Specialized Tarmac Expert SL3 Road Bike Review
The Specialized Tarmac Expert SL3 gives you the kind of road racing performance that you might pay at least twice as much to achieve on bikes from rival manufacturers. Although it is by no means cheap, what you get for the money is definitely impressive and if you are looking to squeeze past the competition and on to victory in competition, then this is a bike to consider.
The Specialized Tarmac Expert SL3 uses the FACT 10r carbon frame and a full carbon fork of the same pedigree. It is stiffer and more compact than the equivalent, endurance-oriented Roubaix range from Specialized, but it is by no means a bike which sacrifices comfort in order to give you blistering performance. The handling is a particular joy, because the speed with which the bike responds to your commands will be second to none and the consistence of its responsiveness is assured thanks to the big front end. This does mean you will have to keep an eye on your road position when you are going full pelt, but in general it is suitably stable when you accelerate and give it your all, with just enough flex provided by the Zertz insets on the carbon seatpost to keep the rider cushioned.
The Specialized Tarmac Expert SL3 is equipped with the full blown Shimano Ultegra equipment range, which comes very close to matching its more expensive siblings in terms of weight and is almost indistinguishable when it comes to performance. Gearing is great and the swift, clean nature of the changes will be a boon in competitive conditions. The Ultegra brakes are also very solid, letting you control speed precisely while still having the ability to come to a speedy halt without putting the rest of the bike out of joint.
Fulcrum Racing 4 rims and hubs combine with Specialized Turbo Pro tyres, which may not be the first choice but are still durable and fast rolling. The weight was an issue in previous years but now Specialized has taken this into account, making sure that the wheels only have a marginal impact on the overall package.
The style of the Specialized Tarmac Expert SL3 is in keeping with the professional bikes higher up the food chain, although over the years, the manufacturer has taken the sensible decision to remove many of the more over the top decals. This means you will have to look a little closer to tell which firm contributed which components and into which groupset the equipment falls. Its black frame is given a bit of flare thanks to the red-rimmed tyre walls and although the carbon weave is not visible as in some models, you can tell from the smooth, seamless nature of the frame that it is a high end beast at heart.
The Specialized Tarmac Expert SL3 is yet another well priced road bike designed for high speed racing and it is likely to attract those who do not want to let their budget restrict their performance.