Whether it's winning the Tour de France or a local crit, Tarmac is made for racing, with its powerful acceleration and razor-sharp handling. The Expert boasts the same ultralight SL3 frame construction as last year's Tour-winning bike, plus Ultegra components an FSA carbon crank, and Fulcrum 3.0 wheels for race-ready performance.
Strengths: This is a great racing bike. It is rigid, light and transfers energy well. It climbs very well, and descents are
very done with confidence. It's also quite a good sprinter, and have done crits and sprint events with it.
Despite stiffness, frame is surprisingly forgiving, and I've went on an epic 180km including climbs and potholes with it.
Paired with a set of carbon aero wheels, it is a fast bike that is fun to race with!
K-light crank performs well. It can be easily converted to 50/34 for those who prefer.
I ride with the 52/36 setup, and a Dura Ace 11-23 cassette.
Other parts supplied with the bike are just fine.
I upgraded the stem to 42cm which fits me, and will
probably upgrade the saddle.
Paint job done well, and catches attention in the peloton!
Weaknesses: Stock wheels aren't that great at all. Back wheel was out of true. On my older bike, I had a pair of 2yr old / 25,000km Mavic Ksryium Elite wheels. After some refurbishing, the Mavic wheels performed much better, and are lighter.
I can understand the bike is to be delivered with training wheels, but at least they should be FUN wheels.
Next, the internal cable routing is a bit of a nightmare for the mechanics.
Despite clear instructions Specialized web site, it took more than three attempts of re-routing until the gears worked
properly, and they still don't work as well as I'd expect from brand new Ultegra set.
Initial build by Specialized dealer wasn't great, and required many corrections.
Water bottle bolt holes are a little high. For my size 49, this limits to using a small seatpost mounted bottle.
This review is for a 2013 Specialized Tarmac Expert sl4, size 49.
Discounted price due to sponsorship.
I have ridden it since May this year (2013), logged some 4,500 kms of cycling, and racing on the bike.
Including racing at the recent summer Deaflympics in Sofia, Bulgaria.
High quality bike that loves to be raced and offers a comfortable ride.
I gave it 4 points of of five due to the wheels and challenges installing the internal cable routing properly.
Similar Products Used: Giant TCR composite 1
Look carbon bike
Bike Setup: Full setup as arrived from the factory
Training wheels swapped to Mavic Ksyrium Elite
Tires upgraded to Specialized Turbo pro
Handle bar swapped to 42cm Pro PLT shallow carbon.
Velodrom (Israeli made) 50mm full carbon tubulars added for racing
Polar RCX5 TDF HRM with speed and cadence.
Looking to upgrade to a Garmin edge 500 and add a Watt meter.
Date Reviewed: October 19, 2012
Strengths: Stiff 11R frame. Ultegra groupo is very nice (I came from 105). More aero geometry makes me fasssster and more stable at 40+mph (I had a 2009 Roubaix Comp). Looks great!
Weaknesses: Stock Romin saddle sucked for me. It's curved design did not "sit" well with me and my bones (haha get it?). I had to sell it and get a flat designed saddle "Toupe" which is working out MUCH MUCH better. Also, oddly named Fulcrum Racing 4s seem ok for training/40-60mi weekend rides, but I will have to upgrade them sooner rather than later to lose some weight and for better climbing imho.
Great bike and soooooooo much better than a Roubaix. I made the same mistake when I bought a motorcycle when I thought "Well I should start off nice and easy, then move my way up.". In retrospect I have an opinion that you should get a massively sick bike and build up to it so you don't have to trade it in as you grow in strength and endurance. I lost a few hundred $$$ because the retard who sold me my Roubaix told me that it was better than a Tarmac for "long rides". Yea right!?!? I never stopped to think thatthe pros ride 120+ miles daily in grnad tours on the Tarmac. not the damn Roubaix. UGH?!! Anwways, buy this bike and you'll love it, and just expect to have to upgrade the wheels.
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: March 5, 2012
Ultegra group set is smooooth
Matte black looks great....everyone has commented how great this bike looks
Comfy ride....even ver the rough roads.
Wow....what a bike. I just upgraded from a 2008 Ginat TCR alliance 2 to the 2012 tarmac expert. I've had the bike for one week now, and I can't say enough good things about this machine. Looks awesome in the matte black, very stiff frame, ultegra responds flawlessly as expected, and once you get out of the saddle this thing picks up and flies!!! Not the cheapest bike around, but I have no regrets whatsoever. It's even very comfy over rougher surfaces....much to my surprise. I tried a lot of bikes, and this one was definitely the pick of the bunch. Love it!!!
Christmas gift from my wife. Formally rode a 2009 Allez. The bike is fast an lots of fun. I'm fatter and not even close to the shape I was in last year and I'm flying on this bike. Went down at 22mph in a paceline and got busted up a bit. But the Tarmac just needed some new bar tape. What a great bike!
Similar Products Used: 2009 specialized allez
2006 jamis nova
Bike Setup: 100% stock
a Road Racer
Date Reviewed: February 28, 2011
Strengths: Very responsive, stiff, but carbon definitely absorbs the road vibration. I like that the ultegra cables now route under the brake hoods instead of out the side like before. Much more comfy. The new ultegra hoods are more ergonomic as well. Ultegra performs flawlessly as usual. SL3 frame rocks and matte finish has gotten a lot of "cool" comments already.
Weaknesses: None so far
2011 Tarmac SL3 Expert. Just bought about a week ago and am very impressed so far. Took out on a fairly hilly 45 mile ride yesterday, and you can really feel a difference on the hills. Cannot wait to try it out in a race this spring. Have not tried a full out sprint, yet, but I suspect the huge one piece bb will respond very nicely. This is definitely a nice bike. Will update after riding for a couple of months.
Bike Setup: Stock from Shop. The saddle, even though it's a Specialized BG brand, is very similar to the Selle Italia on my other bike, so I like it so far. Will probably ride a couple different sets of wheels on it throughout the season, but so far the Fulcrums seem fine for every day use.