- - Specialized Unveils It's Own In-house Wind Tunnel

Specialized Unveils It's Own In-house Wind Tunnel

The wind. Sometimes it’s your friend; other times nothing would give it greater pleasure than to push you and your bike into a ditch. You might not know what to do about that, but that’s OK. We do. Our team of aerodynamic experts are bona-fide wind tricksters, wielding the tools of their trade—Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), on-bike Data Acquisition (DAQ), and wind tunnel testing—with authority. They want nothing more than to push the wind right back, to harness its power and turn it into your best time ever.

This is the science of air manipulation, and it affects everything. The bike you ride, the gear you wear, and even your position as you ride. Drag is the single biggest force affecting a cyclist, and since the only way to turn it off is to stop moving completely, eliminating every bit of it is critically important. In fact, it’s so important to us we’ve taken the next step in the evolution of our aerodynamics program.


Why? Because now our team controls everything. By bringing all aspects of the aerodynamics process in-house—the CFD, on-bike DAQ, and now the wind tunnel as the final piece of that puzzle—we’re empowering our team to drive aero forward, in new and innovative directions.

Aero is everything. And because of that, it’s everything to us.

HERE’S THE THING: You can have access to all the aerodynamic technology in the world, but the data and testing is only as good as the people who interpret and apply it. Our aero team has worked with some of the most respected names in the aerospace and tech industry, and is a true aerodynamic tour-de-force. Their pedigree, history, experience, and expertise are second to none.

Between them, Chris Yu, Mark Cote, Chris D’Aluisio, and Chuck Teixeira have 50 years of aero experience, with over 20,000 hours in wind tunnels. Their presence at Specialized is unique, and a key component in continuing to move the science forward for us in incredibly innovative ways. They think it, they build it, they test it, and they make it better. The smartest people in one place, with the passion, insight and vision to vanquish every ounce of drag out there. We’d be fools not to give them access to everything they need to give riders free speed.

CHRIS YU > With a Master’s degree from Stanford already under his belt, Specialized Aerodynamicist Chris Yu is currently a Doctoral candidate in High Fidelity Flow Simulation. But he’s not just a computer geek. Chris has also been involved in several wind tunnel studies of high performance aerodynamics in the past, and with just under two years at Specialized has played a starring role in some of our most innovative aero products to date, with the S-Works + McLaren TT helmet as a prime example. He’s particularly interested in applying real science to the process, ensuring no watt is wasted with gimmicky, non-validated, aero-tinsel on products. Or to put it another way—he’s all about providing riders with working watts, not style watts.

MARK COTE > Having spent four years running the wind tunnel at MIT as an undergrad, Mark graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and proceeded to spend countless hours in seven other facilities after. Affectionately called “The Aero Pharaoh” by those trying to get him to bite, the name is actually quite fitting. The energy, dedication and expertise he puts towards refining and making products better, plus his focus on turning Specialized’s aerodynamic program into an industry leader, could generate enough watts to build a pyramid. Although, knowing Cote, he’d test that structure in the wind tunnel to see if that really was the most efficient shape.

CHUCK TEIXEIRA > People throw the word ‘pioneer’ around a lot these days, but you should know, Chuck T happens to be a guy who actually deserves the moniker. Working in advanced R&D here at Specialized, Chuck brings his long history of wind tunnel development to the table—he was one of the first to be part of wind tunnel testing in the 1980s and is an industry leader, particularly in the field of aero wheel development. He’s also built more bikes than you’ll ever dream of owning.

CHRIS D’ALUISIO > That Shiv you’re riding, the Venge you see Cavendish crushing on? They exist because of the vision of D’Aluisio. He’s been developing aero bikes since early 2000, starting with the E5 AEROTEC, moving through the Transition, Shiv and Shiv TT, Venge, and who knows what the future will bring? Chris is a direct connection between our R&D team and road athletes like Tony Martin, and works closely with them to ensure they’re getting as much free speed from their bikes and equipment as they can. For Chris, aerodynamics is the art of balance: minimize drag without sacrificing critical attributes of the ride, such as stiffness and control.

When we look in the aero toolbox—the one our team has complete, unfettered access to, right here in Morgan Hill—we see three tools of the trade. CFD, on-bike DAQ, and the wind tunnel. To put it simply, these are the instruments and systems used to collect data, crunch numbers, test theories, and take some very sensitive measurements.

But it’s not the tools themselves that are the news, as most bike companies have access, and may have one of these tools in-house. No, the news is that ALL three are within reach of our team. And because they’re in-house, we control the entire process: the hardware, the software, the whole shebang. We’re the first cycling brand to do this.

While the wind tunnel may seem the biggest of these due to its sheer physical footprint, it’s important to recognize the role and importance each of these tools play in defining, developing, and innovating our bikes and equipment, now and in the future.

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