Specialized at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics may be over, but the images from the Games and memories made by the athletes will last a lifetime. As ever, dreams were achieved, and hearts were won by the strongest athletes in the world. But what bikes were they riding? Let’s have a look at some of the Specialized bikes that made it over to Japan.
A cross-country Epic
The Tokyo Olympics XC course brought out more full-suspension mountain bikes than any Games before it. Thanks to the technical descents and short punchy climbs, more riders decided to bring bikes with a bit of rear cushioning and dropper posts than the stiffer and lighter hardtail options we’re more used to seeing. The Specialized S-Works Epic features 100mm of front and rear travel and was the prevailing option chosen by our sponsored riders. It was also one of the most successful bikes of the Olympic XC race, with three riders in the top ten of the women’s race atop the Epic. Sina Frei of Switzerland won the silver medal and lined up alongside her Team Switzerland teammates on the podium who won gold and bronze. The young up and comer Kata Blanka Vas, who has just been signed to Team SD Worx on the road and will continue to ride Specialized bikes there, narrowly missed out on a medal finishing in fourth place in her debut games. Just inside the top ten was Haley Batten of the USA, who was her nation's highest-placed finisher.
All three riders rode the S-Works Epic, our lightweight XC race machine. Its carbon fibre construction limits added weight while not compromising on strength. The 29er wheels decimated the rocky terrain, proving to be the choice for speed over the descents. Using our key Brain technology, we have designed a bike clever enough to determine the correct suspension settings for your riding without you needing to flip a switch. Gone are the days of flicking lockouts to ride uphill, the Specialized Brain technology in our Epic bikes does this for you so you can focus on racing. By combining hardtail efficiency with full-suspension capabilities, the Epic proved to be one of the most successful bikes at Tokyo 2020.
Top ten for the Tarmac
Cemented as one of the fastest all-round bikes in the professional peloton, the S-Works Tarmac SL7 featured in Tokyo as well. The road race took place against the backdrop of the spectacular Mount Fuji, with the men’s and women’s races finishing on the Fuji Speedway circuit. It was a hard-fought race with plenty of climbing, matched with swooping bends and corners on the motor circuit. In other words, a course fit for the Tarmac SL7. Maximilian Schachmann of Germany was the highest placed finisher on our bike, with a brilliant top ten placing.
With a frame that weighs only 800g and a complete bike that weighs just 6.8kg, it's no wonder Schachmann was flying up the climbs of rural Japan. The Tarmac SL7 is our fastest ever race bike and was shaped by the feedback of riders such as Schachmann during development. The result is a bike that's 45 seconds faster than the SL6 over 40km, and one that is the ultimate combination of lightness and aerodynamics. Using our Rider-First Engineered™ philosophy led to an incredibly balanced and agile road bike, so you can climb and descend confidently.
Over near the Tokyo docks, the Olympic triathlon event took place and saw Bermuda’s Flora Duffy take an emphatic gold medal atop her S-Works Tarmac SL7. After a strong swim, a bike ride that saw her putting out over 220w for over an hour, and an impressive run, she became the first Bermudan to win an Olympic gold medal. Her S-Works SL7 was painted in a limited edition ‘Speed of Light’ colourway for the Olympics, designed with UV-enhancing pigmented paint which appeared red and violet, with the paint transforming under artificial light. This special edition paint scheme was applied to the S-Works Tarmac SL7 and S-Works Epic – as well as accompanying kit for those competing in Tokyo and was available on our website in limited numbers.
If you've been inspired by the Olympics to take up cycling, or perhaps you're interested in discovering a new discipline - why not head down to one of our stores? Our friendly and knowledgeable sales teams can advise you on the best bike for your next cycling step. Discover our stores here.
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