The totally re-designed Specialized Tarmac offers riders a bike that is lighter than the previous Tarmac with the aerodynamic speed performance of their aero monster, the Venge. In other words, no compromising weight or aerodynamics.
It’s common for riders to have to make decisions about what’s more important: do they want a bike that is lightweight or do they want a bike that is aerodynamically optimized for top speed. One is going to excel when they are climbing but may not be the best choice for sprinting, while the other will cut through the air in the sprints but the extra weight that was necessary to achieve those aero gains would hold them back as they are trying to reach that summit. If you are a pro racer with a bike sponsorship, you just have two bikes and choose the best tool for that day’s job. But most of us don’t have that luxury. Even with multiple bikes to choose from, pro riders like Peter Sagan face the race-day decision (and sometimes mid-stage, remember Stage 15 of the 2015 Tour de France?) of which bike to choose for the conditions of the race!
Well, that’s no more! The all-new Specialized Tarmac SL7 is one bike to rule them all with a road bike that delivers both lightweight climbing and wind-slicing aerodynamics.
It’s also important to note that more pro races have been won on a Venge or a Tarmac than any other bikes out there! Specialized has been providing winning bikes to pro racers for well over 20 years!
The engineers at Specialized used all of the tools available to design the Tarmac SL7. They used advanced computer modeling to get started. Then, they used their extensive FreeFoil Shape Library, a collection of tube shapes that they can choose to find the best tube shape for the specific placement on the bike. Once they have a bike constructed it goes into the Specialized Win Tunnel (I know, it’s missing a D. That’s by design. You get it) to study the way that the air actually moves over the bike. Then, back to the drawing board to get the shapes dialed in until they hit the aerodynamic goals that they had set.
Once the aerodynamic shaping was complete, it was time for the engineers to get the Tarmac SL7 as light as possible. They removed weight by optimizing tube wall thickness where it could be cut to make the bike as light as possible. In the end, the finished Tarmac SL7 frame using 12r FACT Carbon weighs as little as 800 grams! All throughout this process, prototype bikes were being put under real riders to test in real-world conditions to be sure that the bike delivered the ride that racers are looking for!
Throughout this process the engineers pushed the limits of weight, aerodynamics, all without harming any of the other features. The result is the fastest road bike right at the UCI legal weight limit.
By designing the all-new Aerofly handlebar that provides aerodynamics to the bars and keeps all of the cables and hoses tucked neatly inside the bike and out of the wind and setting the bike on the all-new Roval Rapide CLX wheels, the Tarmac SL7 drops in right below the UCI weight limit of 6.8kg, all while delivering some of the best aerodynamic advantages out there.
So, how fast is this bike? Specialized claims that the all-new Tarmac SL7 cuts 45 seconds over 40k off of the SL6 Tarmac delivering the fastest bike on any road.
Tarmac has long been known for it’s superior ride quality and handling and the SL7 continues that tradition. Yes, the bike had to be light. Yes, it had to be areo. Yes it had to be stiff. But, it also had to be ridden for hundreds of kilometers at a time and it had to handle fast descents and corners. The SL7 does this! Remember, hit the limits of weight, aerodynamics, and stiffness without harming any other features.
Tarmac SL7 continues the tradition of Rider-First Engineering where each size is optimized for the size of rider who will own the bike. In short, the forces applied to a size 52 bike are vastly different than what a taller rider needs out of a size 61. Specialized creates unique designs for each individual frame size so that each rider gets exactly what they need out of their bike.
Tarmac SL7 also continues along with the philosophy of Beyond Gender. After decades of research and collaboration with the bike fit company ReTül, Specialized determined that they are more likely to see fit differences between two males than they are to see between a male and a female. So, they went away from special bike geometry for women and men and just design bikes for riders.