A Lightweight Heavy Hitter: Ryan's Aethos

Ryan's Specialized Aethos

Written by Isaac Boyden, on January 17, 2024

Whenever people talk about new bikes, lots of popular terms and characteristics get thrown around in the conversation. People talk about how aero the bike is, the dropped seat stays, headset routing, etc. The Specialized Aethos bike forgoes all of that. With round tubes typical of a classic carbon bike or carbon fiber road bicycle, no proprietary stems or seatposts, and absent of any headset routing, this bike put a glimmer in the eyes of riders who love simplicity and serviceability.

Weight weenies were also kept firmly in mind when the Aethos was conceived, as the S-Works level Aethos frameset tips the scales under 600g (without hardware). On top of, or maybe because of all that, the Aethos brings a type of straightforward, absolute beauty to the road bike world that's not that common anymore.

The Aethos 

The Aethos embodies Specialized's pursuit of lightweight design and sheer passion for cycling. The frame began as an R&D project with one sole purpose: To learn how carbon fiber works, lives, and breathes. After relentless testing with this goal in mind, The Aethos emerged from the Specialized factory with the singular goal of becoming the best riding bike you've ever pedaled

Before the conception of the Aethos, Specialized had been focusing their road-oriented efforts primarily on race bikes. The Aethos presented a chance for the company to step back and create a bike with the sole purpose of helping you enjoy the ride, and nothing more.

The Aethos, one of the best endurance bikes, is perfect for century rides, long canyon climbs, scenic highway or coastal loops, or just a great coffee shop group ride. The Aethos is all about simplicity, and the pure pleasure of riding your bike. Riding the Aethos, you're able to shift your focus away from aerodynamics, speed over all else, and shaving milliseconds off of stage times. A bike appears that climbs with a spring in its step, still descends with confidence, and makes you take a second look at the scale.

Why Ryan Built One 

When you're the owner of a bike shop, the number of bikes available for you to try out and ultimately build up can be a bit overwhelming. A carefully curated collection of bikes in inventory means that there are no "bad" choices, and there's a great bike available for every discipline and occasion.

Even for the shop owner, however, it can be hard not to get distracted by the labels that seem to be attached to every bike these days: "climbing" bikes, "aero" bikes, "endurance" bikes, etc. It's a case of too much of a good thing, and it can be hard to narrow down which bike to ride during your limited time away from the shop and the family. Enter the Specialized Aethos...

The Aethos is an exercise in resisting categorization or branding. With most of the bike industry focused on labels, the Aethos doesn't want one. You won't find the Aethos backed into the corner of being a specialist in any one area or category, rather you'll experience a bike whose sole purpose is to make every ride feel amazing. While it's not pitched as the world's best climbing bike, fastest descender, or having remarkable tire clearance, it actually happens to excel in all of those areas.

When Specialized became part of the Contender family, Ryan saw this as an opportunity to build up an Aethos and put it to the test as a no-labels, ultimate all-arounder, a bike that's all about you, the ride, and the experience.

The Bike

Any sub-600g S-Works frame is worthy of an equally impressive build kit. All the stops were pulled out for this Beautiful Bicycle, with a hand-picked collection of components befitting the ultimate Aethos. Here's the rundown:

Frame: S-Works Aethos 54cm 

Stem: S-Works SL 110mm 

Bar: Enve SES AR 40cm 

Seatpost: S-Works Alpinist  

Saddle: S-Works Power Saddle Mirror 143 

Crank: Shimano Dura-Ace 170mm 12 speed  50/34

Chain/Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace 12 speed 11-34 

Derailleurs: Shimano Dura-Ace R9270 Di2 12 speed  

Wheels: Lightweight MEILENSTEIN full carbon

Tires: Pirelli PZero RACE TLR 28c 

Brakes/Shifters: Shimano Dura-Ace R9270 Di2 12 Speed 

Rotors: Shimano Dura-Ace 160mm CL


Are you ready to embark on your own quest for the ultimate ride? Whether that includes the Specialized Aethos or any of our other world-class bikes, we can help you make it happen. Give us a call or reach out via email or chat and we'll take you from conception to New Bike Day!


  • I ordered my own Aethos from you ten days ago. Can’t wait to get it. Nick has been very nice to work with and has answered all my questions.

    Mark Haberstroh on

  • Ryan – when your done with that one – give me a shout! I love Littfield hand me downs! They are the best!

    Davey G on

  • Thanks for the comments, friends!
    Leonard’s experience on the Aethos is on par with everything I’ve heard and experienced with the bike. Seems like an ideal test of it!
    Jon, we’ll reach out with some figures and options.
    Mark, I’ll make sure Ryan has your info ; ) Let us know if you’d like to duplicate it or option your own in the meantime!

    Ed Kilbourn on

  • My sons and one grandson take an annual bike trip someplace every year and 2024 will be out 10th year in a row. I rented and rode a Specialized Aethos up Empire Pass just outside of Santa Cruz and then down and up a twisting canyon to the beach with my youngest son in 2022; and I don’t belive I have ever ridden a bicycle that I enjoyed riding as much as that bike. Empire Pass was a hell of a climb, but the bike seemed to eat the hill; and the downhill curving ride to the beach was something else, twisting, narrow and fast, and what a ride it was.


    Leonard W. Burningham on

  • Hi,
    What would this build sell for in the shop?

    Jon Seegmiller on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published