Three hundred seconds, that is all five minutes is.
It does not sound like much but out on the road, five minutes can be the difference between finishing on the top of the podium in immortalised glory and disappearing into the unremarkable nothingness of the back of the gruppetto.
To the non-racing layman, five minutes can make all the difference too. Whether that means crushing a KOM on Strava or easing to the front of your group ride, five minutes is an epoch on the bike.
Specialized's fastest five products will save you five minutes over 40 kilometres. We know it sounds farfetched but the American manufacturer's complete aerodynamic ecosystem is designed for uncompromising speed. Individually these five products boast some serious aerodynamic pedigree but when they are taken together, they will blow the competition out of the water.
The Aero Armada, as Specialized refers to it, is made up of the S-Works Venge ViAS Road Bike, S-Works Evade Helmet, S-Works 6 Road Shoes, Roval CLX 64 Wheels with S-Works Turbo Tyres and the brand new S-Works Evade GC Skinsuit. From 35 seconds to 120 seconds, these five elements combine to reduce drag more emphatically than any other road riding combination in the sport's illustrious history.
Born in the wind tunnel and raised on the road, the Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS is the best bike that the storied American company has ever made. The ViAS' frame is Rider-First engineered, meaning that it offers consistent performance across every frame size. Coupled with this is a greater rate of lateral rigidity that boosts responsiveness and handling.
What will immediately strike you with the ViAS is its unique looks. Zero drag brakes sit behind the front wheel and on the seat tube for no added drag and a best-in-class stopping and modulation. The front brake drafts off the fork and the rear off the seat tube with neither affecting steering.
Another revolutionary area of aerodynamic progress is the ViAS' integrated cockpit. Comfort has not been shunned for aerodynamic superiority with the -17˚ stem assuring comfort in the tucked aero position.
The handlebar has a drag-optimised positive 25mm rise and specially designed internal cable housing that means no cabling is visible anywhere on the outside of the bike. This grants the Venge ViAS a blisteringly clean look and a profile that has been proven to be 120 seconds faster over 40 kilometres than the Specialized Tarmac SL4.
Poorly fitted clothes create drag out on the road, so Specialized went back to the drawing board to create a garment that grants a custom fit feel and cuff-less welded openings that will not bunch up when riding in the aerodynamic position. The result was the Specialized S-Works Evade GC Skinsuit.
Another area that bunches up while you ride is around the shoulders. By eliminating seams and integrating proprietary Dimplex fabrics, Specialized have minimised drag while also enhancing comfort.
The engineered woven fabric has been utilised on the leg and back panelling to provide breathability and compression - boosting blood flow and reducing fatigue. With all of this proprietary design and construction know-how crammed into the Evade GC Skinsuit it is hardly surprising to learn that it saves 96 seconds over Specialized's standard SL Pro Jersey and bib short on a 40 kilometre course.
What happens when you combine a stiff and ultra-light deep-section carbon fibre wheelset with the fastest rolling clincher tyres on the market? You get an unparalleled combination of grip, low rolling resistance and wind-cheating speed.
These two elements are designed to work together to produce the fastest wheel system ever developed. Roval has used bladed spokes and a proprietary hub shape that enhances aerodynamic performance.
Coupled with the CLX 64 Wheels are the S-Works Turbo Tyres - the fastest clincher tyres on the market. The Gripton compound and 220 tpi casing are combined for an exceedingly low rolling resistance, a supple feel and tenacious puncture protection.
Rapidly becoming the most iconic helmet in the history of cycling; the Specialized S-Works Evade Helmet offers far more than just looks. The Evade combines the aerodynamic profile of the S-Works McLaren TT helmet with strategically positioned air vents that help to draw in air and channel it around the head. This air channelling creates a cooling microclimate that performs irrespective of the road conditions.
It's not all about speed with the Evade though. The Tri-Fix Web Splitter Fit System allows for easy and micrometric adjustment of the helmet's fit with the Mindset micro-dial. The sublime fit of the helmet not only enhances comfort out on the road but also helps to maintain the Evade's streamlined profile on your head. These features combine to save 46 seconds over 40 kilometres compared to the S-Works Prevail helmet.
All the power that you generate through your pedal stroke should be put down through your shoes and into the road. Specialized know this and have worked with their pro riders, who crave power more than most, to create the S-Works 6 Road Shoe.
The Powerline carbon outsole is asymmetrically optimised with a Stiffness Index rating of 13.0 to provide the most rigid sole that Specialized have ever created. Married to this is the PadLock heel system. With its tapered cup and moulded pads, the PadLock system holds your heel in place, stopping any unwanted movement and maximising the ergonomic power that your foot channels through your pedal stroke.
Combining with this efficient sole is a sturdy, aerospace grade upper material and the secure and comfortable Boa dial closure system. Taken as a whole this shoe is proven to improve acceleration and peak power over its predecessors, ensuring that when the lights turn green you can explode out of the blocks.