The New Specialized Shiv

 Oct 4, 2011 article & images by Nick Salazar

Integrated hydration is a GREAT new feature, and works extremely well on the new Shiv.

Without a doubt, one of the biggest stories on the bike is its integrated hydration. Called the Fuelselage, it consists of a refillable bladder (much like a Camelbak bladder) that stuffs into the frame. The bladder itself has a rubber cap that blends seamlessly into the top tube of the frame, and can be opened and refilled while riding. The only thing that's visible once the system is installed is the straw, which can be tucked neatly onto your aerobar extensions using an integrated magnet system. Then it's easy on, easy off. The syste, will come with two end valves - one is a bite valve that keeps water right at your lips, but you have to bite to access it, and an open valve that means no biting, but you do have to suck the liquid all the way from the reservoir to your mouth. I tested out the bite valve, and while it worked well, I'd go for the open valve next time. Or maybe experiment with a Camelbak-brand bite valve that I've used elsewhere with success.

It's AWESOME to be able to store water on the bike this way. It keeps things very simple, hidden, and is something Triathletes have wanted for a long time. For short-course racing, it's the only hydration you'll need on the bike. For Half-Iron and longer, I'd add a BTA bottle up front, and use the downtube bosses to mount an aerobottle to be used as a flat kit. Or, on really hot days, stuff a flat kit under my saddle and use the downtube cage for extra liquid.

Fit Philosophy

The Control Tower system allows aerodynamic stack adjustment without much hassle.

Why would you change the formula on one of the most successful bikes in triathlon? Specialized's answer is simple: to make it a better fit for the majority of triathletes. You see, while the original Shiv is an aerodynamic gem, its ultra-low stack made it a tricky fit for many. As you hay have seen on age-grouper bikes, many athletes had to resort to a large stack of pad spacers and a slammed-forward saddle to achieve their position. Basically, the original Shiv was designed around Fabian Cancellara, and triathletes had to make do. The new Shiv, on the other hand, is MUCH more flexible platform from a fit perspective.

To begin with, you can see there's a MUCH greater amount of frame stack on the new Shiv versus the original version. The head tube is quite a bit longer than the head tube on many similar bikes. For many triathletes, this makes much more sense than a super low base bar and a tower of risers for the arm cups. The drawback is that for those with fairly aggressive positions, the bikes may not get quite low enough with the stock aerobar. But these athletes can resort to other bars/stems to get themselves lower. I fall into this category. So for example, I'd probably chose a Medium Shiv, which matches my reach coordinate perfectly. But at its lowest setting, the bike would be 20mm too tall for me. So I'd have to use a different bar/stem combo. Alternatively, I could ride a size Small bike and get my exact stack measurement with the integrated aerobar, but then my bike would handle differently. I did ride a size Small for the test ride, and it handled fine, but I would have preferred my familiar bike for familiar handling.

The seat tube on the new Shiv telescopes at 77 degrees, and comes with two posts, both of which are flippable, to make positioning simple and easy. Effectively you get four different seatpost positions without ever having to adjust the post's head. The seatpost collar works just like on older Shiv models - a back cap with two bolts secures the post - easy as pie. It's a system that's been around for a long time, and works fine. In truth, I've come to prefer the one-bolt top-tube wedge systems (P4, Speed Concept, TM01), because one bolt is simpler to adjust than two. But to be fair, those systems can be problematic - both Trek and Cervelo have had to revise their wedges because the first-gen versions didn't work as expected. From Specialized's perspective, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? And not a bad path to take.

That's all about the bike's fit. Hit the jump for the full story on this bike's innovative new front-end.

