The all-new Specialized Tarmac SL7 – one road bike to rule them all

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The all-new Specialized Tarmac SL7 – one road bike to rule them all

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The new Specialized Tarmac SL7 puts an end to compromise, and racing will never be the same. Climb on the lightest bike the rules allow, sprint on the fastest — all with legendary Tarmac handling.

It’s like Specialized combined Julian Alaphilippe’s attacking, climbing style, and Peter Sagan’s aggressive power in a single rider with no weaknesses. The only choice you need to make is when to attack.

“No matter how fast the Venge was, no matter how well the SL6 handled in the mountains, we knew choosing between the two meant our riders had to make compromises on race day. We just weren’t okay with that. That’s where the new SL7 came from, we were simply unwilling to allow those compromises anymore.”

Product Manager Cameron Piper (Specialized)

Here’s the full story from Specialized:

AERO, STIFF, LIGHT. PICK THREE

Why force riders to choose between aerodynamics and  weight? We’ve been innovating for 45 years and developing the Tarmac for almost two decades. Our engineers knew it was time to deliver the fastest bike in the peloton, at the legal weight limit. Still riding one bike to climb and a different bike to sprint? That’s so 2019.

“This is the type of project engineers equally love and hate: hate because all the priorities seem to be opposing each other, love because it’s challenges like this that allows us to design right on the edge: which is exactly what we did for the new Tarmac.”

Composites Engineer Nadia Carrol

ANYTHING LIGHTER IS ILLEGAL

If you want a lighter bike, you better hand in your racing license. At under 6.7kg out of the box the new Tarmac SL7 is ready to race at the legal limit. By limiting the frame’s surface area and strategically reducing wall thickness our painted S-Works frames are a mere 800 grams, without giving up a gram of aero, stiffness or ride quality.

THE FASTEST BIKE ON EVERY ROAD

By targeting the tubes that truly impact aero – seat tube, seatstays, head tube, fork blades – with shapes from our Free Foil Library, and mating them with our Aerofly II bars, hidden cables, and new Roval Rapide CLX wheels, we’ve created a package that’s 45 seconds faster over 40k than the Tarmac SL6, yet doesn’t add a gram of weight.

NOTHING IS BETTER HANDLING

The Tarmac name has always set the bar for race bike handling – telepathic response at the bars, magic at the pedals, and the comfort to stay fresh over hundreds of kilometers. The new Tarmac SL7 raises that bar yet again, it’s the most balanced Tarmac ever and the greatest example of Rider First Engineering we’ve ever made.

MADE IN RACING

No bike is more influenced by our racers than the Tarmac. It’s been a two-decade collaboration with the best riders in the world that has pushed our engineering team farther than we ever imagined possible, so far in fact, the new Tarmac SL7 redefines the modern race bike.

“A bike that can combine the best of the Tarmac and the best of the Venge? That’s a dream for everybody. Knowing that performance is not compromised, is the perfect scenario.”

Deceuninck – Quick-Step technical and development director Ricardo Scheidecker

Why? Races are getting harder and faster with more elevation. The 2019 Tour de France featured more elevation than any Tour in the last eight years – 52856 meters – and the Tarmac spent 14 days in yellow. During Stage 17 of the 2019 Vuelta the record was set for the fastest average speed for a race over 200km in UCI history – 50.63kph (31.4mph) – and it was won on a Venge. The luxury of choosing between an aero bike or a climbing bike is no luxury, it’s a sacrifice.

Peter Sagan (SVK/Bora-Hansgrohe) training in the mountains of ötztal / Tirol (AUT) on the new Specialized Tarmac SL7 june 2020 ©kramon

ONE BIKE, 45 YEARS OF INNOVATION

Innovation never stops at Specialized. When the SL6 was released, work had already begun on the SL7. Our engineers were committed to ensuring our riders would never have to choose between aero and weight again. Thanks to the best R&D resources in the world and a team of obsessed engineers the Tarmac SL7 achieves a marriage of light weight, aerodynamics, and ride quality previously thought impossible. Brass Ring? Holy Grail? We just call it the Tarmac SL7.

RIDER FIRST ENGINEERING

With extensive data acquisition of forces through every conceivable part of the frame during real world testing, Rider First Engineering ensures the optimal balance of stiffness, weight and ride quality across all sizes, ensuring every rider gets the same legendary Tarmac ride. Beginning with our huge database of real-world ride telemetry we created prototype framesets that married Venge level stiffness targets with Tarmac SL6 compliance and responsiveness, then used feedback from BORA-hansgrohe and Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders to validate the changes. The result is the fastest, best handling Tarmac ever, for every rider.

NEW SHAPE OF SPEED

The New Shape of Speed is our doctrine that aero advantage does not need to come at the expense of weight or ride quality and the Tarmac SL7 is the ultimate expression of this. Endless refining of shapes from our Free Foil Library allowed us to create the lightest, fastest bike ever.

