This past Wednesday I wrote a post regarding the Shiv road bike that Specialized’s creative director Robert Egger has been riding on the the company’s famous lunch ride. Like many of you I was intrigued by the idea of taking a time trial bike – in this case the Shiv – and converting it to a road machine.
I wondered out loud how the Shiv frame would handle in a road situation and if there had been any modifications to the frame to make it more road-like. I e-mailed Robert and he was kind enough to respond to my questions.
Browne: I realize that the frame isn’t UCI legal, but how often do these one-off projects become reality?
Egger: We are always trying new ideas. I love to borrow (steal) ideas from other segments of our business. When we were working on the Shiv Tri I knew right away it could make an interesting road bike.
The shapes up close are really beautiful, the wind tunnel told us what the shapes needed to be. I felt the sheer size of the downtube would be a great canvas for a crazy graphic. I used our old 74′ graphic as a way to balance old and new. I like that tension in Design.
I like to do these exercises to make us think about what can BE. Our biggest enemy in the bike industry is complacency. We have to evolve and reinvent. Realistically one out of 10 make it. Probably not nearly enough…….
Browne: Was this Shiv road bike just a fun project or is it being used to test a possible new aero-type frame?
Egger: I will get in trouble if I say too much here. We are never satisfied with what we are doing today. For me this project was partly about making a cheater bike for our very competitive lunch race.
Browne: How does it ride?
Egger: I set the bike up with the same seat and bar position as my normal road bike (actually also a cheater bike). It rides quite well but certainly lacks the lively ride of an SL4. I find myself riding a gear higher with the same amount of energy. On the flats it’s a dream! I haven’t done any longer climbs but I felt no compromises on an undulating course.
Browne: Did you change to angles on the frame or fork to make the handling more “road bike like”?
Egger: Angles are per our existing Shiv geometry.
Egger also confirmed that the carbon fiber layup hadn’t changed and it was a standard Shiv production frame.
While Egger is coy about what features could dribble down into a road bike, I can imagine that the 2014 models and beyond will be Shiv influenced. Other bike companies are also embracing aerodynamics in their road frames: Scott Foil, Cervelo P3, Felt AR, Neil Pryde Alize…you get the point.
Just one more thought – can you imagine if the UCI’s 3:1 aero ratio rule didn’t exist? Seat stays with aero farings? Seatposts with whale tail spoilers? Pointy head tube? Hmmm…