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by James Huang
October 23, 2020
Photography by Specialized
In news that will surprise precisely no one, Specialized has today announced that its latest S-Works Aethos ultralight — and ultra-expensive — road bike will be joined by two additional versions that are slightly heavier, but far, far less outrageously priced than the flagship model.
Both the Pro and Expert versions of the Aethos are built with nearly-identical molds to the S-Works model, so the overall look and feel will be nearly the same as well. Claimed stiffness and compliance figures are unchanged, too, and the weight isn’t all that different, either. Despite the more budget-friendly blend of carbon fibers and lay-up schedule, Specialized claims both the Pro and Expert frames will weigh in at just 699 grams for a 56 cm sample.
That’s about 100 grams heavier than the S-Works version, but still impressively light for a “mid-range” model, and according to Specialized road category leader Stewart Thompson, offers the “same experience, same feeling, the same connection.” If true, that would make for a pretty enticing proposition.
One key difference from the S-Works version is that the Pro and Expert frames are designed to work with both electronic and mechanical drivetrains, using the same convertible down tube port as the Tarmac SL6. Both bikes are still disc-only, though, and carry the same 125 kg (275 lb) rider weight limit.
Starting today, Specialized is offering the Aethos Pro and Expert in several build kits.
The Aethos Pro Ultegra Di2 comes equipped with — duh — a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset, an S-Works carbon bar and forged aluminum stem, a Roval Alpinist carbon fiber seatpost, and Roval Alpinist CL carbon clinchers for US$7,400 / AU$10,750 / £7,250 / €8,000. Alternatively, the Aethos Pro SRAM Force eTap AXS is priced nearly the same (or just slightly higher, depending on region) and features identical finishing kit, but comes with a SRAM wireless setup instead of the wired Shimano one.
The Aethos Expert comes with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset, an aluminum bar and stem, a carbon fiber seatpost, and DT Swiss R470 wheels for US$5,200 / AU$n/a / £5,500 / €5,800.
There’s also the Pro/Expert frameset for DIYers, for US$3,200 / AU$n/a / £n/a / €3,400.
Want more information? Head over to www.specialized.com.
The Specialized Aethos Pro comes in a couple of different colors and in your choice of two different groupsets.
According to Specialized, the only performance difference between the S-Works and the Pro/Expert models is about 100 grams of additional weight.
Although Specialized is only offering the Aethos Pro and Expert models with electronic drivetrains, both will work with mechanical ones, too.
If SRAM Force eTap AXS or Shimano Ultegra Di2 aren’t to your liking, keep in mind that you can buy this as a bare frame, too.
I’m digging this pink paint job.
The main difference between the Pro and Expert versions is the wheelset. The higher-end model comes with Roval carbon clinchers, while the “entry-level” model is equipped with DT Swiss aluminum wheels.
Baby blue. Yes.