ENDLESS ITERATION

Creating the Tarmac SL7 was an exercise in patience. Every feature was pushed to the limit to ensure optimum aerodynamics, weight, and stiffness, without harming any other feature. This was quite literally a gram by gram battle, lasting years, involving every resource at our disposal.

“When we push each of these features as far as we can, without compromising another, it’s our years of experience, our incredible resources, that let us deliver a bike as light as the rules allow, yet in a package as aero as anything else on the road, that still delivers the legendary ride quality and handling the Tarmac is known for.”

Design engineer Ian Milliken

We designed right at the very edge as we developed the Tarmac SL7. The first samples out of the mold were extremely aggressive and basically experimental: the bare minimum material required to make a frame – we knew they’d fail lab tests, we knew they’d miss stiffness targets, but they were almost 20% under the weight target. From there we strategically overwrapped these frames with carbon in our composites shop to hit stiffness targets. In the lab we tested many different overlaps to improve stiffness, but we went even further analyzing them in FEA which allows you to infinitely vary ply size, shape, angle, location, material, and stack – were talking hundreds of layups, with thousands of ply iterations, confirming the final design had the best stiffness to weight ratio. Taking this approach means the final product is lightweight, aero and capable: no compromises.

INTEGRATION FOR SPEED

As fast and light as the new Tarmac SL7 frame is, we couldn’t have achieved our goals without the fastest components in the world, from the slippery Aerofly II bar from the Venge, to the all-new Roval Rapide wheels. To ensure we delivered race ready builds at less than 6.8kg we designed a new Tarmac stem that saves 45 grams, while hiding cables from the wind to improve leading edge aerodynamics. But our World Tour mechanics kept us honest, making sure we delivered a Tarmac SL7 that is easy to work on day in and day out, and ensures the best riders in the world can find their perfect fit.

BEYOND GENDER

There’s likely more difference between two male cyclists than  between a male and female. Gender alone doesn’t provide nearly enough data to specialize and that means separating the new Tarmac SL7 into male or female bikes is arbitrary and outdated. It means that it’s time to go beyond gender.

FAQ

IS THE NEW TARMAC SL7 RIDER-FIRST ENGINEERED™?

Yes. Every frame size has the same legendary climbing responsiveness and descending prowess you’d expect from any of our Performance road bikes.

HOW MUCH DOES THE TARMAC SL7 WEIGH?

The S-Works Tarmac SL7 uses our most premium FACT 12r material and layup to achieve a painted weight of 800g in the lightest colorways.

The complete out of the box weight of the S-Works Di2 model is 6.7kg in the Carbon/Color Run Silver Green colorway.

The Tarmac SL7 Pro and Expert models use our FACT 10r carbon material and layup and have a frame weight of 920g.

The complete Tarmac SL7 Pro UDi2 model weighs 7.3kg, and the Tarmac SL7 Expert UDi2 model weighs 7.65kg.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FACT 12R AND 10R FRAMESETS?

The main differences between these two frame levels is the carbon layup and the materials used. Both frames share the same design and there is no difference to the handling or ride quality between them.

WHEN IT COMES TO AERODYNAMICS, HOW MUCH FASTER IS THE NEW TARMAC SL7

COMPARED TO THE PREVIOUS GENERATION, TARMAC SL6?

The new Tarmac SL7 truly offers no compromises and a big part of the development was all about speed. Aerodynamically, the new Tarmac SL7 saves a rider an average of 45 seconds over a 40km course compared to the Tarmac SL6. These aero gains are the result of improvements to the frameset, integrated cockpit (Aerofly and Tarmac Stem), and Roval Rapide wheels.

DO THE PROFESSIONAL RACE TEAMS USE A SPECIAL VERSION OF THE TARMAC?

The Tarmac has been developed with input from our professional riders over many generations. The S-Works Tarmac SL7 that you can purchase is identical to the bikes raced by pros like Sagan, Alaphilippe, and van der Breggen.

WHAT IS THE GEOMETRY OF THE TARMAC SL7?

The Tarmac SL7 features identical fit and handling geometry as the outgoing Tarmac SL6 and Venge. Detailed measurements can be found in the geometry chart.

HOW IS STACK AND REACH MEASURED ON THE TARMAC?

Stack and reach are measured to the center of the top of the headtube as is customary. Although these numbers are different than the Tarmac SL6, the fit geometry is identical between Tarmac SL6, Tarmac SL7, and the Venge. Once you compensate for the height of the necessary headset cover on each bike, your stem’s lowest position ends up at the same point in space on any of them.

WHAT SIZES DOES THE NEW TARMAC STEM COME IN?

The new Tarmac stem has two angles, -6 and -12 degrees. The -6 degree stem comes in 70/80/90/100/110/120/130mm lengths and is spec’d on bikes as well as available aftermarket.

