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  1. #1
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    Specialized SL5 Production



    So how long until talk of the SL5 talk starts? Im guessing its already being worked on.......April sneaks or hints pop out?

    I use to race 600cc sportbikes. Back in the late 90's early 2000's they were all on a 2 year model cycle.........is Specialized gonna go this route or will they slow it down some?

    I figure by the title this thread will have 200 hits within an hour

  2. #2
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    Successful companies don't slow up. Look at Apple and their relentless drive to introduce new and improved products. If a company lets off the accelerator, sits back and basks in their profits then its only a matter of time before another company will be eating their lunch.

    Specialized appears to be running a two to three year cycle so expect the SL5 Tarmac in the fall of 2013 or 2014 at the latest. I think we will see the SL4 Roubaix next year.

  3. #3
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    Ha, ya got me!

  4. #4
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    I reckon they may well pause for breath on this one. They had to integrated cables as it's the trend and everyone's doing it, they have refined their BB once and for all now, and they have stated that they don't want to go lighter for fear of affecting rigidity.

    I think we are in diminishing gains territory now. How much can they drop off an SL5? 20g? Rigidity, up another 10%? For all the money on new moulds etc. how many people will swap their SL4 for such a small gain?

    I waited 9 years to change my Trek 5900, (1190g down to 900g), and the SL4 is stiffer, but the change is not night and day. I hope to be able to wait another 9 years until my next change.......SL12 anyone?!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bernithebiker View Post
    I reckon they may well pause for breath on this one. They had to integrated cables as it's the trend and everyone's doing it, they have refined their BB once and for all now, and they have stated that they don't want to go lighter for fear of affecting rigidity.

    I think we are in diminishing gains territory now. How much can they drop off an SL5? 20g? Rigidity, up another 10%? For all the money on new moulds etc. how many people will swap their SL4 for such a small gain?

    I waited 9 years to change my Trek 5900, (1190g down to 900g), and the SL4 is stiffer, but the change is not night and day. I hope to be able to wait another 9 years until my next change.......SL12 anyone?!
    How many people will switch their SL3 for 50g and 20%, probably a decent amount. It's also about the people who are in the market for a new bike, if something has been on the market for a while. Then it's no longer "new" and therefore people don't want it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTR2ebike View Post
    How many people will switch their SL3 for 50g and 20%, probably a decent amount. It's also about the people who are in the market for a new bike, if something has been on the market for a while. Then it's no longer "new" and therefore people don't want it.
    Not me.

    I have an SL3 and have zero "buyers remorse" becuase I didnt wait for the SL4. Not a bit. Unlike a computer or a car where a new one does make a difference, a good bike is a good bike and is going to ride well technically forever.

    To be fair, Im the same way with MTBs. I have a 2005 Turner Flux with the "outdated" Horst Link rear suspension and to me it rides like a dream and I have zero need to replace it with something new. The most I might do is get a new rear shock to freshen it up a bit becuase its really worn out and already has been rebuilt.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by RkFast View Post
    Not me.

    I have an SL3 and have zero "buyers remorse" becuase I didnt wait for the SL4. Not a bit. Unlike a computer or a car where a new one does make a difference, a good bike is a good bike and is going to ride well technically forever.

    To be fair, Im the same way with MTBs. I have a 2005 Turner Flux with the "outdated" Horst Link rear suspension and to me it rides like a dream and I have zero need to replace it with something new. The most I might do is get a new rear shock to freshen it up a bit becuase its really worn out and already has been rebuilt.
    Not everyone will but they don't make new ones because no one buys them.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTR2ebike View Post
    Not everyone will but they don't make new ones because no one buys them.
    I agree. And Spesh even admitted that their improvents are often solely marketing driven. They could make a bike 1,000% stiffer but if its not significantly lighter, it wont sell. So they will make it 500% stiffer and shave grams so they can move frames. The purist in me hates that, but Specialized IS a business, so I understand it.

  9. #9
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    I agree that we are at a point that the returns will continue to get smaller and smaller.

    IMHO i suspect that Specialized will make adjustments to the rear seat stays on future models. The changes from the SL3 to the SL4 in this area seem like a quick fix to me. I suspect an attachment point like the Trek or Giant models in the future.

    The bike design's are maximized to a point that i also suspect that many of the changes will be more cosmetic to appeal to the buyer over true function. Such is the case with internal cables on the SL4; they look nice but in all honesty are not a needed function.

    I wouldn't be shocked if a new blend of carbon or some other building material shows itself soon though. IMHO that will be the next big change. There is currently carbon fiber much lighter than the type used to build bike frames...however its reported to have very little flex and more prone to snapping. When that is resolved in a way that is cost effective we will prob see it used.

    Also carbon brakes, and other hard metal parts.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rugergundog View Post
    I wouldn't be shocked if a new blend of carbon or some other building material shows itself soon though. IMHO that will be the next big change. There is currently carbon fiber much lighter than the type used to build bike frames...however its reported to have very little flex and more prone to snapping. When that is resolved in a way that is cost effective we will prob see it used.

