S-Works eTap – £10,499 Other bikes are beautiful for the way they simply blend into the background, leaving you free to enjoy the ride unencumbered from the rigors of actively piloting a bicycle. Expert UDi2 – $5,000 It got slightly more Venge-like. Specialized’s S-Works Short and Shallow carbon road handlebar is as close to a classic handlebar as you’re likely to find these days, and the lack of internal brake line routing makes it refreshingly easy to swap in a different bar. Is the Tarmac SL7 more comfortable? Expert UDi2 – $7,500 So good job, people of the Internet, pat yourselves on the back for a job well done. There is internal routing through the bar and the spacers, but the stem is relatively normal and thus far more adjustable. An 800g aero frame built up into a 6.8kg / 14.99lb bike (size 56cm), including deep 51/60mm wheels and a power meter, A seemingly perfect blend of aero traits, light weight, adjustability, and ideal handling characteristics; excellent small-detail execution; integrated power meter, There are twelve thousand marks in this column; tubeless fans will be disappointed in the clincher-only wheels; handlebar ergonomics and low seat-tube mount might not work for everyone. Bucking the current trend, Specialized did not outfit this bike with an aero, integrated handlebar, much to my pleasure. It is this optimization that leads to the conclusion that this new bike, the SL7, is as much the next Venge as it is the next Tarmac. It feels, in this regard, almost exactly like the SL6 I was on last. No integrated stem, proprietary handlebar, or internal brake routing. The SL7 is roughly as quick as the old Venge Vias. The SL7 has that same sharpness and combines it with a bit more raw speed. For the last few product cycles, the Tarmac and the Venge have been inching closer together. You can feel the road underneath you, feel the bike move on it. Maybe we should call the new Specialized Tarmac SL7 the Cannibal, since it seems designed to eat its own. We try to steer clear of anthropomorphizing bikes when we talk about their ride characteristics, yet it’s undeniable that some bikes have real personality. The previous generation Tarmac was a great road bike by any standard, especially in the mountains, but lacked a little in the aero department when compared to the purely speed-oriented design of modern aero road bikes. — the bike should feel and perform like this. At 1,400g, the wheels are light for any depth, but exceptionally so for deep rims. S-Works eTap & UDi2 – $12,000 Specialized says, "The Tarmac Disc Sport is the perfect entry-level, high-performance road bike. The Rapide CLX wheels must account for a huge part of the fast feelings here. So good and so fast that two of the brand’s existing road bikes, the SL6 and Venge, have reached overnight obsolescence. That’s heavier than the 733 grams (claimed) of an SL6, but lighter than the 960 gram Venge. It’ll fit a 32mm tire easily. The stack is low, too. There are 10 other complete builds to choose from, as well as S-Works Tarmac Disc framesets in 10 different paint schemes, including the Sagan Collection LTD and the Mixtape LTD colors. With comfortable but agile road-race manners, elite aerodynamic design, and absurdly lightweight overall performance, the Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 is a joy to ride. Bikes with the S-Works moniker utilize Specialized’s top-of-the-line FACT 12r carbon frames and are available for $11,000 with SRAM RED eTap AXS, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, as well as a women’s version with Dura-Ace Di2. Whether the shape of the wide tops actually works for you is a personal call. It’s 100% identical to both the SL6 and Venge. get a flat headset cap, or use any negative-rise stem, The Best Road Bikes You Can Buy Right Now, The Best Trek Bikes You Can Buy Right Now, The Specialized Venge Pro Disc Is Fast As Hell, S-Works performance without S-Works price, Carbon Roval CL 50 Disc tubeless-ready wheels, The 48t big chainring may be too small for some riders. No compromises, the Specialized marketing materials shout. But they do ride slightly differently despite using the same numbers. In stark contrast to other high-end wheel makers, Roval has opted to make these clincher only; no tubeless tires here. The Venge was released only two years ago, and the Tarmac and Venge have co-existed peacefully within the company’s line for years. July 28, 2020 Ben Delaney This is an odd admission to make on Specialized’s part. Joining VeloClub not only supports the work we do, there are some fantastic benefits: Take a Specialized Venge and a Tarmac SL6 and squish them together. I still think Specialized has put itself in a bit of a pickle. 10R Frameset – $3,000, AUD: But this is the new hotness, so allow me to try. To try to solve this optimization problem, Specialized once again leaned on modeling software developed by Ingmar Jungnickel, which runs CFD (computational fluid dynamics) and FEA (finite element analysis) for each shape and keeps working until it finds a shape that is drag optimized for particular weight and stiffness targets. It’s worth noting that stiffer isn’t always better. I realize this will sound like gushing, but the new Tarmac handles like a road race bike should — light, agile, eager to accelerate, telepathic in steering, stops like a well-trained — but with the wind-cheating capacity of a dedicated aero bike. These are minuscule differences. What the software churns out is essentially a repository of tube shapes with known aerodynamic, stiffness, and weight qualities. The cheapest Tarmac that still has electronic shifting is the Tarmac Disc Comp Ultegra Di2, for $4,200, and the cheapest Tarmac with mechanical shifting is the men’s and women’s version of the Tarmac Disc Comp ($3,150). Pro UDi2 – $7,000 Instead of smoothing out all of the bumps and vibrations for a silky-smooth ride, the Tarmac Disc Pro allows you to experience enough of the road that you feel very in tune to what’s happening below your wheels.
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