A couple of days ago, Specialized invited us into their German Headquarters in Holzkirchen to present us with some big News for 2014. They were excited to show us a new Saddle called “Toupe” and a new bike light called “Flux”, but what is perhaps the biggest announcement, and the one most eagerly anticipated by the industry is that Specialized will now be producing their tires in a 27.5 size, is there a new bike on the way?
The first product that Specialized ever produced was a bike tire, the foundations of the company rest on rubber, so it is no surprise that the US manufacturers want to regain their foothold in the market against giants like Schwalbe and Maxxis. Specialized have a dedicated team of Five engineers working together to design and develop new compounds and tread patterns
The biggest News for 2014 will be that Specialized will be offering the Butcher, Purgatory, Ground Control and Fast Track in 27,5″ too, perhaps an indication that they have a 27.5 bike about to be released
The customer will still have a choice of carcasses, including the lightweight “Control” Version, the “S-Works” Version specifically for racers and the “Grid” Version with Reinforced Sidewalls, designed to provide high stability. Specialized has also been working to reduce the weight of the Grid Carcass without losing stability.
With these changes Specialized aim to improve their position in the competitive tire market, giving customers the choice to run Specialized tires on their bikes, even if they don’t have a 27,5″ bike on the market right now.
S-Works Toupe Saddle
When the rider pedals, nerves are constricted between the saddle and the pelvic bone, it can create numbness in the perineal area. This is a problem that every rider knows. Another problem is the loss of blood flow. An artery runs right next to the nerve and if the artery is cut off, it can cause serious problems such as erectile disfunction.
If the blood flow stays above 50 percent while riding, the rider can be fairly sure that long-term damage will not occur. Below that level, scarring in the erectile tissues and a permanent reduction in erectile function could be an outcome.
Dr Roger Minkow is an expert in this field and has conducted many studies investigating a wide range of saddle brands and models. He observed that top pro cyclists can have blood flow reduced down to under 10 percent, because of compressed perineal arteries and nerves. From this research, Specialized developed the new S-Works Toupe Saddle.
other Features of this saddle are:
- Patented Body Geometry design is lab tested to assure blood flow to sensitive arteries.
- Increased padding, superlight EVA foam, based on pro rider feedback.
- Carbon shell does not flex or sag over time.
- Welded panels on the nose are low-friction for easier pedaling.
- Tonal graphics and subtle branding help the saddle fit on any brand of bike.
- Finishing touches on underside of the saddle are high end.
- Ultra-light and strong oversized FACT carbon rails
- Two sizes available: 143mm / 155mm
- Weight: 155g with 143mm
- Pricing: 229,90 Euro
Specialized Flux Bike Light
The biggest Innovation from Specialized at this presentation was the launch of the all new Bike Light called Flux. The light comes in an Aluminium housing with internal lithium batteries which can be charged by USB. The Customer has the choice between the the 3 LED model Flux Expert and the smaller 1 LED model Flux Elite.
The expert version comes with a remote switch for the handlebar and offers around 1200 Lumen. But Lumens are only half the equation, more important is the special reflector which keeps the light exactly where you need it – on the trail!
The Flux will be in the stores from autumn 2014. We don’t have the final pricing right now but it will be around 275$ for the Expert- and 175$ for the Elite-Version.
Words: Christoph Bayer / Trevor Worsey Pictures: Christoph Bayer