In the lead up to the 40th anniversary of original Ironman event, the worlds best triathletes have been congregating on the big island of Hawaii. Along with some of the best athletes, it will be an exhibition of the best tri bikes – including a number of new models launched for just this occasion. It would seem that Specialized is joining in on the speed fest with a new bike of their own – the new S-Works Shiv Disc.
A far cry from the carbon Transition they launched in 2008 or the first generation Shiv in 2011, the new Shiv Disc strikes quite the profile. In 2018 and beyond, designing triathlon bikes means finding a way to not only make the bikes faster, but also to integrate more storage. We’ve heard it before – if you start with a fast bike, but then have to tape or strap a bunch of crap to it to make it through the ride, you’re losing out on performance.
To address those needs, the new Shiv includes two different Fuelcells with one for hydration and one for bars, chews, or gels. Specialized states that their athletes wanted a way to be able to carry enough hydration and food to bypass the aid stations for the first half of the bike leg. To allow that, the Shiv features a massive 1.5L/50oz storage tank that mounts behind the seat tube. From there, a hose routes up front and appears to be internally routed until it pokes out by the aero bars for fast, integrated hydration.
Of course, the Fuelcell is also shaped to improve aerodynamics so you get your water and get a faster bike at the same time.
For your solid (or gel) fuel, there is a nutrition Fuelcell in the downtube which will fit 4-5 bars, 5-6 packs of chews, or 10-12 gels. The Fuelcell can also be removed so you can store a flat kit in the downtube, below the Fuelcell. Additionally, bosses on the seat tube and top tube allow for additional storage options to fine tune your set up, carry extra bottles, etc.
Up front, Specialized states that the bike was optimized for Kona since it’s the biggest race of the year, so the new Shiv is designed to perform exceptionally well in the crosswinds the Island is known for. The result is a pretty interesting fork with legs that extend all the way up to the top of the head tube and a base bar that is integrated into the fork.
That base bar has a pretty nifty trick in that it offers three different positions without affecting aerodynamics. And when you’re ready to travel with the bike, loosening five bolts will allow them to drop to the side of the fork legs for easy packing. On race day, simply tighten those same bolts and your fit is perfectly preserved. In total, there is 115mm of pad stack adjustment and plenty of pad reach adjustment to complement the Retül-driven fit with four sizes available to fit a wide range of riders. The aerobars also use the industry standard 22.2mm extensions to allow for customization of your fit.
Specialized claims that the resulting bike is almost a minute faster than the fastest 2011 Shiv setup possible. But compare it to the average Shiv set up (without the Fuelcell, Slammed bars, cleanest cable routing, and BTA bottle), and the new Shiv is several minutes faster around the Kona course.
Of course, the Shiv Disc will rely on disc brakes with flat mount calipers front and rear – which is part of what allows for the clever fork design. We know for sure that the S-works Shiv Disc is Di2 compatible, and would assume that it’s also compatible with mechanical drivetrains, though full details of the build options have yet to be released.
The initial run of S-Works Shiv Disc models will be limited to just 500 individually numbered bikes which include custom travel cases – and a price tag of $14,000. Minus the six bikes that will make their Kona debut under Specialized pro athletes, the rest of the bikes will be available for pre-order until October 31st and can be reserved on the Specialized site. And by reserved, they mean you, the rider, can pre-order it directly, but with delivery likely going to your local Big S dealer in about five months.