Specialized Tarmac S-Works SL 4 2012

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khdroberts
Posts: 177
Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:04 pm

by khdroberts

After riding my Tarmac S-Works SL 3 all through last winter and this past summer I was offered a test ride of the new model SL 4.

It only took that one test ride for me to plonk down the cash for a frame set (since everything else could be transferred from the SL3). The new frame is THAT good!

I've only been out on a few rides thus far, but initial impressions are:

WAY smoother. Old roads that used to beat me up (and that I put down to being just generally pretty rough and typical of the quality of Melbourne roads) are vastly smoother on this new frame. I've no idea how they've done it, but Specialized have made good on their claim of improved smoothness ten fold.

Stiffer. Yes, really, iChat you may have heard about the increased stiffness really is true. It's noticeably stiffer up front and far more direct in input response because of it. It's also stiffer in the rear with none of the brake rub that was evident under extreme efforts with the SL3 as the frame twisted to take up the load.

Faster. Because its stiffer it takes the vast majority if your effort and translates that into forward motion. Logic would dictate that if it is stiffer then it should be faster - and it is. The increased smoothness also helps with improving speed relative to effort - you're more comfortable and so less effort goes into absorbing road shock/vibration, saving energy for pedaling!

Before anyone claims I'm a Specialized fanboy, I should say that once I had decided on purchasing a new frame I did my due diligence: I test rode a whole swag of bikes: BMC SLR01, Look, Trek, Kyklos, Cannondale etc etc. I even rode some custom items just to be sure.

In the end the only frame that came close was the Kyklos - a truly magical ride that's right up there with the best. The issue with Kyklos is not to do with ride, but more to do with ROI - at $5,000 for the frame set, I couldn't justify the additional expense: it simply wasn't a better frame.

I decided to purchase a colour way that many guys wouldn't even look twice at; and I'm glad I did! It looks fabulous.

I'll upload a couple of (admittedly pretty poor) shots of the finished item (I am going to swap out the DT Swiss RRC 1250 wheels for some Enve .45 shortly, but that's the only change) when I get to my desktop.

Stay tuned!
Disclaimer:
This post may contain my opinion.
My opinion is just that - mine. My opinions are based on my experiences, not yours. Yes, I do have experience, I have thought this through and yes, that really is what I think.

by Weenie


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khdroberts
Posts: 177
Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:04 pm

by khdroberts

As promised - here are the poor quality shots:
Attachments
SL4_1.jpg
SL4_2.jpg
SL4_3.jpg
Disclaimer:
This post may contain my opinion.
My opinion is just that - mine. My opinions are based on my experiences, not yours. Yes, I do have experience, I have thought this through and yes, that really is what I think.

nathanong87
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by nathanong87

sweet i love that color scheme. u are probably really tall.

and all of a sudden people are mentioning brake rub into big efforts [u aren't the first]. maybe im just not dropping megawatts like yal. :?

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khdroberts
Posts: 177
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by khdroberts

Should have mentioned my size:

6'6" tall, weigh in at 181 pounds.

So, yeah, the frame is a 61cm with a 120mm stem and 25mm set-back on the saddle. As you can see, there's a fair old drop from saddle to bars!

Complete bike (with pedals, cage, computer, lights) weight is: 14.88 lbs (6.7 Kilo). May not sound like a light bike, but trust me: in a 61cm, that's pretty light!
Disclaimer:
This post may contain my opinion.
My opinion is just that - mine. My opinions are based on my experiences, not yours. Yes, I do have experience, I have thought this through and yes, that really is what I think.

sholiday
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2008 8:25 am
Location: San Luis Obispo, CA

by sholiday

Which do you like better? the SL4 of Parlee Z1?
Parlee Z3 4.94kg: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=101920
Wilier Cento Uno SL 5.52kg: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=101957

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Roobay
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by Roobay

sholiday wrote:Which do you like better? the SL4 of Parlee Z1?

good question :smartass:
i like people... i just can't stand assholes

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fa63
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Location: Atlanta, GA, US

by fa63

Nice bike, but what is up with the saddle tilt (seems to be pointing downwards quite a bit)?

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carbon2329
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 1:13 am
Location: Utah

by carbon2329

Looks great. I hope you enjoy. :thumbup:

I hope this is not OT, but you mentioned Kyklos bikes...for $5000 (for frameset):.....
I have never heard of this brand so I looked it up. And one question.......

