Specialized is a leading manufacturer of high-tech bikes that impress even the most avid and demanding riders around the world with their innovations. You will learn more about the best technologies of the Californian brand in our new material.
FACT stands for Functional Advanced Composite Technology, and this explains Specializer’s approach to carbon. All in all, it is a complex engineering process to create frames and components, from initial sketches to finished products.
This technology gives an idea of an integrated approach to working with composite materials. Frames and components made with this technology, like all other products from the American brand, are made just for riders like you.
First, Specialized thinks about why this or that thing should be done, and then they decide how best to do it. Sounds simple, right? In theory, yes, but in practice, this approach requires proper design, then the choice of materials and manufacturing process, and then full testing of the finished product. And we would say that the end result is worth it – if you have ridden any of the FACT frames, you will certainly agree with this.
Design and engineering: two arts of the dark side
The words “design and engineering” here could be replaced by other similar ones, such as “innovation and optimization”. It’s about the process of coming up with new technologies to ensure that each of Specialize d’s bikes is the best in its class.
Look at the single-piece chain stay and bottom bracket, for example, which is a common feature on Specialized bikes. It all started with the fact that the Californians saw a certain problem, then experimented with its solution – the result was a rigid design without flex, which was needed. In general, this part of the process takes a lot of time, and it is impossible to explain its essence in a nutshell – you can consider that this is part of the carbon magic.
Materials: Not all carbon is the same
Before manufacturing a frame, Specialized selects the type of fibers, resins, and how these fibers are woven for each bike. Equally important is the direction of the fibers – how the carbon sheets will be laid. A good example of this is the S-Works Roubaix frame, where the down tube, top tube.
and bottom bracket assembly are made of high quality E390 fiber, which is stiffer than others and does not allow the frame to flex, which ensures better transmission of forces. Here, fibers lying at an angle of 0 degrees are mainly used – this contributes to even greater rigidity. However, such a scheme is not suitable for any of these bikes. Each layer of carbon fiber is unique to a certain frame, and sometimes it is unique even to each frame size.
Even the best materials in the world are worth nothing without proper design. For example, Specialized creates frames with multiple monologue structures for the head tube, top tube, down tube, chain stays, and single-piece chain stays along with the bottom bracket – the carbon fiber flows seamlessly from tube to tube, providing advantages in terms of weight, stiffness and strength. . And when everything is finally ready, it’s time for testing. This is an important part of FACT frame development and is essential to making sure the bikes meet all high expectations.
Each bike is first bench tested in the lab and then on the road or on the trails. At Specialized, each prototype is tested at all points of application of the load, then the frames are ridden by pro riders, and then the necessary changes are made, for which sometimes you have to start all over again if the Californian brand remains unhappy with something.
Aerodynamics is everything!
And it is important not from the point of view of marketing. She really means a lot to Specialized, she influences all design decisions. It is she who allows you to constantly create the fastest frames in the world.
Air resistance is one of the largest external forces acting on a cyclist. The only way to completely eliminate its influence is to stop, but if you want to go faster, you need to minimize it as much as possible. It is for this reason that the Californians assembled a whole team of aerodynamic experts and gave them everything they could to do their job conscientiously.
These are various computer programs, and sensors for bicycles, and even the construction of their own wind tunnel in the city of Morgan Hill, California. And when all this was at the disposal of outstanding specialists, innovations began to occur much faster – and in the end it allows you to go faster.
Chris Yu, Mark Coat, Chris D’Aluisio, Camron Piper, Chuck Teixeira – their combined experience exceeds 50 years and 20,000 hours of wind tunnel testing. Their presence is not only unique, it is what allows progress to move forward. After all, when you just have to cross the road to get to the wind tunnel.
instead of going to the airport, it allows specialists to really apply their knowledge – from the quality of bicycle fenders to the speed of the Downhill World Champions. other words, the Specialized team can do anything on the spot instead of flying to the city of San Diego to get it and testing what was already clear from the creation of 3D models.
Of course, the main element of experiments with aerodynamics was the construction of our own wind tunnel. It’s built with all the specific needs in mind, and it’s probably the best tube in the world specifically for testing bikes. The tube used is optimized to recreate real speeds on the bike and is wide enough to fit multiple riders at once, simulating riding in a group – in a peloton, for example. Naturally, this availability of the pipe allows you to constantly test different things, without thinking about the cost and duration of these tests – as a result, you have the opportunity to test anything,