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Specialized Tarmac SL7 Range Guide | The Ultimate Race Bike

   Words by Tom Worsfold

   on 18/08/2020 16:16:56


Specialized Tarmac SL7 2021 - Range Guide

This is it. No more compromises. The SL7 takes everything Specialized has learned from their Tarmac and Venge lines and combines them into one race-ready superbike. No longer will their pro-athletes have to choose between light-weight and outright speed.

For those who strive to perform at their utmost best, the SL7 is designed to take you to the podium. With a wide range of different models it is hard to know just which is the best for you, read on below to find your dream bike.

Forget the days of choosing between a climbing bike and an aero bike. This is 2020, and compromising is a thing of the past. After 45 years of innovation, we’ve dropped a Tarmac that wins by any measure – race at the legal weight limit, on the fastest bike in the peloton - Specialized



Discipline: Road

Usage: Race, Aero, Climb

Models: Six SL7 models, with two SL6 models for 2021

Unisex “Beyond Gender” models

RRP £2499.99 - £10499.99


- Di2 & SRAM eTap models available

- Venge level aerodynamics, as light as the previous Tarmac

- Threaded bottom bracket

- FACT 12r carbon framesets weigh 800g

- 45 seconds faster over 40km than the previous SL6

Who Is It For?

This is a bike for those who dream big. With a goal of keeping the frame fast and ultralight, Specialized have created the most versatile race bike to ever hit the market.

The Tarmac SL7 is undoubtedly the best all-round race bike in its category, retaining the responsive handling that the series is known for whilst clearly drawing from the Venge. With components to match, there is no denying that this bike is for those who demand only the very best.

Racing is in the Tarmac’s DNA, with any model within the SL7 range being an appropriate choice for aspiring racers and veterans alike. Those looking for speed will undoubtedly love the ultra-stiff frameset, but more casual riders may appreciate the ride characteristics of the less race-focused Roubaix range.

SL6 vs SL7

How do you improve on the best?

The previous SL6 variant was (and still is) one of the best framesets available, suitable for outright racers and weekend warriors alike. It was lightweight, a perfect climber and surprisingly balanced. A race bike yes, but still manageable as a more than reasonable all-rounder if you were looking for something with a spritely ride character.


Surgical Precision

The SL7 takes these features and runs with them, bringing with it a more precise and direct feel. Aero gains and free-speed come at a price of an uncompromising, race-focused ride quality that aggressive riders will no doubt thrive on.

With the SL7 there are two frame compositions available. At the leading edge S-Works level, you get Specialized’s top-end FACT 12r carbon. On the Pro and below you will find FACT 10r, which sees a meager 120g weight penalty. For the many, this lower end option will be more than sufficient, supplying much of the same feel as its more extravagant superior. Higher end models see a built in power meter fitted which further highlights the bikes intentions.


Can I still buy an SL6?

The answer to this is a resounding yes! In previous years, Specialized have kept their preceding model in the lineup for those looking for race prowess at a manageable price-point. This year is no different with there being two SL6 models available starting, from just £2499.99.

Beyond Gender

You may notice that there is no women’s specific Tarmac available, but this is by design. Specialized’s Beyond Gender approach sees them create bikes for people, not genders. Their research found that there was far more difference between riders of different heights than there were riders of different sexes. Because of this, their bikes feature proportionally sized components for riders of all heights, whether male or female.

The Tarmac is made using Specialized’s Rider First Engineered approach. This sees each size have its own individual carbon layup, balancing flex and weight across the entire size range.

The Models - A Breakdown


Specialized Tarmac SL7 S-Works Dura Ace Di2 Red 2021

The crème de la crème.

This is it, the pinnacle of road-racing. Specialized’s highest end FACT 12r carbon meets ultralight aero design. No more compromises, this is the real deal. With a frame weight of just 800g and an overall bike weight of 6.7kg, this is as light as they come. Optimised to be as aerodynamic as possible, this model features the new Roval Rapide CLX wheelset and the phenomenal Shimano Dura Ace Di2 drivetrain.

Why purchase this model? You demand perfection, and nothing but the best will do. S-Works stands for the peak of innovation, and is race-ready right out the box.

  • Frame - S-Works Tarmac SL7 FACT 12r Carbon
  • Fork - S-Works FACT Carbon, 12x100mm thru-axle
  • Drivetrain - Shimano Dura-Ace R9100
  • Brakes - Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 Disc R9170
See the Specialized Tarmac range here Shop now >


Specialized Tarmac SL7 S-Works Etap Disc Green 2021

The crème de la crème, in SRAM flavour.

This one is special. Specialized’s highest end FACT 12r carbon is married with a fully wireless SRAM eTap drivetrain. With a frame weight of just 800g, this build comes in shy of the UCI weight limit at just a scant 6.7kg. Optimised to be as aerodynamic as possible, this model features Roval’s new Rapide CLX wheelset and the high-end SRAM RED eTap AXS drivetrain.

Why purchase this model? Why purchase this model? If you are ready to make waves on your local race scene, this is as fast as they come.

