At Specialized?s recent global launch in Aptos, California, the highlight was certainly the all new and range topping S-Works Roubaix SL2, which as we reported borrows much of it?s frame technology from the Tarmac SL2 launched last year.
Not to be out done by the S-Works SL2 bikes the next model down in the Tarmac range, the Tarmac Pro, also gains much of the same technology but with a lighter, more bank manager friendly swing tag.
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Of course if you are going to create a trickle down of technology there have to be a cut backs somewhere and Specialized has been astute in this regard. Creating a product that borrows much from the high end but at a lower cost is never a simple task. Give the cheaper product too many bells and whistles and you not only take sales away from the top end product but simultaneously undermine it’s standing. Fail to make the lower product standout and fulfil it?s own niche and at best it?s a wasted opportunity, at worst it costs the company money in lost sales.
In creating the Tarmac Pro Specialized has attempted to walk this tightrope.
The frame itself closely resembles the Tarmac SL2, in fact it would appear to come from the same moulds. It uses the same triple monocoque construction using Specialized?s latest techniques which they call FACT IS, which stands for Functional Advanced Carbon Technology and the IS for Integrated Structure. Internally the 11r carbon has been dropped in favour of the slightly cheaper 10r version. A lower modulus, 10r obviously adds a little weight but should also make for a more comfortable frame. To ensure a good ride the lay-up of the carbon has been revised to suit the 10r construction. The Pro also uses the SL2?s 1.5inch lower headset race.
To match the oversized headset race the forks have also been updated and like the SL2 feature the ?NO 90? design. In essence this means the fork avoids sharp angles around the headset lower race, the bearing is moved up the fork by about a centimetre and this allows a more flowing carbon lay-up to improve strength and stiffness.
Stay tuned for a First Ride in CW soon after the Tour de France.
Specialized S-Works Roubaix SL2