If you’ve been keeping an eye on pro racing in recent weeks, and even if you haven’t, you may have spotted a few brand new bike designs. Trek and Pinarello have delivered new or revamped bikes to their sponsored teams and Specialized is no different. The 2018 model of the flagship Specialized Tarmac was first seen at the Criterium du Dauphiné beneath a select few riders, and then to everyone’s surprise, the women of Boels-Dolmans took the start on their own fleet of Tarmac bikes, as opposed to the women’s-specific Amira.
The new Tarmac is the lightest road bike Specialized have ever made, but what makes it stand out, is its utter completeness as a race bike. It boasts sublime handling, regardless of size, while its aerodynamic advantage leaves its competitors in the dust. The new Tarmac is designed to take your riding to the next level.
“Rider First, Gender Second.”
To design a bike with a lighter, faster and smoother package, Specialized turned traditional design on its head. The designers drew on the digital data of over 40,000 riders, analysis of which lead them to redefining their approach to fit and frame geometry. They concluded that geometry should be dependent on experience and rider type rather than gender. For a competitive road rider, it seemed that the stack, reach and handlebar positions of either gender held no statistical difference. However, it was of course necessary to accommodate handlebar width, crank length, saddle preference – so there are two channels of the new range: Men’s and Women’s, but all built on shared frame geometries.
With the gender-neutral geometry, the Rider-First Engineered™ ethos becomes even more important. Its aim is to provide a uniform experience for all riders, regardless of frame size, so every rider benefits from the fast and predictable performance the Tarmac was intended for. For this new range, the process has been updated to consider more than just handling. With the help of structural analysis simulation through McLaren Applied Technologies, Specialized have designed three unique forks for different frame sizes to optimise stiffness, compliance, speed and aerodynamics.
“Faster than the speed of ultralight.”
The new Tarmac frame comes in at a staggering 733g (Ultralight Version, size 56cm). The ultra-low weight is a result of the conglomeration of performance targets, so that reducing weight does not negatively affect the frame’s handling or aerodynamic performance. In order to “add aero for free” – i.e. without adding mass to the frame – Specialized designed a new fork shape, added dropped seat stays with aero tubes, and a used a D-shaped seat post and seat tube. The result is, according to Specialized, a bike which is approximately 45 seconds faster over 40km compared to competitors in the same weight category.
Get in touch with us if you’d like to know more about a specific model or you’d like to know more about the range.