SRAM Specialized SL4s
SRAM only work with three 2013 World Tour teams, so you’ll see the Red groupset being used by Cannondale Pro Cycling, Saxo Tinkoff and OmegaPharma QuickStep, with the latter two, as coincidence would have it, also aboard Specialized bicycles. The workhorse of these pros is Specialized’s SL4 and here with the help of SRAM’s Jason Phillips, we get to have a closer look at Dane Chris Anker Sorensen’s and Frenchman Jerome Pineau’s mounts.
Sorensen rides for Saxo-Tinkoff, whilst Pineau is with OmegaPharm-QuickStep, yet both ride almost identical bikes with the Specialized SL4 FACT IS 11r carbon frame at their core. Despite the technically advanced Venge, it’s arguably Specialized’s top road frame with the highest stiffness-to-weight ratio of any of their frames. Everything about the bike is designed with that in mind like the tapered head tube and the huge oversized bottom bracket.
The head tube houses a 1-1/8″ to 1-3/8″ headset with sealed Cr-Mo bearings for strength and reliability, whereas the bottom bracket has ceramic bearings for reduced friction. Up front is a full monocoque FACT carbon fork with an appropriately tapered carbon steerer designed for torsional rigidity and better handling.
As part of SRAM’s desire to work more closely with the teams they sponsor, both of these bikes also have Zipp (part of the SRAM group) componentry including bars, stems, seatpost and wheels. Both riders favour LOOK Keo blade pedals.
Consequently both team’s bikes have more in common that you might expect. So is there actually any difference between these two team bikes? At the Tour Down Under season opener, SRAM allowed us to take a closer look….(continued on page 2)>