Specialized Aethos

A level 34, 920k drop climbing bike? It must be fast.

Here’s a plot after yesterday’s Specialized climbing challenge, where I got a VenTop PR. It seems the Aethos might be work around 1% of speed, which would be 30 seconds on Alpe per Zwift Insider test protocol, but this is a very crude comparison, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it came out lower.

Note the event uses the frame and the new Roval wheels. But the Rovals are clinchers, aren’t particularly light IRL, and definitely should not be the best climbing wheels in the game. But who knows.

8secs, but with the boggo wheels: All About Zwift's New Specialized Aethos S-Works Frame - Zwift Insider

Cool. So that leaves the difference of Rovals versus Enves, if any.

Fastest climbing wheels in the game, even better than the Meilensteins.

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Wow – 7 seconds faster than the Enve 3.4s, and 8 seconds faster than the DT Suisse (which I use when there’s some flat).

So the combination is better than the Evo/Tarmac/Anchor + Enve 3.4 (the previous best climbing option, w/o Lightweights), by 8 seconds + 7 seconds = 15 seconds.

So that’s 0.5%.

My crude curve fit resulted in 1%, but that was crude, since I paced differently, had different amounts of draft, and even maybe weighed differently on different attempts. Also it’s on a different climb and I weigh much less than the 75 kg baseline used by Eric (although I don’t know if equipment rates are proportional to body weight).

Kind of a shame everyone can just buy the best wheel now IMO. I liked that the Meilensteins had that little bit of mystique to them.

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I like how the Lightweights came at a real wind resistance penalty, making equipment choice interesting. Also it’s a bit absurd 1250 gram clinches climb faster than 950 gram tubulars. But at least these have a very strict level requirement, so for level 1-33 (I’m 33), it’s as before. (but I don’t have the Lightweights, either, and if I manage to somehow win them soon, I’ll get very little use, if any).

Anyway, the clear takeaway is this new release brings 3 scatter plot busters: the Aeros, the Roval Alpinist, and the Pinarello Dogma F. Each pushes the boundary on the scatter plot (not yet updated as I write this) down and left. The lower, left, and lower left boundaries of the scatter plot are choices which optimize for some course profile, extending from pure flat (left) to pure climb (bottom).

The best bang for the buck, if you have the Tron bike for flat routes and therefore also have the Emonda for hilly routes, is clearly the Roval wheels. They’re faster climbers, and far more aero, then the Lightweights, which as I’ve noted is absurd IRL but Zwift uses alternate facts. The Aeros frame, which Specialized markets as an enthusiast bike, and despite a notably un-aero fork, is as aero as many race frames. It’s also a big win but at much higher drop cost. Then the Pinarello climbs as well as the previous best-in-class, despite the fact Ineos couldn’t even get the disc version (in Zwift) down to 6.8.