Tags » hawaii2011,  shiv,  specialized
  • This was my test ride bike - a size Small in Project Black with Di2 and Zipp 404 Firecrest wheels.  Not a bad way to get acquainted with the new Shiv.
  • Here's the lovely front end on the new Shiv, with the 25mm spacer stack in place. I ended up removing the spacer to match my position, even though this is a size Small.  Down the road, I'd rather ride a size Medium, and put on a low-stack bar like the Easton Attack TT or the Felt Devox. Because the Shiv supports standard stems and bars natively, this will be an easy thing to do.
  • The rear half of the bike, including my trusty Dash Tri.7 Saddle.
  • The top-level Shiv bikes feature the phenomenal S-Works crankset, and all of the Shiv bikes feature OSBB (basically BB30).
  • The Project Black paint scheme features a lot of nude carbon - bravo, Spez!
  • Specialized now stocks many bikes with a chain catcher for convenience.  Great idea.
  • This is the top cap for the Fuelselage hydration system, it easily opens up for on-the-fly refilling, and works very well indeed.
  • Here's the stem cluster of the bike, with the Fuelselage and straw coming out of it.
  • The svelte frontal profile of the bike.  Although I complained about exposed cables, those things will disappear behind your arms, leaving the bike very clean indeed.  I also complained about the sidepull brake, but Mark Cote says it adds almost no drag.  Hmm, maybe I could rig this as a centerpull...
  • Because the bikes are ready to ship now, Specialized had a large fleet of bikes out, and available for test ride. This was only about a third of them.
  • The new Shiv in its native environment.
  • Above all, Specialized wants the bike to be easy to wrench, and it is -- a 4mm or 5mm hex wrench takes care of most of the bike's adjustment points.
  • Specialized wanted to show exactly how serious they are about the triathlon market, and brought their entire complement of sponsored triathletes to the launch, including powerhouse Rasmus Henning and two-time World Champion Chris McCormack.  And that's ITU star Simon Whitfield in the background.
  • There's Javier Gomez, Paula Findlay, and Ben Hoffman in the back.  Seriously, this room was FULL of talent.
  • Specialized Aerodynamicist Mark Cote was on hand explaining the philosophy behind the bike, and its unique set of features.
  • Does that front end look like a nosecone?  Well, it's exactly the same size and shape, but without the hassle of the original multi-part system.
  • This is a money shot of sorts - the 2012 Shiv is almost exactly as aerodynamic as its nosecone predecessor, but WAY easier to use.
  • Little features like the seatstays have been thoroughly thought-about. It features a flat outer wall and a rounded inner to create lift the same way as an airplane wing.
  • The new Fuelselage integrates hydration into the frame for easier drinking.
  • The Control Tower front end allows easy stack adjustment while maintaining superlative aerodynamics.
  • Mark unveiled a prototype gel holder + computer mount that isn't available yet, but will be on Rasmus Henning's bike for Kona.
  • The pod slides between the bars to create a great fit without adding drag.
  • The new Shiv is available at price points all the way down to the $3,000 Comp, with the same frame and features, with Sram Apex components.
  • Like the earlier Shiv, the rear brake is under the bottom bracket, and fed by a cable coming out of the downtube.
  • Two flippable seatposts provide a wide range of adjustment.
  • The semi-integrated stem bolts on with four countersunk bolts on top.
  • The stem has two fore-aft positions that put the stem at 60mm or 90mm in length, effectively.
  • Specialized had a cool cutaway frame showing how the Fuelselage bladder fits into the frame.
  • Another shot of the bar/stem/front-end combo, sans pads.
  • This is the Control Tower with 25mm spacer and fairing in back.  It keeps the look nice and clean.
  • The SRAM Red version of the bike comes with this sweet nude carbon + neon red paint scheme.
  • I dislike the idea of a sidepull brake, and think centerpulls look better, but it doesn't stick out all that much.
  • Because the fork has a regular steerer, you can actually bolt on any stem you like.
  • The integrated bar allows you to use any extension, and control its tilt, reach, and roll independently of the base bar. However, if you'd rather use your favorite aerobar, you can swap out the Shiv bar system, since it uses a standard fork - just bolt on your own stem and bars, and you're good to go.
  • The clever bladder system stays in the frame on its own, and locks in place with a little magnet on the under-side.
  • Another magnet holds the straw to your extensions, making it easy to use and then put back.
  • Shadow graphics on the seatpost make it easy to tell where your saddle height is.
  • The S-Works level bike comes in this insanely gorgeous nude carbon paint scheme.
  • Specialized had all these sweet cutaway sections of the bike to demonstrate how it works (this is their wind tunnel prototype).
  • The Control Tower with its tallest 50mm riser.

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