Since I started biking 8-9 years ago, I've always enjoyed Specialized bikes. For me it started out with the Tarmac SL2 that Bettini and Boonen were riding, escalated with the SL3 of Cancellara and the Schlecks, further developed with the SL4 of Contador and now the SL5 or New Tarmac. However I've never owned a Tarmac, because I considered them too popular. I've always been wanting something different than all the others, which is why I've been riding Orbeas for the last 5 years. The last couple of years it seems the amount of S-Works bikes have exploded here in Denmark, and probably worldwide, and there's a lot of standard Tarmacs with DI2, Specialized stem and handlebars, as well as Roval wheels out there. It seemed like the most unlogical choice that my next bike should be a mainstream S-Works, and not something out of the ordinary.
Since I'm turning 30 in a little over a month, I decided that I should finally get the bike that I had been fascinated by since I started riding, but it had to be something special - something that would mark my 30th birthday. So I started collecting photos on Pinterest of different bikefinishes, and for a long time I was really into the earlier Ritte custom paintjobs. I gathered close to 100 bikes with various paintjobs, and then got in contact with one of the painters/designers at Specialized through Instagram. At first I just wrote him to ask if it was even possible to have him do a custom job for a regular customer. The reply was fast, and it was a clear yes.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote him again, because I was getting closer to my birthday, and finally had an idea in my head that I wanted him to sketch. I supplied him with some thoughts, and some pictures from my Pinterest board, so he had an idea of what I was thinking.
I really liked the Sagan bike, and it turned out he was actually the designer of that one, so he had the sketches already, and we could work from that!
I wanted something wilder, something bolder than that. I wanted something that would turn heads, and make an impression on people. It wasn't to be a bike that everyone would like, but would force people to actually take a stance of whether they liked or disliked the bike. I wanted something brighter, and with the same camo design as the Sagan bike. Ron, the designer at Specialized, came up with the idea of making it 50/50 to really make it stand out. As soon as he mentioned that, I was in. The first sketch looked like this:
Ron being in CA and me being in Denmark, means a 9 hour timedifference, so I got the email with the design early morning and just noticed that I had gotten the email from him and went back to sleep. When I got up, I immediately looked at the sketch, and wasn't too excited. It was probably the fact that I was still tired, but it didn't actually move me that much. As I kept looking at it however I grew fonder and fonder of it, to the point that the final outcome is quite close to the first design. As with all good things, sex aside, I just had to grow acustomed to it.
I asked him to remove the danish flag from the toptube, and making the flag on the seattube vertical instead of horizontal. I also asked him to try a couple of colorvariations on the design.
We also tried doing something with the S-Works and Specialized lettering, but doing that in camo actually toned the bike down a bit, so I decided to stick with the bright coloured ones.
So far I've ended up with the Concept 2 version, with some changes still to be made. It's mainly the inside of the fork and chainstays that will receive some graphics.
Ron would be happy to paint the frame, but with shipping and VATs it would be too costly for me to have it painted in the US. Instead we're going to use Lumar Colours in Italy to paint it. They are the ones that paint all the frames for Specializeds' pro teams, and have done quite a few of the special bikes. For this bike they would use digital decals instead of painting all the individual colours, which is the same as the Sagan bike.
The bike needs to be shipped to Italy, and we're currently in dialogue to see when they are available to finish the frame, so hopefully the bike should be finished by late August/September.
The parts I'm going to use on the bike will be the groupset from my current Orca - 22 speed SRAM Red with Rotor 3D+ Power2Max crankset.
Saddle is going to be a Selle Italia Flite Kit Carbonio. Been riding with this saddle since 2010 and it's great. On the Orca I've used the Monolink one, which was also the new design, and it's a great saddle.
Seatpost is currently the standard S-Works one, but I'm considering if there's an idea of changing it to something else - preferably lighter
I can't do with straight posts, so it has to be something with 25 mm setback.
For the handlebars I've been riding the FSA compact bend bars since 2008 or something like that, and they're great, although a bit heavy. I've always preferred heavier bars to get the extra stiffness when I sprint. I think I'll use the Zipp Service Course SL80 bars. Looking at drop and reach they're quite similar to the FSA bars. Will also try using narrower bars this time. The FSA's are 42 I think, and will try 40 or maybe even 38 with the new ones.
My initial thought with the stem was to use the Zipp Sprint stem, but I'm not sure. I might just use the regular Zipp stem with -17 angle. We'll see.
The wheels will be my trusted Reynolds Aero 58.
I will keep you posted as parts come in. I actually bought the frame that is to be used yesterday.