After weeks of speculation, Specialized have launched the new triathlon-specific Shiv frame at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, and announced it will be the race bike of two-time Ironman world champion Craig Alexander.
The original Specialized Shiv was launched in Hawaii two years ago before a UCI-legal version (now called the Shiv TT) hit the mass market, but the 2012 Shiv tears up the UCI rulebook with a radical triathlon-specific shape.
The new Shiv breaches current UCI regulations in at least eight ways: the head tube, down tube, base bar, fork and seat post all exceed the UCI's maximum 3:1 ratio for tube cross sections; the seat stays are placed too low on the frame; the saddle nose is less than 50mm behind the bottom bracket and there's even an illegal fairing behind the stem.
The Specialized Shiv Di2 model
The tube shapes have been optimised to cope with crosswinds - which should be put to the test by Craig Alexander in Kona - and the new integrated drink system means there’s no need for drag-creating bottles on the frame. The 'Fuelselage', as Specialized has dubbed it, is a bladder that fits inside the downtube and can be refilled via a port on the top tube, apparently even while on the move. Its capacity is approximately one bottle - exact volume varies with frame size, according to Specialized. The drinking valve can be attached to anywhere on the bike with a magnetic mount.
From what we've seen, the new bike will be more aerodynamic than the Shiv TT at yaw angles greater than around 7.5 degrees. In practice that means wind conditions seen by most non-elite riders in crosswinds (the faster you go, the lower the effective yaw angle you'll see in a given crosswind).
A look inside the downtube
The Shiv's size range and fit options mean riders of almost any size will be able to find a frame to fit. This is different from the previous model's 'one standover height to rule them all' approach, which requires varying numbers of spacers underneath the extensions to get the desired height. There are now five different frame sizes, from XS (top tube 48.5cm) to XL (top tube 58.5cm), a height and length adjustable stem and a reversible seat post.
The bike will be available with five build options: Shiv S-Works Di2 with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 shifting and Zipp 404 Firecrest clinchers, Shiv Pro with SRAM Red and DT Axis 2.0 wheels, Shiv Expert with Shimano Dura-Ace, Ultegra and 105 drivetrain and DT Axis 2.0 wheels, Shiv Comp Rival with SRAM Apex and Rival shifting and DT Axis 2.0 wheels and the alloy framed (and UCI legal) Shiv Elite A1 Apex with SRAM Apex and DT Axis 1.0 wheels. The S-Works Shiv will also be offered as a module, including crankset, brake calipers, bars and seat post, while the Shiv Pro will be available as a frameset, including brake calipers and seat post.
Pricing and availability haven't been confirmed yet but we anticipate the new Shivs will be significantly cheaper than their predecessors.
We'll have more info as it becomes available.