens to hit my fit points perfectly.
There is a lot of detail and information in the captions to the superized gallery images below. Enjoy!