(Ball) Burnished A process in which a metal object (like a frame) is placed in a big vat full of stainless steel ball bearings. The bearings are agitated and then rub against the frame, making it very shiny, as well as slightly strengthening the surface of the material.
A1® A patented Specialized processing for aluminum alloy. Includes the material composition, processing and formula for heat treatment. We'd tell you more, but then we'd have to kill you?
Actuation Ratio The amount of cable pull in relationship to the derailleur movement. Traditionally, most shifting systems have been 1:2, meaning the cable moves two ""units"" for each single ""unit"" the derailleur moves. This may result in a finicky rear derailleur. SRAM has developed a new shifting system featuring a 1:1 actuation ratio, the ESP. This means the derailleur only moves one ""unit"", resulting in a system that can perform well while out of adjustment.
Air Spring Air is used instead of a metal spring or gummi elastomer to create an opposing force between two surfaces. The RockShox SID uses air, which is one of the ways it has achieved such a light weight.
Air/Oil In it's most literal sense, it's a suspension system that uses air for a spring, and oil for damping. The original Mag forks from RockShox, as well as the new SID use an Air/Oil design platform, but with vastly improved performance
Alloy two or more metallic substances blended together. In the bike industry, every time you hear terms like ""Aluminum frame"" or ""Magnesium fork legs"", they are actually referring to aluminum ALLOY, and magnesium ALLOY. These alloys have either aluminum or magnesium as their base material, and then other metals are added to get specific characteristics. Steel is an alloy, for example. If you take iron, and alloy it with Chromium and Molybdenum, you get Cro-Mo (Cromoly) steel.
Aluminum A low density metal with high strength and low weight characteristics. Its properties can be changed by mixing different alloy compositions. Aluminum alloy is usually designated with a four digit number which describes the alloy. ""6061"" is an example.
Anodized A chemical process that forms a microscopically thin coating on metals, such as aluminum. Since aluminum will oxidize if exposed to air, it must be sealed. Anodizing can be clear, or colored, and other than protecting the aluminum, offers no additional performance advantages, other than being much lighter than painting. Not to be confused with Hard anodizing.
Armadillo® Specialized's patented ""bead to bead"" casing protection, introduced in '93.
Bar end shifters On drop bars, the shifter replaces the bar end plug, allowing the rider to shift without taking their hands off the bars. STI shifters put the hurt on these, so they're not seen too much anymore.
Bead The edge of the tire that interlocks with the rim. Beads can be made of steel or kevlar. Kevlar offers more strength than steel, but since beads don't really break, the big advantage of Kevlar is much lower rotating weight on the tire. Specialized introduced the first Kevlar beaded tire to the cycling world in 1978. Who doesn't offer a Kevlar beaded tire nowadays?
Beadlock® A Specialized idea for keeping the tire on the rim in gnarly downhill situations. The Beadlock feature completely wraps around the inside and outside edges of the rim. Introduced in '97 on the Fear Master/ Fear Control Tires. Available on Evil Twin series tires for '99.
BigHit® A brand new category in full suspension design, and one of three from Specialized. Targeted toward the gonzo DH rider, the BigHit category is the ""Monster Truck"" of the bike world. Look at the SUSPENSION section for more information.
Blackwall A skinwall construction, with antigravity black color added to it to make it look much faster; a great tool to psyche out opponents at the starting gate.
Body Geometry Body Geometry refers to those products with anatomically proportioned features developed by Dr. Roger Minkow. (see saddles, gloves, Expedition bikes)
Bonding A process which uses an adhesive to permanently join two objects without heat.
Bottom-out bumper This bumper keeps the shock or fork from self destructing when suspension is compressed to it's limit. Usually an elastomer or MCU device that absorbs the shock.
Brainlock® A Specialized retention system introduced in '96. Brainlock is adjustable only at the ends of the device, via straps. Look at the HELMET section for more info.
Brake lever The part of the braking system that attaches to the handlebar, and controls the brake.
Brakes The part of the braking system that attaches to the fork, and stops the bike.
Brazed The way all good bikes used to be built. Using solder at a relatively low temperature, steel tubes can be joined very cleanly. Not used much anymore, due to relatively high cost compared to TIG welding. No real performance or durability increase over TIG welding, which is now the industry standard.
Bumper another word for an elastomer or MCU spring.
Bushing a cylindrical sleeve that reduces friction by acting as a guide bearing.
Butt, Butted, Butting A process that changes the wall thickness of a tube under extreme pressure. Typically, the ends of a tube are butted (thickened) to strengthen it where it will be joined to another tube.
Butterfly gusset A Specialized designed gusset that first appeared in '95. Located at the junction of the head tube and down tube on A1 and M2 mountain bikes through '97. Designed to better spread the force of the head tube squishing against the down tube. M2 bikes went to the new Compression gusset in '98.
CNC (machined) CNC is short for Computer Numeric Controlled. A machinist programs a computer to control a milling machine. This allows much greater consistency and higher speed than having each part milled and measured by hand.
CP Chrome plated finish. Specialized's CP finish is 25 microns, which is about twice that of our competitors. Double thick means double good.
Cap Ply New on Evil Twin series tires for '99. An extra nylon ply ""cap"" on top of the standard casing. Stiffens the entire casing, and stabilizes the tread. Also makes pinch flats run away and hide?
