Skip to main content

Specialized breaks 200g helmet barrier with new 2D

Image 1 of 49

S-Works chainrings (at left) are made from 7000-series aluminum

S-Works chainrings (at left) are made from 7000-series aluminum (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 2 of 49

Specialized's new 2D helmet

Specialized's new 2D helmet (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 3 of 49

A new Kevlar InnerMatrix inner reinforcement cage

A new Kevlar InnerMatrix inner reinforcement cage (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 4 of 49

Limited Edition colors will certainly stand out

Limited Edition colors will certainly stand out (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 5 of 49

The new Tritip saddle is aimed directly

The new Tritip saddle is aimed directly (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 6 of 49

The new Roval Roubaix 322X wheelset

The new Roval Roubaix 322X wheelset (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 7 of 49

The new Roval Controle MTB wheels

The new Roval Controle MTB wheels (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 8 of 49

Mountain biking legend Ned Overend

Mountain biking legend Ned Overend (Image credit: James Huang)
Image 9 of 49

Specialized's new 2D helmet is the first to bear the company's 'S-Works' label.

Specialized's new 2D helmet is the first to bear the company's 'S-Works' label. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 10 of 49

Aggressive styling should appeal to both road and mountain users.

Aggressive styling should appeal to both road and mountain users. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 11 of 49

Inline vents are oriented for maximum airflow over the top of the head.

Inline vents are oriented for maximum airflow over the top of the head. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 12 of 49

A new MegaMouthport delivers cooling air directly to the forehead.

A new MegaMouthport delivers cooling air directly to the forehead. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 13 of 49

Large vertical exhaust ports allow hot air to escape.

Large vertical exhaust ports allow hot air to escape. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 14 of 49

The 2D boasts a deeply channeled interior.

The 2D boasts a deeply channeled interior. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 15 of 49

A new Kevlar InnerMatrix inner reinforcement cage keeps the helmet together during impact while also reducing weight relative to conventional materials.

A new Kevlar InnerMatrix inner reinforcement cage keeps the helmet together during impact while also reducing weight relative to conventional materials. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 16 of 49

Specialized says over 20m of fiber are hand-laid into each helmet.

Specialized says over 20m of fiber are hand-laid into each helmet. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 17 of 49

Limited Edition colors will certainly stand out in the crowd.

Limited Edition colors will certainly stand out in the crowd. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 18 of 49

A new optional PowerZone lacing pattern provides a tighter fit around the top of the foot for a more secure hold without affecting forefoot fit.

A new optional PowerZone lacing pattern provides a tighter fit around the top of the foot for a more secure hold without affecting forefoot fit. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 19 of 49

What makes this shoe 'Limited Edition'?

What makes this shoe 'Limited Edition'? (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 20 of 49

Unique colors and a heap of special graphics distinguish these shoes from the standard S-Works model.

Unique colors and a heap of special graphics distinguish these shoes from the standard S-Works model. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 21 of 49

The mountain bike line also gets a revised S-Works model which receives a new outer sole and upper, complete with PowerZone BOA lacing.

The mountain bike line also gets a revised S-Works model which receives a new outer sole and upper, complete with PowerZone BOA lacing. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 22 of 49

The new lug pattern grips well and should last longer than previous editions.

The new lug pattern grips well and should last longer than previous editions. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 23 of 49

The new Tritip saddle is aimed directly at the triathlon crowd.

The new Tritip saddle is aimed directly at the triathlon crowd. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 24 of 49

A pair of rear protrusions is designed to fit bike racks in the transition area.

A pair of rear protrusions is designed to fit bike racks in the transition area. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 25 of 49

A minimal rear section pairs with a wider and well-padded nose.

A minimal rear section pairs with a wider and well-padded nose. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 26 of 49

Team rider Christophe Sauser can now put aside his modified Toupe road saddle as Specialized has now introduced a similarly minimal Phenom model specifically for off-road use.

Team rider Christophe Sauser can now put aside his modified Toupe road saddle as Specialized has now introduced a similarly minimal Phenom model specifically for off-road use. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 27 of 49

New SL hubsets feature DT Swiss star ratchet internals and aluminum axles to shed weight from last year's offerings.

New SL hubsets feature DT Swiss star ratchet internals and aluminum axles to shed weight from last year's offerings. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 28 of 49

All Roval hubs utilize straight-pull spokes and many feature Specialized's DoubleDrive lacing pattern to help equalize spoke tension from left to right.

