Specialized champion ride experience with 5.9 kg S-Works Aethos

Press release


The creation of our Aethos road bike started with a question: “What if?”

 

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What if we built a bike focused around the purest imaginable road riding experience? What if we built a bike to maximize the timeless moments where everything disappears and human and machine become one. We all know these moments, the ones where we lose ourselves in the reverence of dancing up a climb or telepathically carving through a turn, where we feel liberated from the constraints that surround everyday life and the miles just melt into hours.

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The Ride Of Your Life


There are riders out there that yearn for more than racing, that see the experiences of the open road as an equivalent to toeing a start line. The demands of this sophisticated rider equal that of any racer, for where racers want for speed, these riders demand a package that accounts for everything else, too. Sprightly climbs towards the clouds, wicked descents on the other side—they demand superior handling and an unrivaled ride from a bike that’s the epitome of quality, performance, and style.

 

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Break The Rules


While this endeavour would allow us to apply everything that we’ve learned about making bikes over the last half-century, the goal was not to adhere to any of our preconceived notions around building them. But where would this take us?

 

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We’re as well-versed in the norms of cycling culture as we are in the rules of the UCI, after all, yet neither of these confines would have any bearing on our process. That’s because we see creating this instrument of transcendent bike experiences as being far more important.

 

It was hard for many people here to wrap their heads around a high-performance road bike that wasn’t focused on racing. We were afraid that the project would meet resistance and get cancelled, so our team worked in relative secrecy for over a year. No one knew about the project until the design was finalized, and we were making our first frames. ROAD + GRAVEL CATEGORY LEADER - Stewart Thompson

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Billions Of Calculations In Pursuit Of One Thing – The Perfect Ride


Flipping The Script On How We Build Bikes

 

We know that shape contributes to the vast majority of a bike’s performance, and that’s why Aethos was born from a “Eureka” moment in the test lab. Our engineers studied the flexing and breathing of carbon frames in the pedaling test rig, and they realized the industry’s understanding of how forces flow through a frame was incomplete and ripe for massive improvements. We used staggeringly large supercomputer simulations—more than any humans can do in a lifetime—to subtly alter round tube shapes. This made their shapes more conical in key areas to deliver huge gains in stiffness and balance with the minimum amount of material. There’s nothing extra here except more stability and integrity.

 

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Just so we’re clear, this is a shape story of how and why the shapes work within this bike. The outcome of Aethos represents an entirely new way of designing bikes. Why’s this really cool? Because it will shape how we build all of our bikes moving forward.

 

No Lazy Fibers


Now, if the vast majority of the frame’s performance is dictated by shape, then the remainder plays itself out in the actual materials used and the manner in which they are connected—the frame’s layup.

 

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Continuing to study how these frames move under load helped determine that there were too many “stiffness layers” (or extra plies) added in the creation of traditional frames. So, with these new tube shapes, we needed an entirely new way to lay-up frames. Thankfully, it’s one which resulted in reducing the number of needed plies by 11% compared to the S-Works SL6 (which was known for being pretty damn great already). By utilizing larger, longer, and more continuous, unbroken plies, we were able to achieve more consistent positioning than on any frame we’ve made before.

 

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The interesting thing to note is that the wall thicknesses of the tubes, themselves, are substantial throughout the frame, but because of the smaller number of the stiffness layers, the overall weight went down significantly. The only thing along for the ride should be you.

 

The first frame was 545 grams. We put it on the test machine and the frame behaved so beautifully—it was so stable. We only had to add 10 grams, and we could test-ride the frame. That was the moment we knew we had discovered something big. AETHOS ENGINEERING LEAD Peter Denk

 

Stiffness To Weight Number Defines Efficiency


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Accidentally Illegal


We chased ride quality with Aethos, not a number. That said, we know a light, stiff, and balanced bike is magic at the pedals. The result, however, is the lightest disc road frame ever produced, with no gimmick builds and a weight as light as 5.9kg. Aethos is very illegal in some racing circles, yet it’s still rated for a 275-pound rider and possesses all the telepathic handling, response, and stiffness targets that you’ve come to expect from every bike we make. (Psst – don’t tell the UCI).

 

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The New Modern Road Bike Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts


To say that “everything has been considered with this bike” would be an understatement. We spent weeks upon weeks iterating, designing, and obsessing over every piece of the puzzle. But with the rider at the centre of the conversation, our goal was to make a bike that would fit your riding lifestyle— not the other way around.

 

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Threaded Bottom Bracket

SWAethos_Fork_Clearance.jpg32mm Tire Clearance
SWAethos_Seattube_Cluster.jpg27.2mm Seatpost

 

Perfection Is In The Details


From dropouts to derailleur hangers, no gram was overlooked. The same can be said about the approach of our partners at Roval Components. They’ve been working towards the same North Star of ride quality, and the 1284-gram Alpinist wheels and new Alpinist bar/stem combo were tailor-made for Aethos and the ride of your life.

