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As the 2020 road season kicks off with the Tour Down Under, south-eastern Australia is shellshocked and smoke-choked by the bushfires that continue to rage across the country. A land area larger than Belgium has been lost to the fires, and some estimates have put the wildlife death toll at more than a billion animals (yes, with a ‘b’), with many more injured and in need of care.
Which isn’t the way that you’d normally expect news of a product release to kick off, and yet, here we are.
Specialized’s Down Under Collection for 2020 is specifically designed to draw attention to the cause of Australia’s beleaguered wildlife, with a jaunty blue and yellow palette inspired by the Australian budgie.
The product release is backed by Specialized’s generous donation of $150,000AUD to the WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue Organisation.
On which note, if you’re not in the market for anything from Specialized’s new range, you both can and should donate to the cause here: wires.org.au
Onto the tech!
A handful of products get the special treatment in this year’s Down Under Collection. The headliner is arguably the Allez Sprint Disc, a limited-edition frameset that will also be in action in Sunday’s curtain-raising Schwalbe Classic criterium under riders from Bora-hansgrohe and Deceuninck-QuickStep including Jay McCarthy and Sam Bennett. It retails for $1,800AUD/US$1,500.
The limited-edition S-Works 7 road shoes ($550AUD) feature a royal blue heel cup and a yellow to blue fade across the inside panel of the shoe that mimics the plumage across the chest of a budgie.
The Down Under range also includes a lightweight, UV-resistant and exceedingly cute cycling cap – not currently listed on the Australian webstore, but apparently available at the Specialized pop-up store at the TDU – as well as some cheerful yellow socks ($25AUD) and S-Works Prevail II and Evade helmets, both equipped with the ANGi crash detection system.