    Also carbon brakes, and other hard metal parts.
    I think this might be the next step. I've heard Lamborghini is working with MIT or some college to develop a much cheaper production method for carbon fiber to the point where it will be in many more production vehicles for a lower price. I'm not sure if this would transfer over to bikes, but it'd be nice to see carbon frames come down in price so that the average cyclist can afford one.

    Does any company make a dry carbon bike or parts?

  11. #11
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    I suspect some form of plastic will be used next. Amazing some of the stuff made out of plastic these days.

    But i do agree that the actual benefit of the bike build is prob leveling off. How much faster would Lance be riding a 12lb bike vs a 13lb bike???? Prob none.

  12. #12
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    telepathic shifting is next... simply think about shifting gears and "poof" you are going 26 mph up a 10% grade.

  13. #13
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    Call me a luddite, but I would NEVER run a brake caliper that had even a chance of snapping.

  14. #14
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    It is funny is to read that some people go from an S-Works SL3 to SL4 and conclude that the bike is much stiffer. I doubt many riders (especially lighter riders) would notice any difference at that level.

    I went from a 2008 S-Works Roubaix frame to the 2011 S-Works Roubaix SL3 frame (warranty replacement) and I doubt that under a blind test I could tell the difference.
    My rides:
    Lynskey Ti Pro29 SL singlespeed
    KHS Team 29
    S-Works Roubaix SL3 Dura Ace
    Pake French 75 track

  15. #15
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    Even Specialized Customer Service reps (at least the one I talked to) will tell you that a machine can tell the difference between a S-Works Tarmac SL3 and the SL4, but most mere mortals can't. He went on to say that even people like Boonen and Cancellara couldn't feel the difference in BB stiffness between the SL2 and SL3.
    TOM
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    www.tomsbicycleblog.blogspot.com

    2014 S-Works Tarmac SL4 Conador Edition Campy Super Record
    2014 S-Works Epic World Cup
    2012 S-Works Epic
    2009 Rodriguez Custom Steel Campy Super Record

  16. #16
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    Speaking from personal experience (owned the S-Works SL2 and now the S-Works SL3) the difference in bottom bracket stiffness and snap is easily felt. Out of saddle acceleration is noticeably stronger. Talking with those on the SL4 now, the feedback has been that the perceived difference is a much more compliant ride without any loss of the SL3 stiffness. Smooth is the word used most often. I'll let you know when my SL4 arrives.

  17. #17
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    krocdoc,

    FWIW, I was just repeating what a Specialized Customer Service rep told me. He also told me that there was a big improvement jump from the SL2 to the SL3, and a much more subtle jump from the SL3 to SL4 (in his opinion I guess).

    Based on my personal experience (over 20,000 miles on the SL, nearly 20,000 miles on the SL2, and just under 100 miles on the SL3, the biggest jump was from the SL to the SL2. I just got my SL3 and I wasn't expecting much other than a new paint scheme.

    I was definitely wrong. The SL3 rides significantly better than the SL2 and that makes it a much better descender, especially on rough pavement. I can't tell if there is a stiffer front end helping that as well. The SL3 is a dramatically smoother bike. I can't tell any difference at all regarding BB stiffness/pedaling efficiency. Then again, I never felt even a hint of flex with the SL2 BB.
    TOM
    USA Cycling Certified Coach
    Cycle University

    www.tomsbicycleblog.blogspot.com

    2014 S-Works Tarmac SL4 Conador Edition Campy Super Record
    2014 S-Works Epic World Cup
    2012 S-Works Epic
    2009 Rodriguez Custom Steel Campy Super Record

  18. #18
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    There is one other factor here: comparing old, well ridden bikes with a new bike is simply not ideal. An older bike will have more flex naturally. I went from a new 2008 SL frame to a new 2011 SL3 frame and all other components were the same. I truly got to compare 2 new frames, all else being equal.

    I am only 155lbs, so perhaps this is another reason I cannot tell much difference between the 2 frames.
    My rides:
    Lynskey Ti Pro29 SL singlespeed
    KHS Team 29
    S-Works Roubaix SL3 Dura Ace
    Pake French 75 track

  19. #19
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    Serious,

    Are you saying that a frame starts to flex more as it accumulates miles? I've never experienced that, and my SL2 felt as good as the day it was new. I agree with you that the only way to compare frames is if the equipment is identical, especially the wheels and tires. I moved everything from my SL2 to my SL3. I weigh 152#, but weight is not the issue. If Cancellara and Boonen can no longer feel differences in BB stiffness with the power they generate, it's not likely that someone with a mere mortal's FTP will either.
    TOM
    USA Cycling Certified Coach
    Cycle University

    www.tomsbicycleblog.blogspot.com

    2014 S-Works Tarmac SL4 Conador Edition Campy Super Record
    2014 S-Works Epic World Cup
    2012 S-Works Epic
    2009 Rodriguez Custom Steel Campy Super Record

  20. #20
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    Yeah, I was thinking of normal bikes (alu, steel). For CF bikes nothing changes unless components (bearings) are somehow getting looser, but that is a stretch, so I need to take that back!
    My rides:
    Lynskey Ti Pro29 SL singlespeed
    KHS Team 29
    S-Works Roubaix SL3 Dura Ace
    Pake French 75 track

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rugergundog View Post
    I suspect some form of plastic will be used next. Amazing some of the stuff made out of plastic these days.

