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Is It Time to Be Done with Specialized Bicycles?

I’ve been an unpaid, walking advertisement for Specialized for the better part of a decade. I ride their bikes (3 – road, mountain & gravel), I sport their kit (mainly because it’s awesome), I ride with their shoes (S-Works & Torch 2.0), their gloves, and until just last year, their helmets.

You get the idea…

Specialized bikes were the best as far as I was concerned. Sleek, aero, lightweight, fast… they seemed to have everything.

They’ve always leaned on our local shop owner pretty hard, though. He was grandfathered in as a Trek and Specialized store, though, so they “technically” couldn’t touch him. They found a way to punish him with the pandemic, though. He hasn’t displayed a Specialized road bike in his store for going on two years. They won’t ship him any. Hardly a mountain bike, either. Oh, he gets plenty of leisure bikes and cruisers, but that’s about it. They’re currently telling him he’s as far out as 2024 for orders that used to take two or three weeks. It feels like they’re trying to choke him.

Now, I’m usually not one for big corporate conspiracy theories, but what’s happening at our local shop just doesn’t pass the smell test.

The rumors are bad enough I’m actually thinking about retiring a lot of my Specialized kit and getting the Venge painted to cover up the “Specialized” and “S” markings. I’d void the lifetime warranty on the frame, but it’d be worth it.

If anyone at Specialized is paying attention, you’ve got a crisis on your hands, boys and girls. You’d better get to work on damage control. If someone as level-headed as I am is thinking about quitting you, you’ve got major PR problems.

Thank God for Bicycles!

I’ve got my Specialized Venge all tuned up. The shift and brake cables are all brand new. The bearings are all new. The chainrings, chain, cassette and rear derailleur… all new.

The water bottles are filled and ready for action. Garmin Varia and 510 are charged and ready to go. Rare for the Venge, a small saddle bag is affixed under the saddle – the smallest I could get that can fit what I need… expertly packed and tight to the bike so it won’t move, thereby scratching the paint, when I’m out of the saddle to climb.

I’m T-minus three hours to launch on my first 100-mile ride of the season.

I’m excited and nervous all at the same time. Three hours to go and it’ll be time to drop some weight.

I’m sipping on my first cup of coffee of the morning, watching my wife sleep. She’s not the early riser I am. God, she’s beautiful. I’m thinking about what a lucky guy I am. We’ve been through a lot together and it looks like the next 25 years of our marriage are going to be vastly better than the first. And for that, I am thankful.

Well, it’s time to shave and shower. Once we get breakfast going, launch time is going to be on us in a hurry.

You know, I’ve been to the gym a hundred times. I can’t ever recall feeling like this before pushing weight.

As fitness goes, only a bike can get me so fired up. Look at that beautiful carbon fiber and alloy steed… what a bike!

More later.

As the Snow Flies, Now Is the Time For Bicycle Maintenance; My List of Items to Cover Over the Long, Cold Winter

Not long ago I didn’t know my butt from a hole in the ground as far as correctly maintaining a bike goes. I was in that “knows just enough to be dangerous” category. I could complete some things deftly and quickly, but I had a tendency to skip a step or two and I could really pooch things up if I wasn’t careful. However, now that I’ve fixed enough of my mistakes, some multiple times, I learned the correct ways to go about taking care of those items that I don’t make the mistakes anymore. It’s not exactly the sexiest way to become competent at bicycle maintenance, but hey, whatever works.

With winter, and for us in the great northern Midwest, comes a time that is both excellent and miserable at the same time. First, without a fat bike, riding outside is pretty much burned till March. We’ll get a few decent days, possibly, between now and January 10th, but they’re numbered. That means trainer season for many of us. The good news is this season is also crushingly boring.

It’s the perfect time to take the bikes apart and put them back together – and if you’re only a mediocre mechanic, this is an excellent time to mess things up so you have time to fix them. Now, perhaps I’m a bit of a nerd, but I really enjoy taking the bikes apart and putting them back together through the winter to get them ready for the spring thaw. Man, if that isn’t turning a frown upside down, I don’t know what is!

So here’s the list I go by, usually not in any specific order, as I work my way through my wife and my fleet of bikes.

