Specialized S-Works Aethos Road Bike
A Closer Look
Already boasting a comprehensive range, Specialized still couldn’t quell a burning desire to create a road bike that concentrates solely on delivering a beautiful ride, as opposed to satisfying racers and UCI rules. In response to their intrigue, Specialized have created the S-Works Aethos. Whether accelerating up steep mountain passes, winding down sinuous descents, or providing all-day comfort on the longest of café loops, the Aethos S-Works rewards the rider who doesn’t pin a number on, but who instead seeks the raw sensations and pure enjoyment of a perfect ride.
Stiffness to weight
Designing unshackled from UCI minimum weight rules and established racing bike norms, Specialized used three years of data analysis and research to arrive at new conical tube profiles and meticulously refined FACT 12r carbon layup schedules. These design traits mean that the S-Works Aethos frame has a staggering sub 600 gram weight in a size 56 and builds into a complete bike that’s around 6kg, while possessing stunning levels of lateral stiffness. The result is exhilarating, reactive and unadulterated performance when ascending any mountain or berg.
Handling and comfort
By studying pedalling and steering forces across a full spectrum of riding scenarios, Specialized has perfectly balanced the torsional rigidity of the S-Works Aethos frameset, from the front to the rear. This poise is amalgamated seamlessly with the proven geometry and vertical compliance of the brand’s Tarmac SL7 racing steed. This results in nimble but composed handling, especially beneficial in technical corners. This also acts to smooth the bumps on rough road surfaces and to reduce fatigue during the biggest days in the saddle.
Because the S-Works Aethos has been designed away from a road racing brief, aerodynamically biased tube shaping has been replaced with rounder, more uniform profiles that give higher stiffness to weight ratios and increased strength. The byproduct of these tube profiles is a classic silhouette and traditional, understated style that makes the S-Works Aethos look just as good when propped up against a table full of cappuccinos as it does when cruising out on the road.
The ride quality and the aesthetics of the S-Works Aethos are complemented by the convenience and simplicity of a BSA 68mm threaded bottom bracket shell, standard 12mm road thru-axles, regular 27.2mm diameter seatpost compatibility and clean brake hose routing. 32mm tyre clearance allows fine-tuning of the ride characteristics in line with the terrain and topography to be tackled. At the same time, compatibility with electronic gears and disc brakes sits in line only with the best performing groupsets that are currently available.
Founders Edition Build
The flagship of the family is called the Founders Edition, and only 300 of these are available globally. This build is the lightest available and begins by featuring the Roval Alpinist CLX wheelset that uses its sub-1300 gram weight to match the frameset’s eagerness on the climbs. A range-topping Dura-Ace Di2 groupset takes care of gear changing and braking duties and adds a bottom bracket and pulley wheels from CeramicSpeed to markedly lower drivetrain friction. The brand new Roval Alpinist Integrated Cockpit weighs just 255 grams and is enlisted to give lively out-of-the-saddle acceleration, greater steering rigidity and improved comfort over broken roads.
Completing the range
Two other complete bike builds sit side by side just below the Founders Edition. Both of these have the same Roval Alpinist CLX wheels as the flagship model and both share the same S-Works carbon handlebar, seatpost and saddle. The difference can be found in the groupsets, as one build employs Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 while the other switches to the equally performing SRAM RED AXS configuration. A frameset-only offering can also be found in the Aethos S-Works family and grants the opportunity of building something completely unique.