Road bikes are steeped in history and tradition. The modern road bike, as we know it, was designed for racing. Why else would a bike company make a lightweight, fast road bike? Where else can they get the most publicity for their machines? Under bike racers. From weekday crit racers to professional teams, road bikes are designed for racing. And, there are rules when it comes to designing road bikes. The rules of aerodynamics apply. The rules of tradition apply. The rules of the governing bodies that sanction racing apply.
But what if the people who were designing road bikes were allowed to ignore all of those rules and design a bike following one rule – It has to be fun to ride.
Well, that’s just what the engineers and designers at Specialized have done. Well, they weren’t necessarily “allowed” to break these rules! According to Stu Thompson of Specialized, his team kept this project a secret from the bean counters for over a year, until they had a finalized design, for fear that someone would cancel the whole thing before it could come to a reality!
And that design process was extensive. Over 100,000 computer simulations and billions of calculations were run before they landed on 20 frame shapes. Then, they built those frames and started testing the bikes, looking for a frame design that delivered, first and foremost, the best ride quality possible.
And this is what they ended up with! The Specialized Aethos. A bike built simply for the love of riding.
First, let’s look at the frame construction. Because road bikes usually have to follow the rules of racing, aerodynamics is everything. And, for racing, that’s true. But, Aethos is not about racing, it’s about the ride quality and it’s about efficiency. So, you will notice the shape of these tubes is conical, not hourglass. This shape provides the bike with an incredible amount of stiffness for energy transfer and ultimate control; a remarkably smooth ride that lets you spend hours on the road without getting beat up by the pavement; all while using a minimal amount of material.
The transition from the headtube to the fork and even the shaping of the fork is almost seamless. Again, this fork isn’t bladed for aerodynamics, the shaping is more round. The result is a front end that is super responsive to rider input without using excess materials.
The bottom bracket shell doesn’t look like any modern carbon fiber frame. In fact, as Specialized was teasing the Aethos, they were showing a bike behind a sheet with just the silhouette showing through and I had a bunch of people ask “is it a new titanium bike?” Well, it almost looks like it’s made out of metal. But this is all carbon fiber. By its appearance, you may think that the bb shell may flex, nope. Because the design is so efficient, the energy that you put into the pedals is transferred to pushing you forward.
Front end stiffness, bottom bracket stiffness, rear triangle stiffness, Aethos is one of the most responsive bikes ever produced, all while delivering a smooth ride that can be ridden for hours and hours for miles and miles. Every ERIK’S staffer who has ridden Aethos has been blown away by how responsive it is. One slight movement and the bike is ready to go!
These shapes are not the most aerodynamic, so you won’t see this bike under a pro rider sprinting for the finish. But that’s not the point. The point is to deliver a ride that will keep you smiling and enjoying the ride, the whole time.
The result is a bike that LOOKS like an old school metal bike but is, in reality, THE lightest disc frame ever created, as light as 13.12 pounds for a complete bike, well below the limits for pros to race this thing. The frame? Just over a pound and a quarter.
So, how did this bike get so light while still being stiff and strong? By being 100% efficient in how the materials are used. If you aren’t familiar with how a carbon fiber bike is made, just think of it as super space-age paper Mache. Sheets of material are laid on top of each other to shape the bike. With many bikes, they have to use multiple layers to achieve their stiffness or strength goals. With Aethos, there are no lazy fibers. While other bikes can end up with wall thicknesses of up to 5mm, there are no areas of Aethos thicker than 2mm. All of this is the result of all of those computer models and the fact that the rules of aerodynamics don’t apply.
While other superlight frames in this class can be delicate, even so delicate that the manufacturer will tell you not to sit on the toptube, Not Aethos. This frame is strong and robust throughout and even carries a rider weight limit as high as 275 pounds.
Aethos is another Beyond Gender bike that is made for riders, not genders, and follows in the Rider first tradition where each frame size is specifically designed for the size riders using it. Here you see all of the individual pieces of carbon for two of the same bike. One in one of the smaller sizes right next to one of the bigger sizes.
Stock, the bikes are being shipped with 700×26 tires but you have clearance for up to 700×32 tires for a little more smooth in your groove, should you desire. A threaded bottom bracket keeps things simple.
This one is the pinnacle of lightweight performance and ride quality. With only 82 bikes available for order in the USA, you will be the select few with this machine.
Starting with a superlight, exclusive and stunning brushed silver paint job and polished silver logos and adding on the lightest parts possible:
This complete bike barely breaks 13 pounds! To get yourself in line you will need to fill out the Founder’s Edition Aethos Form and we will update you on the progress. Orders will open on Wednesday 10/14/20 at 11 am Central so fill out the form TODAY!
The S-Works Aethos is available in two builds – Shimano DureAce Di2 and SRAM RED eTap AXS. Both builds feature the Roval Alpinist CLX wheels and Specialized Turbo Cotton 700×26 tires. The cockpit is made up of a Specialized S-Works Short & Shallow handlebars and an S-Works SL stem. Rounding things out is an S-Works Power Carbon saddle. These builds are available with both S-Works Aethos paint-jobs.
Do you want to build your own dream machine? Well, Specialized is giving you that opportunity! Featuring a FACT 12r Carbon Frame, an S-Works FACT Carbon Fork, and a Roval Alpinist Carbon Seatpost, it’s up to you to build this thing however you want!
Fun Fact! The Satin Carbon/Jet Fuel colorway is the lightest frameset available due to the minimal use of paint. The decals are fully removable and the frame is ready to paint without any extensive frame prep. And, unlike most other frames, painting this specific colorway will not void the manufacturer’s warranty!
For the Aethos Pro SRAM model, Specialized used their FACT 10r Carbon Fiber. This is a slightly different construction method that results in a slightly heavier frame than the 12r versions. But this frame maintains all of the other features of the Aethos (ride quality, stiffness, responsiveness, etc.) that set it apart. The build of the Pro model features the same cockpit as the S-Works, a SRAM Force eTap AXS drivetrain and brakes, and Roval Alpinist CL Carbon Fiber wheels along with S-Works Turbo tires.
Shimano fans can choose the Aethos Pro Shimano Ultegra Di2 model. Same frame, same wheels and tires, but with the Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain and brakes. The Expert Di2 version is only available in the Satin Blue Murano/Carbon/Cobalt colorway.
The Aethos Expert build features the same 10r frame as the Pro model with all of the Aethos benefits built in. This build features the Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain and brakes, an Expert level Specialized Short and Shallow handlebar, and DT R470 aluminum wheels covered in S-Works Turbo Tires.
Just like the S-Works models, the same frame that is used for the Expert and Pro complete bikes is available in a frameset option as well. This 10r frame features a FACT 10r Carbon Fiber frame, FACT Carbon fork, and Alpinist Carbon seatpost. Build your own dream bike at a lower cost than the S-Works version!