  • Brakes center calipers and check and adjust pull and inspect brake cables/housing. Clean and lube or replace as necessary.
  • Clean and lube headsets. This is one of my more enjoyable tasks because it’s one of those that doesn’t seem like it does all that much to improve the bikes performance, until your headset bearings freeze up from a lack of maintenance. Seen it happen on friends’ bikes. It is not pretty. I’ll tell you what is pretty; perfectly clean and smooth bearing operation in the steering. I’m almost bummed I’ve already done most of our bikes already.
  • Shifter cables and housings. The conventional wisdom is cables should be changed yearly and housings every two to four cable changes. This is another of those maintenance items that really puts a smile on my face. If done well, the result is one’s bike feeling like new again. I depart a little from the conventional wisdom when it comes to internally routed bikes. The cables are protected don’t let in dirt as easily so they tend to last A LOT longer. I have friends who’ve gone more than five years without new cables on their internally routed bike.
  • Jockey wheels. You know the saying, the squeaky wheel gets the grease? I wonder if this isn’t where that saying originated (not really, just making a point). I like to take them apart, clean them and lube them and put the assembly back together. A yearly must for a quiet bike.
  • Crankset cleaning. The crankset and bottom bracket collect more than their fair share of grit and dirt. I clean them up quite often, but I give them a good going over during the winter months after I run out of other things to work on.
  • Bottle cages; clean up on the down and seat tubes! Believe it or not, I take the bottle cages off the bikes, clean the frame behind the cages and clean and lube the bolts and put them back every winter. This is another of those, “okay, I’ve done everything else” projects. Guess who doesn’t find cage bolts have magically welded themselves into the frame with a semi-permanent mixture of sweat and sports drink? That’s right, folks. This guy.
  • Free hubs! The free hubs are not free. They do spin more freely and sound awesome when they’re properly cleaned and maintained. I also use this as an excuse to check the wheel bearings, though I don’t know exactly what I’d do if one went bad… If your bike makes a strange noise when you coast, other than the normal ratcheting sound made by the free hub, the free hub is a great place to look.

Now, I do each of those for no less than six bikes… so I manage to keep fairly busy on the weekends for the eight to ten weeks we’ve got snow on the ground. And our bikes are obviously happier for it.

Testing My Specialized Venge – Or, How To Make Your Road Bike Feel Like New Again!

So, last night was a little weird. We had 30-mph winds and it was a wonderful 60 degrees, but with the wind whipping like that, and the temperature falling faster the popular opinion of another Covid lockdown, Chuck and I decided to take a night off. Humorously enough, I actually called him back and told him I’d changed my mind, that I’d ride after all, and he told me I was freaking nuts.

And so I was faced with a few choices. I opted right off the bat, not to ride. Then I decided not to ride the Trek on the trainer. Then I got to looking at the Venge after I did some tinkering on my wife’s gravel bike… I haven’t so much as sat on the bike since I got it back from getting new bottom bracket bearings installed. I gave the tires a quick squeeze, they were close enough, then rolled up my right pant-leg and pushed that beautiful steed, fresh with a brand new chain, new 11/28 cassette, new 50/34 chainrings, new rear derailleur, and new shifter cables and housings out the door… and I took it for a quick spin to check the settings and see how the bike shifted.

The derailleur was great shifting up the cassette but slow going back down so I gave it a quick adjustment and… beautiful, quick, easy shifting. Silent perfection. My Venge didn’t feel like new again, it was better than new. I’ve had a better handlebar, better crankset, upgraded shifters and derailleurs, and vastly superior wheels put on the bike since I first brought it home.

The important items were the shifting quality, which was incredible with new cables, housings and a new rear derailleur, then that the crank was smooth again with the new bottom bracket bearings.

I’m stoked for next season already. My Venge is back and better than new.

You’ll have to picture it, but this is me smiling.

What I Would Do To My Specialized Venge If Money Were No Object (and It Is, But a Fella Can Dream of “Just Hit the Lotto” Money)

I opened a big, fat can of worms in Wednesday’s post about my Venge’s most excellent outcome in extracting the crankset from the bike. See, the S-Works crankset on my Venge is technically top-of-the-line. That’s a technicality, though. First of all, S-Works is some fantastic bike equipment. Think of the line as Specialized’s Skunk Works. If you’re drawing a blank, Skunk Works is Lockheed Martin’s top-end aircraft design studio that started back in the 1930s, extending through the days of the most awesome Supersonic SR-71 Blackbird.

I have mentioned on this page that my dad was a weatherman in the Air Force. Well that’s where I got my love for the weather, aircraft, and fast carbon fiber things… it only makes sense that I latched onto cycling the way I did. The only sad part is that it took me till I was 41 to find bikes that weren’t sold at a Sears.

