Specialized has never been one to rest on its laurels and the year 2006 product range released to the around 80 of the world's press at Santa Cruz, California, is no exception. The company announced the imminent release of new product headed by the S-Works Tarmac SL road bike based on Shimano Dura Ace - as ridden by the Gerolsteiner team - and the Ruby Pro carbon. Rather than change a good thing the S-WorksTarmac SL frame is basically the same as last year's model with most of the changes to the complete bike package centred on lighter equipment. Specialized have rejuventated the recalcitrant French Roval name on their 1550g wheelset, based on carbon clincher rims and large flange hubs. The new S-Works FACT SL dedicated two-piece carbon crankset the likes of which have never been seen on a production bike, is uber-stiff and will, so say Specialized, be available in compact configuration in the near future.
This all goes to make a bike that combines the sublime comfort of a Cannondale Six-13 and the willingness-to-go factor of the Scott CR1 or Giant TCR Advanced. We look forward to a full test though you'll have to wait 'til Jan 06 to get one.
The geometry of the Ruby Pro is specifically tuned to women and is distinguished from the regular geometry of the men's range by having a low standover height and a short top tube, and specially commissioned narrow carbon handlebars (down to 38cm width) for small riders.
The Specialized range of shoes now come in half sizes, and the new ARC optics using NXT Adaptalite lenses weigh a scant 16g. The Decibel helmet is now a lighter, stronger 3-piece construction and is available in 4 team colours inc Cofidis. The BG Pro bib shorts have the supplest lycra we've seen and there's two new BG saddles. The Toupe men's saddle comes in 2-width options (130mm or 143mm), weighs 155g and joins their existing 3-width Avatar Body Geometry range. The Jett womens saddle is new and sports a wider port mouth than the Avatar range.