Carbon Fiber A very long strand of carbon molecules. Is light weight, stiff and has extremely high tensile strength. Do not confuse the term ""carbon fiber"" with ""carbon"" bikes. Carbon bikes are by weight, mostly fiberglass and resin, and actually contain little carbon fiber.
Carbon Fiber Composite A mixture of carbon fibers (see above) and epoxy resin which yields a new material with the benefits of both materials.
Cartridge A bearing system that is totally integrated, i.e. the cup and cone come out as one piece. Cartridge bearings are typically sealed, although sealed bearings are not always cartridges.
Cartridge The gizmo on some upper end brakes that holds a brake shoe/pad. A cartridge sys tem allows the rider to change brake pads, without having to completely readjust the system. A cool thing.
Cartridge A self-contained, non-pressurized container holding hydraulic fluid. Usually controls either rebound and/or compression damping. Although Manitou patented the design, with the advent of TPC, they moved completely away from oil cartridges in '98. RockShox has upped the technology ante with it's new C3 cartridge.
Cartridge bearing A bearing system that is totally integrated, i.e. the cup and cone come out as one piece. Cartridge bearings are typically sealed, although sealed bearings are not always cartridges.
Casing The woven fabric (usually nylon) that makes up the body of the tire. The more supple the casing, the more the tire can adapt to the contours of the ground. This suppleness is achieved by using a finer thread, with a higher thread count.
Cassette The group of cogs that attach to a special hub. The hub has the ""freewheeling"" mechanism built in it. Shimano came up with this a dozen or so years ago, and killed the traditional freewheel.
Cast Crank Arms Common construction method using molten material poured or pushed into molds to form cranks into a specific shape or design. Not very stiff, or very strong. Specialized doesn't build cast cranks.
Cavitation Cavitation is a good thing in the bath tub, and a bad thing in your suspension. If you pour bubble bath in the tub, how many bubbles do you immediately get? Not many. You need to stick your hand in, and start swishing it back and forth to get loads o'bubbles. Your hand is introducing air into the soap, and that's what makes the bubbles; that's cavitation. In your suspension, if air gets into the oil and begins to cavitate, the oil now has a much lower viscosity, and moves through the valve holes too quickly. This makes the fork feel way too boingy. You then have to bleed the system to remove the air.
Ceramic A permanent coating applied to high zoot Mavic wheels. Designed to improve braking, and increase the life of the rim due to wear. Mavic no longer recommends any special brake pad be used with this rim; use what you like.
Chainline The chainring and rear cog position in relationship to the frame centerline. Constant at 47-50mm for triple cranksets and 43-45mm for double cranksets. This measurement is necessary for good shifting.
Chatter/Squeal Pull your fingers across a blackboard, and you'll get the picture. This is the sound that improperly adjusted brakes make to remind you to stop and fix 'em.
Cleat The thing that snaps in to your pedal. Not to be confused with the ""studs"" that look like football cleats. Lots o'shapes and sizes, but most feature compatibility with Shimano's two hole SPD pattern.
Clipless A pedal system that does not use a toe-clip and strap. Originally marketed by Adidas in the early 80's, it died a horrible death. In the mid 80's, Look, the ski binding manufacturer did it right. The rest, shall we say, is now history?
Co-molded A super high tech construction that permanently bonds two or more pieces of rubber/plastic/nylon material to one another. Using heat and pressure, the pieces are injected together, and become one single piece. Specialized has used this construction on most of our high performance shoes since '96.
Cold Forging A fabrication process which uses literally TONS of pressure to whack pieces of aluminum alloy into a mold. Keeps the structural grain of the alloy intact, making it very strong. THE best way to build stuff light and strong, but fairly spendy to do.
Compact Drive (Or C-Hyperdrive or Microdrive) Smaller front chainrings in combination with smaller cassette cogs lower the crankset weight and improve pedaling efficiency. Gear ranges are not generally affected. Example, cranksets used to come in a 48/38/28 size, with a 13t small cog. Compact drivetrains typically feature a 42/32/22 crankset with an 11t small cog.
Composite Two or more materials permanently joined together. The resulting material shares characteristics of all of it's components.
Compound The specific mixture of stuff that makes up the 'rubber' of the tire. Specialized custom blends many different compounds for varying needs, such as high mileage, mud shedding, etc..
Compression damping restriction of the rate that the suspension compresses under load. If your pogo stick had much compression damping, you would simply fall over when you hit the ground; it wouldn't be any fun.
Compression gusset Replacement for the Butterfly gusset on the '98 Stumpjumper and S-Works bikes. Creates more surface area to better distribute the load created by longer travel, stiffer forks. Also eliminates any clearance headaches created by fork preload adjuster knobs smacking downtubes.
Cro-Mo A steel alloy with Chromium and Molybdenum added for higher tensile strength. Also known as Cromoly.
Cross pattern The name given to a pattern used for lacing spokes to a rim. For example, if between the hub and rim, each spoke crosses over or under two other spokes, it's called a 2 Cross (2X) lacing pattern.
Damping a function that modifies (increases or decreases) the rate of suspension compression or rebound.
Delrin DuPont nylon material which improves the friction coefficient of the shifter cable housing (makes it more slippery)
Detent The ""click"" you feel/hear when you twist the knob on something, such as a preload adjuster or your volume control on your stereo.
