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For 2011, Specialized has a women’s race bike that isn’t a watered-down men’s model. The S-Works Amira is a carbon fiber race machine with size-specific tubing, aggressive geometry and top-shelf spec. Built up with Shimano Dura-Ace, an integrated S-Works crank and deep-section Roval 45 wheels, a 51cm bike weighs 14.7 pounds.
The California company also has a new cyclocross bike, in carbon fiber and aluminum frame options.
This is not goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
The Amira supercedes the Ruby, which remains in the line but is repositioned as an endurance road bike. The Ruby features a taller head tube than the Amira, and vibration-damping Zertz inserts in the fork legs and the chainstays.
As with some of the men’s bikes, the Amira is available with the new S-Works 52/36 chainrings or standard 53/39. For front-end stiffness, the head tube tapers from 1 1/8-inch at the top to a 1 3/8-inch lower (the Tarmac is 1 1/8 to 1 ½).
As with the Roubaix SL3, the Amira comes with the new S-Works shallow-drop carbon handlebar, which has a flat top but smoothly curved drops (read: not sharply angled, anatomic style).
“We believe it’s important to offer the very best spec’ in women’s,” said women’s product manager Rachel Lambert, adding that having the top women’s bike spec’ed with second-tier components can feel patronizing to some women.
Specialized has had women’s bikes with Shimano Dura-Ace since 2008. Last year there were Dura-Ace and SRAM Red options.
The Amira comes in five sizes, from 44cm to 56cm.
Cyclocross in June
For women and men, Specialized has a new cyclocross bike, the Crux. Last year’s top-end ’cross bike, the Tricross, remains in the line, but repositioned as a versatile paved and dirt road riding machine. Compared to the Tricross, the Crux features a shorter head tube, shorter chainstays and steeper angles.
“We found ’cross racers want their ’cross bike set up similarly to their road bike,” said engineer Luc Callahan. So, the Crux features the same angles as Specialized’s top road bike, the Tarmac.
The Crux comes in carbon and aluminum options, the latter of which features internal cable routing in the down tube.
Perhaps the most noteworthy change for Specialized’s ’cross bikes is the price. The new Crux carbon complete bike retails for less than last year’s Tricross frameset (about $2,800).
All the Crux bikes feature an integrated cable hanger for the front brake that substantially reduces brake chatter.
Other updates and new gear
The main race bike, the Tarmac, gets a new fork with wider blades.
The top time trial bike, the Shiv, will be available as a frameset after the UCI banned its use in top competition. Astana and Saxo Bank will be racing the Tour de France with a UCI-legal version of the Shiv that will not be sold, at least for now. The Shiv is legal in the upper echelons of triathlon, however, with the blessing of WTC and USA Triathlon.
Specialized has a new road helmet, the S-Works Prevail. The 185-gram model has lower drag (at 0-degree yaw and 30kph wind) in the wind tunnel than any other model on the market, according to Specialized’s tests. Strap buckles under the ear were eliminated in favor of a lightweight fabric junction, and the forehead pad sits off the helmet’s body for increased ventilation.