It looks very very similar to a Ritte Bosberg...
(which is know to be an Asian, inexpensive "open-mould" frame)

http://www.kyklosbike.it/eng/featherwei ... d_eng.html

http://www.ritteracing.com/store/rittec ... pecs/id/53

The geometry is virtually exactly the same. The only reason I ask is because $5000.

Does anyone know anything about that. $5000 seems like a lot if it is an open mould frame.
If this is too OT, just ignore.

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khdroberts
Posts: 177
Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:04 pm

by khdroberts

Fa63 - Mia culpa... You are very much correct. Saddle tilt was terrible in that shot and has now been corrected to be far less dramatic!

I'll explain: I was riding this bike with a Specialized carbon toupe saddle but decided to swap it out for the team Romin as I find the carbon toupe a little uncomfortable for my particular behind. I did the swap and took the pics in the fast fading afternoon light with really checking saddle alignment too closely. My mistake!

Then again, Specialized may make some lovely gear, but seatpost design is certainly not among their strengths - their posts are bloody horrible to setup frankly. At least, I find them to be.

Carbon2329: they do look identical don't they? But who can really know what the carbon layup is like on the Kyklos? Or what level of carbon is being used? That was one of the other deciding factors for me: dropping that much cash on a virtually unknown maker's frame was a risk I wasn't willing to take... Especially when it's the companies first effort!

Sholiday: the Z1, without question. Specialized have gotten closer, but they're not at Parlee Z1 level yet! The Parlee is all that the SL4 is only more so: smoother, more responsive to pedal input, far, far, FAR better made and finished etc. and that's reflected in the cost premium of the Parlee I guess.

There is certainly nothing wrong with the SL4 (well, okay, perhaps it could track a little better when cornering, but that's being picky), it's the difference between a BMW M3 or similar and a Veyron - they're both beautiful examples of engineering and undoubtedly lovely to drive etc, the Veyron is just... better.
Disclaimer:
This post may contain my opinion.
My opinion is just that - mine. My opinions are based on my experiences, not yours. Yes, I do have experience, I have thought this through and yes, that really is what I think.

Murphs
Posts: 1117
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:04 am
Location: Gold Coast, QLD, Australia

by Murphs

khdroberts wrote: It's also stiffer in the rear with none of the brake rub that was evident under extreme efforts with the SL3 as the frame twisted to take up the load.


After riding a SL3 Pro for 3 months, I'm glad i'm not the only one who has found this.

I was blaming my wheels until I put the race wheels in and had the same issue.

Nice bike BTW ;)

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prendrefeu
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by prendrefeu

That colour! Love, love, love it. :twisted:
Exp001 || Other projects in the works.

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khdroberts
Posts: 177
Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2010 2:04 pm

by khdroberts

Thank you! It is pretty special - its even brighter in the flesh!
Disclaimer:
This post may contain my opinion.
My opinion is just that - mine. My opinions are based on my experiences, not yours. Yes, I do have experience, I have thought this through and yes, that really is what I think.

Ozrider
Posts: 1021
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:06 am
Location: Perth, Western Australia

by Ozrider

As usual you have put together a bike that is different, but well thought out.
Ozrider - Western Australia
Parlee Z5 XL (6055g/13.32lbs) Trek Madone 5.9 (7052-7500g)Jonesman Columbus Spirit (8680g)
Chase your dreams - it's only impossible until it's done

tonytourist
Posts: 1165
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2009 7:13 am
Location: 93306

by tonytourist

Murphs wrote:
khdroberts wrote: It's also stiffer in the rear with none of the brake rub that was evident under extreme efforts with the SL3 as the frame twisted to take up the load.


After riding a SL3 Pro for 3 months, I'm glad i'm not the only one who has found this.

I was blaming my wheels until I put the race wheels in and had the same issue.

Nice bike BTW ;)


You two must be putting out some serious power, I don't get any brake rub on my SL3 :noidea:
Good looking SL4, my friend likes his a lot :thumbup:

by Weenie


vladt
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:48 am

by vladt

Hey khdroberts - Great colour mate, have sl4 myself and love the bike!
Just wondering if you who I see on Sunday morning bunch rides down beach road (mt eliza loop) riding Parlee in Rapha (pink/beige) jersey?
If it is, will say "hello" next time I see you!

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