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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is there practical difference between the current SL2 and SL3.

I just went to my LBS and was shocked to see that there are still bike being called SL2. I do not believe that these current SL2s are the same frames as the SL2s that preceded the SL3. Am I correct in this?

If I am then which SL2 is superior, the original or the current.

And of the current SL2 and 3 in production, how different are they.

-Cheers
 

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sexybeast said:
Is there practical difference between the current SL2 and SL3.
Yes, there is a difference in the frame, primarily in the carbon level and weight. You would have to test-ride to see if this is meaningful to you. Of course the SL2 and SL3 get built up into different price-point bikes and those other aspects are very significant too. I think that the Expert SL3 is the sweet-spot in terms of performance and price.

I just went to my LBS and was shocked to see that there are still bike being called SL2. I do not believe that these current SL2s are the same frames as the SL2s that preceded the SL3. Am I correct in this? If I am then which SL2 is superior, the original or the current.
The 2011 SL2 is absolutely not the same as the 2009 SL2, and there was no SL2 in 2010. The jury is still out on which is better since there are no comparative test rides or reviews (that I have seen). However, IMHO the 2009 SL2 has to be the better frame by far. It is the S-Works model with 11r carbon, and has the high-end manufacturing process appropriate for a $2900 frame. My guess is that the SL2 frame is more like a $1000 frame. I cannot believe the the 2011 SL2 bottom-of-the-line frame comes even close to the 2 year-old SL2 S-Works top-of-the-line frame. The comparison should be quite a bit closer for the 2009 SL2 versus the 2011 SL3. I still think that the 2009 SL2 is likely to have the edge.

I don't like this year's SL2/SL3 frame branding at all because of the confusion it generates when comparing against prior year bikes. The one thing that does still stand and is consistent is that S-Works is the premium brand.
 

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I'm essentially rewording what ukbloke covered, injecting (FWIW) my opinions. I think that describing 'practical differences' is influenced by a number of factors, including rider experiences, background, and preferences (among others).

That said...
If you look at the specs for the '09 SL2 you'll see that the frameset was designated as having 11r FACT IS construction. You can now get an SL2 (Tarmac Elite and Comp) with 8r FACT IS construction, and while the mold may be that of the SL2, carbon grade is not, so IMO the original SL2 was (and is) superior.

This years Pro is designated SL3 but has the same CF grade and construction as last year (10r, FACT IS), so it could be argued that it should have remained an SL, but (apparently) Spec deemed it worthy of the SL3 designation because it shares the mold of the current SL3 and they've claimed improvements in stiffness and weight over last years Pro SL.

I'm of the opinion that while the SL3 and SL2 molds may have trickled down to the lower level bikes, the resultant changes in weight, ride qualities/ handling aren't going to be discernable to most, and Bike Radar's published results on weights confirms that part of my opinion. To my knowledge, no model deviates markedly from the past couple of years.

Regarding your last question (how different are the current SL2's and SL3's), that's easier to answer from a factual standpoint. SL2's have 8r FACT IS construction and SL3's have either 10r or 11r FACT IS construction, with the S-Works frame utilizing some advanced technologies (ribbing, for one) not offered at the lower ends. Predictably, the S-Works SL3's STW ratio (strength to weight) is higher than that of the 2011 Pro SL3 and SL2's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Wow. Both great posts! Thanks A Ton.
Everyone take note: this is how forums should work!

After this I feel like Specialized really needs to do more to clarify product names and lineage for their models.
 

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Is there not a difference in the geometry, specifically a difference in the HT length? a big difference?
To me, my 09 prosl w/ 10r cf is spot on geometry for me, and I wouldn't care if the 11r is stiffer/lighter b/c the ht is so much shorter.
 

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jhamlin38 said:
Is there not a difference in the geometry, specifically a difference in the HT length? a big difference?
To me, my 09 prosl w/ 10r cf is spot on geometry for me, and I wouldn't care if the 11r is stiffer/lighter b/c the ht is so much shorter.
If you're comparing the same models and recent year (around '08 to current), except for team geo there are no changes to geo/ HT lengths. If I'm mistaken, please feel free to correct me.

EDIT: Well, the Allez's (and possibly some other models) geo changed this year, but (I'm assuming) this discussion relates to the Tarmac.
 

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jhamlin38 said:
Is there not a difference in the geometry, specifically a difference in the HT length? a big difference?
To me, my 09 prosl w/ 10r cf is spot on geometry for me, and I wouldn't care if the 11r is stiffer/lighter b/c the ht is so much shorter.
I think you are confusing the regular and team geometries. In previous years the SWorks was available as a frame-set/module with the team geometry which indeed had a shorter head-tube. However, the same frame-sets/modules and all the bikes were available with the regular geometry. In 2011 the team geometry is no longer available.
 

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Definitely some great posts. Thanks for the breakdown!

So, is there a difference between the 2010 and the 2011 S-Works SL3?

Cheers!
 

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goneskiian said:
Definitely some great posts. Thanks for the breakdown!

So, is there a difference between the 2010 and the 2011 S-Works SL3?

Cheers!
I read that the 2011 fork was slightly tweaked (a little lighter and stiffer) and I think the S-Works seat-post was redesigned, but I believe the frame to be the same.
 

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I just bought a 2010 Roubaix SL Pro frame set for a great price. This frame is 9r carbon and for me is an amazing deal. The biggest difference I am told is the layup that is used to build the frames. Until I see real world right up on the performance of the bikes in real world conditions. As of this time no one has supplied these yet
 

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in my not so knowledgeable opinion, 99.9% of cyclists will never notice a difference... you'll get a better return buying a good set of wheels vs upgrading frames... in some respects, like golfers, cyclists will spend ridiculous amounts of money on equipment to improve their game when practice and technique will go a ton further and save you money in the long run...

so, is there a ~practical~ difference? in my eyes, nope. even though there are technical differences. if you can get one for a few hundy less, go for it... unless you plan on leading the TdF next season... ;)
 
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