The -12 degree stem is available in 110/120/130/140mm lengths and is available aftermarket.

WHAT HANDLEBARS IS THE TARMAC STEM COMPATIBLE WITH?

The Tarmac stem has the cleanest cable routing when paired with the S-Works Aerofly II handlebar. It was designed with a traditional 31.8mm clamp to work with most other handlebars on the market as well.

WHAT OFFSET WILL THE NEW TARMAC SEATPOST COME IN?

The S-Works Tarmac SL7 seatpost is available in both 20mm and 0mm offsets and in 300mm and 380mm lengths. Complete bikes and framesets will be spec’d with the 20mm offset model.

WHAT BUILD CONFIGURATIONS IS THE TARMAC SL7 COMPATIBLE WITH?

The Tarmac SL7 is only compatible with hydraulic disc brakes. All models can be built with electronic or mechanical drivetrains.

Three headset covers are included with all Tarmac SL7 models. These headset caps allow for three different builds, that can be visibly determined by the routing holes:

  • Integrated Tarmac Stem with electronic shifting
  • Integrated Tarmac Stem with mechanical shifting
  • Universal cap for a standard stem and round spacers with either electronic or mechanicalshifting.

INTEGRATED COCKPIT: HOW IS IT ASSEMBLED?

After choosing your drivetrain, the proper headset cover must be chosen to route brake and shift lines through. The integrated spacers allow for easy adjustment in stack (of up to 35mm of stack), and the lines are tucked underneath the new Tarmac Stem for the cleanest configuration. Please refer to the manual for full build instructions.

Just like the Venge, riders can adjust their fit via removeable spacers and the external cable management from the stem – all without re-cabling the bike.

INTEGRATED COCKPIT: IS THERE AN INTEGRATED COMPUTER MOUNT?

The new Tarmac Stem offers an integrated computer mount, with compatible mounts for the following brands: Wahoo, Garmin, Polar, Cateye, and Bryton. Additionally, there is a mount designed around GoPro devices, Specialized Flux Lights, and a new mount designed for Specialized Stix lights.

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST TIRE SIZE YOU CAN INSTALL ON THE TARMAC SL7?

Every Tarmac SL7 comes spec’d with 700x26mm tires, however, the frame was designed with much larger clearance in mind. You can fit tires up to 32c on 21mm rims with 4mm of clearance all around. Of course, this is all still dependent on the exact tire and rim combination as there is quite a bit of variation among tires especially. We suggest that you check fitment of the tire before you take it out for a ride.

CAN I REMOVE THE FRONT DERAILLEUR HANGER?

Yes! The Tarmac SL7 has a removeable FD Hanger, that gives you the cleanest set-up when running a 1x drivetrain. If the FD Hanger is removed, a cover for the routing hole and two bolt holes is included with your Tarmac SL7.

WHERE IS THE SHIMANO DI2 A-JUNCTION BOX?

The new S-Works Tarmac Carbon Seatpost offers an integrated location for the Junction Box, like the Venge. This location ensures easy access to the charging port or function button. If a wireless drivetrain is being used, a secondary cover is included with all Tarmac SL7 models to cover the seat post port. Alternatively, the A-Junction could still be installed in the handlebar if preferred.

WHAT ARE THE OTHER TECH SPECS OF THE TARMAC SL7?

All Tarmac SL7 models have a 68mm BSA threaded bottom bracket. The Tarmac SL7 has 142×12 and 100×12 thru axles and follows the Shimano flat mount disc brake standard.

ARE THERE OTHER MODELS OF TARMAC STILL AVAILABLE?

The line doesn’t stop with the Tarmac SL7 Expert model – with the Tarmac SL6 9r models still available, riders have all the performance that you can expect from the Tarmac line:

Rider First Engineered and born from endless iterations of the carbon layup and Win Tunnel testing for weight and aerodynamic performance.

THE TARMAC SL6 9R frames still set raise the bar for a complete race bike, beating out its competitors in all categories to get you across the line faster.

TARMAC SL6 COMP comes with a no-fuss spec that includes Shimano Ultegra mechanical shifting and quick-stopping hydraulic disc brakes, durable DT R470 Disc wheels, and our fan-favorite Power saddle.

Weight: 7.9kg

TARMAC SL6 SPORT comes with a reliable spec that includes Shimano 105 mechanical shifting and quick-stopping hydraulic disc brakes, durable DT R470 Disc wheels, and our fan-favorite Power saddle.

Weight: 8.1kg

TARMAC SL6 comes with a reliable spec that includes 10-speed Shimano Tiagra mechanical shifting, quick-stopping hydraulic disc brakes, durable Axis Sport Disc wheels, and our fan-favorite Power saddle.

Weight: 8.65kg

Source: Specialized Bicycles

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