Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Review

The Specialized S-works Tarmac is an exciting bike for speed as it combines great aerodynamics and a lightweight construction. It is replaces the previous SL6 model with some cool features. The bike is a bit expensive but it does offer the go fast riders an ultra-stiff frame with sublime handling. For casual riders the bike is too race focused for their comfort.

Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7

The bike comes equipped with the Specialized carbon named Fact 12r. This frame is quite lightweight at 800g and is 160g less than specialized outgoing model the S-works verge. You will find the more affordable Pro and expert models sporting the Fact 10r. Besides, the frame you will find most of the features in the cheaper models with the geometry mainly remaining the same.

Some of the tweaks that have being included to improve aerodynamics include a more neater cabling system that runs underneath the stem and into the upper headset cover. With the cabling you are better able to make everyday adjustments like changing the bar height but when you encounter a problem like replacing the upper headset bearing you will find yourself disconnecting the brake lines.

What we liked:

  • Improved aerodynamics
  • Lightweight design
  • Ultra stiff frame offers sublime handling
  • Race focused bike

What we did not like:

  • Expensive
  • Complicated adjusting the upper head seat cabling

 

View price on Amazon

 

Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Specifications

ModelSpecialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 in review
Seat postS-works Tarmac Carbon 20mm
BrakesSRAM RED eTap AXS HRD 160/160mm
DrivetrainSRAM Red eTap AXS GS-RED-E-B1 1 x12
StemS-works Tarmac Integrated Stem 100mm
TiresS-Works Turbo cotton 28mm
HandlebarS-Works Aerofly II 420mm
Chainring48/35
AvailabilityCheck price

Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Features

Gear System

Here you have two systems from S-Works. One model comes with Shimano Dura Ace Di2 while another has the SRAM Red eTap AXS. The model we are reviewing has the full wireless 12-speed groupset that comes with an amazing Quarq power meter crank. The SRAM Red eTap wireless groupset provides the rider with enough pedaling range even when you are doing fast descents. On the downside you are going to facing some gear jumps especially in the easy gears. Shifting and gearing is precise which makes it great for racers.

Braking system

The S-Works tarmac comes with 160mm brake discs in the front and rear. The brakes are quite powerful and provide the necessary stopping power. For some the only downside is the rather rattling brake levers which may need some improvements. The bike uses an impressive two-piece cockpit that combines a 100mm S-Works tarmac integrated stem that is combined with a 420mm wide S-works Aerofly II bar. Compared to other bikes in its category the routing does not look that nice but it has the advantage of allowing one to make adjustments with each part being configurable.

Wheels

The has wide rims at the front and deep ones at the back. The front wheel measures 51mm deep with an outer width of 35mm. The rear one is 60mm and 30mm wide. With this kind of configuration you have very fast wheels but you also run the danger of them being susceptible to winds at high speeds. For the tires you have 700x26C S-works turbo cotton tires. This are quite durable while contributing to the overall performance of the bike. They also help generate some considerable amount of grip and have low rolling resistance. On the downside the tires are more susceptible to punctures which can be a hazard at high speeds. The SL7 rims have a different rim set with shallower and wider on the front and at the back narrow and deep. This has the effect of offering greater stability during crosswinds. It also has a positive effect on the aerodynamics.

The SL7 is incredibly fast due to its creative aerodynamics, wheels and gear set. When put to the test it was capable of outrunning its competition. The bike also handles down hills quite well with the brakes offering great stopping power. The bike offers the same level of performance uphill and remains one of the fastest without losing speed. When put to a virtual test it did an average speed of 26.4 km/h (16.4 mph) at a distance of 150 km (93 miles).

Frame

The SL7 comes with probably one of the best Specialized frames the FACT 12r. The carbon material comes in handy in that it is used to build a frame that weighs just 800g. This 160g less than the S-Works verge frame. The frame however, makes the SL7 to be more expensive than the previous models. The Pro and expert have the FACT 10r which makes them 120g heavier. You can have the SL7 in either Black or green color. Both colors look great for the bike and add to the aura that this is a fast bike. We particularly like the carbon/color run silver green color as it keeps changing depending on the angle you are observing the bike. If the sun is high the bike can either be a bright green color or black.

Are There Alternatives to the Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7?

Video Review of Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7

Conclusion: So, should you buy the Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7?

The Specialized S-Works was designed with one goal and that is speed. It is superfast while handling brilliantly. The bike has being designed to offer some of the best aerodynamics and with a superior gear system you should have fun riding the bike. If you are wondering whether to buy it let’s assure you it is worth it.

FAQ

What makes the S-Works tarmac SL7 unique?

For one the bike is incredibly fast. It also comes with a unique two piece cockpit where the stem and handlebar are separated. While this may make the bike look more untidy it does come with the advantage for better customization.

How durable are the S-Works tarmac SL7 tires?

The Turbo cotton tires are designed for one thing – speed. They are capable of providing the rider with the right amount of grip and low rolling resistance but they do this at the expense of being easily punctured.


Patrick Flinch

Patrick Flinch is a professional cyclist, according to him, cycling is a sport that also helps people stay in good shape. Cycling takes many forms, and styles and so does the cycling equipment, however, this information is not available to everyone and that is why Patrick thought it wise to consolidate the most important information about cycling on “For the Bike Magazine.” Beginner, intermediate and professional cyclists will be furnished with useful insights. They will be able to understand the differences and benefits of both online and physical cycling. Apart from Cycling, Patrick is a family man, he is passionate about cycling and when not on duty, he loves to enjoy biking with his crew.