Direct Drive® Specialized's product design philosophy. Design for the rider's needs, not the manufacturers convenience.
Direct Pull The correct name for all non-Shimano long lever arm brakes. Little known to the masses, Ben Capron's Marinovative® brake was the first (by a few years) modern direct pull brake on the market. Ben is now a Product Manager here at Specialized.
Directional tires For off-road use. We orient the tire's lugs to work best when rolling one direction only. This results in a higher performance design.
Dish the centering of the rim to the hub locknuts. Rear wheels are dished, due to the fact that the rear hub has to be moved to one side (to make room for the cassette). The less dish, the stronger the wheel.
Double butted tubing Tubing that is thinner in the center than at the ends. Typically stronger and/or lighter than straight (plain) gauge tubes.
Down tube shifters the traditional position for shifters on road bikes. As with bar end shifters, STI put the hurt on this style of shifting.
Dust boot The soft flexible sleeve seal on your fork that is absolutely no fun to wash off after a dusty ride. On the flip side, you could have all of that muck inside your fork, which is even more of a hassle to clean off.
EZ Fire Entry level under bar shift lever assembly which utilizes an ultra short throw and balanced spring for an easy shift.
EZ Fire Plus Under/over bar shift lever assembly which utilizes a short throw top shifter for down shifting and a rapid fire shift lever on the inner side easy up shiftin g.
Elastomer A spring made from a synthetic rubber like substance. When elastomers are compressed, they tend to return to their original shape PDQ. This means they tend to feel ""boingy"" without some type of rebound damping control. The only time elastomers aren't boingy is when it's cold, and then they function like little hockey pucks in your fork.
Enduro® A brand new category in full suspension design, and one of three from Specialized. Targeted toward the adventure rider, the Enduro category is the ""Sport Utility Vehicle ""of the bike world. Look at the SUSPENSION section for more information.
Epoxy A two part adhesive for applications requiring high strength. Good for sticking silver dollars to concrete floors, so you can laugh hysterically when people try and pick it up.
ExoThermic® A new Specialized process, introduced on the Sub zero helmet in '98. Exothermic construction permanently fuses the helmet's shell to the foam, resulting in a unitized construction. Look at the HELMET section for more info.
Extruding A process where an alloy material is pushed through a die, forming a shape which is defined by the die. Think ""Pay-Doh Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop"", or a pasta machine. This is how most good bike tubing is formed.
FFS Short for Fast Front Shifting. SRAM design that allows grip shifting to shift 2 chainrings with one full 70 degree rotational twist (or an average of 35 degrees of rotation per shift)
Flak Jacket® A Specialized innovation for '99. Kevlar fiber is chopped up incredibly fine, and molded in to an elastomer strip. This belt is inserted in all Specialized tires using the ""EX"" designation, creating a tire with low rolling resistance, and 40% more puncture resistance.
Flight Deck Compatibility Integration of a measuring device into the shifters which plugs into a Shimano onboard computer (accessory) for measuring vital cycling statistics. Available on '99 XTR, XT, LX, Nexave 300 & 400, Ultegra and 105 shifters.
Foam Not Styrofoam, but expanded polystyrene (EPS). This is the 'meat' of the helmet, that absorbs the force of the crash. EPS absorbs force by compressing, so each fall reduces the protection available to your noggin. Look at the HELMET section for more info.
Fore Arm® crank One of Specialized's new crank arm design for '99. It features many of the same benefits as the Son of Strong Arm crank it replaces, such as forged construction, light weight, and a high degree of stiffness. The biggest change is a four arm spider, as opposed to the traditional five. Four arm spiders allow the shifting pins on the chainrings to be aligned with the spider arms, making the shifting process more rigid (precise). The ForeArm was also designed around the new 9 speed spacing.
Forged Crank Arms A higher quality process that cast arms. A block of aluminum alloy is placed in a mold, and a huge press whacks the block into the mold. This aligns the grain of the metal along the length of the crank arm, putting the strength where it needs to be. Cold forging requires multiple whacks, because the aluminum is at room temperature. This process results in the strongest, stiffest cranks. Warm forging requires fewer hits, due to the fact that the aluminum is warmed (not melted) prior to whacking. This process costs less, and typically results in a crank arm of equal strength, but higher weight, than a cold forged unit.
Forging A higher quality process than stamping. A block of aluminum alloy is placed in a mold, and a huge press whacks the block into the mold. Cold forging requires multiple whacks, because the aluminum is at room temperature. This process results in the strongest pieces. Warm forging requires fewer hits, due to the fact that the aluminum is warmed (not melted) prior to whacking. This process costs less, and typically results in pieces of equal strength, but higher weight, than a cold forged unit. For example, Specialized cold forges all of it's rear frame dropouts.
Fork The whole enchilada, consisting of the steerer tube, crown, stanchions, and lower leg assembly.
Fork crown The part of the fork that connects the steerer tube to the stanchion tubes. Can be hollow or solid, but almost always made of aluminum.
Freewheel Something you don't see too often anymore. Technically, it's the group of rear cogs that are mounted to a body that spins one way, but not the other (i.e. ""freewheeling"") Commonly, but incorrectly interchanged with the term ""cassette"", which is just the cogs themselves.
