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The previous Tarmac had an exceptional palmarès—a win in every Grand Tour, plus two World Championships—so you might ask yourself, "why a new Tarmac?" Well, Specialized have never been one to rest on our laurels, which is why they're constantly hunting for even the smallest of improvements. In other words, they innovate or die. And for this exact reason, the new S-Works Tarmac breaks all the traditions of race bike design to create the fastest bike for all conditions.
In their search to save every last gram, the S-Works Tarmac Ultralight also uses a newly developed paint finish that further reduces weight. In combination with their improved preparation process, it achieves a paint job that has the same weight as nine gummy bears, or 10 grams.
To get the weight below 800 grams, Specialized have utilised advanced aerospace composite optimisation software to revolutionise the construction and layup of the all new FACT 12r carbon. It's the most advanced material and schedule they've ever made—the shape, schedule, and material optimisation allowed the, to shed nearly 200 grams. That's right, a 20% reduction in frame weight—the perfect recipe for your next hill climb PR.
Specialized then further improved our Rider-First Engineered™ technology to ensure that the new Tarmac is stiff and compliant in exactly the right places. With this revamp, they've also updated the geometry—basing it on countless Retül data points and professional rider input. This enabled Specialized to develop a performance road geometry that perfects the combination of a responsive front end and short wheelbase, delivering instantaneous response and optimal power transfer.
And while stiffness aids in the aforementioned, compliance must also be utilised for an optimal ride quality. That's why the new Tarmac Expert SL6 uses a seatpost design that builds compliance into the upper 120mm where clamping doesn't happen, dropped seatstays, and an altered seat tube shape. They've also added tyre clearance up to 30mm, which translates to a 28mm Turbo Cotton on a Roval SLX 24 rim. This allows lower pressures for decreased rolling resistance, increased traction, and more comfort. Altogether, these additions still have the Tarmac riding like a true race-machine, but just takes a bit of the sting out of those road imperfections.
And while this is all great, Specialized know that aerodynamics are the most important thing they can do to make you faster. Both the Bora-Hansgrohe and Team Quick Step Floors Pro Tour riders, after all, are demanding aero improvements on every bike. With this, the aero goal was to discover where they could essentially "add aero for free," by not taking anything away from the hallmarks of the Tarmac design. During the six-month iterative process, three areas were discovered where they could do this—a new fork shape, dropped seatstays with aero tubes, and a d-shaped seatpost and seat tube. The result? A bike that's approximately 45 seconds faster over 40km compared to other lightweight bikes in the same category. A speed savings that you'll feel when you're attacking off the front of the peloton.
This S-Works Tarmac comes ready to race with Shimano's new Dura-Ace 9150 Di2 groupset with direct mount brakes, and the lightweight, yet impressively aerodynamic, Roval CLX 50s with 26mm Turbo Cotton tyres.