Pro bike: Rigoberto Urán’s Specialized S-Works Tarmac

A new bike with fresh paint for the Colombian climber

Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) stormed the Giro d’Italia last year with a stunning second-place finish behind Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). The climbing specialist wants to move one step up on the podium this time around, though, and is hoping that the Colombian-themed colours of his brand new Specialized S-Works Tarmac will inspire him to get there.

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Specialized simply refers to this fifth generation of its top-end road bike as the ‘S-Works Tarmac’ but it clearly borrows much of the design language from the previous S-Works Tarmac SL4, including mechanically efficient roundish tube shapes and gentle shape transitions throughout, oversized top and down tubes that effectively wrap around the hourglass-profile tapered head tube, and the company’s own oversized bottom bracket shell.

Specialized's latest Tarmac - which is just called 'Tarmac', not 'Tarmac SL5' - is supposedly a ground-up redesign with each size comprising its own development from scratch instead of just modifying another size. According to Specialized, that means larger frames get stiffer as compared to the previous SL4 model while smaller ones get more comfortable
Specialized’s latest tarmac – which is just called ‘tarmac’, not ‘tarmac sl5’ – is supposedly a ground-up redesign with each size comprising its own development from scratch instead of just modifying another size. according to specialized, that means larger frames get stiffer as compared to the previous sl4 model while smaller ones get more comfortable:
James Huang/Future Publishing

Specialized claims, however, that all of the new sizes were developed as ground-up projects, instead of the usual practice of starting with a 56cm and then adapting other sizes from there.

As a result, ride qualities are supposedly even more consistent across the range than before with better stiffness and handling precision on the larger sizes than the previous model, while smaller models – such as Urán’s 52cm chassis – are said to be more comfortable and chatter less through bumpy corners.

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Organic, rounded shapes are used throughout the new frame:

As such, Specialized has also returned to a size-specific tapered steerer tube concept with Urán’s frame sporting just a modestly oversized 1.25in diameter.

A new internal seatpost binder that’s 35mm further down than before also effectively adds more exposed shaft (and thus, more room to flex) for the slim, 27.2mm-diameter seatpost.