Archive for May 14, 2023

My NEW High Tech Road Bike For 2023

Posted in Commentary on May 14, 2023 by itnerd

There’s a bit of a story behind how I got this bike that I’d like to tell you before I get to my new bike. Last October I put a deposit on a Giant TCR which is Giant’s “do it all” race bike. Specifically this model. I wanted to get a more versatile bike as opposed to the aero bike that I had for the last few years. And since I had a good experience with my previous Giant, I figured that going to the TCR would be a good move. That was fine until a call came in from my bike shop a couple months later stating that there was no chance I would be able to get a TCR because of supply issues. So after some discussion, I chose the Specialized Tarmac, specifically this model, which is Specialized’s “do it all” race bike with some aero touches that makes it one of the faster bikes around. That was fine until last week where my bike shop told me that the model that I wanted was going to be $1000 cheaper, but with different parts because of supply issues. That’s when they laid out my options in terms of what I could get. And based on those options, I chose this bike:

Meet the Specialized Aethos. This is a classic looking bike. But don’t be fooled. Specialized has put in a lot of time and effort to make this a stiff and light race bike. Except that it’s not aimed at racers. It’s aimed at people who want a bike to enjoy the pleasure of riding. Though Tour Of Flanders winner Kasper Asgreen used one in the mountain stages of the 2021 Tour de France.

Fun fact: In the top end build of this bike, it is outright illegal to race as it is 6 kilos which is below the minimum weight of 6.8 kilos that the sport’s governing body which is the UCI requires. What you see above weighs in at 7.4 kilos which is still pretty light.

Let me walk you through the key features of the bike.

The components are supplied by Shimano via their Ultegra groupset. It is a 12 speed groupset that is electronically shifted using their Di2 tech. The cool thing about the way Shimano implements their 12 speed system is that there is very tight gear spacing in the middle of the gearing range which gives a rider very smooth transitions to make sure that you are always in the right gear.

Another feature of Shimano Ultegra is that this is a semi-wireless Di2 system. Meaning that these shifters are not physically connected to the rest of the system. Instead it uses wireless communication to allow you to shift gears. One other thing that I will note is that these brake levers really feel good in my hands.

As a result of the fact that this is a semi-wireless system, the only things that you see at the front are the brake hoses. That’s another thing that is different than most modern race bikes. The trend these days is to hide all the hoses for aero gains. Honestly, I don’t think that hiding them makes any difference outside a wind tunnel. But I’m a computer geek not an aerodynamic expert.

Speaking of brakes, this bike comes with disc brakes. That allows me to brake later into corners and push the envelope harder on downhills as I know that I will always have solid consistent braking.

This is the Specialized Power Pro Mirror saddle. The reason why the saddle looks the way it does is due to the fact that the top of the saddle is 3D printed. Specialized does this because they can customize the density of the material that you are sitting on so that you get more density where you need it, and less where you don’t. In the three rides that I have done with it, I can say it is extremely comfortable.

To measure my power and cadence, I am using the Garmin Rally RS 200 pedals. They measure power on both my left and right legs, which means that I can see not only how hard I am working, but if I need to make any adjustments to my position so that I can get the best out of every ride.

I’ve only done three rides on this bike, but I can make the following comments. Despite the fact that this bike isn’t marketed as a race bike, I can say that this is basically a race bike with some comfort built in. It has really great handling, and I am surprised at how well it descends. It’s also insanely easy to get up to speed and hold on to that speed. In short, I really think that I made the right choice. Though I still have to make some minor tweaks to the setup to make it perfect.

That’s my high tech road bike for 2023. If you have any questions, leave them below in the comments section and I will do my best to answer them.