2021 Specialized S-Works Aethos

First impressions after 24h and 80k with the Aethos.
In general, it is a very nice bike. Looks classic and subdued, in my build (some WW, some aero bling) not quite as stealthy, but very lovely. It is definitely a bike, I would have found boring looking, before I started cycling, and that probably won‘t turn many heads of people who are not involved in cycling.
When lifting up the bike, it is impressively light.

Riding: The bike is fun to ride, it is light and nimble, yet very comfortable. However, I can‘t say, that it rides that differently from my Roubaix Team. The 900g difference in an almost 80‘000g system is just not that big of a difference. I can‘t notice much of a difference in higher speeds vs the Roubaix, but it certainly holds speed less effortlessly than my Aero Bike.
I have pushed the bike pretty hard, doing a 12x30“ all out standing sprint session yesterday, and a 37 minute threshold effort today. Whatever I threw at it, it was never „noodley“ or „squishy“. I am a rather light guy at just over 70kg, but I have ridden large frames (58/60) that had much greater issues dealing with standing sprints. For sprints at just over a 1000W (not very much, but that‘s all I got), it felt just as good as the aero bike (albeit not just as fast). For the very long effort at almost 360 Watts, it felt awesome. I had longer passages of pedaling at high cadence and never felt bouncy, then got out the saddle to put some power down and back into the saddle at lower cadence… always solid as a rock. Cornering is very precise and fun.
I have yet to ride the bike up a proper climb (and with current COVID-developments, this is unlikely to change within the next 3 months), which will be very interesting.
I also have yet to do a long endurance ride on it, which will tell more about the comfort.
A too early conclusion:
Is this a revelation? No! It is not too noticeably better (or different really) than the Roubaix Team I had before that. Maybe I will change my mind about it once I get into proper climbing, but even that is not too likely. Ultimately, it is another high-end bike by the same manufacturer as my previous ride, with almost the same components, and therefore I didn’t expect miracles… and there aren’t any.
Is this a bad thing? Also No! The Roubaix Team is the best road bike I have ever ridden, and this has the same speed and comfort (maybe not over cobbles, which I never ride, but over rougher tarmac, I didn’t notice a difference). However, it is a little more precise when steering (the future shock made it a little soft in some corners), and is lighter also. I am definitely happy with the bike, and you if you can/ want to afford it, you will get a fantastic bike, that is super subdued, yet super bling (for those who know).
I‘ll post some nicer pictures once I have ridden the bike a little more.
Here is the one for the weenies:

The build could be a made a little light, with the handlebar being „aero shaped“, the wheels being rather deep, the chainring being a standard (50/37 being 60g heavier than 48/35). To go much lighter would then require going super WW, but I am not after any of that. The bike is more than light enough and after all: aero is everything :face_with_monocle:


Solid review. I’m also looking at going from Roubaix to Aethos. Did you stick with the same size when jumping between the two?

Also, where’d you get those bottle cages? They look good on the bike.

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I couldn’t keep the size since I had a Roubaix Team Edition that were only offered in 53, 57 and 59. My Aethos is 58, and thereby a little larger than my 57 Roubaix. The stack on this is a little on the high side, but I still have a spacer to drop, so I should be fine.

The bottle cages are CarbonWorks from Germany. The lightest bcs there are. The laminated ones are 8g, the non-laminated are 5g. They hold the bottle pretty well, but are rather fragile of course. I had earlier iterations and they broke easily, but now they are okay. CarbonWorks is very famous in the WW community.

Ahh interesting, didn’t realized the Team Edition comes in odd sizes. I’m a 56 Roubaix and planning a 56 in the Aethos.

I’ll have to check out the cages, look pretty cool.

I’ll pass on my review of Roubaix vs Aethos in the climbs as soon as I get mine and get it setup (I do quite a few endurance/climbing rides these days).

56 Aethos has the same geometry as 57 Roubaix Team and the same geometry as an Tarmac SL6.
A „standard Roubaix“ has an endurance geometry, so likely more stack and less reach.

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First the new Shiv and now this! Wow and congrats!

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A few nicer pictures from today’s training. Properly soaked in rain and mud. Great fun still:


OMFG. Make sure you watch the CCTV clip, too.


It can happen on your 1st ride, 1000th ride or never.
Good to see the writer is okay.
Also, isn’t it weird to purchase a founder‘s edition Aethos, aka the one with the special paint job, to then strip all the paint and repaint it, when they even offer a bare carbon frame for €500 less?

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He probably got quite a discount on the bike considering he is " Equipment Design Leader for Specialized" :man_shrugging:

If I were specialized, and just released my first ready-to-paint frame in ages, I would tell my employee not to ruin the limited edition frame instead… might be just me.

Decent chance he didn’t even pay for the bike…I know I never paid for one of my bikes when I was doing product development stuff.

I know a lot of companies have tightened things up since I left the bike biz, but bro deals are still the currency of choice.


A tale that we not indestructible and inhabit the road as a soft skinned vehicle. Good news the rider is fine, not so for the numpty car driver’s insurer .

“Of all the bikes you write off a $20k one”

Besides being happy for the rider! The insurance will go back me forth for ages until they accept a 20k bill on a bike.

Buy two used 2017-2018 (or 2019 built from frameset) Trek Emonda SLR H1 rim brake dura-ace di2 with ultra-light carbon wheels for the same price of the Aeolus…and still have money left over to get each bike in the 10.5 pound range…


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