Specialized Tarmac: Get the Disc


You know they’re working when you hear chatter

Today Issue 12 drops and includes my review of the new Tarmac and Patrick’s observations about the riding in Santa Cruz on the bike. The bike is Spesh’s finest work to date and a fix for the a bit too chattery-over-rough-road, leaning-into-turns-somewhat-bouncy, too-stiff SL4. In twenty years, carbon bike designers have figured out stiffness and now it’s all about the ride and refining the handling. Short of a road suspension gimmick, this is the best Spesh can do and a new platform. I also described it as like a Crux on pavement, which is like a Tarmac in the dirt, with the big-hit dampening of the Roubaix. Don’t know that Spesh has the numbers to indicate this as true, and I’m following up with their R&D guy, D’Aluisio (also featured in my article) on the question, but I thought the disc rode better than the caliper-braked version.

Di2 Shifter

Brakes as well on the hoods as the drops

The better feel may come from the added weight, wider rear axle, or modulation of the Di2 hydro, but it was smoother. I say that as a Mr. Millimeter kinda guy on bikes, obsessed with body english, and the nuances of handling. If anything, it’s a very subtle difference, but I recommend the hydro for all the reasons I prefer discs AND on the best-tracking, line-finding bike Spesh makes.

Di2 Derailler

Touch shift

Like I wrote yesterday, on a descent when I overcooked a turn, those hydros rotors chatter too. This is the killer app setup for road, and with SRAM or Shimano. By iterating the Tarmac to a better handling version with discs, non-blowy wheels, and tires 24 cm wide, it’s a high-performance road bike you can ride all day; including, blasting across dirt and gravel on fire road adventures.

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Read my review for free

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For more photos, see the gallery on G+ and Tarmac tag.

Di2 Shifter

Back in black and better

Besides the shiny new hotness of the latest extraordinary machine, the issue includes articles about racing, giving up on racing, bringing back Spinacis, relationships, and what aero looked like in 1919.

Select quotes:

At last week’s Tour of Gila, a massive crash put 70-80 riders on the ground, purportedly after a rider near the front was using the freestyle aero position in a crosswind and lost control. If that can happen to a professional rider in a race, I think I’d just as soon the douchebag in the group ride have some Spinaci to hold onto rather than try to mimic the pros without. – Mark V

We set off in pursuit of the KOM with the pint-sized noodle man in tow. At 43.5km, the little dude took off, I jammed after him. – Anthony B. Dickson

Over the first few months of the year I felt strong, I lost enough weight to fall just below 200lbs for the first time in almost a decade, and I started to be able to hang in any group ride I joined, and usually at the front. – Mathowie

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