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S-Works vs Standard Specialized

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S-Works vs Standard Specialized

Old 07-22-19, 09:55 AM
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NoWhammies
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S-Works vs Standard Specialized

I did some searching on the forums and didn't come across any existing threads so...

What are people's thoughts on S-Works bikes vs regular Specialized bikes? Are the S-Works bikes worth the difference in price? Or am I pretty much asking what the length a piece of string is?
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Old 07-22-19, 10:10 AM
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My thoughts are that they're doing the same thing as most manufacturers but they're putting a different label on their highest-spec frames for the purposes of marketing.
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Old 07-22-19, 10:38 AM
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Specialized uses a different blend of carbon for its S-Works frames (11r) versus non S-Works Frames (From 6r to 10r). There are weight and stiffness advantages to the higher level carbons.

And the differences can be measured. An 11r frame will weigh about 150g less than a 10r frame. (So it is not a question of how long is a string.)

As for stiffness, I don't know that actual measurements exist, but having ridden several versions, I personally would not buy anything less than 10r.
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Old 07-22-19, 12:46 PM
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Trek does this also, except they call it series, their top being 700 series.
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Old 07-22-19, 01:28 PM
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I didnt know the weight saving was so little.
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Old 07-22-19, 03:18 PM
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This is for your wife, right? I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume she could not be competitive as a sumo wrestler, based on the fact that she's a female roadie. If my assumption is correct, she's doesn't need a crazy stiff frame. More stiff doesn't mean more fast, about 99% of the power you make goes to the rear wheel on any modern bike, if stiffer frames really were faster they'd be marketed with their watt savings. Stiff frames handle predictably, and stiff is relative to the stress the frame will see, tightly correlated to rider weight.

So take the weight savings and the cost, and decide whether it's worth it to you.
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Old 07-22-19, 03:19 PM
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Now, same question about S-Lab.
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Old 07-22-19, 08:33 PM
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I think S Works used to be their race stuff.
I sort of remember, especially in MTB, that the S Works stuff was race only and slowly the tech trickled down to stuff mere mortals could purchase.
Then in road, there was a top of the line Tarmac, then the S Works. Again, S Works stuff (carbon, design, etc.) trickled down to the regular Tarmac line.
Almost bought an S Works frame but the geo was way too aggressive.

I think S Works is a play on semi factory sponsored privateer race teams.
From motorcycle racing: you got the full on Honda Team using full factory sponsored equipment and personnel, then a privateer Honda Works team using factory provided/purchased equipment.
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Old 07-23-19, 05:04 AM
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The S-Works is inferior to the Sagan edition
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Old 07-23-19, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
Trek does this also, except they call it series, their top being 700 series.
And C'dale has their Hi-Mod, Giant their SL grade, Jamis their Dyad Elite, etc, etc. Spec just slaps a sub-brand on there to evoke the skunk works labs of old and to give their highest-paying customers more glance-able coffee shop cachet.
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Old 07-23-19, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
This is for your wife, right? I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume she could not be competitive as a sumo wrestler, based on the fact that she's a female roadie. If my assumption is correct, she's doesn't need a crazy stiff frame. More stiff doesn't mean more fast, about 99% of the power you make goes to the rear wheel on any modern bike, if stiffer frames really were faster they'd be marketed with their watt savings. Stiff frames handle predictably, and stiff is relative to the stress the frame will see, tightly correlated to rider weight.

So take the weight savings and the cost, and decide whether it's worth it to you.
Correct! The bike is for Mrs. NoWhammies. And you are indeed correct. She does not need a crazy stiff frame. I have been trying to steer her away from the S-Works but she likes the look of them. So who knows where we'll end up. There is no rush for a new bike, and it is still early days. Plus I'm fortunate in that she still loves her current bike and is in no rush for a new one. I am trying to gather as much info so when the time comes, I'm ready.
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Old 07-23-19, 09:00 AM
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There is not going to be much stiffness difference between the S-Works and the Pro frame options. The real difference there is weight, which as I said is about 150g on average, though it can vary depending on size and paint scheme.
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Old 07-23-19, 10:33 AM
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I've heard it described as non S-works being roughly equivalent to the previous model S-works,

so SL3 Tarmac about the same as my S-works SL2.