Friction Front Shifting A SRAM enhanced performance feature. Allows shifter feathering to assure positive shifting. Requires 11 degree rotation per shifting detent.
Friction damping A system that uses the resistance of friction caused by the bushings, seals, elastomers, etc? to control the rate of suspension compression or rebound. Also known as, ""Flintstone's damping""
Front triangle On a traditional bike, it's the four (yes, four) sided shape defined by the head tube, down tube, seat tube, and top tube. On a full suspension bike, it typically refers to everything in front of the swingarm.
Grip Shift® An intuitive gear shifting method which allows shifting by a twisting motion of the hand. A SRAM invention.
Gumwall An inexpensive way to protect the fabric casing on a tire. A separate layer of rubber is bonded to the outside of the tire's casing. The TriSport is the only tire from Specialized with a gumwall.
Gusset A marvel of physics, not marketing. Bill Nye the Science guy can tell you that if you spread a given force over an increasingly larger area, the chance of failure is reduced. Properly placed, gussets will dramatically strengthen an object, while adding very little weight.
HG Short for Hyperglide. Those funny ramps and notches and pins on your chainrings are Hyperglide, which make shifting easier. A Shimano invention.
Hard anodized The hard anodizing process creates a much thicker coating than regular anodizing. This extra thick coat will always look brown or black, due to the thickness. The hard ano coat can stiffen aluminum up to 15%.
Heat treatment Aluminum alloys are in general, not strong enough to be used in a bicycle without being heat treated. This extra step tempers (hardens) the aluminum so it can be used without folding up on your first ride. The metal industry measures the degree of heat treatment on a T scale, such as T-4, or T-6. Higher numbers do not necessarily mean a stronger product, due to variables like the base material, and it's design.
Heel cup The part of the shoe's upper that wraps around your heel. Very important to good shoe design, because other than a custom orthotic footbed, the heel cup offers your foot more support than anything else on the shoe. Better support means better comfort, and better pedaling efficiency. Our new Heel Cage is a like a heel cup on steroids.
Hemi Specialized's new for '99 BMX bike construction. Two opposing ""shells"" are stamped, then welded together to form a one piece unit. Very light weight for it'sstrength.
High Tensile Steel A steel alloy with high carbon content. This steel alloy is almost as stiff as Cro-Mo but requires more material to achieve the same structural strength. This makes the frame heavier. Also known as ""Hi-Ten.""
Homing pocket The area of the shoe under the ball of your foot that you desperately slam down on your pedal, praying for pedal engagement. In most shoes, should be called the ""hoping pocket"". For '99, Specialized has re-engineered our homing pocket shape for easier than ever pedal engagement.
Hoop Another (cool) word for ""rim"".
Horst link® (or, A-link) The most important pivot in a suspension system. Found close to the junction of the chainstay and the rear dropout, this patented pivot allows the rear wheel to travel virtually straight up and down. Don't confuse this pivot with those located on the seat stay, close to the rear dropout, as they perform two very different functions. A Specialized patent.
Hub flange The round thing on either side of a hub that the spokes attach to. The further apart the hub flanges are from each other, the less dish the wheel has, and therefore, more potential strength. The new Specialized STOUT rear hubs use hub flanges of two different (hi/Lo) diameters. This keeps the rear wheel dish to a minimum, making the wheel stronger.
Hydraulic oil A fluid that is used in some suspension designs to provide damping.
Hydrocoil® A new RockShox design for '99. Based on an ""open bath"" system.
IG Short for Integrated Gearing. Shimano performance shifting feature incorporating the rear derailleur, freewheel and chain which reduces the shifting shock and improves chain control. The system prevents the chain from separating from the larger sprocket other than at the designated release point. The result is a quick direct chain drop without noise or shock.
Index shifting Shifting motion which results in a single smooth positive chain transfer from cog to cog and chainring to chainring with a single click of the shifter.
Investment Casting A process which allows forming of intricate shapes, like frame lugs. A model of the final piece is created from wax, then dipped into many layers of ceramic liquid and sand which creates a hard coating over the wax. Applying heat removes (melts) the wax without effecting the ceramic crust. Molten metal is poured into the hollow ceramic shell. After the metal cools, the crust is broken and an exact replica of the wax model is created. This is also called ""Lost Wax"".
Iron Curtain XC® A Specialized innovation that stiffens the lower sidewall on a tire. Developed for the DH specific Fear Control/Master, it dramatically reduced pinch flats. The latest incarnation is a lighter weight version found on most of our '99 Team Edition tires.
JRA Short for Just Riding Along. Demonic force present in every bicycle related part failure since the dawn of man. Statistically speaking, the single most common cause of, well, just about everything (other than El Nino). Frequently used in sentences such as, ""I was just riding along, and my frame broke in three pieces. "" Incredibly elusive, the JRA must be spiritually exorcised by a Priest to be truly rid of.
Kevlar® A DuPont wonder fiber. Used in everything from bike tires to bullet proof vests. Specialized was the first company in the bike industry to spin kevlar in to a tire bead, and put it in a tire, way back in '78.
Last This is the ""shape"" that shoes are built on. The design of the last dictates if the shoe will be wide, narrow, high over the instep, etc?
