Tarmac SL4 Pro vs S-Works

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by Sharil

I am about to choose between these frames and I am not sure which one to choose, any thoughts, serious difference by personal experiences would be much helpful! I will the build the bike for races and I am curious if S-Works really worths the extra 700 euros for a little "performance boost"...(100grams difference between the two)

by Weenie

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by js

Our work bikes last season were Tarmac SL3's and I can say that I didn't notice that slowing me down to much. These bikes were raced occasionally, but spent most of their time in the high mountains, climbing and descending - all three tasks were performed more then admirably.

I haven't yet ridden the SL4 (should have it next month), but I'm guessing that the SL3 to SL4 transition would make more of an impact then the Pro versus S-Works. I'm also guessing you could get much more bang for that $700 elsewhere.

For what it's worth, my 58cm SL3 Pro 10R frame with LOADS of red paint (AM Flyer edition) weighed in at 1075g... and my wife is now riding and racing on her own SL3 Pro.

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by Briscoelab

I bet there isn't even 100 grams difference. Most of that I have seen are along the lines of 40-60 grams. IMO it isn't worth the S-works, if you aren't sponsored and like the color options on the Pro. Heck, they are even doing an Expert frameset this year, that is really just the SL3 Pro from last season for even less. A good friend has one and it was 1028g I believe and a very nice red/black matte finish. It isn't on the commercial site, but is available on the dealer B2B site.

I have a 2011 SL3 Pro and love it. I had ordered an SL3 S-works last season, but it got delayed too much and I ended up with this one instead. Love it! I'm sure the S-works was a little lighter and stiffer. But this one was more than great enough for me. It looks great, fits well, and has a killer ride.

Save your money and get a power meter or some nicer wheels. The money I saved let me get a new Record group!

http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/2971 ... csidew.jpg

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by mvacolnago

I had to make the same decision last year. I went with the SL3 over the S-works. no regrets


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by NealH

Specialized put out a short brochure which compares the two and, linked is a copy. As you will see, the S-Works SL4 is laterally stiffer, although not by much. The difference is greater with regards to bottom bracket stiffness - where even the SL3 Tarmac is stiffer than the SL4 Pro. But again, these difference are likely very slight in the real world.

http://issuu.com/jrun1974/docs/tarmac_white_page_4_alt5" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

ps: I also love my SL3 Tarmac. One of the nicest and most fun bikes I've ever owned.

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by CBJ

I have a feeling that the marginal cost outweighs the marginal benefit when comparing the stiffness of the Pro vs S-works. Without haven read much about the difference I would think Specialized only states the claimed difference not anything about how they would translate into any documented real value.

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by Sharil

Anyone could post us some pics of raw weights of frame and fork individually of sl4 pro and or s-works?!

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by Chris_W

2012 SL4 Pro 52cm = 1004 grams with derailleur hanger, but without seat collar, sorry no photos (I was hoping for sub-1000 grams bare frame weight, so I didn't bother to remove the hanger since I already knew it would be under if I removed it).

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by topflightpro

I went through this last year with the SL3s. I ended up getting my wife the SL3 Pro instead of the S-Works. I was told by Specialized that the stiffness of the two frames was nearly identical, but that the S-Works weighed about 150 grams less.

Based on that white paper, it seems to be the same situation with the SL4 - nearly identical stiffness, but 150 gram weight difference.

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by wkend_warrior

Personally I'd recommend to test ride and make your own decision. I rode the Sl4 pro vs. the Evo. Both have very similar ride. Even though on paper the Evo frame weight in a fraction less than Sl4 , I tend to favor the Sl4 over the Evo. Yet, I'm not content with Sl4 pro. It does not have the same feel of response when I test rode the 09 S work tarmac two year ago.. The LBS told me thatis probably the difference of r10 vs r11 carbon. Go figure.

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by DeLuz

Went with S-Works SL3 because I was just buying the frameset and it was $1000 more.
This is my first bike in 11 years so the extra money didn't bother me.
Was told by Specialized that S-Works has more attention to the layup and would ride smoother.
Very happy with the bike, but not so happy they came out with SL4 so soon after the SL3.
If I were you I would consider buying a used SL3, they are selling very cheap on Ebay.
If you plan to use Di2, then SL4 would be better, but SL3s can be converted which what I am going to do.

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by 89daytona

The value factor in a Expert or Pro is alot higher than an S-works, but you cant deny, the best is the best.. and thats why you will pay for it.
I have an 2011 expert, 58cm 1060g, and the Sworks was very very marginally lighter.

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by Sharil

Another very important concern between swroks sl4 and pro is their frameset color. The black/neon red Pro in my opinion is much more beautiful than the "neutral and ugly" black/red/white Sworks frameset. The Black/Red Sram Sworks is getting better but the Pro seems to have elements of artwork from Mclaren Venge that looks sick. So not only Pro is cheaper, but also it would inspire me to ride it and I think I would be satisfied for sacrificing just a little weight and tiny boost of stiffness over the overall beauty of the bike.

Actually weight does not matter when we speak for 100 grams(it's very easy to hit 6.8kg) or less but what matters is if there is a significant change in comfort or for example the overall performance in a race between these two frames. That's the reason of this post, for people who might have test one or another or both to express their ideas or feelings. In Greece there are neither sl4 pro test bikes nor sworks. Only few people own Sl4 Sworks because of sponsoring.

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by Chris_W

I have to agree with the comment on aesthetics - I was happy to go for the SL4 Pro "black / neon red" frameset instead of the S-Works simply because I liked the paint job on the Pro so much more. Now I'm even happier about the decision because I've learnt the other differences are extremely minor and the weight difference is under 100 grams. Plus, my complete build with pedals and two bottle cages came to just under the 6.8 kg UCI limit, which is even better than I was expecting :)

Regarding the color, the images on the Specialized website definitely don't do it justice (http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBCProduct.jsp?spid=61558&scid=1101&scname=Road) - they make the red stripes look far too orange, and some other online images I've seen make it look slightly pink, which is totally wrong. It is really a very glowing red (hence the moniker of neon red). The image of it on a shop's showroom floor towards the bottom of the following page is the only one that gives a reasonably accurate rendition: http://sparkbrs.com/archives/3581
If I had not seen one of these frames in real life at Eurobike then I would have never been interested in this color scheme. Don't make a decision until you've since it yourself. Also, the grey-on-black specialized logo makes it nicely understated, which is important to me.

PS: Try not to be a hater for someone choosing a frame based on aesthetics - when you know that all high-quality frames are competitively lightweight, sufficiently stiff, and have some verical compliance, then aesthetics is one of the few things that is actually truly different between the options.

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by Sharil

Just to add a recent observation, the sl4 pro frame has aluminum inserts in BB, whereas Sworks has carbon. Does this make any difference you think?

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-WiXQDtOjzEY/T ... 0_2004.JPG

sl3 sworks (got same aluminum in bb)
http://images.nitrosell.com/product_ima ... AFRAME.jpg

sl4 sworks

by Weenie

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