Pro bike: Rigoberto Urán's Specialized S-Works Tarmac
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.
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: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.
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.
Seatpost height is marked with a bit of team logo team. the new specialized s-works tarmac frame now uses a hidden internal seatpost binder:
Team mechanics, on the other hand, are likely more excited about the new aluminium interface for the bottom bracket shell, which should provide a more precise fit and greatly reduce the chance of creaking long-term – a key feature for a bike that will be cleaned with a pressure washer almost daily and whose bearings will be replaced relatively frequently.
CeramicSpeed bottom bracket bearings now install into an aluminum sleeve in the frame in an effort to reduce creaking:
The build kit is very straightforward, with no special weight-saving bits to speak of, which makes sense, given the bike is already barely UCI-legal as it stands here.
Standard team-issued pieces include: the SRAM Red 22 transmission and brakes; carbon wheels, a carbon seatpost, and an aluminium cockpit from Zipp; a Quarq power meter; and a saddle, carbon fibre crankarms, and tubular tyres from Specialized.
Specialized-sponsored teams are now being supplied with actual specialized tubular tires, in this case mounted on to zipp 303 firecrest carbon wheels:
Urán’s bike was fitted with typical 53/39-tooth chainrings up front but an 11-28T SRAM PG-1170 cassette out back – perhaps unusually easy gearing for the flatter earlier stages of this year’s Giro.
More importantly, it’s with a mid-cage WiFli rear derailleur that suggests he’ll go with even-larger cogs as the big mountains beckon later on.
Think longer-cage road rear derailleurs are for sissies? tell that to colombian climbing specialist rigoberto urán (omega pharma-quick step). though the 11-28t cassette mounted here doesn’t require a longer cage, having one means he can easily go to an even bigger cassette when the race hits the mountain stages:
Urán perhaps cares most about the special paint job on his new bike, though. Its colours are borrowed from the Colombian flag. With the biggest races being held in Europe, Urán is certainly further from home than most riders in the peloton.
Perhaps a little reminder of climbing his local mountains will give him a little extra inspiration to scale the Italian ones.
Specialized has provided rigoberto urán (omega pharma-quick step) with this custom – and all-new – s-works tarmac, resplendent in the colors of his native colombia: