The Tarmac SL stays at the top of Specialized's road range with some enhancements for 2007. As well as the new S-Works carbon chainset, all Tarmac bikes now come with an integrated ceramic-bearing headset. At the top of the range is the SRAM Force-equipped model, with Dura-Ace, Ultegra and 105 coming just below.

All bikes are fitted as standard with 40mm of head spacers, Barmac with shallow-drop bars and more useable gearing. For example, the Roubaix comes as standard with a compact drivetrain that gives a more realistic range of gears. This is a sensible move by Specialized. It may be a departure from the world of 53x11 that people seem to think they need, but in reality there aren?t many people who can use a gear like that.

Again, Specialized is using feedback from its sponsored riders. In this case input from the Gerolsteiner pro team has aided development of both the Tarmac and Roubaix bikes. As mentioned earlier, the concept of having ?modules? that consist of frame, forks, chainset, bar/stem and seatpost enables its designers and engineers to take a more holistic view of their product. Time may have started the move towards modules but it looks like Specialized may have caught and passed it.

By introducing a dedicated chainset into the equation, especially one that beats the competition in terms of weight and rigidity, Specialized has moved up a gear, providing an out-of-the-box solution to beat most custom packages. Using the UCI weight limit as a way of maximising weight rather than moaning about it and having weight holes or spanners glued to bikes, Specialized has managed to build a bike that is right on the weight limit but still there in all the right places.

For more new products, check out Cycling Weekly's 'New for 2007' special, on sale from Thursday December 7.

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