In a matter of three years, I went from thinking bikes didn’t get much better than a Sears $185 hybrid to this:

So, in working on my post Wednesday, that can of worms I opened was in the form of hashing out the definition of “top-of-the-line” in terms of a crankset. Technically, my Venge is top-of-the-line in realistic terms. In pie-in-the-sky terms, there’s top-of-the-line, then one crazy step above that: there’s THM.

I think I dropped around $600 on my S-Works crankset (with spider) and it weighs around 500 grams (if memory serves). The THM Clavicula SE crank, by comparison, runs about $1,400 and weighs only 300 grams with the spider. Check out this thing of beauty:

So, I thought, what if I took my Venge to beyond top-of-the-line? What would it look like (and vastly more important, how much would that cost)?

Going back to that $185 Sears hybrid, the FSA Energy brakes on my Venge retailed for $160 (I found them on closeout for $50). They’re lighter than Shimano’s Ultegra at 316 grams for the set (Dura Ace run 300 grams, Ultegra are 360, and 105 brakes are 380). In other words, my brakes retailed for almost as much as I paid for an entire bike and they’re decently high-end.

Then there’s the THM Fibula caliper brake set. The set retails for around $1,500 but only weighs an astonishingly light 120 grams… for the set. Have a look:

That’s just next-level sexy, right there.

Then there’s the stem and handlebar (or the handlebar/stem combo if I really want to get expensive). That got me to thinking, “What would it cost if I went all in? Better, what would my Venge weigh afterward?”

I did the math.

For around $5,000 I could get the full line of THM parts and install them on the Venge. My current hair under 16 pound Venge would drop to 14-1/2 pounds. Then, I really let my melon run riot… what if I went next level and dropped another $1,000 on Dura Ace shifters and derailleurs?

My 16 pound Venge would come in around 14 pounds or 6.3 kg. For an aero bike.

Why stop there, though? Let’s replace my 1,500 gram carbon 50mm wheels with something really lightweight. I can drop 400 grams for another $4,000, give or take! I could, technically, get my Venge down to the 13 pound range – under UCI allowable limits, if I drop another $10,000 on the bike (after I’ve already got $6,000 into it). And that’s where this little mental exercise hits a brick wall. I need a $16,000 bike that weighs around 13-1/2 pounds like I need a hit in the head.

The math fun isn’t done, though! I can take this up a notch like I did with the component exercise. My bike at, call it 13.5 pounds would cost $16,000 (give or take). That’s $1,185.18 a pound.

The Koenegsigg Jesko, one of the premier top-of-the line hyper-cars on the market, fully decked out in all of its carbon fiber glory, comes in at a paltry $958 per pound. Of course, it weighs over 3,000 pounds, but let’s not get lost in the equity woods, here! With a big enough wad of cash, you could make a Specialized Venge cost more per pound than a Koenegsigg! Now that’s sexy, baby.

It was a fun exercise. All of that carbon fiber is spectacular.

The exercise is done. We now return our seat backs to the upright position as we descend from the wispy clouds of dreamland. It was fun while it lasted!

*This was supposed to post Friday but I found something a little more pressing to write about. When that inspiration happens, I don’t fight it. I believe the inspiration has a purpose bigger than me.

Back on the Venge and Happy Again: Finally, Some Better Weather

Or, yet another ode to my Specialized Venge…

My buddy, Chuck and I rolled out early yesterday afternoon. The weather was as close to perfect as we’re going to get at the end of September, and after four days of rain and no outdoor riding, it was a relief to get outside.

It was so spectacularly beautiful I got to take the Venge, whose days are unquestionably numbered for this 2021.

I installed a new shifter cable and housings for the rear derailleur last week, from front to back. Shimano housings and caps with a high-end stainless cable, this time. I went with the good stuff.

I simply couldn’t believe how well the system shifts. I could downshift with my pinkie finger if I wanted.

I see many of my friends buying new bikes and every now and then I think to myself, “Ya know, self, one of those spiffy new rigs with the new hydraulic disk brakes and all the trimmings wouldn’t be so bad”…

Then I throw my leg over my Venge and, without a creak, click or groan, it launches when I put the watts down. Unlike every other bike I own, I can literally feel the Venge cut through the air… and it’s not even 16 pounds. Do you know how much you have to spend to best 16 with hydraulic disk brakes?!

