Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL6 | Review | Cycling Weekly

The GC contender from Specialized received a major overhaul in the creation of the 2018 version – and we absolutely love it. | Subscribe to Cycling Weekly here: https://www.youtube.com/user/CyclingWeekly1?sub_confirmation=1

Since the first Specialized Tarmac debuted back in 2003, road racing has changed, says Specialized, exponentially over the last five or so years.

Unlike the good old days when sprint stages were pan flat or a mountain stage was just that, now stage racing has it all – climbs, sprints, you name it – and it is harder than ever to choose whether to use the aero or the lightweight bike.

So, the goal for the new Tarmac was easy to set: faster, lighter and better handling than the previous Specialized Tarmac – though that was no easy task with the Specialized Tarmac of old being a great handling bike – with great aerodynamics, and not forgetting compliance. In other words, all the best attributes of a top race bike rolled into one.

Slighter stature, greater power

Compared to the previous version the Tarmac looks a lot different; more slender, with a different rear end and fork. That is mainly down to the fact that new carbon technique allows Specialized to use smaller sized tubing without losing strength, thus being lighter overall.

Specialized weighed a batch of size 56cm frames and says the average weight for this batch was 766g. The bottom bracket alone is notably more slender, saving 30g without losing stiffness.

A little nip and tuck, and a small change to the cable entry in the down tube also allows the American brand to remove extra strengthening materials to help weight loss.

These changes provide an aerodynamic boost too and the new Tarmac saves a claimed 45 seconds over 40km compared to the likes of Cannondale SuperSix Evo2 for example, says Specialized.

In fact, it is said to be on par aerodynamically with the first Venge and you can see the technology it’s borrowed from the latest version with the dropped rear stay that use co-optimised truncated airfoils and d-shaped seat post and seat tube that helps with compliance too.

Rider First Engineering is used here too, so a 52cm (which we had on test) should ride the same as a 61cm and everyone should get the same ride sensation across the board.

Over 500 different pieces are used to tailor the ride for each size and three different sized forks are used between the range.

Effortless to ride, no exaggeration

When it comes to the ride – we’re afraid we’re going to gush. This bike is a total dream to ride, and has been from the moment we jumped on to it.

This out-and-out race bike is fast, nippy and fun. It allows you to muck around and really press it into corners confidently and if you like that characteristic in a bike it never stops being a fun ride.

Expert handling is spoken about a lot with the Tarmac, and totally it rings true when you ride it. Poised is how we would describe it, you can make a switch around pretty quickly, lean into bends nicely and feel the strength in the bike throughout the corner.

It feels light, too. Effortless to ride might sound like a throwaway exaggeration, but in this case it’s not hyperbole, but a perfect reality.

Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.com/editors-choice/specialized-tarmac-review-358657#0HuvTomrKWbqsw82.99

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TheTonicro says:

adjust the rear derailleur it looks wrong

Joshua Watson says:

@2:04 what’s up with the rear mech?

Adam Rushworth says:

For £8500 i’d want sagan to ride it for me!

Brian Ongay Arenas says:

maded for hardcore riding used by middle aged mans that believe they’re pro because they make gfny

Reginald Scot says:

A lot of money… for a disposable plastic bike.

Nicholas Hulme says:

Rose X-Lite 6 Disc. I’d love to see that compared with the Tarmac SL6 Disc.

George Hugh says:

Curious if the disc version of this bike has longer chainstays (to fit the braking mech), or keeps the same geometry but may be restricted to using special Roval wheels ONLY.

Matteo Adesso says:

Rupert is a turd

John Morrison says:

Sorry but that rear mech set up is doing my head in. Love that bike though…..

They Live We See says:

this build has become boring over time, like I’ve only seen this version once it came out

kay poly says:

8.5k for a bike? I’m picking 2 up tomorrow and I’m sure everyone watching is about to do the same.

danpax says:

Can you guys review a couple bikes from Basso ? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Low hanging fruit says:

At that price I think you are entitled to something a lot more fancy than matte black and stickers. Ugh! My alloy bike at 1/10 the price looks better than that. Im sure its a sweet ride tho. My dream bike is a custom paint Domane with everything bling 🙂

And please, please stop saying shit like “the wheels hold their speed well”. Completely made up and non factual wine review language.

Daniele Banchi says:

the copy bmc slr01

Tebara Youtube says:

what is the high gear ratio of this bike

Maca says:

The rear derailleur looks shit

on2a says:

“For £8500 you’re getting quite a lot of bike”. I’d blinking hope so!!

Vince Leuenberger says:

“Quite a lot of bike you get for 8’500 pounds”, you don’t even have to change the saddle or the stem. Harr! You guys are so funny.

Lee Jefferson says:

No mention of disc brakes? Disc breakers would be a better option, Especially for 9k.

Sheri Chander says:

Can you guys please review the Merida Scultura 400 with or without disc brakes? It seems like a cracker of a bike for the price.

EatRideGrow says:

Like everyone else here, I have to ask, is that a normal position for the new Dura Ace RD?

the first troller says:

8500 pounds ! for this bicycle ! no way ! for what. i going to buy this shit! i have carrera only 250 pounds. and very strong bicycle.

crabbypaddy75 says:


Réno Pijnen says:

Specialized Allez DSW Sprint Comp, please

SpartanBike says:

cervelo never marketed female specific frames. glad to see specialized caught up 15 years later 🙂

Lawrence Ng says:

At that price I would think it would have come with disc brakes.

Armenian says:

Thank you for the review. I’d like to hear your thoughts after riding the disc version of the Tarmac.

gweflj says:

Who would pay that for a bike with rubber brake pads?

Indie Bike says:

Not liking the appearance of a random Ritchie stem. I’d be wanting an S-Works stem to go with the bars and seatpost!

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