Specialized Shiv Build

 Apr 30, 2013 article & images by Nick Salazar

  • Specialized Shiv Pro
  • Shimano Ultegra Di2
  • Lightning 165mm crankset
  • Fibre-Lyte chainrings
  • Saddle:
    Dash Tri.7
    Dash Stage.9 + integrated post
  • Wheels:
    FLO Cycling 60/90
    Dash Cycles Custom
  • TriRig components:
    Omega SV brakes
    Alpha aerobars
    Gamma extensions
    Sigma stem
    Mercury pedals
The TriRig Specialized Shiv build. As shown, it's just over 16 lbs, and that's with the beefy Ultegra Di2 mechs. Swapping to Dura-Ace Di2 9070 should get this bike into the 15 lbs range.

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.

Build Philosophy

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.

This build was a labor of love, and in my opinion it doesn't get much better than this.

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!

  • This is the TriRig build of the Specialized Shiv. In this shot it's shown with the stock Specialized seat post, a Dash Tri.7 saddle, and FLO Cycling wheels (60 front, 90 rear).
  • With the components in this picture, the bike comes in at exactly 18.7 lbs. Not bad at all, but hey, this is TriRig! We can do better.
  • Now, if we swap out those wheels and use an integrated Dash Cycles seatpost/saddle combo, the weight drops a LOT. See the next picture to find out just how much.
  • As pictured here, the bike weighs a scant 16.3 lbs. That's right, it lost nearly two-and-a-half POUNDS! And that's with Ultegra Di2. That's a function of the FLO wheels being on the heavy side, and the Dash/ENVE wheelset being very, very, VERY light. The next change on the horizon for this bike will be an upgrade from Ultegra Di2 to Dura-Ace Di2. That'll put the weight in the 15's. With Di2. That's incredible.
  • This same image was published in our recent article on the Alpha aerobar, but it bears repeating here. In my opinion, the Shiv is an incredible machine whose full potential isn't realized with the stock hardware. With the upgrades of the TriRig Omega brake, Sigma stem, and Alpha aerobar, this bike is an absolute monster. The frontal profile is at a minimum, and not a single cable sticks out in the wind. This is my idea of what a tri bike should be.
  • To keep things ultra-clean, I modified the frame with a little port for the Di2 wires, so they could exit directly from the TriRig Sigma stem and into the frame. This action clearly voids any warranty, and isn't endorsed by Specialized, so don't try this at home. But the benefit was being able to stuff everything I didn't want into the frame.
  • As seen here, the Di2 adjustment box is still accessible via a window at the top of the Sigma stem. So all functionality was maintained, and all the cables hidden. Win-win.
  • And here's another shot of how the Di2 cables exit the Sigma stem and enter the frame.
  • I'm a huge sucker for nude carbon, which is why virtually every component on this bike has some.
  • One of the great things about standard, non-proprietary interfaces is that everything here can be easily adjusted, maintained, or broken down for travel with very little effort. Although this looks like a completely integrated front end, every part is completely modular, replaceable, and won't leave you in a bind if something were to go wrong during race week.
  • Another thing I love about the Shiv: it uses BB30 (Specialized still calls it OSBB, but they're now identical). This means I get to use my favorite crankset, the Lightning SL. This one is 165mm - I switched to 165's about two years ago, and never looked back. I slapped on the equally-awesome Fibre-Lyte chainrings and the TriRig Mercury pedals. I don't think there's a lighter production crankset/pedal combo anywhere.
  • The Dash Tri.7 was the obvious choice for the Shiv. Also shown in this gallery is an integrated Dash seatpost/saddle combo, which saves about 50 grams.
  • And yes, after so many of you demanded it, I developed a version of the Omega brake just for the Shiv (and other bikes that use the same two-post TRP mount). These will be available in a couple months.
  • The Shiv-compatible Omega, called the Omega SV, works front and rear. A lot of riders will appreciate how easy it is to adjust versus the stock brake. And the BB cover plate is still accessible with the brake on - I'll explain it all when the brake is closer to production.
  • The Shiv front end.
  • This is the Dash Cycles seatpost/saddle combo. The combo reduces frontal area and weight while still providing tilt and setback adjustment. Just make sure you know and love the Dash saddle you're using first, before taking the plunge.
  • These Dash combos are not for the feint of wallet, but they are one of the coolest things I've seen in a while, and another testament to the creative genius living at Dash Cycles.
  • Dash has recently revised the retention mechanism for their seatpost/saddle combos, to make things a little easier to use. Now all the bolts are accessed from the top, and none from the side.
  • The Dash Cycles Gretchen is like the Holy Grail of disc wheels. At 770g, it's incredibly light, and the 21mm rim width is a nice middle ground between traditional narrow rims and the new wave of wider, big-tire-friendly wheels.
  • And our last secret weapon in the war on grams: the incredibly exotic Tune U20 skewers. They weigh just 21 grams FOR THE PAIR. Yep, twenty one grams. For comparison, a set of Dura-Ace 9000 skewers weighs 127 grams. We are going to publish a little skewer shootout in a few weeks.

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