Specialized says the new Tarmac SL7 is 45 seconds faster over 40km than the Tarmac SL6, yet doesn’t add a gram of weight, this is how and why they built it.
Specialized believes offering riders one bike to climb and another to sprint on results in performance compromises in real-world racing conditions. “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.” says Cameron Piper, product manager at Specialized.
How’d they do it?
Weighing under 6.7kg the new Tarmac SL7 is ready to race at the legal limit. By limiting the frame’s surface area and strategically reducing wall thickness the S-Works frames weigh a mere 800 grams. The aerodynamic gains are achieved by a reshaping of all the tubes that have the biggest impact on airflow – fork blades, head tube, seatstays and the seat tube. Integrating the cabling, using the Aerofly II bars and the new Roval Rapide CLX wheels round out the svelte-looking package that is the brand’s ‘fastest race bike’.
Why’d they do it?
Bike racing is getting harder and faster with more elevation. As an example the 2019 Tour de France featured more elevation than any Tour in the last eight years – 52856 meters. During Stage 17 of the 2019 Vuelta, the record was set for the fastest average speed for a race over 200km, 50.63kph. Simply put, the Tarmac SL7 is Specialized’s engineering solution to the demands of modern bike racing. It is a marriage of light weight and aerodynamics into a race bike suited for every race.
In terms of geometry and fit, the new Tarmac SL7 is a gender-neutral offering that features identical numbers to the outgoing Tarmac SL6 and Venge. The S-Works Tarmac SL7 makes use of the 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 the 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.
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. The new Tarmac SL7 will be the race bike of choice for Specialized’s pro teams and appears to be the sort of bike that lets you relish every kilometer you ride, no matter the route. Learn more