Although it sounds like it is named after a sharp implement made in a prison, the Specialized Shiv TT has always been infinitely more advanced and refined than its moniker might suggest. For 2012 Specialized has gone back to the drawing board and redesigned this triathlon-friendly road bike in order to expand upon its World Championship-winning formula.

At the centre of the Specialized Shiv TT is a FACT 11r carbon frame. There were initial concerns that the tubing and geometry might not meet the standards set out by the UCI but Specialized seems to have pulled it off so it is ready to use in officially sanctioned triathlons without any issues. To go with the carbon frame you get S-Works carbon forks and even a carbon chainset, since this is a bike that is all about setting personal bests during time trials as well as fighting to the front of the pack in a competition.

With the help of former Ironman champion Craig Alexander it has been possible for Specialized to develop the tubing on the Shiv TT’s frame so that it is minimally affected by cross winds. This is partly achieved because the bike does not have a separate rack for a drinks bottle which would only impinge upon the aerodynamic design which the engineers have worked so hard to create. Rather than having an external bottle, the Shiv TT will enable riders to drink directly from a liquid reservoir housed within the frame itself. The top tube features a port via which the flexible internal bladder can be refilled and a protruding hose allows the rider to take sips as and when they need hydration. Even this hose has been carefully designed so that it can be easily replaced on a magnetic mount when not in use.

There is no doubt that this approach to achieving a total aerodynamic is extreme, but for serious riders and professionals it will definitely make the 2012 Specialized Shiv TT all the more attractive. Further integrated features include the S-Works Aero brakes and as you might expect this is a bike which looks a little outlandish, even amongst other triathlon-specific cycles. Its black frame is blade-like from the front, helping it to cut through the air without causing much turbulence. Meanwhile the side view reveals its intriguing tubes which initially seem eccentric but have clearly been designed with considerable attention to detail.

Specialized is hoping that the new Shiv TT will be able to bring it home a few trophies in 2012. It even used the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii as the launch location for the new range just two years after the first bike in this range arrived. If you are in search of a highly capable triathlon bike and you consider yourself to be a highly capable triathlete then the Shiv TT will almost certainly be on your wish list. Since the 2012 edition has so many fine revisions it will be more than enough to renew your interest.