Spotted atop Stuart O'Grady's bike at the Saxo Bank team hotel in Kortrijk, Belgium was Specialized's upcoming Chicane road saddle. As compared to its current Toupe or Romin models, the Chicane is far more rounded from left to right and its sides extend down well past the rails. A carbon fiber insert in the shell softens up the mid-section, too.
Specialized's Body Geometry central channel is featured on the Chicane like on many of its other saddles but it's fairly shallow in this case and doesn't extend all the way to through the nose like on the Romin. A raised tail as also found on the Romin supposedly helps rotate your pelvis forward for reduced lower back discomfort and also lends a better platform to push off of while pedaling.
Similarly, the dropped sides are supposed to offer the same foundation for the back of your legs.
Currently, sponsored teams are still using Specialized-branded Veloflex tubulars but the company did debut new high-end tube-type and tubeless clinchers prior to Paris-Roubaix, developed with the help of new tire product manager Wolfe Vormwalde, who spent the previous ten years at Continental.
The new Turbo line abandons Specialized's dual radius tread concept in favor of a more traditional rounded profile that feels more stable when upright and offers a smoother and more natural feeling transition into corners. As compared to the old Mondo range, Specialized claims the comparable Turbo models are lighter and measurably faster rolling and yet provide equal or better puncture resistance as well thanks to a new BlackBelt breaker placed under the tread.
The top-end S-Works tube-type models will be offered in both 700x21c and 700x23c sizes, all with 220TPI nylon casings for a supple ride and dual compound treads. Weights will range from 180-185g but Vormwalde warns that these highest-performance tires are best suited for race use.
Pro models using more durable 127TPI casings will also be on tap in both sizes with weights right around 200g each while the less expensive Elite range will be built around stronger 60TPI casings for better longevity and cut protection. Turbo Elites will only be available in the wider 23c size.
The Turbo range will also include a proper Road Tubeless-compatible TL model in a single 700x23c size that weighs 295g. Made in France by Hutchinson, the Turbo TL will share an identical casing as the French company's Fusion 2 Tubeless but will feature Specialized's own tread compounds and cross-sectional shape.
Company spokesman Nic Sims says most of the Turbo line should be in stores now with the TL model arriving in the US within a few weeks.