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Tour Tech 2016: Vincenzo Nibali's 'shark' Specialized Tarmac

Another year, another custom paint job for The Shark of Messina

Vincenzo Nibali has become used to riding a custom painted bike  - I can't remember the last time he rode a stock bike - and at the Tour de France he's spinning this specially painted Specialized Tarmac with a design based on his Shark of Messina nickname.

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Underneath the paint, the frame is essentially the same as the Specialized Tarmac that Alberto Contador is riding.  It's Specialized's current flagship race bike, the go-to all-round race bike that suits general classification contenders.

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The shark motif on the down tube...

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...and on the top tube, a reminder of the years in which he claimed victories in each of the three Grand Tours.

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Nibali’s bike is built on with very different components to Contador's bike, and the build is centred around a Campagnolo Super Record 11-speed groupset which, like Contador, is mechanical rather than electronic.

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The preference for mechanical seems to be based on the idea that it’s more reliable than an electronic groupset, even though Shimano’s Di2 and Campagnolo’s EPS have proven to be very reliable over the past few years.

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AN SRM crank-based power meter tracks his power and energy output and the numbers are displayed on a computer mounted to the handlebar. 

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The overall bike weight is kept low thanks to the Corima S+ wheels which weigh a claimed 1,130g thanks to a shallow 32mm rim profile and carbon fibre construction, and the use of just 18/20 spokes in each wheel. The rims are fitted with Specialized Turbo Cotton tyres in a 24mm width.

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Nibali, of course, uses his own signature FSA K-Force seatpost, stem and handlebar, each component made from carbon fibre and decorated with the shark motif.

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White bar tape wraps the handlebars and there are FSA stickers on the front of the bars, something that has become a lot more common in recent years as brands look for even more exposure.

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Nibali should be riding a Specialized saddle, like the rest of the team, but he's not. Instead, he uses a Fizik Antares that is blacked out with any identifying logos removed. We’d imagine Fizik has produced a special saddle with the plain black upper.

Review: Fizik Antares

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CeramicSpeed bearings are a common upgrade in the peloton.

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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fukawitribe | 7 years ago

SP59 - I put the link there to show a proper, balanced discussion of BB, not some short account of your experience (that's an anecdote) with a small number of them that seems to be being put forward as some sort of proof of what you were putting forward - which has as much weight to me as CeramicSpeeds stupid marketing. That was my point. Actual data to back things up and explain the pros and cons.


I personally don't buy into their marketing or the hype and bollocks  around ceramic bearings for push bikes, although proper ceramic bearings have their place in other applications outside of cycling, so not sure why you think I do. You can also discuss things and tell people how you think they're wrong without resorting to tantrums.

Rapha Nadal | 7 years ago
1 like

"...and on the top tube, a reminder of how many stage wins he has racked up in the three Grand Tours. That's impressive."

Are you sure?  I think the numbers relate more to the years in which he won the Tours.

David Arthur @d... replied to Rapha Nadal | 7 years ago
1 like

Rapha Nadal wrote:

"...and on the top tube, a reminder of how many stage wins he has racked up in the three Grand Tours. That's impressive."

Are you sure?  I think the numbers relate more to the years in which he won the Tours.

I stand corrected

tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
1 like

Extra paintjob weight was why he couldn't catch Cummings today eh? 

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