    But i do agree that the actual benefit of the bike build is prob leveling off. How much faster would Lance be riding a 12lb bike vs a 13lb bike???? Prob none.
    I hate to break this to you, but Lance never rode a Specialized and he is no longer fast.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommyturbo View Post
    Even Specialized Customer Service reps (at least the one I talked to) will tell you that a machine can tell the difference between a S-Works Tarmac SL3 and the SL4, but most mere mortals can't. He went on to say that even people like Boonen and Cancellara couldn't feel the difference in BB stiffness between the SL2 and SL3.
    i've ridden the roubaix in SL and SL2 configuration, as well as tarmac SL, SL2, SL3 and now SL4 (and venge).

    i know specialized touts the lighter/stiffer aspect of the SL4 vs SL3 (isn't that what sells bikes?), but i had heard the real issue from pro rider feedback was NOT the the SL3 wasn't stiff enough (rear triangle) or didn't have a stiff enough bottom bracket but rather that the SL4's front triangle was too harsh. thus, a primary motivation was to add some vertical compliance to that front triangle, without changing the stiffness in the areas that matter.

    dropping a few grams appeals to some, but it also affects the stiffness:weight ratio that many consumers and manufacturers really seem to pay attention to these days.

  23. #23
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    I guess it's all a matter of perspective (as well as what wheels and tires you are using). I use tubeless tires at 80-85psi and my SL3 rides like a dream. It is noticeably smoother than my SL2 was, so I'm sure the Sl4 is smoother yet. With my tubeless setup I don't know if it would be significant or not.
    TOM
    USA Cycling Certified Coach
    Cycle University

    www.tomsbicycleblog.blogspot.com

    2014 S-Works Tarmac SL4 Conador Edition Campy Super Record
    2014 S-Works Epic World Cup
    2012 S-Works Epic
    2009 Rodriguez Custom Steel Campy Super Record

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommyturbo View Post
    I guess it's all a matter of perspective (as well as what wheels and tires you are using). I use tubeless tires at 80-85psi and my SL3 rides like a dream. It is noticeably smoother than my SL2 was, so I'm sure the Sl4 is smoother yet. With my tubeless setup I don't know if it would be significant or not.
    not sure that i said (or implied) that the SL3 did not ride great. however, when doing comparisons one should keep tires & wheel pressure constant. i've ridden all those same bikes with the same tires -- vittoria (open) corsa evo cx.

    not saying you haven't done that, but at 80-85psi vertical compliance of the frame is a non-issue. at pressures most folks ride (say 105-110 & up) there's definitely a difference.

    worth selling an SL3 to go for an SL4? i dunno. i did...but that's NOT because the SL3 was a slouch. then again, neither was the SL2.

  25. #25
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    I have used the same wheels (Campy Eurus Two-way) and tires (S-Works Turbo Tubeless) on both the Sl2 and SL3. I have also tried these wheels and tires on my steel bike in place of the usual DT rims/hubs/GP4000s I use with that bike. The tubeless tires (at 80-85psi) rode significantly better than the DT's (at 90-95psi); it was almost as if I were riding a different bike. There was still a big difference when I tried the tubeless at 90-95psi just for comparison purposes.

    I had used the Eurus wheels with GP4000s tires on the SL2 before I started using the tubeless. The difference was there, but not as noticeable as with the steel bike.

    FWIW, I weigh 152#, and I have tried the tubeless at pressures from 70-110psi. At any inflation, they seem to roll better than normal clinchers. They seem to roll the fastest at around 80-85psi, grip incredibly well, and ride very smoothly.

    I find that the only drawback to the tubeless system is extra weight. I normally don't like to change to anything that adds weight to my bikes, but in the case of tubeless, for me it has been well worth it. The lower rolling resistance of the tubeless helps to mitigate the extra weight somewhat.

    Whoops, sorry for getting off-topic!
    TOM
    USA Cycling Certified Coach
    Cycle University

    www.tomsbicycleblog.blogspot.com

    2014 S-Works Tarmac SL4 Conador Edition Campy Super Record
    2014 S-Works Epic World Cup
    2012 S-Works Epic
    2009 Rodriguez Custom Steel Campy Super Record

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