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Sunday, January 5, 2014
THE ORIGINAL WONDER MATERIAL The timeline of bicycle construction materials is a short read. It started with steel, had a brief tango with titanium and aluminum, before being completely dominated by carbon. Within that arc, aluminum got a bad rap at some point. It was strong, light, and infinitely more malleable than steel. Yet the downfall was that because of its stiffness, ride quality suffered. The inherent suppleness of steel that was able to absorb road chatter was lost with aluminum. Once carbon was introduced, aluminum took a near permanent back seat. Until now.
At Specialized, we think the possibilities of aluminum are only just being discovered. We’re out to make an aluminum bike that’s not just light and stiff but comfortable to ride, too. It’s time to redefine what aluminum is capable of.Watch Video
THE SMARTEST MINDS IN ALLOY In order to completely transform the way we approach aluminum bikes, we put together a team of some of the best minds in alloy bicycle design and engineering. Chuck Teixeira and Chris D’Aluisio are joined by Luc Callahan, Andrew Frasca and Kyle Chubbuck making up the brain trust that is pushing Specialized aluminum into the future.
Together, we have the best minds in bicycle engineering and design, not just raising the bar of what aluminum is capable of, they’re exploding it. Rethinking what's possible with aluminum to the point of reinventing it, they created the 2014 S-Works Allez, a frame that's 145 grams lighter and twice as vertically compliant than a current leading frame.
THE BRAIN TRUST
“NOT SINCE CHUCK INTRODUCED TAPERWALL ALUMINUM TUBE SETS TO THE CYCLING INDUSTRY HAS ALLOY EXPERIENCED SUCH A MARKED STEP FORWARD. D'ALUISIO SMARTWELD IS A TRULY REVOLUTIONARY PROCESS THAT IS ALLOWING US TO UNLOCK THE FULL POTENTIAL OF THE MODERN ALUMINUM PERFORMACE BICYCLE." -Chris D’Aluisio
CHRIS D'ALUISIO Chris is responsible for some of the most innovative products to roll off the Specialized floor in the past decade. The Venge, Shiv, CG-R seatpost, and Tarmac are just a few of the palmarès in his engineering quiver. It follows that when we decided to take aluminum to the next level, Chris was tasked with leading the charge. Attaching your name to a piece of technology isn’t something to be taken lightly, but then, D’Aluisio Smartweld isn’t your average piece of technology. Chris realized that the key to redefining the way aluminum performs was to redefine the way the welds were executed. Culling experience from his motorsport background, the D’Aluisio Smartweld technology was born and with it, a revolution in the way aluminum will be thought of.
CHUCK TEIXEIRA Spending a lifetime in the cycling industry can teach you a thing or two about progress. It can also create complacency resulting in products that don’t look or perform all that differently from year to year. What makes Chuck’s contributions to cycling so impressive is the consistency of his innovation and progression. Having a history firmly rooted in all things cycling, Chuck was able to marry that passion with his love of engineering, and the cycling world has been thankful for it ever since. Chuck’s input into D’Aluisio Smartweld is unique in that he was at the forefront of the aluminum revolution when it first started. The tube-sets he was responsible for engineering at Easton set the standard for an industry; it’s only fitting that, yet again, Chuck is pushing the limits and redefining what’s possible with aluminum. Oh and he’s pretty damn quick on a bike too.
D’ALUISIO SMARTWELD US PATENT 8,042,822 Introducing D’Aluisio Smartweld Technology - a patented and revolutionary new approach to aluminum bike design and hand built construction. In order to re-imagine what aluminum is capable of, Chris D’Aluisio re-imagined how aluminum bikes were being made. Traditionally, aluminum tubes were cut and welded together at the joints using welding methods that relied heavily on the skill of the craftsman. What D’Alusio Smartweld Technology does is take those joints and connection points and hands them back to the engineers. The headtube, toptube, and downtube have been hydroformed with a curved, dome-like edge that, when butted together, creates a seamless valley that is filled with weld material. What does all this mean? A connection point that is stiffer, more durable, and more consistent than anything else on the market. It’s a performance leap in aluminum that, until this point, has never been seen before, and it’s based on a concept that’s been hiding in plain sight. Cylinders have long been strengthened by rolling the edges – just look at oil drums and aluminum cans, for example.
D’Aluisio Smartweld Technology doesn’t just stop at increased stiffness. Because the connection points have been moved away from the area of greatest stress, tube shapes and makeups can now be drastically changed. The weld contact points are so strong that less material is needed in other areas allowing for levels of compliance to be engineered into the frame that have never been possible with aluminum. Thinner tube walls at key locations allow aluminum to react in a way it hasn’t before, providing a ride quality that is unmatched in its class. You haven’t ridden aluminum until you’ve ridden Specialized D’Aluisio Smartweld aluminum.
THE NEW FACE OF HANDMADE The new Specialized S-Works Allez, Allez Expert, Allez Race, and Allez Comp are the culmination of all these innovations in one beautiful package. Simply put, they’re the lightest and most compliant aluminum bikes we’ve ever made. It’s now possible to find carbon-like performance at the price of aluminum. All the stiffness and responsiveness you’d expect, with the type of ride quality you’ve never experienced with aluminum. Combined with the carbon fork - the same fork used in our Tarmac - the 2014 Allez frames are the perfect performance driven machines that won’t leave you grimacing at the cash register. The performance gains in testing are like nothing we’ve ever seen before from aluminum. Confident descending, supple ride feel, and the kind of snappiness that makes you want to sprint out of the saddle between every stop light - the Specialized Allez with D’Aluisio Smartweld Technology is the definition of uncompromising design.
THE ALLOY ANSWER It’s time for aluminum to make a return. No longer is it a material mired by compromise. By redefining the way aluminum is constructed, we’ve been able to redefine its characteristics. Performance can now be achieved at a price that won’t break the bank and a ride quality that won’t break your body. With Specialized D’Aluisio Smartweld Technology aluminum’s future is brighter than ever.