  • Frame - S-Works Tarmac SL7 FACT 12r Carbon
  • Fork - S-Works FACT Carbon, 12x100mm thru-axle
  • Drivetrain - SRAM RED eTap AXS, 12-speed
  • Brakes - SRAM RED eTap AXS, hydraulic disc
See the Specialized Tarmac range Shop now >


Specialized Tarmac SL7 Pro eTap Disc White 2021

Top tier performance specced with a wireless SRAM 1x drivetrain. Single ring? On a road bike? You bet - coming in a crisp white colourway, the Pro Disc eTap sports a clean 1x drivetrain and wide range cassette. A 46t chainring and 10-36t cassette ensures you will be prepared for all gradients. A lack of front derailleur is one less thing on your mind when in the peloton, allowing you to focus more on the racing and less on your shifting.

Why purchase this model? This unique spec ensures less maintenance and a svelte clean aesthetic, perfect for those who are not afraid to embrace change. This will no doubt turn some heads.

  • Frame - Tarmac SL7 FACT 10r Carbon
  • Fork - FACT Carbon, 12x100mm thru-axle
  • Drivetrain - SRAM Force eTap AXS, 12-speed
  • Brakes - SRAM Force eTAP, hydraulic disc
See the Specialized Tarmac range Shop now >


Specialized Tarmac SL7 Pro Blue Tint Fade 2021

No compromises, this could be the one for the serious privateers. Perfectly balanced and featuring Shimano’s proven Ultegra Di2 drivetrain, this model uses FACT 10r carbon to keep the costs down. Ultra-stiff, ultra-fast and ultralight, the SL7 pro is pretty y'know - ultra.

Why purchase this model? You have no off switch. Race pace is all you know, shaving seconds truly counts and you require sharp handling that can keep up with your riding.

  • Frame - Tarmac SL7 FACT 10r Carbon
  • Fork - FACT Carbon, 12x100mm thru-axle
  • Drivetrain - Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8050
  • Brakes - Shimano Ultegra R8070, hydraulic disc
See the Specialized Tarmac range Shop now >


Specialized Tarmac Expert Ultegra Disc 2021

Performance at a more attainable price point. The SL7 frameset delivers peak performance whilst a smart parts specification keeps the costs down. Shimano’s Ultegra drivetrain is a perfect companion, offering slick shifting and components that will last the season. Although lacking the invisible cabling seen on the models above, the specific Tarmac stem keeps the Expert sleek and aerodynamic.

Why purchase this model? Why purchase this model? You are looking for the SL7 frameset but at a price you can stomach. This is the sensible choice in the range, packaging a FACT 10r frameset with Roval C38 wheels and quality mechanical shifting.

  • Frame - Tarmac SL7 FACT 10r Carbon
  • Fork - FACT Carbon, 12x100mm thru-axle
  • Drivetrain - Shimano Ultegra R8000, HollowTech 2, 11-speed
  • Brakes - Shimano Ultegra R8070, hydraulic disc
See the Specialized Tarmac range Shop now >


Specialized Tarmac Expert Ultegra Di2 Disc 2021

At the same price point as the Expert Ultegra, the Expert Ultegra Di2 drops the carbon wheels for the widely favoured electronic Shimano shifting. The DT Swiss R470’s are no slouch though, offering quality aluminium performance whilst keeping the price sensible.

Why purchase this model? The inner tech geek in you craves electronic shifting and well rounded performance. If you have previously invested in carbon hoops you know they’d no doubt look better on this SL7, giving you top tier performance for less when you upgrade.

  • Frame - Tarmac SL7 FACT 10r Carbon
  • Fork - FACT Carbon, 12x100mm thru-axle
  • Drivetrain - Shimano Ultegra Di2 R8050, 11-speed
  • Brakes - Shimano Ultegra R8070, hydraulic disc
See the Specialized Tarmac range Shop now >


Specialized Tarmac Disc SL6 Comp 2021

When you build a frame as perfect as the SL6, it is hard to see it disappear when a new model rocks up. Because of this, Specialized have kept the SL6 in the lineup to give the entry level Tarmac’s some serious clout. Lets not forget, the SL6 was 30 seconds faster than the SL5 over 40km. With Ultegra shifting for just £3249.99, the SL6 Comp is ready to elevate your road riding to the next level.

Why purchase this model? You value bang for buck and are looking for what is still one of the markets top framesets with a quality build kit. From your local race series to your weekend ride, the Tarmac SL6 is the smart choice.

  • Frame - Tarmac SL6, FACT 9r carbon
  • Fork - S-Works FACT Carbon, 12x100mm thru-axle
  • Drivetrain - Shimano Ultegra R8000, 11-speed
  • Brakes - Shimano Ultegra R8070, hydraulic disc
See the Specialized Tarmac range Shop now >


Specialized Tarmac Disc SL6 Sport 2021

Top quality frame, check. Hydraulic disc brakes and eleven speed drivetrain, check. There is no denying that the SL6 sport ticks all the boxes for its price point, making it the ideal model for those looking to upgrade to a performance ride.

Why purchase this model? You’re looking for your first performance road bike, you know hydraulic disc brakes are a must and you want to buy into the Specialized fold. This is the perfect choice for someone looking for a quality ride that won’t break the bank.

  • Frame - Tarmac SL6, FACT 9r carbon
  • Fork - S-Works FACT Carbon, 12x100mm thru-axle
  • Drivetrain - Shimano 105 R7000
  • Brakes - Shimano 105 R7070
See the Specialized Tarmac range Shop now >

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