Don't think the weight savings part holds as my 2008 frame may be lighter than new ones,

but the high end bike will definitely be lighter than the lower spec'd one.
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Old 07-23-19, 01:47 PM
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The higher end carbon units aren't as OK on the direct drive trainers, if that's a concern.
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Old 07-23-19, 02:10 PM
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Beware, the S-Works trim of a Spec bike may have a press-fit BB instead of threaded and a narrower cassette ratio. Both of those are arguably worse choices for the non-racer.
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Old 07-23-19, 02:19 PM
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Specialized are all pressfit these days.

They stopped doing threaded BBs many years ago. And there is no issue with cassette ratios either.
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Old 07-23-19, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
Specialized are all pressfit these days.

They stopped doing threaded BBs many years ago. And there is no issue with cassette ratios either.
Wrong and wrong. They went back to threaded for the 2017 trims below S-Works, and it takes a minute to check that chainrings are either smaller and/or cassettes are larger on non-S-Works trims too.
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Old 07-23-19, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
Correct! The bike is for Mrs. NoWhammies. And you are indeed correct. She does not need a crazy stiff frame. I have been trying to steer her away from the S-Works but she likes the look of them. So who knows where we'll end up. There is no rush for a new bike, and it is still early days. Plus I'm fortunate in that she still loves her current bike and is in no rush for a new one. I am trying to gather as much info so when the time comes, I'm ready.
What does she ride now?

And will she keep it or will the new bike replace it?
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Old 07-24-19, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
Wrong and wrong. They went back to threaded for the 2017 trims below S-Works, and it takes a minute to check that chainrings are either smaller and/or cassettes are larger on non-S-Works trims too.
Looks like we're both wrong.

OSBB (Pressfit)
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/ta...=271669-171349
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/me...=227241-154558

Threaded:
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/me...=227242-154557
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/me...=227230-154556

As for the chainrings and cassettes, they can be swapped out if someone needs something different. I'm not sure I see what your complaint is?
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Old 07-24-19, 08:43 AM
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Personally, I don’t like the name S-Works. It just sounds childish and cheesy. Same with their SWAT line of accessories. Very odd. It’s like they are marketing to kids , but kids probably aren’t buying $1I,000 bikes. I really wish they’d drop the silly marketing monikers and just use model distinguishers like others. Now, having said that I would snap up an S-Works road bike in a second if someone gave it to me! Great bikes and gear. Corny name. You can’t always have everything.

So what, that most of us aren’t expert enough to tell the ride difference between good and great frames or top line and lower level wheel sets. If cost of ownership is not a consideration, might as well get the Works! Otherwise shop for deals on leftover older years stock. Remember how you drooled over that stuff when it was first announced!?! They are still great bikes, too! And, those lower modulus carbon frames have always been good enough to take pros to the podium. You can ride any bike as well as you can ride. Just gets down to what you want to ride.

Best of luck! I suspect she’ll love her new bike whatever and whenever it happens!
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Old 07-24-19, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
Looks like we're both wrong.

OSBB (Pressfit)
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/ta...=271669-171349
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/me...=227241-154558

Threaded:
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/me...=227242-154557
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/me...=227230-154556

As for the chainrings and cassettes, they can be swapped out if someone needs something different. I'm not sure I see what your complaint is?
Actually my first post on the subject of BBs was correct, and you're splitting hairs by finding some trims one step below S-Works still having PF, but my point is that those higher trims are specced for racing and not great for average cyclists, especially not those riding in hilly areas. There's a practical limit to how large a cassette you'd want to run to compensate for chainrings that are too large, while how much $$$ do DA or SRAM AXS chainrings cost again?

I find it silly to buy the more expensive trim only to spend even more to ride it as comfortably as the less expensive options. Shows that someone has more money than bike sense.
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Old 07-24-19, 08:59 AM
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I always thought S-works was a play on the Specialized name and Skunk Works, which is a name often used by companies for their super-advanced, secret, R&D divisions. Lockheed Martin claims to have been the first to use that name, but I thought I'd seen something older in europe. Could be mistaken.
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Old 07-24-19, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
What does she ride now?

And will she keep it or will the new bike replace it?
An older (9a. year old) Argon18 Gallium. Regarding keep vs. replace, hard to say at this point. Everything is still very much early days. But I am having fun looking,

Plus BH just released their G8. Maybe I'll try to steer to that way...
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Old 07-24-19, 10:19 AM
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That looks like a super road bike. Consider a gravel road bike, as a complement to what she has now?
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Old 07-24-19, 04:18 PM
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Every brand does it. S-works just puts a different label on it so everyone knows what you ride. That's it.
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