Then I think, “Nope. I’ve already got the best of both worlds (aero and lightweight) under me. I’d have to spend upwards of $6,000 to downgrade…”

It’s right about then I lean into a corner and I can feel the little asphalt grabbers on my Turbo Pro tires dig in so it feels like my Venge is on a roller coaster rail as I round the corner. A wry smile stretches across my face and my decision to stay with my Venge is confirmed once again.

That badass rocket is staying right where it belongs. At the top of my stable.

I wipe the dust off, drop it into the little/little gear combo (while a bike should never be ridden in this gear selection, storing the bike in that combo de-stresses the cables and derailleur springs) and roll it to its place of prominence in our bike room (aka the in-law bedroom).

I love that bike!

Fast or Fun? Or BOTH?

When you absolutely, positively need the big guns for a big, fast ride…

The Ultimate American aero race bike from 2012 thru 2019 (I could convincingly argue it’s better than the newer generation of aero bikes)

Or for fun, when you just feel like cruising (though more than worthy in the event a real ride breaks out):

The Ultimate American race bike from 1996 thru 2006

I’ll be writing more about the differences betwixt the two bikes above, but for today suffice it to say the Venge, watt for watt, is worth 1 to 1-1/2 mph over the Trek. It’d be closer to 1-mph if I put the 38s that currently sit on the Trek on the Venge – both bikes have 10-sp drivetrains so this would be easy as swapping wheels.

The Trek has a lot of pull, though, because that bike, my bike, was handmade in the USA. Everyone has their frames made in Taiwan nowadays.

Anyway, everyone should be lucky enough to have to make the hard choice of which one to ride.

Today is one of those, “when you absolutely, positively, have to get there fast” days. The Venge is all dolled up, ready to go.

TNIL: Ultra-Hot & Melty Edition (Or Conversely, Oh How I ❤️ My Venge Edition)

The thermometer in my car hit 91 preposterous degrees (33 C) on the way over to Lennon. There was a breeze, but at 91 sticky degrees, it felt more like getting hit with a furnace vent.

Chuck and I did the warm-up uneventfully, except one a$$#0le in a POS Chevy pickup who disagreed vehemently with “share the road” and laid on his horn about a quarter-mile before he got to us without another car in sight for miles. I’m guessing, but I think the 45 second blast on his horn meant “get off the road because I’m too stupid to pass you while you’re on the road surface”… but I’m not sure. I made fun of him enough that he pulled over to yell at us. We gave it back and rode by him so he had to pass us again. I made a wild, “well there you go, the lane is yours to pass” gesture with my hand as he yelled something out the window in “I have sex with goats in the barn” English. I couldn’t quite make it out and laughed at him as he went by.

I’m not always Mr. Etiquette, thinking about positively representing the sport, but some people… I’m imperfect. I’ll keep trying.

We were short riders again, maybe 15 between the A Elites and A’s so we rolled together. This time, there were more of us than them, and that gave me the warm fuzzies.

Levi and I led the rabble out, starting slow and ramping the pace up as the mile and a half ticked off. We were up to 23 when we flicked off to head back for a rest.

With a tailwind, the pace got quick, in a hurry. But it was good. That Pad Thai for lunch must have worked because I was feeling uncharacteristically fantastic. I also didn’t push my luck with long pulls, either. I gave it my best and got out of the way. Then we turned into the wind – crossing for a few miles, and that was a struggle, but then dead into it. The pulls were shorter but the pace moderated a little, and the draft was great.

Then we hit the hills.

I’d kept my breathing in check so I had some gas in reserve for the hills but it’s always surprising how fast the elite guys can shimmy up an incline that’d normally slow us down a bit. They took it a little easy on us, but not too easy. With a little extra want to I got through the hills and we were back on our normal Tuesday night route home. Heading for the homestretch we had better than a 22-mph average and we were on the gas hard. 26-mph uphill and I was wondering who had visited a priest for confession to be given that for penance. I stayed glued to Todd’s wheel, though… and we turned for the home stretch. I was expecting a smooth ride home. Fast, yes, but… reasonable. We were all melting by this point in the ride.

All hell broke lose.

The pace went from 26 to 32 in a matter of seconds (42 km/h to 51.5 km/h). I managed to stay connected for a bit more than a mile and I drifted back after a shake-up at the front had the group a little kittywampus and tucked in behind David. I told him I didn’t have much left and wouldn’t be able to hang… but he started falling off the group. He made a valiant effort to reconnect but he just didn’t have that last 20 yards. I came around close so he’d immediately get in my draft and charged off for the front group. I bridged the gap at 32-mph but Dave wasn’t there when I checked my six.

