2015 Specialized Tarmac Review

Words by Aaron Scott

on 10/04/2015 12:53:00

2015 Specialized Tarmac Review

The Tarmac has been completely redesigned for 2015, and after enlisting the help of McLaren (yes, the F1 guys) the latest edition is truly spectacular. Building on the legendary performance of the Tarmac SL4, the new Tarmac carried Vincenzo Nibali to victory in the 2014 Tour de France and has received rave reviews from both the pros and industry experts.

The new Tarmac is smoother and easier to handle, especially when changing speed and overall has a better balance of stiffness and stability. It feels like the positive aspects of the SL4, responsiveness and stiffness, are enhanced

Vincenzo Nibali, Defending Tour de France Champion

One thing to note is that the latest version of the Tarmac, doesn't follow suit with the numbering system Specialized have used previously, so it is not the SL5 - and Specialized are quite adamant about this. What is it then? Well, it's simply the 2015 Tarmac, call it the SL5 at your peril...

What's New?

The biggest development to the 2015 Tarmac is something which Specialized are calling a �Rider-First Engineered approach�. Essentially it is a new way of building and developing bike platform, which understands that someone who is riding a 52cm bike has a different set of needs to someone riding a 61cm bike. Previous versions of the Tarmac frame were always designed around a 56cm, and scaled up or down to complete the full size range.

Fuelled by data feedback in testing with McLaren and rider feedback from the likes of Alberto Contador - who found the rear-end of his 52cm Tarmac to be too stiff - Specialized sought to find a solution to the problems of previous incarnations of the Tarmac. The other big news is that you can now pick up a Tarmac with disc brakes, making it one of the first disc brake equipped performance bikes.

Tarmac, Roubaix and Venge Comparison Video

Who's it for?

Anyone after complete performance from there road bike, but don't just take our word for it, here is what Alberto Contador has to say about it:

Testing the bike on different types of climbs has proven it's very fast, especially when standing on the pedals. Going downhill, it's a very good handling bike that goes where you want it to go. It's an unbeatable feeling. One of the best features is the enormous stiffness, which translates to a high capacity to transmit power, and that's what we're all looking for.

Alberto Contador, Winner of all 3 Grand Tours

2015 Specialized Tarmac Lineup

There are seven Tarmac models for 2015 in total, three of which are available with disc brakes. Let's take a look at a few of the bikes in the range and the main differences between them all.

2015 Specialized Tarmac Pro Disc Race Di2

2015 Specialized Tarmac Pro Disc Race Di2

The Tarmac Pro Disc Race Di2 at £5,499 is the most expensive Tarmac that we stock and is a step into the world of the pro racer. It's a road cyclists heaven, dripping with technology such as a Rider-First FACT 10r carbon frame, Roval Rapide CL 40 SCS carbon wheels, Shimano R785 hydraulic disc brakes, and electronic shifting thanks to its Shimano Ultegra Di2 11-speed groupset.

Tarmac Pro Disc Race Di2 - £5,499.99

2015 Specialized Tarmac Expert


The Tarmac Expert represents the next step on Specialized's race platform ladder and is available for £2999. Featuring a SL4 FACT 10r carbon frame (the SL4 is still being raced on the WorldTour and has many, many race victories to its name), Shimano Ultegra 11-speed groupset and Fulcrum S4 wheelset it's a serious piece of kit.

Tarmac Expert - £2,999.99

2015 Specialized Tarmac Sport

2015 Specialized Tarmac Sport


At the lower end of the Tarmac range, is the Tarmac Sport at £1499. It's the most affordable model in the range, and like the Expert uses the older SL4 frameset rather than the new Tarmac frame and is available in the stunning orange paint job seen below. The Sport is equipped with a Shimano 105 groupset with AXIS 2.0 wheels and an FSA Gossamer chainset.

Tarmac Sport - £1,499.99

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