The quest for lighter, stiffer, more aerodynamic and better handling race bikes is a big concern for the major bike brands. Most of them are chasing ever smaller gains, and for its new Tarmac SL6 Specialized started from scratch with a completely new design focus, and the result is a radical overhaul of what went before. This is the top-of-the-range S-Works Tarmac, the very lightest frame with the very best equipment, and you can watch us take you through the key details of this 6.35kg, £8,500 bike in the video above.
This is the sixth generation Tarmac and has a frame and fork that has been completely redesigned, Specialized went back to the drawing board and set out to create the lightest frame it could. The result is a huge 200g saving over the old model, producing in a 56cm frame a 733g weight. The weight saving came about from using straighter and smaller diameter tubes and upping the pieces of carbon from 350 to 500. There's also an aero influence, visible in the shape of the main tubes and the new seatpost, but also the move to direct mount brakes which allowed the fork crown height to be reduced. Tyre clearance has increased to 30mm with this bike fitted with 26mm tyres, unheard of for a race bike a decade ago. That enables more comfort, along with a new D-shaped seatpost and dropped seatstays.
You can read all the juicy tech details in our recent first look article.
Whilst we're a bit spoilt with the S-Works model here, the new Tarmac range starts at £3,500 for the Tarmac Expert model. Below that the Tarmac reverts to the previous SL5 frame and that range starts from £1,500, so there are more affordable options available. Full review on this S-Works Tarmac coming soon...
David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.