The earth-shatteringly lightweight Specialized Aethos has very quickly added two new models. They’re more affordable, and they’re both still really light. The Aethos Pro and Aethos Expert road bikes share the same new molds and tube shapes, but use a slightly more standard layup to bring prices starting at less than half of the S-Works’ $12,500 sticker.
Part of the price drop comes from stepping the groups down a notch, to Shimano Ultegra Di2 and SRAM Force eTap, but it’s still only spec’d with electronic shifting. That, and the spec across the bike becomes a little more “normal”. But, there are some key differences with the carbon, so we’ll start there…
What’s different between S-Works and Pro/Expert Aethos?
Do the different Aethos models have different frames? Well, yes and no. They’re made in the same molds, and use all the same tube shapes. And the technology story is basically the same, so we recommend checking out the Aethos S-Works launch coverage to get a sense of what makes this bike special.
The key differences between the Aethos S-Works bikes and the Pro & Expert models is the quality and quantity of carbon used, and the addition of ports for mechanical shift cables.
To accomplish the latter, they placed a cable entry port near the front of the downtube, added a window in the BB area to guide routing and provide an exit for the front derailleur cable, and a cable stop for the rear that bolts into a hidden threaded insert (the cable runs externally from the BB, under the chainstay).
The S-Works bikes use FACT 12r carbon, Specialized’s best material, with an absolute minimum of overlap or “lazy fibers” that aren’t directly under tension and serving a purpose.
With the Pro and Expert models, they step it down to FACT 10r carbon. Which, honestly, used to be the top level a few years ago, so it’s not much of a downgrade. But, there’s a bit more ply overlap, and less of the expensive high modulus material, which results in slightly thicker tube walls.
The result is a size 56 painted frame that comes in at a claimed 699g. That’s only 134g heavier than the much, much more expensive S-Works models, and still lighter than most anything else out there. It has the same 275lb rider weight limit, and, Specialized says, the same ride quality and stiffness as the S-Works bikes.
Specialized Aethos road bike specs, pricing & weights
One of the really nice features of this bike is the lack of proprietary spec. In fact, about the only thing that’s truly proprietary is the front brake mount. The launch coverage shows a fork cutaway diagram as an example, but, basically, by creating a custom flat mount adapter specifically for 160mm rotors, they shaved about 20 total grams out of the system.
You can even remove the front derailleur hanger if you’re building up the frameset with a 1x drivetrain. Just add the included cover plate and you’ll still save a few more grams.
Other things that make ownership easy include a standard BSA threaded bottom bracket, standard tapered headtube, standard stem and steerer interface, and standard 12×100 and 12×142 thru axles with standard flat mount disc brakes. It’s almost like a good ol’ regular… wait for it …road bike. Only lighter. And with 700×32 tire clearance.
Specialized Aethos prices, specs & weights
The Aethos Pro comes in two versions, one with SRAM Force eTap AXS (shown above) and one with Shimano Ultregra Di2 (below), each available in dark metallic blue or blush rose colors.
Both cost $7,400 and come equipped with the Roval Alpinist CL wheelset with Turbo Gripton 700×26 tires, neither of which are tubeless ready. The cockpit is an Alpinist seatpost, Specialized Power Pro saddle, and S-Works Carbon handlebar and alloy stem.
Aethos Expert model claimed weights are 6.82kg (15.06lb) for the Force build, and 6.58kg (14.5lb) for Ultegra.
The Specialized Aethos Pro comes in Ice Blue Fade and Red Tint Carbon, both built with Shimano Ultegra Di2 and retailing for $5,200.
Spec changes include a Specialized Expert alloy handlebar and DT Swiss R470 wheels, with a Power Expert saddle. But, it keeps the top-level Alpinist seatpost and S-Works Turbo Gripton 700×26 tires. Claimed weight is 7.41kg (16.31lbs).
An Aethos 10r frameset, which includes the fork, headset and Alpinist seatpost, retails for $3,200.
So, how does it ride? We just got our test bike built & weighed (it’s light!), stay tuned for a review…