Specialized experimenting with radical new frame design, patents suggest

Newly published patent displays a ‘strut’ joining the seat tube and down tube together to aid comfort for the rider

(Image credit: Specialized)

Specialized has recently published a patent which outlines a new and radical-looking frame design. According to an analysis from Wheelbased (opens in new tab), the frame design incorporates what Specialized call a ‘strut’ and features the removal of a lower section of the frame's seat tube. 

Cyclingnews (opens in new tab) reported on Thursday that details of the patent suggest that Specialized believe removing the lower portion of the seat tube and then incorporating a ‘strut brace’ to join the seat tube and down tube together can “increase deflection” with the aim of improving ride comfort without compromising the ride quality. 

"As reflected in the test results, the main frame 18 produced 172% greater vertical deflection and 75% greater horizontal deflection at the seat during the vertical stiffness test compared to the conventional frame," Specialized said, according to Wheelbased. "By increasing the vertical deflection at a greater rate than the horizontal deflection, ride comfort is increased without substantially increasing the rearward saddle tilt. 

"The horizontal stiffness test showed a decrease of 24% in the horizontal deflection for the main frame 18 compared to the conventional frame, which does not substantially impact the ride characteristics (e.g., handling, force transfer, etc.), but it provides evidence that the frame design works well to handle the loads/stresses applied during the horizontal stiffness test, which is believed to correlate to real-world riding."

Specialized is a brand which has a long history of design innovation with some notable examples being the early iterations of the Shiv time trial bike which incorporated an integrated nose cone, subsequently meaning it would go on to be banned by the UCI. 

Another product which is now discontinued, the Venge aero road bike, also demonstrated a dramatic departure from previously accepted road bike design. The brand also recently released a gravel bike, the Diverge STR which featured Specialized’s Future Shock suspension technology on both the front and rear of the machine. 

Seeing different frame designs pop up which veer away from the traditional ‘double diamond’ shape is not an unusual occurrence. Specialized’s new frame may never make it out onto the market, on would assume it would be seen on a gravel or endurance style bike rather than an out and out race bike. 

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Tom Thewlis
News and Features Writer

Tom is a News and Features Writer at Cycling Weekly, and previously worked in communications at Oxford Brookes University. Alongside his day job, prior to starting with the team, he wrote a variety of different pieces as a contributor to a cycling website, Casquettes and Bidons, including interviews with up and coming British riders.

Back in the day, Tom spent many summers visiting family in the South of France, catching the Tour de France from the roadside wherever possible. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Tour, and he hopes to ride the white gravel roads himself in the years to come. 

Away from cycling, Tom’s interests include following football and researching First World War history.