TOOLS OF THE TRADE
The Win Tunnel
Of course, the lynchpin to their whole aero operation is their very own Wind Tunnel. Designed and built to their own exacting standards, it's the world's finest cycling-specific wind tunnel. Specialized optimized it for real bike speeds, and it's large enough to allow them to test multiple riders at once, simulating group situations, like the peloton or a team time trial. Its proximity to the team enables them to conveniently test things without concern to cost or time, so they have the freedom to test everything that Specialized make—from a commuting helmet, to clothing, and everything in between. And since it's also used as an educational facility, there’s room for our fitters and retailers to observe and learn from testing, which directly impacts product development and your experience in the local bike shop.
The freefoil shape library
Surprisingly, Specialized's quest for perfect tube shapes don't always start in the Wind Tunnel. With the latest Venge, they started with a new piece of technology that they call the FreeFoil Shape Library. The engineers wrote an optimization algorithm and utilized a supercomputer (yes, they used an actual supercomputer) to help create new airfoil shapes with different weights, surface areas, and structural targets. Armed with this library of shapes, all with different aspect ratios, they were able to plug them into the different parts of the bike and test a variety of configurations to determine the fastest setup in the Wind Tunnel. And moving forward, this methodology is being applied to nearly all of the bikes and components. So, with a little help from some Silicon Valley supercomputing, Specialized have discovering the new shapes of speed.