Specialized S-Works BG MTB Shoes 2008 – Lightest and best ever?

S-works shoes 2008 in black
Got some new shoes courtesy of Pearce Cycles and Specialized. They look fabulous, I’m loving the ‘Boa rotary and Powerzone lacing systems’, very easy to use and adjust. They feel very light, so I weighed them. They’re 379g (size 45), that’s some 50g lighter than my old ones. Mind you, my old ones, which have been and still are brilliant, might be holding a little moisture from Sunday’s damp outing.

Fitting the cleats – It can be difficult getting the cleats set up on new shoes, but I’m lucky in as much as I’m staying with the same manufacturer, so all I have to do is copy the setup from my old ones. Also i’m lucky in that I just set the cleats in the middle of the slot, in the middle of the shoe, and don’t suffer any problems. I’m so average innit? However, I do feel more comfy with my left foot turned out slightly more than my right foot. I dunno why.

To help me line my cleats up I use a 12mm spanner. It fits just nice on the back of a Shimano cleat making alignment and micro-adjustments easier. I can see where the end of the spanner is on the old shoe, and set the new one up the same. Simple. I use a little Copaslip anti-sieze grease on the threads of the bolts.

New Shoes tip – Whenever I get new biking shoes I always phase them in. So I’ll wear them on a couple of recovery rides first, then shorter training sessions and so on. I’ll do this over a period of about a month. Legs with a lot of miles in them don’t like change, even small ones.

Scrimpers tip – Shimano cleats are the same for left and right, but once fitted they don’t wear the same. When the cleats start to wear and feel a little sloppy in the pedals I take them off and swap them over, left for right. It’s easy to do because they fit in exactly the same place, and you get more wear for your pair!

New Bike, well and truly Christened…

Christened my new 2008 Specialized S-Works Carbon Stumpjumper HT at the Regional VTT Champs last weekend…….. want to know what I thought of it? OK, but first of all let me tell you how it came to be my weapon of choice.
S-Works Carbon Hardtail Christened
Why a hardtail? – I love the clean lines of a race hardtail, the simplicity, the minimalist functionality, the way they ride. I’ve often found that riding a full-susser just doesn’t give that ‘race bike’ feel, you might be covering the ground just as fast but it doesn’t feel fast. I like to go fast, and feel like I’m going fast, that’s the buzz.

Why a Specialized hardtail – this is my sixth, and i’ve loved each one. From my very first in 1989, grey with Umma Gumma grey tyres, to my latest. I’ve never ridden any other race hardtail that I like as much. It’s the best tool for the job.

So this new S-Works Carbon one – It’s an out and out race bike. It feels special, like a race bike should – light, agile, quick-handling, and rocket fast. I wouldn’t want to just ride it every day. That’d be like using a Ferrari to commute. It’s for racing, for going fast, and the faster you go the better it feels, and the faster you want to go. It inspires, excites, urges you on…..

…to ride the knife edge that is control. The faster you go the sharper the blade. It’s amazing that the brain can control two brakes with fingertip accuracy while positioning the body for perfect balance, while reading and predicting what’s coming next racing down a hillside over rock, roots, grass, and dirt. Not to mention sorting out where other riders are so as not to hit them. You really are just there in the moment, there is nothing else, and nothing else quite like it.

That’s how it rides. Nuff said?

Sans fleurs – I’d only done two short rides on it to bed the brakes and gears in, so I was almost racing it straight out of the box. It performed faultlessly. Not only that, but the day after the race I suffered no unusual aches, pains or strains. That suggests to me that the bike is ‘right’.

Weapon of Choice 2008

At last, after months of planning, weeks of waiting, days of anticipation, I finally got my new bike……
My 2008 Specialized Carbon HT race bike
S-Works Carbon HT Frame
SID world cups.
Spesh seat and seatpost.
XTR wherever possible.
Thompson stem.
Easton carbon bars.
Hutchinson Python tubeless tyres.

Built for me by my good friends at Pearce Cycles. This is my race bike for 2008…

I spec’d it myself, and could have chosen anything. I chose what I think is the best for me, and the races that I do. The forks are my old SID World Cups. I’ve had new bushes and seals fitted. I have some white 2008 SIDs on order. I think the Stumpjumper SID combination is a perfect one. No other frame fork combo that i’ve tried comes close. It’s feels like a race bike should, and is rocket fast.

Thanks to Dai at Pearce’s for building it for me, and thanks to Supawal my bro’ for flying out with it. Amazingly, it was cheaper for my bro’ to fly out with it for a weeked than it was for a courier to bring it…… Well maybe not if you factor in the cost of the booze we drank. 🙂