2014 Tarmac, SL4 or SL5?

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

Hi Guys, I haven't noticed any changes to the tarmac for specialized equipped teams in the TdF this year, does that mean the same SL4 with be on sale again next year? Its been around for a while now.

I'm after an Sworks Tarmac, don't know whether I should hold fire! Thanks.
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by weekapaugin

info for 2014 speci line here: http://www.bikeradar.com/us/

I've also overheard there they are rolling out a new s-works program of sorts where there will be a much more expanded array of color options on the tarmac and the buyer will be able specify exactly which specialized components/options they want on their bike, such as: crank length, stem, rapide 60 rear and 40 front, bar, etc.

Personally, I'm a little torn on this this as I'm due for a new bike and speci usually tends to make the most financial sense with my shop and team, but I don't like the concept of buying a frame that was due to be replaced this year, and will most likely be replaced/refreshed next year.

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by tinozee

I was hoping to see a new Specialized design this year. I'm so over the curved, sloping TT of the Venge (ew).

I will say though I have a Tarmac SL3 that I love dearly and will keep indefinitely. It just rides so good that I think I would rather paint it to a fresh new solid color than replace it. You can't really go wrong with a Tarmac, maybe that's why they don't change it.

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by spartan

spec is delaying sl5 to incorporate aero'ness. similiar to trek kvf/cervelo rca/new scott addict.

they have a new aero test faciltiy to develop with. tarmac sl5 should rollout for next years tour..
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by NealH

I am also very tempted to jump on an SL4 but, my SL3 has been a stellar bike and even if I buy a new one, this SL3 will stay with me. However,given that we are coming up on 2014 I think its prudent to wait on the next generation. It may cost more if they move to the "Project One" type sales venue, as there will not likely be those great buys on the dealer showroom. You will have to order the SL5.

The Tarmac is a top tier bike and its unlikely that any bike on the market is really better, cost be damned.

But if you should spot a good buy at the dealer on the SL4.....well.......tough decision.

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Tinea Pedis
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by Tinea Pedis

Grab a close-out 2013 S-Works and sell it on next year if the SL5 does eventuate.

Otherwise, the new S-Works Allez is one hell of a machine. Only difference between that and the Tarmac (I just finished riding them, back-to-back) is the road feel. Allez gives you the feedback you expect with alu, the Tarmac is a little more muted (some will say 'refined', which isn't wrong. Different people will have a different opinion on precisely how to describe the difference).

Either way, stiffness, handling, performance and (in 2014) weight (the S-Works Allez should be 1050g for a 56) certainly make it a great value race machine.

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by biotin

LBS here still have the old stock of SL2 , lol .selling at $1500 .

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by weekapaugin

I always laugh when people post the "help me choose" type posts, but here I am, hoping that maybe you guys can help me think this through and potentially point out something I'm not seeing. I have been riding a 2011 SL3 Pro with sram red for 3 years, and I'm looking for a new bike out of the 2014 speci line, either the sl4 pro or maybe an the allez expert. On any of the bikes I'm leaning towards a power2max pm, which also make things a little complicated.

The 2014 SL4 pros come with da9000 (ultegra brakes) and the 1550g roval alu fusse sl clincher OR with force 22 and the 1400g Roval Rapide CL 40 carbon clincher for about $200 more. I have been on red for awhile, and although it has never really given me any issues, I was pretty set to switch to da9K to gain a little more "refinement", but am now having second thoughts, and maybe concerned that I will miss some of that rapid fire feeling of sram in our primarily criterium race schedule. With this purchase I was hoping to just have one wheelset to race and train on, and in this situation the rapide's give you a better race option and the fusee give you a better training wheel. Going to sell my current zipp 303s because they cannot be converted to 11spd without being completely rebuilt. Both of these bikes come with the speci crank, which means I would have to try and sell it since the new specialized compatible p2m won't be available until spring, and get a new p2m crank and spider and mate the rings that come with the bike (the spec rings for the da spec and sram force for the sram spec).

Option 3 is to do the allez expert that has ultegra 6800, and fulcrum 5s wheels. I keep hearing from a few people that the smartweld allez doesn't ride too differently than the tarmac, and it's $2K+ less dough. This comes with an FSA SL-K crank, which I would just remove and replace with the p2m unit (probably Rotor). That puts me about $1500 less than the tarmacs w/ the same p2m. BUT I do feel like I would have to buy some race wheels with this setup though, as the OEM fulcrum 5s will most likely be in the 1800g range. That seems like a good way to go because I could always carry the p2m and the race wheels to a future bike, but I was all set to not spend any more money on carbon tubulars and just have a respectable 1400-1500g all around alloy wheelset, because at the end of the day race wheels are not going to win or loose me a race. So with an additional set of race wheels this would come out to be about $500-800 less, but I would have that second set of race wheels to carry forward, just not sure I want to spend almost as much on "relatively cheap" alloy frame as the tarmac is.

