Specialized Tarmac Elite SL2 Road Bike Review
The Specialized Tarmac Elite is the racier of its entry level road bikes aimed at serious riders. While it is still comfortable enough for long distance rides, it is really bred from racing stock and as such, comes with all the trappings and aspirations which this brings. It is affordable enough to have broad appeal, but it lets you get in on the bottom rung of the ladder of carbon frame bikes.
One of the best aspects of the Specialized Tarmac Elite is its frame geometry which allows for a precise level of control when you are going through the corners, no matter what your speed. On slow, long bends it will tuck in wherever you tell it to and on the swifter chicanes, it will feel balanced and totally grounded. Some carbon bikes at the cheaper end of the price spectrum can feel a little too flighty and flexible when put under the same kind of pressure, but the Specialized Tarmac Elite never misses a beat, letting you guide it to victory in a bold manner.
Most of the equipment attached to the Specialized Tarmac Elite comes from the Shimano 105 groupset and this is more than acceptable on a bike of this value. Even the rims come from Shimano’s shelves, allowing the Turbo Comp tyres to turn quickly and not adding excessive weight to the bike’s total. It is obviously intended to be light and strong as a whole, but with Shimano onboard you can also rest assured that it will be reliable over long distances and not prone to niggling problems with thorough use.
Specialized Tarmac Elite SL2 Specifications
The carbon frame is equipped with FACT carbon forks complete with Zertz inserts. The inserts help to lower the weight while retaining stiffness and still allowing for shock absorbing and vibration damping. Comfort is not the first thing on the agenda of this bike, but it is not just a convenient by-product of the design either. The carbon seatpost with its own Zertz inserts pays testament to this fact and ensures that, while you get a good deal of feeling from the road and enough power transfer to break into a sprint, you can still enjoy a forgiving ride mile after mile.
The Specialized Tarmac Elite is definitely quite a brash bike when it comes to exterior styling. Its bright red frame and red tyre walls make it shine out from amongst any of its dull contemporaries. Specialized has aimed this just right, allowing the bike to have flare without dialling things up too far. Specialized always endeavours to endow its newest models with the latest technology and while that it true here, it always manages to suggest simplicity with the design which belies the comprehensiveness of the features.
Anyone who wants a carbon road racing bike at a price that can be considered value-oriented should look to the Specialized Tarmac Elite and see whether or not its setup is something that might generally please them.