All Roval hubs utilize straight-pull spokes and many feature Specialized's DoubleDrive lacing pattern to help equalize spoke tension from left to right. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 29 of 49

Mmm… red.

Mmm… red. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 30 of 49

The new Roval Roubaix 322X wheelset is a distinct departure from most modern offerings, with a shallow box-section rim and a three-cross lacing pattern to deliver a softer and more compliant ride.

The new Roval Roubaix 322X wheelset is a distinct departure from most modern offerings, with a shallow box-section rim and a three-cross lacing pattern to deliver a softer and more compliant ride. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 31 of 49

Carbon fiber is used for the center sections of many of the new Roval hubs.

Carbon fiber is used for the center sections of many of the new Roval hubs. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 32 of 49

A 3X/2X lacing pattern on the rear allows for a cushier ride.

A 3X/2X lacing pattern on the rear allows for a cushier ride. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 33 of 49

Shallow box-section rims are used on the new Roubaix 322X wheelset.

Shallow box-section rims are used on the new Roubaix 322X wheelset. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 34 of 49

The Roval line continues for 2008 with a slew of new models, including the Rapide SL Carbon.

The Roval line continues for 2008 with a slew of new models, including the Rapide SL Carbon. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 35 of 49

The new Roval Controle MTB wheels are tubeless- and disc-compatible and are claimed to weigh less than 1500g a pair.

The new Roval Controle MTB wheels are tubeless- and disc-compatible and are claimed to weigh less than 1500g a pair. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 36 of 49

As with the new SL road hubs, DT Swiss also provides the internals for the Roval Controle wheels.

As with the new SL road hubs, DT Swiss also provides the internals for the Roval Controle wheels. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 37 of 49

The profile of the new Controle rim bears a striking resemblance to another well-known tubeless-compatible model, complete with shallow bead hooks.

The profile of the new Controle rim bears a striking resemblance to another well-known tubeless-compatible model, complete with shallow bead hooks. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 38 of 49

The front hub of the Roval Traversee wheelset can be easily converted between standard 9mm quick-release, 20mm thru-axle, and 25mm thru-axle configurations.

The front hub of the Roval Traversee wheelset can be easily converted between standard 9mm quick-release, 20mm thru-axle, and 25mm thru-axle configurations. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 39 of 49

Beefy Roval skewers incorporate brass bushings for smooth operation.

Beefy Roval skewers incorporate brass bushings for smooth operation. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 40 of 49

Specialized's FACT Carbon cranks carry on into 2008, but with a modified arm shape, new rings, and a revised spline.

Specialized's FACT Carbon cranks carry on into 2008, but with a modified arm shape, new rings, and a revised spline. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 41 of 49

S-Works chainrings (at left) are made from 7000-series aluminum with a special Ni-B coating that supposedly lend increased hardness and reduced wear. Standard rings are made from uncoated 2000-series aluminum.

S-Works chainrings (at left) are made from 7000-series aluminum with a special Ni-B coating that supposedly lend increased hardness and reduced wear. Standard rings are made from uncoated 2000-series aluminum. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 42 of 49

A new Hirth-style spline pattern on the FACT Carbon crankset spindle provides a more secure hold and allows for a larger fastening bolt.

A new Hirth-style spline pattern on the FACT Carbon crankset spindle provides a more secure hold and allows for a larger fastening bolt. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 43 of 49

Mountain biking legend Ned Overend receives a signature tire for 2008 dubbed 'The Captain'.

Mountain biking legend Ned Overend receives a signature tire for 2008 dubbed 'The Captain'. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 44 of 49

The Captain is intended as a true trail bike tire for predictable grip in most conditions.

The Captain is intended as a true trail bike tire for predictable grip in most conditions. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 45 of 49

The new Eskar tire can be found as standard equipment on the 2008 Enduro SL line and is designed to provide excellent grip while still rolling reasonably well.

The new Eskar tire can be found as standard equipment on the 2008 Enduro SL line and is designed to provide excellent grip while still rolling reasonably well. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 46 of 49

The Arc II foregoes last year's titanium frame for a pared-down version made of stainless steel.

The Arc II foregoes last year's titanium frame for a pared-down version made of stainless steel. (Image credit: Specialized)
Image 47 of 49

The Miura is a new molded style aimed at the road crowd with aggressive styling and shield-type protection.

The Miura is a new molded style aimed at the road crowd with aggressive styling and shield-type protection. (Image credit: Specialized)
Image 48 of 49

The Uracco is a better fit for those with wider faces.

