I've recently bought this bike and it was love at first sight, I changed from a bianchi via nirone 7 aluminum, so this is my first carbon bike and I'm really amazed about how it improves your performance.
I didn't used the orginal wheelset or groupo because I've changed them inmediatly for the setup I had on the other bike so I mounted all dura-ace and mavic ksyriums SL.
The bike is very responsive on hills, and you really feel the power going out from your legs directly to the wheels. On my old bike it was really hard to ride 2hrs straight without stoping, on my first ride on the tarmac I did 2.5 hrs and 49 miles without pain so I didn't had to stop at all, and it keeps improving on each ride.
Strengths: stiff light very comfortable, beautifully contrasted color wise
Weaknesses: the wheels but thats personal..I need something a bit more robust..the seatpost but again thats no fault of the bike..im a bigger guy and need a stro nger post.
ive got a 2010 model..i used to be a racer but at 36 with a family and so on im very happy to just ride at all. Ive ridden a ton of bikes in my life..had some very nice ones...but i swear to god this bike is unlike anything ive ever come across i am not a light guy by any means and the bike is still stiff and responsive under me..the carbon takes the harshness right out...I will probably upgrade the wheel set but other wise its fine..there was a time i would only ride dura ace but 105 has come a long long way..not bad at all..the tubes are MASSIVE you dont see this in pictures...i used to think the cannondale 3.0 had thick tubes..this one is much larger and the chain stays are probably 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter..its extream to look at but i love it...if your a heavier rider dont be afriad to ride this bike but i think you may want to change the seat post to a thomson elite..i will say this is probably the coolest and most nicest bike ive ever owned...there is no differnce between the geometryu on the elite vs the others..only differnce is parts and grade of carbon...
Strengths: Handling, Responsive, Smooth, Excellent combination of comfort and feel, Motivates you to go faster!
Weaknesses: Shifting was a pain, but it was attributed to initial setup
Specialized Tarmac Elite ’08: I wanted to wait a full-season before posting a review. Overall, I have been extremely pleased with the way this bike handles. I live in an area with a decent amount of steep and twisting roads and this bike builds a lot of confidence both climbing and descending. In terms of looking to break into a carbon fiber frame, as opposed to going aluminum with an upgrade in some components, I have no regrets going this route. Relative to some other carbon fibers/aluminums I demoed, the Tarmac instantly made me feel as if I was “one” with the bike.
Weaknesses: Fork feels a bit to flexy at times, maybe has something to do with being 6' and 200 pounds (it doesn't bother me at all).
I waited till i did some long rides and a race i had scheduled before posting this review, and after a a few hundred training miles, having done one amateur race and having been on 113 mile long ride with all kinds of surfaces and altimetry, all i can say is that this bike ROCKS MY WORLD!