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© John Levison
The Ultimate Specialized Shiv?
Posted by: John Levison
Posted on: Wednesday 23rd April 2014


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Despite their high prices, spotting a so-called 'superbike' at most triathlon events these days is not difficult. Whether it is a Cervélo P5, Trek Speed Concept, Scott Plasma 3, Felt IA FRD or any of the other much lusted after carbon dream machines, there are plenty of triathletes around who have taken the plunge and invested in the latest and greatest. 'Super' is - almost (!) - normal. It takes something really special to stand out from the crowd among a transition area filled with bike bling.

What we have here is a range topping Specialized S-Works Shiv Tri - the same frame that Craig Alexander rode to Kona victory in 2011 - and this bike belongs to top Age Group duathlete, European and World Champion Alan Murchison. However, take a close look and you'll see several things that make this particular addition different from the norm.

Alan Murchison's Specialized Shiv Tri

I snapped these images the day prior to the ETU Powerman Sprint Duathlon European Championships in Horst recently, having spotted a number additions and upgrades which make this a very special edition of an already highly desirable machine. Prior to looking at the details, here is the 'big picture' shot.

Alan Murchison's Specialized Shiv Tri

The first thing to note is the aerobars. The 'standard' (!) Shiv module comes with Specialized's own UCI-compliant aerobar, but Alan has replaced those with Zipp Vuka carbon aerobars with matching Zipp R2C (return-to centre) shifters.

Alan Murchison's Specialized Shiv Tri

What is also apparent, and perhaps what really makes this bike stand out, is the brakes. If the Magura RT8 TT Hydraulic brakes do look familiar, it is likely you've seen them - even if just in pictures - on a Cervelo P5 (such as that of Tom Lowe). This frame module typically comes standard with Specialized's own Shiv Aero brakes - but Alan wasn't happy with their performance, and has upgraded - an expense he feels was great value, describing their performance as "awesome". Look out for these brakes becoming standard issue on the upper end Shiv Tri modules very soon.

You can just spot the rear Magura brake caliper hidden behind the Shimano Dura-Ace chainset - which itself is also a change from the standard Specialized S-Works FACT carbon crankset.

Alan Murchison's Specialized Shiv Tri

A close up view of the front Magura RT8 TT Hydraulic brake caliper.

Alan Murchison's Specialized Shiv Tri

Alan rides Specialized's triathlon and TT specific saddle, the Sitero.

Alan Murchison's Specialized Shiv Tri

Continuing the 'no-compromise' theme to this build, Alan rolls on Zipp Carbon Clinchers (Firecrest 808 front, Super-9 disc rear), with 24mm Sepcialized S-Works Turbo ("for racing only") tyres.

Alan Murchison's Specialized Shiv Tri

A view of the under bottom bracket located rear Magura brake. The Dura Ace 9000 chainset crank arm also houses the Stages Powermeter which is teamed to the Garmin head unit.

Alan Murchison's Specialized Shiv Tri

Clean lines at the front end of this speed machine.

Alan Murchison's Specialized Shiv Tri

Having put together a bike of this quality, it is no surprise that Alan is smiling. That said, as a Michelin starred chef Alan is no stranger to combining the finest ingredients to produce the ultimate dish by getting the details just right. It looks like he has applied the same care, precision and desire to produce the best with his racing bike too. Even the under saddle spares bag is small, neat and unobtrusive. This is a man who likes attention to detail and it shows.

Alan Murchison's Specialized Shiv Tri

Alan in action on the Shiv at the recent ETU Powerman Sprint Duathlon European Championships, leading the entire Age Group field out of T1 on to the 20km bike course. He went on to retain his 40-44 Age Group title and finished as the third Age Group athlete across the line.

Alan Murchison's Specialized Shiv Tri


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