Specialized Tarmac Comp review£1,899.99

Classic race bike

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Specialized make a huge range of machines, but roadies probably know their Tarmac and Roubaix models best. The Tarmac is Spesh's ubiquitous race bike, the Roubaix its more sportive-minded cousin. And both, as you’d expect from such a brand, are top-level bikes.

“Great looking bike, superbly sorted race frame, well planted” were among the first comments from our Bike Of The Year test team. Handling is predictable even under pressure, and while the Tarmac is stable and stiff, it's also comfortable over rough surfaces.

The Specialized's solid front end goes where it’s planted, with no nasty surprises, so any rider can achieve absolute control. These are the sort of qualities that make it a popular choice as a first race bike.

Our testers found it light to handle and easy to flick around, commenting that it was totally unflustered by high speeds and rough roads, its frame and fork staying rock-solid.

And while the Tarmac is a more than decent performer, it was also appreciated for its comfort. The skinny 27.2mm seatpost does a great job of keeping the rear end of the bike – and your rear too – comfortable.

The kit is reliable though comparatively modest – a Shimano 105 groupset and Aksium Race wheels – but Specialized have rightly put the greatest emphasis on creating a sophisticated, high quality frame, and that’s something you can really feel.

We would happily ride this bike all day – probably more so than the Roubaix – with some of our test team saying they’d happily race on it, possibly after upgrading the wheels. Spesh have delivered the goods again.

Cycling Plus

Cycling Plus Magazine
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine – the manual for the modern road cyclist. Try your first five issues for £5 when you subscribe today.
  • Discipline: Road
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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