Founded in 1974, Specialized is one of the biggest and most popular bicycle brands. It produces a vast number of models covering a wide range of cycling disciplines, so to help guide you through the 2018 range and help you choose the right bike for you, here’s an overview of the US company’s latest bikes.
We've picked out highlights from the new range. You can see a list of the full range with prices here.
This is the 6th generation Tarmac SL and is available with a choice of rim or disc brakes.
The Tarmac SL6 was the big noise for 2018, and shortly after the rim-braked version debuted a disc-braked bike was introduced, first with an S-Works only version but very soon more affordable models followed.
Right at the top of the range is the S-Works Tarmac Disc Sagan Collection LTD (£10,000) and the plain old S-Works Tarmac Disc (£9,250). There’s also Women's S-Works Tarmac Disc too for the same price, although the differences appear to be down to colour scheme, a woman's saddle and an additional, smaller size for the women's bike. Each of those bikes is adorned with all the bells and whistles including Shimano Dura-Ace groupsets and Specalized carbon cranks with power meters.
Below those stratospherically expensive models is the Tarmac Disc Pro (£5,750) with Shimano Ultegra and Roval CL50 wheels. The Tarmac Disc Expert (£4,000) is available for men and women with Ultegra mechanical shifting and Roval CL38 carbon wheels.
If you’re a Peter Sagan fan (and who isn’t) then check out the Tarmac Disc Comp - Sagan Collection LTD (£2,950). The Tarmac Disc Comp (£2,750) brings the regular Tarmac Disc under the £3k mark with men and women versions. The most affordable model is the Tarmac Disc Sport (£2,250), again in men and women versions and sporting a Shimano 105 groupset.
The new models fill out a range of SL6-based Tarmac Disc bikes and replace the previous SL5 Tarmac Disc models. Visually, the new bikes can be distinguished from the old ones by their dropped seatstays. Specialized has also changed the naming convention, so the bike that replaces the Tarmac Comp Disc is the Tarmac Disc Comp. Because that's not confusing at all.
The Tarmac has long been the company’s go-to race bike, favoured by its many sponsorship professional cyclists and amateur racers alike. Most of the top racers are still preferring rim brake bikes but Specialized is offering just three rim brake models in the UK, a slim range compared to the depth in the disc brake Tarmac line-up. That disparity clearly shows where Specialized believes the market is going for modern road race bikes.
Specialized reserves its best for the fabled S-Works top-tier models, with the highest grade of carbon fibre used and the best components, picked to create what is in anyone's world, a superbike.
The S-Works Tarmac (£8,900) then heads the range with all the best kit and ensuring it’s still the lightest bike in the complete Tarmac range, thanks to that 733g frame and very light components on this lavish build. You can also buy the S-Works frameset (£3,250) and build your own dream bike.
The Tarmac Expert (£4,250) uses FACT 10r carbon rather than the FACT 12r carbon of the S-Works frame, so it’s a little heavier, but has all the same tube shapes and features.
The Tarmac Comp (£3,000) is the most affordable of this 6th generation race bike and gets a Shimano Ultegra mechanical groupset.
If racing and generally riding as fast as you possibly can is your thing, then you want to take a closer look at the Venge. This is the company’s aerodynamic road bike and this year it launched a brand new version, the third iteration since it first arrived in the company’s range back in 2011.
You can read all the juicy details here and get David’s first impressions on riding the new bike here.
The new Venge is more aerodynamic than the previous version, a claimed 8 seconds according to the company’s own wind tunnel testing. The frame is hugely lighter as well, a 56cm frame coming in at 960g and further savings in the fork, handlebar and stem and seatpost. It all adds up to a 460g saving. They’ve also improved the handling and geometry, designed a new aero handlebar and stem that offers easy fit adjustment and can be swapped for regular components. Oh, and the frame is only compatible with disc brakes and electronic groupsets, with all cables and hoses internally routed.
Given its newness, it’s a small range of models to choose from. At the top is the S-Works Venge - Sagan Collection (£10,000) with a custom paint job and a full plethora of top-end kit from Roval and Shimano, and includes the new Specialized S-Works carbon crankset with a power meter.
The regular S-Works Venge (£9,500) uses the same frame and components but with a satin black and holographic decals finish.
The cheapest new Venge is the Venge Pro (£6,250) which uses the same but swaps the high-end kit for Shimano Ultegra Di2 and Roval CL50 wheels.
The Roubaix is one of the most distinctive endurance bikes due to the novel Future Shock, a small spring houses in a cartridge and place between the headset and stem. It’s designed to isolate the upper body and arms from all the impacts and vibrations normally felt through the handlebars when the front wheel encounters a bump or hole.
Other key changes are the redesigned frame with a CG-R seatpost housed inside a large diameter seat tube to provide more seated comfort, lower overall weight and evolved geometry to make it a bit racier. There’s bigger tyre clearance as well, up to 32mm tyres, and there’s a cool SWAT Box storage option on the higher-end models for neatly storing tools and spare tubes.
