Motorcycles Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 review: a proper dream road bike for those with cash and calories to burn
The Best Mountain Bikes for Hitting the Trails Hard This Summer
Escape the city and explore the woods.Depending on your budget, there are a number of key items available; for less than $800, you can get a decent beginner’s bike with hydraulic disc brakes, which are different from mechanical brakes. They stop on a dime and can literally save your life, especially on rougher terrain where rocks pop up out of nowhere, or a trail snakes around with a sudden S-shaped curve. The best mountain bike has a number of shocks, either on the stem of the handlebars and/or on the seat post, making bumps and rocks smoother than they’d normally be.
Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 review in a sentence: if you need something fast and have over £10k/$10k to spend on your new bicycles, the Specialized Tarmac SL7 should be on the top of 'road bikes to consider' list. It's pure race-ready magic.
Please note, we are specifically reviewing this model: Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 SRAM Red ETap AXS.
Specialized have weaved some kind of magic here, creating one of thein recent history, giving it a planted, secure feeling while you ride that also takes the sting out of rougher surfaces, resulting in a ride that’s smooth and oh so fast. You’ll want to push harder, ride faster and descend more aggressively, because it just feels so good on this bike when you do.
SoulCycle At-Home Review
— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Once upon a time, getting on a SoulCycle bike was something you could only do in an exercise studio, surrounded by other people—sweaty people—for 45 minutes, at a cost of about $35. Now, there’s another way. For $2,500 (or approximately 71 classes, give or take a few depending on where you live), you can summon the SoulCycle at-home bike to your home and take classes wherever you are, surrounded by no one, and for as long or short as you want.
The Tarmac has been the stalwart of Specialized’s racing ecosystem for many years now, but 2020 saw a radical overhaul that blended its race pedigree with the aerodynamic qualities of the Venge, Specialized’s aero-focussed race bike. The Venge is no more, and the Tarmac now also holds that niche in the ecosystem.
When a bike expands its remit there are usually compromises along the way, but they are magically minimal here. While the SL7 model is fractionally heavier than its predecessor the SL6, it still has the exceptional performance and handling the Tarmac is known for, plus aero gains. In fact, Specialized claims the SL7 offers a gain of 45 seconds over 40 kilometers when compared to the SL6, which is no small amount.
Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7: price and availability
The Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 SRAM Red ETap AXS is available at, priced at £11,750 / $12,300.
16 Bike Helmets for Women That Cyclists Love and Recommend
For commuting, racing, and mountain bikingIn general, urban bikers and commuters (people who use bikes for recreational purposes, to run errands, or to commute to work) will need the most basic form of a helmet, one that fits well and offers the right support. Comfort is key to road biking—which typically involves riding for extended periods of time on streets—so road cyclists need something that’s lightweight and more ventilated. Mountain biking, on the other hand, involves more open-air riding in craggy terrain, so head coverage (sometimes full-face protection) and visors are key features.
Less expensive builds start with theat £5,250 / $5,000 which has the same geometry and frame design, though with FACT 10r carbon and Shimano Di2.
Specialized supply the Tarmac in in a wide size range from 44 up to a 61. This means riders from 4’8’’ or 142 mm up to 6’5’’ or 196 mm are provided for.
Tarmac is available from Specialized, Specialized Concept Store shops and a variety of independent bike shops. The likelihood is that supply will be short.
Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 review: frame and features
The Tarmac SL7 S-Works frame is constructed from Specialized’s premium FACT12r carbon in a size-specific layup that’s designed to optimise strength to weight for each size. The tuned layup also engineers in comfort-providing compliance and efficiency-boosting stiffness where it’s needed in the frame.
On the 54cm frame tested, the Tarmac SL7 offers a reach of 387mm, stack of 534mm and a seat tube length of 475mm. In keeping with its race-focus, this places the rider in an aggressive on-bike position that’s perfect for pushing out watts. The eagle-eyed out there might notice that the geometry is different to that of the SL6, but other changes to the cockpit etc mean that, according to Specialized, the actual body position you end up in is the same or very similar to the one you’d achieve on the SL6.