Well, I wasn’t about to leave him out there all on his own after I rode him like that, so I slipped quietly off the back of the lead group. I could also see Chuck and Clark in the background as well, so I told Dave to hold up a bit and we’d grab those two for a legit charge home. The caught up with two miles to go and we were after it. We raised our pace from 22.1 to 22.2 over the course of the next two miles and pounded the pedals for the City Limits sign north of 28-mph. And just like that, it was over.

I reset my Garmin for the cruise back to the parking lot and it was hi-fives and fist bumps all around. The official average was 22.5-mph for just shy of 30 miles. It was fantastic.

I’d had several thoughts throughout last night’s ride about how amazing my Venge is. My 5200 is a legendary race bike from the late 90s – more state-level wins than any other bike frame in the history of bicycles from what I’m told by our local cycling historian. I love that bike. But my Venge, fourteen years newer, is simply astonishing stood next to the Trek. When you push the pedals on the Venge, the forward reaction is simply violent in comparison. The bike just goes. Everything about the Specialized is perfect down to the chainring bolts. It’s quiet, fast, stout, and aero as they got in 2014.

That bike gave me everything it had last night and I feel lucky to own it. I’d have kept up on the Trek but it would have been a whole lot harder… and it would have been likely I’d have dropped a couple miles sooner as well.

Are S-Works Cycling Shoes That Much Better Than Torch 2.0 Shoes? The Scientific and Special Differences Between a $150 and a $400 Pair of Cycling Shoes

In my first post on the difference between a pair of S-Works and Torch 2.0 cycling shoes that explored whether they’re worth the extra $250, I gave the touchy-feely version of what’s better in the S-Works shoes to come up with the conclusion that, if you can afford the price tag, they’re worth it – but not necessary for the local club ride and definitely not necessary if they put a strain on the budget.

In this post, we’re going to get into the science of the shoes and get a little geeky. Know this, before I’ve ever done the research, if you can’t stomach the $400 sticker price, don’t despair. The S-Works shoes are about as necessary on a club ride as a bell. The Torch 2.0 shoes, at $160 and in the middle of the road lineup, are more than enough… even though the S-Works version are the cat’s pajamas.

Let’s start with the easy part: The stiffness index of the S-Works shoe: 13 (newer versions are 15!). The stiffness index of the Torch 2.0: 7. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out which will allow you to deliver better power to the pedals. In shoes, as in bottom brackets, flex isn’t a good thing. There’s a lot to be said for vertical compliance in a frame, but in shoes stiff wins. When I tested my S-Works 6 shoes, I had no idea what the stiffness index was (I knew the Torch 2.0s were a 7 and my old Specialized Road Pro shoes were a 13, so I had a feeling the S-Works would be close but I did no research before riding them). After the first ride, I knew by feel, it was substantial. I was correct.

Power to the pedals is only one giant plus for a stiff shoe sole bed. The second is comfort. Assuming the shoes, you know, fit, a stiff sole will do a better job of limiting hot spots at the cleat/pedal interface on the feet. After having spent 15,000-ish miles in the Torch 2.0 shoes, I could feel a big improvement going from them to the S-Works shoes.

Next we have the space-grade materials in the S-Works shoes against the thermoplastic polyurethane and mesh construction of the Torch 2.0s. Before we get into the whole “space” thing, the mesh and TPU construction of the Torch shoes is excellent and exceedingly comfortable. They’re fantastic. Having put in some hard miles on the S-Works models, I never wished I’d switched sooner. The S-Works’ leather and Dyneema panels, however, are outrageously wonderful. It’s pretty simple, really; there’s no question the Torch shoes punch above their weight, but S-Works is still S-Works.

As for those Dyneema Panels, the designer of the shoe described them thusly (according to Bike Radar):

“The single-layer base synthetic is selected as it has adaptive stretch for comfort in the forefoot, lateral side and ball area,” explained the shoe’s designer, Rob Cook. “The Dyneema material is actually a film holding a custom lay-up of ultra-fine Dyneema strands. These strands do not stretch at all and we have placed them in an orientation to hold the foot. Bonding this to the synthetic creates zones of absolute non-stretch for locking the foot in place. The film is still soft and flexible. Applying this film means we can tune the fit of the upper in zones without cutting and joining separate parts with seams.”

