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
Cycling Weekly: http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/