Linear rate The tendency of a spring's resistance rate to increase evenly under compression. Coil springs have linear spring rates, and therefore can offer consistent shock absorption throughout the full range of travel.
Low-Normal Derailleur Shimano reversed the spring positioning on the rear derailleur so there is spring assistance when shifting to a higher gear and simple spring release when down shifting. Seen on most '98 XTR rear derailleurs, but due to the ""I can't get used to shifting backwards"" argument, will be seen less in '99.
Lug The ""socket"" that tubes fit into in traditional bike construction. For building bikes, the lug has gone the way of the 8 track tape. Designers are limited to the geometry changes they can make on a bike, with the angles set by the lugs. With lugs being the most expensive part of a traditional bike construction, they can be more of a hindrance than a help nowadays.
M2® Specialized's unique MMC (Metal Matrix Composite) used for frame construction. A covalent (molecular) bond between ceramic particulate and aluminum alloy create a very stiff and strong material.
M4® Specialized's brand new aluminum alloy process used for frame construction. M-4's advantage over other materials is it's ability to be shaped much more extensively than 6061 aluminum, M2, Titanium, or steel.
MAX Backbone MAX stands for Manipulated Aluminum eXtrusion. The MAX backbone is the super high tech extrusion Specialized developed in 97. Using a shaped and butted three channel design, it creates the torsionally stiffest frame, for it's weight, you can buy.
MAX Headroom Silly TV show from the 80's. Featured Matt Frewer's voice for a talking box.
MAX Tailbone New rear end on our Stumpjumper and S-Works hardtails for '99. All new tube shapes, made possible with our new design and manufacturing capabilities. Stronger and lighter than rear ends of the past. Additionally, it has more vertical compliance (comfy) and less lateral compliance (efficient) than anything on the market.
MCU Micro-cellular urethane. The stuff that replaced elastomers in 'bumper', or nonspring shocks. Very good on big hits, and not nearly as sensitive to cold weather (think ""hockey pucks"") as elastomers.
MIG Machine Inert Gas. Super fast way to weld thick walled items when you don't care how they look, like say a bridge or a ship. MIG welding will overheat really thin walled tubing found on most high end bikes, so you don't see it used here. Some companies MIG weld their low-end (thick tube) bikes, when they think the customer won't care how it looks.
Mega Range Gearing A rear freewheel or cassette with gearing over 32T.
Modulation The ability to control something more than just turning it ON or OFF. Your standard light switch at home has no modulation; the light is ON, or OFF. One of those fancy rheostat dials allows you to turn the light level up and down as you like it. That's modulation. In braking, it's the same thing. No modulation mean you go from zero braking, to wheel lock up, with nothing in between. The more modulation the system has, the more control the rider has over the braking. The better you get as a rider, the more modulation you lust for.
Modulus The stiffness of the material measured with respect to the diameter, thickness and material. High modulus = High strength.
Monocoque A horribly over-used term in the sporting goods industry. Just about every bike that isn't a regular tube construction, somebody somewhere wants to call it a ' monocoque'. Almost meaningless term.
Negative spring An interesting solution to overcoming the stiction found in air shocks. This spring actually pushes the shock in the opposite direction of it's primary travel. With the two spring forces opposing each other, the stiction is dramatically reduced. A negative spring make an air shock feel almost as supple as a coil shock.
Nitanium® Tom Ritchey's special steel alloy. Introduced into the Specialized line in '98, it's found in our Rockhopper FS. Nitanium is Cromoly alloyed with Niobium and Titanium, creating a tubeset that has the great durability of steel, with the light weight of aluminum.
O-ring A seal that is usually a round piece of rubber-like material. Frequently found under work benches, behind the seat cushion in your car, or any other place that's awkward to get to.
OCR Tom Ritchey's Off Center Rim design. By moving the spokes closer to one side of the rim, it reduces the wheels dish. As you know, this results in a stronger wheel. Combined with our STOUT hubs with Hi/Lo flanges, well, watch out!
Oil damping A system that uses the resistance of oil flowing through holes in a valve to provide a means to change the rate of suspension compression or rebound.
Oil weight A description of the relative viscosity (thickness) of an oil. Oils with low weight numbers (5w or 10w) flow through valves with less resistance. Oils with higher weight numbers (15w or 20w) flow through valves with more resistance.
Open bath A suspension design that submerges the coil springs in oil. The oil is required to perform the multiple duties of lubricant, non-emulsifier, and damping agent. Seen on Marzocchi and some RockShox designs.
Optical Gear Display (Opti-Gauge & Opti-Dial) Indicator that allows mountain bike riders to check their current gear position on Shimano shifters without looking at the drivetrain. The indicator allows all riders to check gear position quickly and easily.
Outsole The entire bottom of the shoe.
Oversize (OS) Usually refers to a steering system requiring a 1-1/8"" steerer outer diameter. Also refers to relatively larger diameter frame tubes.
Parallel push A Shimano patent that uses a linkage system that keeps the brake pad parallel to the rim braking surface. Avid and Dia-Compe have both found ways to achieve this function, without violating Shimano's patent.
Polished A process in which Scotchbrite pads are used to create a smooth, matte finish.