The S-Works Roubaix (£8,750) spearheads the range with the highest grade FACT 11r carbon frame and Dura-Ace Di2 build. The Roubaix Expert (£5,000) gets a FACT 10r carbon frame with Shimano Ultegra Di2 and deep section Roval wheel and keeps the SWAT storage.
The Roubaix Comp Ultegra Di2 (£4,000) keeps the same frame and groupset as the model above it, but different wheels bring the price down substantially.
Next up is the Roubaix Comp (£3,000) which features the same FACT 10r carbon frame but with mechanical Shimano Ultegra and hydro disc brakes and DT R470 aluminium wheels.
The Roubaix Sport (£2,500) brings the price down further with a lower grade FACT 9r carbon frame and Shimano 105 groupset.
The most affordable model is the Roubaix - Hydraulic Disc (£2,000) a Shimano Tiagra groupset and RS505 hydraulic disc brakes and Axis Sport Disc wheels with commuter-friendly Espoir Sport 28mm tyres.
The Ruby is the women’s version of the Roubaix and features all the same tech, with frame sizes going down to 44cm, and seven models to choose from.
As usual, an S-Works model tops the range, with the S-Works Ruby (£8,750). A full complement of Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, carbon wheels and top-end finishing kit.
In the middle of the range is the Ruby Comp Ultegra Di2 (£4,000) with a Shimano Ultegra mechanical groupset.
At the other end of the range is the Ruby Sport (£2,500) with a carbon frame and Future Shock and a Shimano 105 mechanical groupset with DT R470 wheels.
The Allez is Specialized’s aluminium line of road bikes and is offered in two versions; the Sprint Comp at the top with an aero frame, and the regular Allez which takes a few style tips from the new Tarmac SL6.
The Allez Sprint Comp Disc (£1,800) is an all-new bike and brings disc brakes to the aero Allez for the first time. It’s specced with a Shimano 105 groupset with hydraulic disc brakes, a Praxis Zayante chainset with KMC chain, DT R470 wheels with Specialized Turbo Pro 26mm tyres.
The Allez Sprint Comp (£1,600) swaps the discs for rim brakes and is specced with a Shimano 105 groupset and DT R460 wheels. You can also buy the Allez Sprint Frameset (£1,300) with a selection of colours to choose from.
Onto the regular Allez, and a revised E5 aluminium frame and all-carbon fork drop the weight by 450g. As well as reducing weight, they’ve also relaxed the geometry to make it a better all-around bike well suited to new cyclists, and they’ve added mudguard and rack mounts. A thumbs up for those.
Now you might be aware of a recall affecting the fork on December 14, 2017. Interim fork replacements are devoid of the mudguard mounts that make this bike such a versatile choice for commuting demands as well as winter riding. It is working on producing a new carbon fork with mudguard mounts.
Topping the range is the Allez Elite (£999) which combines an aluminium frame with a FACT carbon fork and a Shimano 105 groupset.
Splitting the three model range is the Allez Sport (£799) which has the same E5 Premium aluminium frame and FACT carbon fork, with a Shimano Sora groupset.
The cheapest model is the Allez (£599) with the same aluminium frame and carbon fork, and specced with a Shimano 2000 Claris groupset and Axis Sport wheels.
The Diverge was a well-received bike when it first arrived, which was at a time when the whole gravel and adventure style of riding was only just starting to take off. But after a few years of good reviews and sales, the Diverge has been completely updated to keep it abreast of the changing trends in this sector. It now takes bigger tyres, is disc brake only as before, now with 12mm thru-axles and flat mounts, but borrows the Future Shock from the Roubaix. It’s been adapted for off-roading with a firmer spring.
Look to the most expensive model and your eyes are greeted by the S-Works Diverge (£8,500) with a frame made from high-grade FACT 11r carbon fibre and an S-Works FACT carbon fork. Shimano’s Dura-Ace Di2 groupset is combined with an XTR rear mech and Easton EC90 SL Carbon crankset for a bespoke 1x drivetrain, and Roval CLX 32 Disc wheels complete the package.
Step down to the Diverge Sport (£2,600) available in men and women’s versions, and you get much the same frame just made from a lower grade of carbon and using a Shimano 105 groupset with hydraulic disc brakes.
The Diverge (£2,000) is also available in men and women’s versions and uses a carbon frame and fork with the same details as the S-Works model, but a 2x Shimano Tiagra/Praxis groupset and RS405 hydraulic disc brakes.
The Diverge E5 Comp (£1,500) is the cheapest model in the range to be equipped with the Future Shock. It’s bolted to an aluminium frame with a carbon fork and a Shimano 105 groupset.
The Diverge E5 Elite (£999) and Diverge E5 (£799) both use an aluminium frame without the Future Shock, but the frame shares all the key features such as wide tyre clearance and mounts for adding mudguards.
The Sequoia is another adventure bike in the company’s range that is intended to sit alongside the Diverge as a less racy option more aimed at exploring and bikepacking riding, and there are mounts all over it for fitting racks and bags.