 

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Alpinist CLX

SWAethos_Thru_Axle.jpgRedesigned Thru Axle
SWAethos_Seatpost.jpgAlpinist Seatpost

 

Founder’s Edition


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We celebrate every new platform we introduce with a Founder’s Edition. Limited to 300 bikes globally, this is the lightest build on offer, and it features an exclusive, stunning paint scheme with colour-matching finishes on some of the more unique parts. This S-Works Aethos includes the lightest Shimano Di2 componentry, the Roval Alpinist bar/stem combo cockpit (the first production bike to feature these), and upgraded CeramicSpeed bottom bracket and pulley wheels.

 

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89 Comments

Waynemol, Oct 08 2020 06:15

Wow just 200 grand

Knersboy, Oct 08 2020 07:14

It is like a super model, I am never gonna have one but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy looking at it.

Jewbacca, Oct 08 2020 07:35

This bike is beautiful. I want one. I know I shouldn't want one, but I do.

Vetplant, Oct 08 2020 07:39

Please Lotto..... Please pick my numbers... That's the only way I will ride this.

I like the explanation of the process.

It is what everyone has been waiting for, serious optimization of the carbon fibre layups.

Andreas_187, Oct 08 2020 07:45

The first photo of someone overtaking the 5.9kg bike up a climb wins a prize!
Seriously though, it's a beautiful bike

DieselnDust, Oct 08 2020 07:50

I just can't get excited about a bike that costs this much. I applaud the achievement but the price is just ....cynical

Rocket-Boy, Oct 08 2020 07:56

The thing about this bike that does it for me, is that you know Specialized. 

You know their bikes are expensive and you know they are all about the marketing.

...

You also know that no matter how much you want to hate them, that they make some exceptional products.

 

Sure its not the lightest you can build and you could get the same weight for cheaper, but you are not going to make as complete a package as this bike.

 

I think its awesome.

Christie, Oct 08 2020 08:12

Time for the UCI weight limit to go to 5 kg

shaper, Oct 08 2020 08:39

Nice looking bike!

Perhaps the flood gates will now open and more bike manufacturers will go weight weenie on frames.

Will be interesting to see this development!

Andreas_187, Oct 09 2020 12:29

The R200k S-Works is actually a claimed weight of 6.1kg. The Founders edition is 5.9kg but that will cost a staggering £13,000

Veebee, Oct 09 2020 08:18

For much less, you can build this [which looks pretty much the same] with top spec lightweight carbon goodies, and get it well below 6kg.

 

https://www.chapter2...uru/matt-orange

 

Frame - R60k landed

Gruppo - Sram Red 22 still about the lightest - R30k

Wheels / Bars / stem / saddle and few extra's - R60k

 

R50k in your pocket for another build :whistling:

Waynemol, Oct 09 2020 08:21

For much less, you can build this [which looks pretty much the same] with top spec lightweight carbon goodies, and get it well below 6kg.

 

https://www.chapter2...uru/matt-orange

 

Frame - R60k landed

Gruppo - Sram Red 22 still about the lightest - R30k

Wheels / Bars / stem / saddle and few extra's - R60k

 

R50k in your pocket for another build :whistling:

but you can't tell your mates on the golf course that you have the most expensive Sworks on your Range Rover

Jewbacca, Oct 09 2020 08:29

For much less, you can build this [which looks pretty much the same] with top spec lightweight carbon goodies, and get it well below 6kg.

 

https://www.chapter2...uru/matt-orange

 

Frame - R60k landed

Gruppo - Sram Red 22 still about the lightest - R30k

Wheels / Bars / stem / saddle and few extra's - R60k

 

R50k in your pocket for another build :whistling:

Isn't Chapter a catalogue bike?

 

I get what you are saying, but weight isn't the only metric that makes this bike 'cool'. 

 

One thing Spaz do very well is R and D. So their bikes work. Love to hate them, but they have bikes for all price points, most avenues of riding and pretty much all of them flex where they are meant to and don't where they are not supposed to.

 

One could definitely build a lighter bike. That Cannondale Alu frame built up at around 6kg with all the right bits.

 

Ride quality is also important, especially when you are paying so much.

 

I would choose this over a catalogue bike any day of the week. It has literally been designed from the ground up so that the cafe racers and social group riders can brag about their bike.

 

This bike makes no sense!

 

It isn't aero, it isn't race legal. It is purely an ego booster/superbike for a mamil.

 

That is why it pains me to admit that I want one, despite knowing that it will just highlight the lack of schlong in my bibshorts and make me feel like a hero while I climb one of Cape Town many fake hills slowly... But feeling like a hero nonetheless.

Kranswurm, Oct 09 2020 08:39

Beautiful.Its a crime to put cages and bottles on it.