Powder Coat This is a super durable, but not super pretty finish. Using magnetic attraction, a dry powder is held to metal, then placed in an oven. The powder melts, and creates the finish. The process leaves an uneven thickness to the finish, so you tend to see it only on smaller parts.
Pre-load Compressing the spring from it's resting state. More preload increases the initial spring rate needed to make a shock start moving. This does limit the ultimate travel of the spring, so the less pre-load required on a spring, the better.
Presta valve The little skinny valve you can't pump up at the gas station. Must be unscrewed to fill, and closed after pumping. Very light and durable, it's seen on most higher end road and mountain bikes.
Pro-Fit® Specialized's bike fit philosophy. More size and geometry choices than you can shake a stick at.
Q Factor A crank arm design that allows the distance between the pedals to be narrow is said to have a 'low Q factor', which is more comfortable and efficient. The Specialized Strongarm and Forearm have exceptionally low Q factors.
RTT RTT stands for Reduced Top Tube. We make some of our Rockhoppers and Hardrocks with shorter top tubes for those of you that have long legs but a short torso. It makes it a lot easier to reach the handlebars.
Radial lace A pattern where no spokes cross over each other on their way to the rim. This type of pattern results in a very light weight wheel, because it uses the shortest spokes. Radial lace wheels are more rigid than cross laced wheels. This makes them a very precise construction for front wheel steering. Radial lacing can also be used on rear wheels, but only on the non-drive (cassette) side, as they have no resistance to the twisting force the cassette would put on it under pedaling.
Rapid Fire Plus Shimano's mountain bike STI system using two shift levers mounted under the bar . Rapid Fire Plus lets you shift while keeping a firm grip on the bars, and features index shifting front and rear.
Rapid Fire SL Shimano's latest evolution of their under bar shift levers. Shifting is accomplished with thumb and forefinger in a similar manner to Rapid Fire Plus. Shifting is quick and precise with 3 up and 1 down at a time.
Rear triangle On a traditional bike, it's the three sided shape defined by the seat tube, seat stays, and chain stays. On a full suspension bike, it typically refers to the swingarm and other connected linkage.
Rebound damping Restriction of the rate that the suspension rebounds when you remove the load. A good pogo stick or a super ball should have very little rebound damping.
Removable (replaceable) derailleur hangers Dropouts designed for easy removal of the rear derailleur hanger, when you spank it on a rock or other immovable object. Usually constructed by investment casting or forging steel or aluminum.
Removable chainrings Chainrings which can be individually replaced on the crank arm, which allows the rider to personalize their gearing. Common for high performance cranksets.
Rise Bars An item you couldn't pay a performance rider to use just three years ago, because they looked, ""dorky"". Now, everybody's using 'em. Why? Better control over the bike, and a more comfortable ride.
Rising rate The tendency of a spring's resistance rate to exponentially increase (sorry, I cannot come up with another word) under compression. Air springs have rising rates, and therefore don't want to move much at all at the very end of their stroke.
Rotator The rotating portion of a twist type shifting lever.
STI® Shimano Total Integration. A concept for drop bars that combines the shift and brake levers into one unit; this allows steering, braking and shifting to be performed without removing the hands from the handlebar. Single handedly destroyed the bare end shifter and down tube shifter market.
STOUT® front hub A Specialized design introduced in '97, where it immediately won the Bicycling Magazine Component of the Year Award. Most easily identified by the integrated SkrAxle, which combines the skewer and axle in to one piece. Very burly unit, designed from the ground up to only be laced radially.
SUP®/Machined sidewall SUP is Mavic's code name for their rim sidewall machining process. This costly step is done for a few reasons; it removes any anodizing from the braking surface so you stop better; it smoothes out any rim seams; it insures both sides of the rim are parallel to one another, giving your brakes the most mechanical advantage.
Sag This is what makes your suspension ""active"", or working all of the time. All suspension manufacturers recommend you set the shock or fork up so that it will ""sag"" or droop a bit when you are sitting on the bike. This means the suspension can move up to absorb bumps, and down to press the wheel in to dips. Specialized was the first company in the industry to recommend setting up rear suspension with sag. Now, every single company has followed our lead.
Seal A device that keeps two different substances separated. Seals can separate dirt from grease, oil from air, etc? Can be made from a variety of materials.
Sealed bearing (Precision) A bearing design that uses rubber or metal seals to keep grease in, and dirt out. On a bike, it's much longer lasting and easier to maintain than a traditional loose ball bearing.
Seamed Tubing Frame tubing which has been formed from a metal sheet and welded in the center. Usually found on frame tubing of 0.9mm (fat) wall thickness or greater.
Seamless Tubing Cro-Mo or aluminum alloy tubing which has been drawn in the shape of a tube. Allows for lighter weight and stronger construction.
Shell The poly-carbonate cover that goes over the foam. Designed to protect the foam from punctures, and assist in holding the foam together on impact.
Shock Commonly used term for the suspension on the back of the bike, as opposed to a fork, which is the suspension found on the front of the bike.
Shoe/Pad This is the thing that wears out, by creating the friction against the rim. Lots of voodoo on the best compounds, shape, yadda, yadda, yadda.
Shot peened a process in which steel shot is, well, shot at a metal surface. It stress relieves the outer surface, which strengthens it. You can tell shot peened finishes by the bumpy ""orange peel"" look. Our SpecialRise bar is an example of a shot peened finish.