Specialized Turbo Vado SL 5.0 review: one of the best electric bikes for zero-effort commuting
Incredibly nimble for an e-bike, the Vado SL is like a normal bike with all that boring effort taken awayIt's an understatement to say that demand for ebikes has shot up over the last few years. A gradual swell in interest over the previous decade turned into an all-out sales frenzy as lockdowns pushed commuters off public transport.
Aerodynamic elements include the blade-shaped seat post, seat tube and seat stays, while in the cockpit an integrated stem with cover keeps everything neatly tucked away. Deep section rims on the wheels also aid in cutting through the air, though do mean the Tarmac is susceptible to side winds which can noticeably blow you off course.
There are two versions of the Tarmac SL7 S-Works; the SRAM Red ETap AXS version tested here, and a Shimano DuraAce Di2 model.
The SRAM build has premium quality parts throughout. Starting at the cockpit, the S-Works Aerofly II carbon handlebars plus integrated Tarmac stem provide control and aero gains.
A super comfortable S-Works Power saddle with carbon rails and base combined with a carbon seatpost is lightweight and provides compliance to help smooth out road chatter without losing the direct feel with the road surface.
The eTap AXS build continues with derailleurs, integrated power meter and race-ready 10-33t cassette with 48/35t chainrings which provides plenty of range for churning out high sprint speeds while also giving lower gears for tackling long ascents. SRAM eTap AXS hydraulic disc brakes provide powerful, modulated braking that allows you to shave off speed subtly when you need to or quickly for hard stops.
With excellent on- and off-road performance, Priority Bicycles' Apollo is the perfect no-maintenance, go-anywhere gravel bike
Priority's Apollo gravel bike is an excellent entry-level option for beginners, or for anyone who wants a low-maintenance, go-anywhere-style bike.Because they tackle two very different kinds of riding - smooth pavement and rugged off-road trails - gravel bikes are growing in popularity. From afar, the drop handlebars on a gravel bike, along with the integrated brakes and shifters, might be mistaken for a typical road bike.
The build is completed with a set of Roval Rapide CLX carbon wheels with 21mm inner rim width and deep sections, 51mm on the front and 60mm at the rear. Roval AFD hubs and DT Swiss Aerolite spokes finish off this aero-focussed wheel set, plus narrow Specialized Turbo Cotton tyres in 26mm width.
Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7: performance
In action, the Specialized Tarmac SL7 is a bike that’s built for speed and feels its best when going flat out. The on-bike position is aggressive but comfortably so, allowing you to push out the power for longer rides as well as hard sprint efforts.
While it feels efficient and stiff, it’s remarkable in its ability to smooth out the road surface, even on particularly rough roads, without ever losing the sensation of speed. It's a bike you feel in, rather than feeling balanced on, with superb traction encourages you to push hard on descents and push your own limits.
Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7: verdict
Put simply, Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 is one of the best bikes I've ever ridden. It might not be suitable for most peoples' commutes but it is lightning fast and responsive. Given the lashings of performance ladled on, it's also surprisingly comfortable to ride. The fact that there is only one, unisex model is another novel – and very welcome – twist.
It's hard rating a bike such as this for the everyday user. There are very few people who would use this to ride to work, or as a daily runaround. However, for those who like to hit the open roads and fearsome inclines – for those who are serious about their weekend rides – there's little better out there.
S-Works Tarmac SL7: what pros ride it?
The S-Works model of the new Tarmac is the bike you’ll see under some of the best pro race teams and riders in the world. The likes of Boels-Dolmans, Deceuninck-Quick-Step, and Bora-hansgrohe, and riders including Peter Sagan, Anna van der Breggen and Julian Alaphilippe, aren’t just racing the new SL7 however; it’s their testing and feedback that went into developing and improving the Tarmac to help create it.
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