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by Dave Rome
July 3, 2019
Photography by Specialized
It’s a bike we’ve spotted on and off over the past few months. Deceuninck–Quick-Step’s Yves Lampaert won the time trial at the Tour de Suisse on it, and it has also collected three national time trial championships. And now Specialized is ready to talk about the new Shiv TT Disc.
“In a hypothetical 40 km TT, the new Shiv TT Disc creates essentially the same drag as the previous Shiv, which is the most aerodynamic, UCI-legal bike in the world,” announced the press release.
For a bike that’s the most aero-focussed offering from a company that coined the term “#aeroiseverything”, it’s surprising to hear the new model is not more aerodynamic than its predecessor. Instead the new Shiv TT Disc has seemingly taken a few lessons from the latest crop of aero road bikes, and shifts the design focus to reduce weight, improve frame stiffness, add compliance, and assist with real-world handling.
While the new Shiv TT Disc shares some obvious similarities with the triathlon-specific S-Works Shiv Disc announced last year, it is its own design, and one that weaves its way around the UCI’s restrictions. Most notably, while it’s the status quo for time trial bikes to push extended aerofoil shapes to the limit, the new Shiv TT Disc has noticeably more truncated shaping throughout. This is made most obvious by the vacant space behind the seat tube.
Plenty in this picture isn’t what you’d expect of a bike with the sole purpose of racing against the clock.
This simpler seat tube affords reduced weight, improved ride quality and greater frame stiffness – but it relies on a disc wheel to achieve ideal aerodynamics. For this, Specialized has optimised the Shiv TT Disc for use with its own Roval 321 Disc wheel, and reading between the lines, the bike isn’t likely to retain its benchmark speed if used with a regular non-disc wheel.
That seat tube hosts the same seat post as used on the new Venge, which happens to be lighter, more compliant and, according to Specialized, just as fast as the skinniest post the UCI rules allow for. “We learned that a seatpost any narrower than our Venge post is harsh and heavy,” says Specialized, “and it’s not any more aero with a rider in the saddle.”
The new Shiv TT is designed as a disc-only platform, and Specialized has no plans to add a rim-brake version. As seen with other disc-only platforms, such as Specialized’s own Venge or the Giant Propel Disc, focussing on discs allows for a fresh take on design and reducing drag in other ways. For example, the radically dropped and horizontal-facing seatstays and smooth fork crown area.
The Venge seatpost also provides a clean place for the Shimano Di2 junction box. SRAM users will find a place for the Blipbox under the handlebar.
With the move to disc brakes, daylight shining between the seat tube, and the new seatstay design, the new Shiv TT offers room for up to 28mm tyres. Additionally, the frame offers a removable front derailleur hanger that mounts from the back of the seat tube – offering the option for a clean 1x setup. And given mechanical shifting typically sucks with the long cable runs found on time trial bikes (nor does it allow for multiple shifter placements), the frame is designed for electronic gearing only.
While the down tube is the largest tube on the bike, Specialized suggests it “matters more for stiffness and weight than it does for aerodynamics”. The now stiffer and lighter down tube joins with an English-threaded bottom bracket.
The four frame sizes all feature revised reach with a similar stack, while the wheelbases are now marginally longer, too. A new one-piece handlebar and stem is said to be greatly stiffer and more adjustable than before, all while retaining the industry standard 22.2mm bores for use with popular extensions. Additionally, the new seat tube is now steeper and turns the Venge’s 20mm offset post into an effective 0mm offset, with the actual 0mm offset post option offering a more Tri-friendly +20mm forward offset.
Cable routing paths and ease of fit adjustment have been considered too, and Specialized has claimed that Deceuninck–Quick-Step mechanics are now able to build a bike in a third of the time compared to the previous Shiv.
All told, the new Shiv TT is said to be 500g lighter (total weight not quoted), 200g of which is in the new integrated cockpit. However, there’s surely some weight gain due to the disc brakes, and so as a complete bike we suspect the overall weight saved will be in the 200g range. Still, Specialized claims that in simulations the new lighter and stiffer Shiv TT Disc should have been 10 seconds faster on Stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia that finished with a 12.8km climb – unfortunately not enough given Deceuninck–Quick-Step’s Bob Jungels finished over a minute down on the new bike.
The new Shiv is expected to make its official debut under Deceuninck–Quick-Step and Bora-Hansgrohe riders on Stage 2 of the 2019 Tour de France. And while pricing has yet to be announced, the S-Works Shiv TT Disc will be in stores at the beginning of 2020. It will be sold as a frameset module or as a complete bike featuring a SRAM Red eTap AXS 1x groupset and Roval CLX 64 wheels and a Roval 321 Disc.