Pure Savage, Oct 09 2020 08:42

Or you could just buy a Cannondale 2018 Super six evo for R30k.

Kranswurm, Oct 09 2020 08:49

Or you could just buy a Cannondale 2018 Super six evo for R30k.

No comparison...sorry.

Pure Savage, Oct 09 2020 08:52

No comparison...sorry.

Yeah, the Cannondale way sexier!

DieselnDust, Oct 09 2020 10:29

Isn't Chapter a catalogue bike?

 

I get what you are saying, but weight isn't the only metric that makes this bike 'cool'. 

 

One thing Spaz do very well is R and D. So their bikes work. Love to hate them, but they have bikes for all price points, most avenues of riding and pretty much all of them flex where they are meant to and don't where they are not supposed to.

 

One could definitely build a lighter bike. That Cannondale Alu frame built up at around 6kg with all the right bits.

 

Ride quality is also important, especially when you are paying so much.

 

I would choose this over a catalogue bike any day of the week. It has literally been designed from the ground up so that the cafe racers and social group riders can brag about their bike.

 

This bike makes no sense!

 

It isn't aero, it isn't race legal. It is purely an ego booster/superbike for a mamil.

 

That is why it pains me to admit that I want one, despite knowing that it will just highlight the lack of schlong in my bibshorts and make me feel like a hero while I climb one of Cape Town many fake hills slowly... But feeling like a hero nonetheless.

 

 

Wat do you mean by "catalogue" bike?

 Mike designs his bikes ground up. They're not open mould.

Jewbacca, Oct 09 2020 12:18

Wat do you mean by "catalogue" bike?

 Mike designs his bikes ground up. They're not open mould.

Sorry, I had them confused with Factor.

 

Those Chapter2 bikes from NZ do look cool.... bro....

 

My apologies. 

 

Although my sentiment still stands. I'm sure you could build the Spaz up lighter too. 

 

Either way the bike would still make no sense and would be a pure cock joust cafe ride Mamil transporter......

Waynemol, Oct 09 2020 12:21

Sorry, I had them confused with Factor.

 

Those Chapter2 bikes from NZ do look cool.... bro....

 

My apologies. 

 

Although my sentiment still stands. I'm sure you could build the Spaz up lighter too. 

 

Either way the bike would still make no sense and would be a pure cock joust cafe ride Mamil transporter......

fortunately or perhaps unfortunately in the financial sense, making sense and bike purchasing don't go together

Except for the very few sane and reasonable hubbers

Veebee, Oct 09 2020 01:02

Thats just the thing, these Spez bikes being launched are just for a select market... or maybe not.

Its crazy how many of these high end bikes are out there.

But

For many of us its just about being "smarter" with our money and building something to similar spec at a fraction of what these "Superbikes" costs.

Veebee, Oct 09 2020 01:04

Sorry, I had them confused with Factor.

 

Those Chapter2 bikes from NZ do look cool.... bro....

 

My apologies. 

 

Although my sentiment still stands. I'm sure you could build the Spaz up lighter too. 

 

Either way the bike would still make no sense and would be a pure cock joust cafe ride Mamil transporter......

I have one of these NZ bikes, the C2 Tere. they are cool and stand out, not many in SA yet. I know a few being built in Jozi and will be on the roads soon.

Paulst12, Oct 09 2020 01:06

For pretty much the same price i would rather buy the S-Works SL7. 
Better all round bike. That said its different strokes for different folks so if you want lightness in Specialized then they have that spot on. Just a pity you will have to add weight to race any licensed event. Thats like repainting a Picasso to fit the model style of a house.

Jewbacca, Oct 09 2020 01:19

fortunately or perhaps unfortunately in the financial sense, making sense and bike purchasing don't go together

Except for the very few sane and reasonable hubbers

For sure... I mean, I own a 20" minivelo set up with full road gears.

 

I love the fact that it makes no sense. I love the fact that Spez have purposefully built a bike that does not conform to any UCI standards, can't be raced, isn't aero but still costs 200k.

 

It is ridiculous and it is silly and it is awesome.

 

 

I have one of these NZ bikes, the C2 Tere. they are cool and stand out, not many in SA yet. I know a few being built in Jozi and will be on the roads soon.

Lucky.... I'm too busy trying to ride a sub3 argust on a 20" bike or buying oil and head gaskets for my land rover to own a real bike....... 

 

Maybe one day when I'm big!

Danger Dassie, Oct 09 2020 01:23

For pretty much the same price i would rather buy the S-Works SL7. 
Better all round bike. That said its different strokes for different folks so if you want lightness in Specialized then they have that spot on. Just a pity you will have to add weight to race any licensed event. Thats like repainting a Picasso to fit the model style of a house.

Totally different beast to the SL

Vast majority of riders don't need to add weight to take part in any sanctioned event. Unless you're an elite with a UCI licence.