It's only 12 months since Specialized unleashed the Tarmac SL3 to a 1-2 finish at the Tour de France… , but that hasn't stopped Specialized rolling out a new Tarmac the SL4 for this year's race.
According to Specialized their new baby enjoys a stiffness to weight ratio that's a whopping 19 per cent better than last year's model, due in part to the features like the King Cobra headtube, which is claimed to stiffer, stronger and lighter too, a new fork and wider seatsays and one piece chainstays and bottom bracket – an approach to stiffening the back of the bike up that seems to be gaining ground: Specialized did the same on the SL3 and Cannondale have been using a one piece design for a number of years on their SuperSix.
We're also guessing that the rapid pace at which carbon technology has had something to do with it too – the Specialized guys we've talked to say they've learned a lot from their collaboration with McLaren, indeed Alberto Contador (and selected other riders will be riding a prototype Mclaren Tarmac SL4… We'll find out a lot more and have a lot more pics (and video too) in a few hours time when we get to see it in the flesh and talk to the man who designed it, Chris D'Alusio Specialized's Director of Advanced R&D.
In the meantime here's some pictures they've released of their new bike built up with both SRAM Red and Shimano Di2.
road.cc's founder and first editor, nowadays to be found riding a spreadsheet. Tony's journey in cycling media started in 1997 as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - finally handing on the reins in 2021 to Jack Sexty. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes, though he'd like to own a carbon bike one day.