It’s not very often that Specialized release a new bike platform. The Tarmac family has been around since 2004 and the Stump Jumper, the bike  that started it all for Specialized, is still around to this day. Therefore you know when the engineers at Morgan Hill release a new model, it’s going to be something special.

Less is more

The Aethos range forgoes several features we’re used to seeing on modern race bikes. There’s no deep aero tube shapes, internal cable routing of hydro lines through the bars or bespoke seatposts here. What you do get is the most technologically advanced piece of carbon engineering Specialized have ever made. Oh, and there’s even a threaded bottom bracket!

The rule breaker

Tipping our scales at only 625g for the frame, it’s fair to say the S-Works Aethos is one uber light frameset. Pair this with the 255g Alpinist one piece cockpit and Alpinist wheels (CLX at 1248g or CL at 1365g) and any top tier groupset and you’ve got a bike that is easily under the UCI weight limit of 6.8kg.

Is aero everything?

Specialized coined the phrase “aero is everything”, which to Cav or Sagan who are winning by centimetres it really is. But to us mere mortals who aren’t racing it’s a different picture. The Aethos is a bike made for riders. Whether you want to go and smash a Col in Europe, go on the chain gang or simply ride to the cafe, this is a bike that will put a smile on your face the whole time. So no, aero isn’t quite everything.

How does it ride?

A super light bike like this deserves to be ridden in some hills. So for the first ride I took it into the Peak District and did a loop taking in Holme Moss, Snake Pass, Winnats and The Strines. Unsurprisingly at 6.8kg this bike flew up the hills. It’s one of those bikes that encourages you to push a bit harder than usual and rewards you with lightning quick acceleration. The only thing holding me back was my legs and lungs! 

What goes up, must come down

The big surprise was how this bike goes down descents, it corners like it’s on rails. It manages to perfectly balance being stable giving you confidence to take a lot of speed into corners whilst also being nimble enough to save it if you get over confident. There’s a reason the bike industry has moved towards disc brakes over the last few years. They offer superb modulation and stopping power giving you more and more confidence to push on a descent. There’s the added bonus that there’s no rim wear and they work as good in the dry as they do in the pouring rain. The long said adage that disc brake bikes are heavy is also now a thing of the past, with this bike being light enough to suit any weight weenie.

Build kit

I went for the Carbon/Jet Fuel colourway for the frameset, which just so happens to be the lightest as it is essentially raw carbon with a super thin clear coat over the top. This lets you see the layup of the carbon that was perfected by the Specialized engineers, there’s not one piece of unnecessary carbon here! 

Included with the frameset is the super light Roval Alpinist seatpost. It only seemed right to spec the super light and stiff Roval Alpinist one piece bar/stem on this build. The Roval Alpnist theme continues with the Alpinist CL wheels shod with S-Works Turbo Cotton tyres. 

I went for a Sram AXS groupset with their super intuitive shifting. The groupset is made up of the ever reliable Red AXS QUARQ power meter. Due to the on-going supply issues that are affecting every industry currently I went for the Rival AXS shifters and mechs. Having ridden countless Red and Dura Ace bikes I was surprised with just how well Rival AXS works. Yes, it is a few 100g heavier, but functionally it is sound. One surprising advantage is that due to the extra blip/clic port not being included the ergonomics of the shifter hoods have been slimmed down.

Final thoughts

You’ll rarely see an Aethos ridden in the World Tour, but that’s not the aim of this bike. This is a bike that will make you grin from ear to ear. Whether it is from the crazy acceleration, next level handling, all day comfort or a mixture of them all. The Aethos is the perfect base to build from, and for most modern riders, probably the perfect bike.

Get in touch to discuss the Specialized Aethos with both standard and custom builds available. Shop the range online at

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