Shrader valve The big fat valve you can pump up at the gas station, just like your car tire. Heavier than a Presta valve, it's primarily seen on lower end bikes, or commuter bikes where valve compatibility is important.
Skewer Just like what you use with a shish kebab, the skewer is the long skinny thing that holds your wheel on your bike. (assuming you have properly closed the quick release?whoa?!)
Skinwall Rubber is calendared (squeezed between two huge rollers) into the fabric casing, making it much more permanent than a gumwall. All Specialized tires (except the TriSport) use a skinwall/blackwall construction.
SkrAxle A Specialized front hub design feature that combines the hub's axle and skewer into a single unit. This 9mm piece is much stiffer and stronger than most so called ""oversize"" 6mm skewers, or the more common 5mm skewers. Found on our upper end STOUT hubs.
Slider The outer part of the fork that slides up and down over the stanchions. (The slider is the part with the paint and decals on it.)
Softedge® strap A cool type of strap found on all Specialized helmets as of '98. The nylon webbing is specifically woven to create a soft edge against your skin. Creative name, huh?
Son of StrongArm® crank Introduced in '96. A Specialized crank featuring a warm forged construction, and a five arm spider. Spec'd on bikes ranging from Hardrocks to FSR. As strong and stiff as the Strong Arm, just a tad heavier. Fits traditional BB spindles.
Spear gusset® A Specialized designed gusset that first appeared in '96 on Rockhopper and Stumpjumper bikes. Located at the junction of the head tube and top tube on A1 and M2 mountain bikes. Designed to better spread the force of the head tube pulling against the top tube.
Specific Strength The strength of a material divided by its density. This term refers to the breaking strength.
Spider The part of the crankarm which the chainrings are bolted to.
Spring Usually refers to a metal coil, that can either be compressed or extended. In the world of bikes, they are almost always made of steel, and are of a compression (you squeeze 'em, not pull 'em) variety.
Spring rate the progression rate at which the resistance of a spring increases as it's compressed. Think of it as the amount of force required to move a spring a given distance. For example, a 500 lb. Spring takes 500 lbs. of force to compress it one inch. It then takes an additional 500 lbs. of force (total of 1000 lbs.) to move it another inch (total of two inches).
Stanchion tube These are the two tubes that fit in the fork crown, and slide up and down in the outer leg assembly. Sometimes made of steel, usually alloy, and the best are tapered alloy. If these are finished very smooth, and kept lubricated, stiction is reduced.
Stiction Short hand for static friction. This is the force it takes to overcome the pressure that seals place on a piston (shock) or stanchion tube (fork). Stiction is a bummer on small bumps, because the suspension doesn't want to move over them.
Straight (plain) gauge A tube that has an even wall thickness from end to end (like your garden hose, or PVC pipe.) Typically heavier than butted tubing.
Stress Riser A spot that a item will fail, when force is applied. When an engineer knows how to use them, stress risers are a good thing. For example, the perforations on a sheet of postage stamps is a stress riser. The crumple zones on your car, and bumpers are stress risers. Stress risers are bad when the engineer doesn't know they're there, or can't figure out a way to control them. Gussets are the most commonly used tool to reduce stress risers.
Strong Arm® crank Introduced in '96. A Specialized crank featuring cold forged construction, and a five arm spider. Easy to tell the difference from the Son of Strong Arm by brushed finish (as opposed to polished) and an embossed S-Works logo. Fits traditional BB spindles. Spec'd on S-Works (duh).
Stud Frequently confused with the ""cleat"". Studs are the removable knobs on the sole of the shoe, under your toes. This term can be used interchangeably with the term ""Filip Meirhaege""
Suede Leather (from cows!) found on mid performance shoes. High point: very soft and pliable- read: comfy. Low point: very soft and pliable- read: not super efficient when you're mashing on the pedals.
Suspension A system of energy management that is designed to reduce, change or absorb the forces acting on the body. Works easier than it sounds.
Swaged A shape (usually a tube) that's diameter has been forcibly reduced. This is done with a big machine that pulls the tube through a shape that is smaller than the original tube. Used on things like S-Works seat stays to decrease weight, without reducing strength. Not to be confused with extruding.
Swing arm The rear end of some full suspension design bikes. Specialized does not use a swingarm design, because it forces the wheel to move in an arc. This arcing motion results in a suspension design that isn't very active.
T-4/T-6 Heat Treatment A term which refers to a heat treatment process which strengthens and tempers aluminum alloys.
TIG Tungsten Inert Gas. A type of welding process which flows an inert gas over the weld area and tungsten welding tip to prevent oxidizing the molten material. Good for welding thin walled tubing together on things like high end bikes.
TPC. Twin Piston Chamber; and a Manitou invention and patent. Two pistons separately control rebound and compression damping on the fork. Winner of every major fork shoot-out on it's introduction in '98. Way cool.
TPI Shorthand for Threads Per Inch. This is how the nylon fabric in the tire casing is frequently denoted. Lower TPI casing (66) is found on our less expensive tires, where higher TPI (127) is found on our Team Edition tires.
Taper The area transition in diameter between a butt, and the center section of the tube. The longer the taper, the less chance of a stress riser forming. Long tapers require a specific tube be created for each size bike, and is very expensive. Specialized creates this unique custom long taper tubeset for every bike in the line with butted tubing.