Any thoughts, ideas, or things I should consider? Both of the tarmacs are in this color scheme, Image which is clean and I like. The Allez expert is not bad but not as great looking (IMO) in pictures, sort of a matte black with red accents, Image so, I guess the fact that I like the paint scheme of the tarmac more could be a factor. Sorry in advance for my long winded post, and thanks in advance for any thoughts or advice you guys might have.
Last edited by weekapaugin on Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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by 53x12

week: Any reason you don't want to ride the SL3 Pro any longer? I didn't catch it, but is this new bike in addition to the SL3 or are you selling the SL3 to help fund the new bike? If you are selling the SL3, have you thought about keeping the SRAM Red components and then just buying a frameset and transfering everything over and then sell your SL3 frameset to fund the new frameset?

Since you race primarily crits, if I was you, I would lean towards the Allez frameset. For <$900, not sure you could do much better on a frame. Especially if you are trying to stay with Specialized. It is one killer looking of a frame as well.


If you just feel like selling your SL3 with the Red and just want to get to 11 sod, then I think 9000 is a great option. Basically what 7900 should have been but better. Seems like a very solid groupset from all the reviews. Definitely well worth a test ride to make sure you will be happy with it. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Just speaking out loud, if I was in your position, I would buy the Alez frame set, ~$900, buy DA 9000 for ~$1600, buy your P2M unit, find decent set of racing/training wheels that you would be happy with $1000-1500 (something like Boyd or Flo wheels) and your cockpit and saddle/seapost (if you don't want to use the one from Specialized). For ~$4000, you could build a very nice and solid Alez. Be about $2000 less than building up the SL4 Pro you are looking at, which would help cover the cost of your P2M. Plus you would have an infinitely better set of wheels as those Roval Fusee SLX23 aren't worth the money imo.

The above is just how I would approach it if I was in your position.
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by weekapaugin

Yeah, mainly just looking to get a new bike. The sl3 has been good, but quite frankly I'm looking for something new. I could overhaul the red with new cables housing, pulleys, etc., but kind of over old red as well, so I'm thinking I might as well make the jump to 11spd, and at least I would get the improved ergonomics and front shifting if I stayed with sram. The allez w/ pm and new group would come to be 4-5k (depending if I went force/ultegra level or red/da level), and I guess part of my question is if I'm going to spend that kind of money on an allez, do I just spend another 1000-1500 more and get the tarmac - that's not exactly change, but I guess I get more caught up thinking spending $5k on an aluminum bike is silly.

EDIT: I corrected the picture of the allez to the expert model in consideration. This is the smartweld frame, and 2nd in the allez line to the s-works allez.

I also did the math last night and it seems that the allez with ultegra 6800, p2m, and a few cockpit upgrades, tax, etc. would come in about $2k less than the tarmac with da9000, and almost $2400 less than the tarmac pro race with force and the carbon wheels. So, it seems like this has helped in helping me think though it. Thanks to you guys that commented regarding the ride quality and satisfaction of the allez.
Last edited by weekapaugin on Sun Aug 25, 2013 7:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Tinea Pedis
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by Tinea Pedis

weekapaugin wrote:but I guess I get more caught up thinking spending $5k on an aluminum bike is silly.

Then keep your old grouppo and just go the Allez frameset.

You get a decked out machine for $5k, not something you'll still want to do upgrades on.

Latest RIDE Magazine (#60) has the 2013 S-Works Allez limited reviewed. #61 has my take on the Specialized launch and a (smaller) comparison between the Tarmac and the Allez. As I said up the page, it genuinely does boil down to the inherent ride feel you get with carbon vs aluminium. Only you can decide which you prefer.

I love metal bikes, so would have the Allez in a flash.

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by mythical

Guess the genie is out of the bottle... Nibali's prototype spare bike while he was out racing on another SL5, or whatever it'll be called:

Source: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/photos/new-specialized-s-works-tarmac-sl5-spotted-in-belgium/302795
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by grid256

Yes, it will be called the SL5. Said someone.

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