The Uracco is a better fit for those with wider faces. (Image credit: Specialized)
Image 49 of 49

The new Roval Alpiniste SL Carbon has a claimed weight of just 1060g for the pair.

The new Roval Alpiniste SL Carbon has a claimed weight of just 1060g for the pair. (Image credit: Specialized)

Tech feature: Specialized 2008 equipment and accessories, July 19, 2007

Specialized is fairly unique in the cycling world as it not only offers a complete line of accomplished bicycles, but is also among the forefront in a number of equipment and accessory categories. Cyclingnews Tech Editor James Huang continues his look at Specialized's 2008 lineup.

Specialized is rightfully touted as a complete bicycle company, but it also puts up a hard fight in the equipment and accessory markets against well-established leaders such as Giro and Sidi. For example, Specialized provides bikes for just the Quickstep-Innergetic and Gerolsteiner teams in this year's Tour de France, but an assortment of its helmets, eyewear, and shoes can be found on four other teams and nearly sixty riders in total as they make their way to Paris. Notable standouts include Alexander Vinokourov and his Astana squad (helmets), Robbie McEwen and Predictor-Lotto (helmets, gloves, and optics), and Erik Zabel and the rest of the Milram team (helmets and optics).

From head…

For 2008, Specialized introduces its first S-Works level helmet that tops even its own Decibel. New dual-density co-molded foam construction (2D… get it?) drops the weight by 30% to just 184g (size small, of course), while inline vents, deep internal channeling, and a new larger Mega Mouthport promise to keep things cool. Additional weight saving measures include a new Pro Fit 360 retention system, hand-laid Kevlar InnerMatrix internal reinforcement structure, 4X DryLite webbing, and even lighter hardware.

Naturally, a sub-200g helmet may give some cyclist pause; can that really provide enough protection? Specialized insists that the new 2D passes all required safety standards, and one journalist apparently saw fit to prove it to himself during the launch by launching himself headfirst into a stone wall on the trails north of Madrid. Thankfully, he was fine, and we should note that the helmet performed its sacrificial duty admirably.

Specialized's optics category continues to grow with the addition of several new models. As was the case before, all of them incorporate the company's proprietary NXT lens construction and many are available in both photochromic Adaptalite or fixed-tint versions. Last year's 16g Arc has been replaced by the slightly heavier Arc II, which features a pared-down stainless steel non-folding frame (the original Arc was titanium) and a newly vented lens with a revised shape and integrated browpad.

Also on hand for the road side is the new Miura and larger-format Uracco models, both made with foldable Grilamid frames, aggressive styling and dual-density earpieces. The Miura is also compatible with prescription inserts. Mountain bikers receive a new small-format ArcTerra as well as specifically tinted Berm and Divide models which include heavily vented lenses to prevent fogging, molded Grilimid frames, and dual-density earpieces.

…to toe

Specialized's Body Geometry line of footwear is easily among the company's biggest success stories with its trademark varus wedge, metatarsal button, and longitudinal arch support (one can almost imagine Dr. Andy Pruitt to Specialized's Mike Sinyard: "I told you so!"). The '08 S-Works road and mountain shoes include revised Boa closures that are smaller, lighter, and easier to use than previous versions, especially when wearing full-fingered gloves, and new optional Powerzone lacing allows wearers to customize the tightness between the forefoot and instep.

The S-Works road shoe is built with a full-length carbon sole (as was last year's version), and Micromatrix synthetic upper now also includes a fully vented tongue for improved ventilation. Specialized says the new S-Works road shoe is the "lightest cycling shoe with a mechanical closure" and at an actual weight of 568g for our pair of sz44 testers (with insoles, no less), that claim may not be far from the truth.

The S-Works MTB shoe isn't quite as light at an actual weight of 728g per pair (again, sz44), but the new thermoplastic outsole is notably more durable than previous iterations and the upper features nearly the same Micromatrix construction as the road version including the newly ventilated tongue.

Sit on it

The minimalist construction of the Toupe road saddle proved appealing to the triathlon and MTB crowds as well, and Specialized has responded with discipline-specific versions for 2008. The new triathlon and TT-specific Tritip model utilizes thick foam and gel padding in the nose to relieve pressure while in a typical aero position as well as a rear stabilizer to facilitate hanging bikes on transition racks. Unlike some other Body Geometry saddles, the Tritip will only come in one rear-section width; instead, Specialized will offer it in two nose widths depending on rider preference. Claimed weight is as low as 240g, depending on size and model.