Team Edition This designation on Specialized tires means that Team Mt. Dew/ Specialized is racing on the identical tire you can buy. Typically, there is some type of high zoot feature critical to the tire's performance, like a 127tpi casing, or Cap Ply for instance.
Thermo-Plastic A high modulus nylon material used in frame construction. Prepared as a molten material of nylon and epoxy which are impregnated into carbon weave. It is poured into a forming mold where it is heated and pressurized to form. Very environmentally friendly material.
Thermo-Set A material processing method used in carbon fiber frame construction. Involves laying carbon, kevlar or glass fibers in specific positions, then blending in resin to position the fibrous material in place. Involves a complex heating, cooling and pressure process to give the final product it's form. Considered by many an environmentally unfriendly construction method.
Threadless headset a DiaCompe invention that's about a decade old. Lighter, stronger, and easier to adjust than a traditional threaded headset. That's why you see them on all of our mountain bikes and road bikes.
Three cross The most common spoke lacing pattern around. The name simply tells you how many other spokes, each individual spoke crosses on it's way to the rim.
Tie Bar An engineered shape that connects two tire lugs together. This allows the tire designer to use smaller, lighter lugs, that won't squirm, or tear as they would without the tie bar.
Toe Box This isn't the name of Hannibal Lechter's trophy case. It is the name for the shape of the front of the shoe, where it covers your lil' piggies. Big toe boxes fit wider feet, breathe better, and dry out faster. Specialized has honkin' toe boxes for '99.
Toe Clip/strap In the days of eight track tapes and mood rings, a high performance item. Mounted on conventional pedals, clips and straps were the predecessor of clipless pedals, in the battle for keeping your shoes attached to the bike. Still a necessary item for most commuter bikes.
Toe-in What you used to have to do to your brakes before Direct Pull's came along. Toe-in refers to adjustment made to the brake pad so it does not make parallel contact with the rim. See (hear) Chatter/Squeal.
Top Mount A mountain bike shifting system with a single shift lever mounted above the handlebars. Top Mount shifters feature front and rear indexing and the ability to switch to friction type (non SIS) shifting.
Top-out bumper This bumper keeps the shock or fork from banging like a drum when suspension is extended to it's limit. Usually an elastomer or MCU device that absorbs the shock.
Torque In mathematics, T=F x D, where T is torque, F is force, and D is distance. As this ain't math class, it generally apples to the bike world in terms of tightening fasteners (nuts and bolts). Too tight, and fasteners will bust, or joints will bind. Too loose, and the fastener can fall out, or the joint will wobble. Manufacturers specify appropriate torque values for everything on a bike that requires a wrench. Setting fasteners to a specific torque requires a torque wrench.
Total Gear Capacity A formula for determining the rear derailleur capacity. It's determined by adding the rear cog teeth difference with the front chainring teeth difference. (e.g. (30T - 11T = 19T ) + (42T - 22T = 20T) = 39T total gear capacity).
Travel The distance that the wheel has moved between the most compressed, and the most extended states of the suspension. Usually measured in inches for the rear, and mm for the front, just to confuse everyone.
Treacherous Path A sealing system that incorporates labyrinth seals which offers many points of difficulty to potential dirt contamination.
Tread The physical shape of the tire where it contacts the ground. Comes in every shape imaginable, from ""smooth as Homer's head"" to ""rough as Bart's head"".
Twistlock® The gizmo you twist to lock the adjustment straps down with. Another brilliant name.
V-brake® The name of Shimano's original direct pull brake, and the first huge selling model.
Valve A gizmo (hole) that controls the flow of air or oil between a stanchion and slider (front), or piston and cylinder (rear).
Venturi A Specialized first. This vent will actually reduce the air pressure in the helmet, pulling the hot air out. Introduced on the Air Banshee in 98, it trickles down to the Mountain Man for '99. Look at the HELMET section for more info.
Viscosity A description of how thick a liquid is. Example, water has a much lower viscosity than Maple syrup.
Washer stack A stack of progressively smaller diameter washers. These washers will flex as oil pushes against them, and assist with controlling the damping characteristics.
Web® A Specialized patent for the industry's first truly 3D adjustable retention system. Look at the HELMET section for more info.
Welding A process joining two pieces by melting the base materials allowing them to fuse together.
Wind Tunnel What Specialized has in Morgan Hill, and our competitors don't. You don't even wanna ask how much money it costs to rent a wind tunnel for an hour. So rather than not test 'em (like the other guys) we built our own. It tells us where to put vents, how well they're working, etc?
Wiper seal A seal that is designed to be snug enough to keep dirt out, but not snug enough to hold oil or air in. Must be used in conjunction with an oil seal.
X-link® On FSR, it's the short link that the bottom of the rear shock attaches to. Very important piece, as it creates the leverage required to create the amount of travel at the rear end.
XC® A brand new category in full suspension design, and one of three from Specialized. Targeted toward the off-road racer, the XC category is the ""Paris-Dakar Rally car"" of the bike world. Look at the SUSPENSION section for more information.
Yield Strength The force required to permanently deform a given piece of material. (i.e. you flex it, and it won't come back)
Mtbr's 2016 Winter Biking GearReviews and Roundups
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