Ok, so it was only last July that we featured elite Danish cross country racer Annika Langvad’s Specialized S-Works Era when she won the XC World Championship. But a new World Cup XCO season is upon us and Annika has started off the racing right with another convincing win in Nové Město. She’s traded in her champion of Denmark red & white kit for the rainbow stripes of the World Champ, but her bike itself is for the most part unchanged, outside of a deep glossy, sparkly new paint job, new fork, new brakes, and 30g…
It sure feels like a lot of the pro bikes we are featuring in Europe lately have S-Works written on the downtube, but there’s not much we can do when they keep turning up on the top of the podium. (Don’t worry we have some other nice, non-Specialized bikes in store as well.)
Annika Langvad’s S-Works Era was clearly the fastest bike of the day as she took off early in the race and seemed to easily how off chasers with a minute’s gap for most of the race.
Cleaned up after the race, her S-Works Era was shining with a build similar to last summer. Key departures were a RockShox SID fork with Specialized Brain internals vs. last year’s inverted RS-1, then the hi-vis yellow Magura MT8 brakes over last season’s SRAM Level stoppers.
Fresh off the course Langvad’s bike was dusty after forecast rain never really materialized. That worked well with the her Specialized tire combo of a Renegade out back and a Fast Track in front. That’s the same combo as last year, but the tires are no longer prototypes, and something we can get ahold of as well.
The UCI was out in force in Nové Město na Moravě, scanning pretty much every bike as it entered the paddock at the start of the race. But that wasn’t enough and Annika’s bike got another once over after the race to make sure no motors were hiding inside.
Besides a S-Works SL bar & stem, Langvad got plenty of customization besides her name painted behind the headtube. She had a healthy dose of light finishing kit from Carbon-Ti, plus smooth rolling CeramicSpeed kit everywhere you looked. A ceramic headset with a low profile bearing cover helped keep her front end low on the 29er.
You can’t get much more shine out of a downtube logo. Then, her relatively compact front triangle gets a sideloader carbon bottle cage to keep the Dane hydrated through the race.
With a gold XX1 Eagle group Langvad opted for a 32T X-Sync chainring (with a CeramicSpeed bottom bracket hiding behind it.)
Her chain was fast rolling too, with her mechanic keeping the S-Works Era’s drivetrain running smooth with CeramicSpeed’s wax+Teflon chain lube. It seems to hold up to a bit more than an hour of dusty racing well, even after the bike got a good post-win wash down.
Langvad has switched her perch to the Specialized S-Works Power saddle which is said to offer a comfortable position on the nose for those all-out efforts. More weight weenie kit from Carbon-Ti keeps her seatpost in check. Then she also makes a switch in pedals. She rolls again on Shimano pedals. And it looks like a personal choice, as these are the previous generation M-980s, and a decently worn set at that.
We threw her bike up on the same scale that weighed it last summer, and the difference was just 30g – 10.38kg (22.88lb). Langvad’s mechanics thought the sparkly silver paint might have added more than that, so it is likely a few changes in components.
In any case the new bike seems to have treated her well, and this likely isn’t the last race for this bike to win under its rainbow-striped rider. No World Champion curse for Langvad.