Thursday, May 3, 2012

Triathlon Training Thursday - The new ride - Specialized Shiv first impressions

After seemingly endless, endless, endless deliberation I went with the Specialized Shiv as my tri bike purchase.
the new ride

I made the decision based on three things:
  1. It was one of 3 brands a fitter told me would work (Specialized, Felt, Qunitanroo)
  2. I have issues with the front aero bottle (just remembering all the pieces so it doesn't fly off the bike) so the integrated hydration option is hopefully a plus for me.
  3. I like the bike store that sells the Specialized much better than the store that sells the Felt. 
I have taken her on two (1/2) rides both about 2 hours long. This is also my first tri bike so some of the first rides are definitely just getting use to the difference between a road bike and a tri bike.
On my first ride I felt the need to take a bunch of pictures of myself on the bike. Here's another one just for fun.
I got the Shiv Comp Rival which is the entry level Shiv. I decided to save the money on the upgrade to the Expert and put that instead into wheels. I also really didn't want a white bike. I don't know why but I prefer the black.

Initial observations
Tri bikes feel really fast. I think this is sort of like driving a little car - you feel fast even when you aren't going fast. You are tilted down so whether I'm going faster or not I feel faster and that's fun. 

This is not actually the exact same picture as above it was taken 2 seconds later. This is the bridge outside the Deering Estate if you happen to be curious.

I wasn't expecting how much more comfortable the aero position would be on the tri bike versus the clip ons on the road bike but for me it's much more comfortable. Conversely holding onto the bull horns is pretty uncomfortable compared to the grips on a road bike. I think I know now why folks in tri bikes are always pulling off from the group to be in aero - it's much more comfy.
My daughter took this of me going up and down the street the day I brought her home. There is nothing (for a woman) like seeing a picture of yourself in aero to affirm your commitment to do more situps. :-)
Lets talk balance. I never felt off balance on the road bike except maybe going downhill super fast (which really isn't that super fast but that's another discussion). But I find that I feel my balance or lack of balance more on the tri bike.

It feels solid when in aero but small movements steer the bike. Movements like a shift in the shoulders or a but wiggle. And when not in aero I do feel my balance shift up I guess which makes bike adjustments more jerky or twitchy. I also notice this when starting from a stop - where the road bike I would press down and sort of glide and lean back into the seat I find that this feels much different. I can't quite put it into words but I do a sort of pedal stutter at the moment down stroke, lift, down stroke then sit and pedal. It's not so graceful yet. In fact my one almost wipe out was performing this exact maneuver at an intersection and luckily I wasn't run over by the truck behind me.
This is my little flat supplies bag which totally doesn't fit correctly on the new seat post. New solution needed.

Shifting on the road bike had become second nature. Shifting on the tri bike is soooo not natural. I'm sure it will become more so. But at the moment it requires a lot of thought and advance planning. Plus I'm not sure what I'm doing. And it makes a big clunk sound which because I'm so jittery on the bike makes me jump. I know I'm ridiculous. Also, I definitely steer a little bit when I lift one arm to go to the gears. I will have to get quicker and more solid with this. My plan is to ride it a little bit every day and shift a lot until it feels right. As well as leaving this bike at home for group rides for a while longer to avoid causing the 37 bike pile up because I was shifting.
The space in the middle of the frame of my miniature bike is very small. So we put on a side opening cage for a bottle. However, on my initial rides I have noticed that every so often I rub the edge of the bottle with my leg ... not so great an option really.
A big feature on the bike is the built in bladder. Specialized actually calls it the Fuelselage which I think is a pretty great name. Also they have a graphic on the side which indicates the following (no hot liquids, no alcohol and one other thing that I forget) it made me chuckle because seriously who would do that? 
This is the bladder out of its little living space. It's pretty ingenious how the contraption works there are 2 covers one that seals it into the frame and then one that covers the fill location. I think I'm supposed to have another cover for if I decide to ride without the bladder but I didn't get that yet.

My XS bladder allegedly holds 20 oz. Actually I'm sure it does if I can get the bag fully in there. But I'm currently getting about 10-15 oz of fluid in. Here are my basic observations on the bladder.
Filling the bladder. On the go you would probably do this squeezing through the sport top. However, I find that you have to wait a few seconds for the air to displace while you fill it so I'm not sure how long this actually takes. So far I haven't filled it on the go only in the garage.

Here is the straw attached to the magnet - figuring out where the straw is most workable is still in progress but that's combined with the fear of taking my hands off the bike so I just need to practice practice practice.
  • It is easier to get the bladder in and out than I expected. 
  • Putting the bladder in is not a rush job because you don't want it folded or bunched. 
  • I have a bite thingie at the end of the straw and you have to suck to pull fluid. It's not hard but I wasn't expecting it. 
  • Water in the frame gets warm quickly. Actually just about immediately.
  • The magnet to hold the straw is not at all strong enough. Apparently they are releasing new magnets this summer as this is a known issue but seriously it's a bummer.
  • The bladder seems to dry pretty well when stored upside down. I'm paranoid about this because years ago I ruined a Camelback by letting it mold so we'll see how I do with this.
  • It comes with a very long straw. We cut mine in the bike store. I actually may have cut it too short which will definitely make the discovery of replacement parts happen a little faster. But too much straw and it's flapping all over the place - too little and your nose is touching the aero bars while you drink. 
In other news
As you might have heard I can't race the Florida 70.3 on May 20th due to a kiddo conflict. Oh well. Ironman has generously not given me a refund or a deferral but I expected that. It's one of the things they are known for.  Oh well, Lance will just have to carry on without me. Ha!

In a moment of unclear thinking I have signed up for another 70.3 distance race a little closer to home 10 days later. It's called Motivation Man

Since registering I have already had 3 moments of panic. First immediately following the sign-up process. Second later that night I woke up three times completely doubting my ability to complete this race and then most recently yesterday when my husband pointed out, "hey it's exactly one month until your big race."

The last race that made me this nervous was the Olympic distance so I know it's just about the unknown. But anyway more about this later.


  1. I have been reading about the new Shiv for months and pretty much every one talks about how Specialized threw out a all the rules. Ask me a question about the Shiv forum on slowtwitch - I've read it all but this is the first really valuable assessment of the Shiv from someone who, like us has moved from Road bike to Time Trial.


  2. Coxy - thanks! I'm just now getting used to it. But I need to adjust fast because I plan to ride it in a race in just a few weeks.