Specialized Tarmac SL7 Road Bike
A Closer Look
Specialized has long been at the forefront of road bike technology, leading the way when it comes to rider-focused geometries, the use of cutting edge materials and pushing the boundaries of aerodynamics. For 2021 Specialized has released the latest iteration of their popular Tarmac model, the Tarmac SL7. Find out what sets it apart from its predecessor and how the American brand has used wind tunnel testing to make this the most complete road bike they have ever produced.
Matt Stephens First Ride on The Specialized Tarmac SL7 Road Bike
'One bike to rule them all' - It's a bold claim from Specialized's marketing team but one they are confident they can live up to with the Tarmac SL7. The aim of the bike was simple, to produce a machine that housed the wind cheating qualities of a Venge and the climbing prowess of the Tarmac SL6. After nearly two decades of developing the Tarmac, this model was not going to compromise when it came to choosing between aerodynamics and weight. 6.7 kilograms out of the box, 800 grams for the frame in a 56cm S-Works Di2 variant, the SL7 is 45 seconds faster than the Tarmac SL6 over 40 kilometres.
Looking at the Pro and Expert models? These tip the scales at an impressive 7.3kg and 7.65kg in a 56cm size.
Experts when it comes to developing their own high-performance carbon fibre, Specialized's Tarmac SL7 is available with either a 10r or 12r FACT carbon fibre frameset. The differences come down to the carbon layup and materials used, although when it comes to handling and the quality of the ride there is no difference between the two versions.
Rider First Engineering
Rider First Engineering ensures the perfect balance of stiffness, weight and ride quality, whatever size bike you choose. Real world testing has resulted in a bike that offers Venge levels of stiffness and the compliance and responsiveness we know and love from the Tarmac SL6.
Working with two of the sport's most successful professional cycling teams, BORA-hansgrohe and Deceuninck-Quickstep, the likes of Peter Sagan and Julian Alaphilippe have provided feedback to make the SL7 the most complete Tarmac yet.
Looking to make the move from a Tarmac SL6 to the SL7? It couldn't be simpler, with the identical geometry shared between the two models, with this, the SL7, coming with a unisex geometry. This setup is favourable for those looking for a fast and aggressive position and with the new Tarmac stem, you can dial in the measurements to suit your riding style, with a -6 and -12 degree versions available in lengths ranging from 70 - 130mm in the -6 degree and 110 - 140mm in the -12 degree option.
The -6 degree is the version specced with the bike, while the -12 degree will be available as an aftermarket purchase. The Tarmac SL7 range comes with a 20mm offset seatpost, while a 0mm offset variant will be an aftermarket addition.
As mentioned, the Tarmac comes with its very own stem, this is designed to be paired with the Specialized S-Works Aerofly II handlebar to achieve the cleanest cable routing. Should you wish to use an alternative handlebar, the stem uses a 31.8mm clamp, allowing it to be compatible with a wide range of models. Integrated spacers make adjusting the stack a simple task, with up to 35mm of stack height possible. In keeping with the Venge, the spacers and external cable management from the stem removed without the need to re-cable the bike.
Mounting your favourite bike computer to the stem is made possible with the integrated computer mount. This is compatible with Wahoo, Garmin, Polar, Bryton and Cateye devices. Should you wish to record your adventures an additional Go-Pro mount available, which also allows you to attach Specialized Flux lights and Specialized Stix lights.
As standard, the Tarmac SL7 is supplied with 700x26mm tyres. This doesn't mean you can't go wider though. A frame designed to fit tyres up to 32c on 21mm rims and still allowing for 4mm of clearance, you really can hone the bike to the terrain and your needs. Wanting to simplify matters? The Tarmac SL7 has a removable front derailleur hanger, meaning you can run a 1x drivetrain should you desire. When it comes to the bottom bracket, all the models have a 68mm BSA threaded unit installed and takes 142x12 and 100x12 thru axles, with Shimano's flat mount disc brake standard.