Cross-country MTB riders get the new Phenom saddle which we first saw on Liam Killeen's bike at this year's Sea Otter Classic. Both feature nearly identical profiles as the road-going Toupe but with a dropped nose and more smoothly contoured rear section for better maneuverability and reduced risk of injury in rougher terrain (let's just say there's a reason why Killeen and teammate Christophe Sauser used to trim off the hard plastic bits from their Toupe saddles last year!). Claimed weight is as low as 190g, depending on size and model.

The wheels go 'round and 'round…

Roval's second coming is in its third year and Specialized expands the line even further for 2008, which now includes off-road wheels for the first time. New 'SL' road hubs are now made by DT Swiss and feature the company's trademark star ratchet internals, forged aluminum and carbon fiber hub shells, and lightweight alloy axles. Freehub bodies are interchangeable between Shimano/SRAM and Campagnolo spline patterns and all rear wheels (save for the Rapide Star Carbon) also receive the DoubleDrive lacing pattern which places twice as many spokes on the driveside flange to equalize spoke tension. As always, all Roval wheelsets utilize straight-pull spokes, and road versions also include hidden self-aligning nipples across the range.

The Roval Rapide SL Carbon wheelset features a Reynolds-made 33mm-deep carbon fiber clincher rim paired with DT Aerolite spokes to the new SL hubset, and the 1450g wheelset includes SwissStop-made carbon-specific pads and titanium skewers. The new Fusée SL wheelset uses nearly identical construction and boasts the same 1450g claimed weight, but uses a 24mm-deep aluminum clincher rim instead of carbon. Sitting at the extreme lightweight end of the spectrum lies the new Alpiniste SL Carbon, with new SL hubs laced with DT Aerolite spokes to low-profile 24mm-deep carbon tubular rims for an impressive 1060g figure.

Even with that inspiring showing at the scales, though, the new Roubaix 322X is arguably the most interesting new Roval road wheelset, and more for its distinctly different aim relative to most of today's wheel offerings than anything else. Specialized specifically targeted vertical compliance here with shallow box-section aluminum clincher rims and a combination of three-cross and two-cross lacing. Claimed weight is still a competitive 1550g for the pair, which almost certainly will find its way on to a number of 'cross bikes this season.

The visually striking star hub flange design soldiers on for 2008: the new Rapide Star Carbon gets a deeper 48mm tubular rim, while the Rapide Star Carbon Clincher carries on unchanged from last year.

The new Contrôle XC Race and Traversée wheelsets are the first off-road Roval wheelsets from Specialized and offer many of the same features as their road-going brethren, including straight-pull DT Swiss spokes, DoubleDrive lacing, and DT Swiss-built hubs. As the name suggests, the Contrôle XC Race is aimed squarely at the XC crowd with a disc-specific E5 alloy rim mated with DT Revolution spokes and QR-compatible hubs for a 1425g final weight. Rims are also tubeless-compatible using a tape-and-valve core system strikingly similar to the NoTubes ZTR Olympic design (meaning it will probably work quite well).

The Traversée is built to take on a little more abuse with a wider disc- and tubeless-compatible rim and thicker DT Supercomp spokes. The front hub also includes interchangeable end caps for use with standard 9mm QR, 20mm thru-axle, or 25mm thru-axle applications. Even with its added durability, claimed weight is still just 1579g a pair.

Tires for the 'real world'

Naturally, no Specialized product launch would be complete without a few new tires, and 2008 will see primarily off-road offerings, performance versions of which will all be tubeless-ready with standard casings and UST-compatible beads (sealant is required for the conversion).

The highlight of the line is mountain biking legend Ned Overend's signature tire, 'The Captain'. According to Overend himself, The Captain is intended to suit "a wider demographic of terrain" with versatile full-height knobs and a round profile for predictability. Center knobs are fairly closely spaced for faster rolling, but the transition and well-reinforced side knobs are noticeably more open to handle looser conditions. Both 26" and 29" versions will be offered, but both will only be available in 2.00" wide casings.

Specialized team rider Christophe Sauser also receives a signature tire dubbed the SauserWind. As one would guess, this is a XC race-specific tread with a fast-rolling low-height tread for use in 'intermediate conditions'. Given its sole 26x1.8" size offering, though, that 'intermediate condition' suggestion should likely be taken with a modest grain of salt…

At the other end of the range sits the new Eskar all-mountain tire with its blocky open tread and wider 26x2.3" casing.

Still to come: Specialized's women's-specific range for 2008

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

after your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1