Well, alrighty then.

Next up is the one category where the Torch 2.0 shoes punch above the S-Works; weight. My S-Works 6 shoes are 440 grams for the pair. The Torch’s only weigh 30 grams more. For the pair. Looking strictly from a weight standpoint, the S-Works shoes, after tax are just shy of a Dollar per gram. The Torch 2.0s are just 36 cents per gram. Chalk one up for the Torch 2.0.

To make a whole lot of science-y stuff into a nice little ball, the science backed up my experience and my opinion; if you’ve got the money, the S-Works shoes are phenomenal and exceedingly comfortable and awesome. On the other hand, if you don’t, the Specialized’s Torch 2.0 punch well above their price tag and are more than enough shoe for the fastest club rides. Mine have been excellent for years (that shoe above has more than 15,000 miles on it and still looks that good).

The Hylix Specialized Venge Seatpost: It FITS, and I Like The Saddle Attachment Bracket Better Than The Original…

I cracked my Venge seatpost during a seated sprint late last season. I heard it go as I passed 33-mph trying to hold off a friend going for the Durand City Limits sign. It was actually quite the excellent battle. I didn’t have time to stand when I noticed my friend trying to pass on my left. I’d started ramping the pace up a more than a mile earlier, expecting I’d have dropped everyone (or at least convinced them not to bother trying to come around). Jonathan, however, had been busy much of the summer and hadn’t been riding much – he was feeling spunky. I put everything I had into the pedals. It was about the third revolution I put some serious @$$ into it and heard the faint crunch. I did pull away from him well before the line but there was damage…

The owner of our local shop had a look at it and said as small as the crack was, it’s orientation on the seatpost, and with all of the good surrounding fiber, it’d likely last me decades without a problem.

So let’s say it lasts a decade. How many Venge seatposts are going to be floating around out there in a decade, now that the entire line has been discontinued? That’d be approximately zero. A few weeks ago I decided to try to locate a replacement. I struck out with a Chinese exception on eBay. My extensive search produced the Hylix Carbon+Ti Seatpost for my bike and a couple of others.

I hesitated to pull the trigger for more than a week, hemming & hawing about whether or not to risk it. I imagine I could have gotten an original from Specialized for a few Hundred Dollars, but the allure of saving more than $200 and wondering if I’d someday have to mothball my favorite bike finally proved to be too much. Even if I doubted it would fit properly.

I bit the bullet and ordered the Hylix and crossed my fingers. The link above is to the seller I bought mine from. 100% flawless sale.

It came in the other day and I dig it immensely. The saddle clamp is tricky at first glance, but once I figured out how to use it, I like the idea better than the original. We’ll have to see how it works out on the road before I’ll render final judgement. After the visual test came the fit test. It fits exactly as well the original. The carbon layup is sharp and it’ll do nicely once it got its Punisher sticker.

The packaging was more than adequate and the matte, naked finish is quite cool. On the other hand, it won’t quite match my bike as it is, no matter how cool that may be…

I’ll have to think that a bit, though. The naked, no paint look is growing on me… it matches the wheels, too. I ended up swapping out the seatpost last night after looking closer at the crack in the original with a magnification app on my phone. It looks like the damaged area was growing. I may try to have the original repaired, though I think that’ll take a little more than some epoxy… In any event, the new seatpost is on the Venge and the saddle’s been dialed in and I gave it a go on the trainer last night to make sure the saddle clamp would hold the saddle solidly. The only minor wrinkle is that, unlike the original saddle clamp which is self-centering, you have to watch to make sure the Hylix mounting system holds the saddle straight. Mine was off by a lot the first time I set it… it won’t self-center perfectly. That said, once it’s in and cranked down it’s solid. I didn’t experience any problems with the saddle moving throughout my 45 minute workout. There is also one component that the replacement post exceeds Specialized’s: The Hylix’s 7x9mm oval mounting clamp better fits the rails of a carbon saddle.

In any event, you can see more care went into the layup and construction of the original Specialized seatpost (lower right photo, the original is on the left). The side wall on the original goes thin while the Hylix sidewalls are almost the same thickness as the ends. Interestingly, the layup for the outer layer is quite close to the original.

The important part is, the Hylix seatpost fits as well as the original. The only question that remains is how well it holds up to my @$$ on the road. If it’s near as good as the Ican wheels I’m rolling on my good bikes, I’ll be a happy cyclist.