There are two models in the 2019 range. This, the Sequoia Elite (£1,850) is now the priciest option available in the UK with a 1x SRAM Apex groupset using a Praxis Alba chainset and SunRace 11-42t cassette. Tyres are the company’s own 38mm wide Sawtooth with a tubeless-ready design.
The Sequoia (£1,200) uses the same steel frame but swaps the carbon fork for one made from steel, and a Shimano Sora groupset takes care of shifting duties while Tektro Spyre disc brakes control your speed.
|Model||Bike type||Frame material||Groupset||Brakes||Price|
|S-Works Tarmac Disc – Sagan Collection LTD||Road||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2||Disc||£10,000.00|
|S-Works Tarmac Disc||Road||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2||Disc||£9,500.00|
|Women's S-Works Tarmac Disc||Road||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2||Disc||£9,500.00|
|Tarmac Disc Pro||Road||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Ultegra Di2||Disc||£6,000.00|
|Tarmac Disc Expert||Road||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Ultegra||Disc||£4,250.00|
|Tarmac Disc Comp - Sagan Collection LTD||Road||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Ultegra||Disc||£3,100.00|
|Tarmac Disc Comp||Road||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Ultegra||Disc||£2,900.00|
|Tarmac Disc Sport||Road||Carbon-fibre||Shimano 105||Disc||£2,250.00|
|S-Works Tarmac||Road||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2||Rim||£9,150.00|
|Tarmac Expert||Road||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Ultegra||Rim||£4,250.00|
|Tarmac Comp||Road||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Ultegra||Rim||£3,000.00|
|S-Works Tarmac Disc Frameset||Road||Carbon-fibre||N/A||Disc||£3,250.00|
|S-Works Tarmac Frameset||Road||Carbon-fibre||N/A||Rim||£3,250.00|
|S-Works Tarmac Disc Frameset – Sagan Collection LTD||Road||Carbon-fibre||N/A||Disc||£3,800.00|
|S-Works Venge - Sagan Collection||Aero||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2||Disc||£10,000.00|
|S-Works Venge||Aero||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2||Disc||£9,750.00|
|Venge Pro||Aero||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Ultegra||Disc||£6,500.00|
|S-Works Venge frameset||Aero||Carbon-fibre||N/A||Disc||£3,700.00|
|S-Works Roubaix||Endurance||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2||Disc||£9,100.00|
|Roubaix Expert||Endurance||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Ultegra Di2||Disc||£5,150.00|
|Roubaix Comp Ultegra Di2||Endurance||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Ultegra Di2||Disc||£4,100.00|
|Roubaix Comp||Endurance||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Ultegra||Disc||£3,100.00|
|Roubaix Sport||Endurance||Carbon-fibre||Shimano 105||Disc||£2,600.00|
|Roubaix - Hydraulic Disc||Endurance||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Tiagra||Disc||£2,100.00|
|S-Works Ruby||Endurance||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2||Disc||£9,000.00|
|Ruby Expert||Endurance||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Ultegra Di2||Disc||£5,150.00|
|Ruby Comp Ultegra Di2||Endurance||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Ultegra Di2||Disc||£4,100.00|
|Ruby Comp||Endurance||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Ultegra||Disc||£3,100.00|
|Ruby Sport||Endurance||Carbon-fibre||Shimano 105||Disc||£2,600.00|
|Ruby - Hydraulic Disc||Endurance||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Tiagra||Disc||£2,100.00|
|Allez Sprint Comp Disc||Road||Aluminium||Shimano 105||Disc||£1,900.00|
|Allez Sprint Comp||Road||Aluminium||Shimano 105||Rim||£1,700.00|
|Allez Sprint Disc Frameset||Road||Aluminium||N/A||Disc||£1,350.00|
|Allez Sprint Frameset – Red Hook Crit LTD||Road||Aluminium||N/A||Rim||£1,300.00|
|Allez Elite||Road||Aluminium||Shimano 105||Rim||£1,050.00|
|Allez Sport||Road||Aluminium||Shimano Sora||Rim||£799.00|
|S-Works Diverge||Adventure||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2||Disc||£8,750.00|
|Diverge Expert X1||Adventure||Carbon-fibre||SRAM Force||Disc||£4,250.00|
|Diverge Comp||Adventure||Carbon-fibre||Shimano Ultegra||Disc||£3,400.00|
|Diverge Sport||Adventure||Carbon-fibre||Shimano 105||Disc||£2,750.00|
|Diverge E5 Comp||Adventure||Aluminium||Shimano 105||Disc||£1,600.00|
|Diverge E5 Elite||Adventure||Aluminium||Shimano Tiagra||Disc||£1,050.00|
|Divege E5||Adventure||Aluminium||Shimano Claris||Disc||£850.00|
|Sequoia Elite||Adventure||Steel||SRAM Apex 1x||Disc||£2,000.00|
|Dolce Elite||Road||Aluminium||Shimano 105||Rim||£1,050.00|
|Dolce Sport||Road||Aluminium||Shimano Sora||Rim||£850.00|
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David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.