New aerodynamic Specialized Tarmac SL7 brings an end to the Venge

Press release


The 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 we 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.

One bike to rule them all


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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

 

 

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.

 

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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


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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


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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


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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

 

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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.

 

One bike, 45 years of innovation


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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


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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.

 

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Endless Iteration


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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


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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.

 

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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.

 

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62 Comments

Mongoose!, Jul 29 2020 12:53

""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, ""[
 
The new Dura Ace 12 speed released yet?  ^_^ 

danger dassie, Jul 29 2020 03:46

For all the marketing, I do like the trend of bike engineers intersecting aero/climbing bikes, for lack of a better term.
Caley Fretz did a good overview on CyclingTips and drilled down a few details. Enjoyed the wordplay as well, entertaining.

Unrelated. Saw Orca also mentioned here, such an under rated brand, especially in SA. Have always liked the guys and find myself following their stuff more lately. Maybe because looking at Spain in the long run.

gummibear, Jul 29 2020 04:14

""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, ""[

The new Dura Ace 12 speed released yet? ^_^


In its way[emoji6][emoji3]

'Dale, Jul 29 2020 04:41

This cool pic by Caley Fretz on CyclingTips- the new Cervelo Caledonia

Pretty much the standard now

Squeaky clean lines

 

Cervelo-Caledonia-5-first-ride-review-cy

Thomo, Jul 29 2020 08:04

Nice looking bike, but it doesn't come close to the Venge in terms of looks.


Many recent Venge buyers are saying exactly that.... LOL

DieselnDust, Jul 29 2020 08:10

Organic lines are much easier to mould than those complex shapes of the previous generation of aero bikes.
The whole aero bike concept is a load of drivel anyway.
want to go faster then lower your bikes stack and lengthen the reach with a longer stem.
want to climb better then raise the stack by 15mm to 20mm and shorten the reach 10mm

Waynemol, Jul 29 2020 10:10

Organic lines are much easier to mould than those complex shapes of the previous generation of aero bikes.
The whole aero bike concept is a load of drivel anyway.
want to go faster then lower your bikes stack and lengthen the reach with a longer stem.
want to climb better then raise the stack by 15mm to 20mm and shorten the reach 10mm


Or wait for the tarmac SL8 ebike

DieselnDust, Jul 30 2020 12:20

Or wait for the tarmac SL8 ebike


LOL then there's that. Spot on

stringbean, Jul 30 2020 08:35

Is it my imagination or are there suddenly more Tarmacs listed on Classifieds ?

They will be bargain of the century.Early reviews are saying the sl6 is lighter and more comfortable than the sl7

KingZA, Jul 30 2020 11:18

Just wait till they realise they can save another 40 seconds of aero drag by removing the one shifter and break on the 1X models.

 

I mean who needs breaks on a race machine anyway?

NotSoBigBen, Jul 31 2020 06:28

Just wait till they realise they can save another 40 seconds of aero drag by removing the one shifter and break on the 1X models.

I mean who needs breaks on a race machine anyway?

BRAKES dêmmit... Sorry just couldn't resist it is Friday after all [emoji12]

Irishj9, Aug 05 2020 05:05

I read a press release on the new Specialised which boasted that it had 'eliminated the shimmy" of the previous model

 

WTF!. It had a shimmy......

 

Most terrifying ride of my life was when a previous bike developed a shimmy descending off Red Hill

 

Still gives me the trembles

 

But Specialised is ok.

 

Now.

 

Apparently....