Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL6 Ultralight Road Bike
Five Bikes of 2018
A high-performance bike for a man more than at home when it comes to competing at the top. Austin Healey, the former England international rugby union player, discovered his love for cycling relatively recently and has truly been bitten by the bug. Specialized launched the Ultralight version of their much-loved Tarmac to satisfy the weight weenies of the cycling world. Coming equipped with Cane Creek eecycleworks Brakes the Ultralight uses the same S-Works Tarmac SL6 Frameset as the basis. Picking up his Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL6 Ultralight Road Bike from the store in April, we've taken a closer look at Austin's bike of choice.
The Specialized Tarmac has taken on many incarnations over the years, with the American brand decking out amateur and professional riders with their do it all road bike. Winning multiple grand tours, one-day races and even world championship titles, the Tarmac is a market leading machine. For 2017 Specialized closed the aero gap between the Tarmac and its ultra-fast brother the Venge, moving and changing the shape of the tubing, while maintaining the Rider-First Engineered characteristics that make it such a firm favourite when it comes to cornering, descending and out of the saddle efforts.
After visiting Jimmy, our bike fit technician, to hone his position, Austin was able to begin choosing his components. A man always with an eye on performance, he opted for a Stages Cycling Dura-Ace R9100 LR Dual Sided Power Meter. Pairing this with a full Shimano Dura-Ace 9150 Di2 Groupset, Austin attached Speedplay's Zero Stainless Custom Width Pedals to the build. Double sided and with a low stack height, these were a lightweight (103 grams per pedal) addition to this sub-7-kilogram bike.
One of the key elements on any bike build is the wheels and tyres. Contact points that make all the difference when it comes to stiffness, power transfer and rolling resistance. Two brands that specialise in this sector are Pirelli and Zipp. Pirelli are renowned for making high-quality car tyres for everything from the city runabout to the world's fastest F1 cars. Taking the same thought process that goes into designing car tyres, Pirelli has entered the cycling market, with a range of durable, grippy and fast tyres. Adorning this Specialized, Pirelli's P-Zero Velo 4S Clincher Tyre uses a 127tpi casing and SmartNET Silica puncture protection. Rolling fast and favoured for its wet weather grip, the tyre has been paired with a set of Zipp 454 NSW Clincher Wheels. Incorporating SawTooth and Hexfoil technology, Zipp has designed these wheels to be stable in crosswinds but also able to cut through the wind with ease to ensure a fast ride.
The finishing touches are what really make a good bike build great and that's just one reason why Austin's Tarmac has made our top 10 bikes of 2018. Cane Creek's eecycleworks Direct Mount Tarmac Brake Calipers have been chosen for their scant 79 gram weight (per caliper) and aerodynamic design, which has been specifically developed for the Specialized Tarmac SL6 range. Cockpit additions come in the form of an ENVE Road Stem. This carbon fibre stem has been combined with a Specialized S-Works Aerofly Carbon Handlebar, Jagwire Elite Road Gear Cable Housing Kit and Supacaz Super Sticky Kush Single Colour Bar Tape.