This is the bike that Mark Cavendish rode to two sprint wins and into the green jersey in the first week of the Tour de France.
The 36-year-old Manx Missile, who was world champion 10 years ago, won stage four to Fougères, his first win in five years. Then, wearing the green jersey, he won stage six to Châteauroux, to bring him within two stage wins of equalling Eddy Merckx's Tour de France record of 34.
Cavendis has found a new turn of speed this year - as has the Specialized S-Works Tarmac he's been winning on.
This seventh iteration of the flagship race bike borrows many of the aerodynamic tube shapes from Specialized’s former dedicated aero bike, the Venge, which was discontinued to make way for the SL7.
According to Specialized, its design team “took a page out of the Venge development book and utilized our FreeFoil Shape Library.”
The SL7 is not quite as fast as the outgoing Venge but, according to Specialized, it’s 45 seconds faster over 40km than the SL6 at 50kph.
Cavendish was already familiar with the Venge having ridden it during his years at Omega Pharma-Quick Step from 2013 to 2015 but is clearly getting on famously with the SL7 in what is already one of the most storied comebacks of recent years.
He rides the Tarmac S-Works SL7 in a size 52.
Deceuninck-Quick Step run Shimano Dura-Ace groupsets including the original Dura-Ace rotors rather than XTR as used by some teams - the new SL7 is disc brake only.
Cavendish usually uses Roval Rapide CLX wheels, the fastest in Specialized’s sister brand’s range with their 51mm deep front and 60mm rear, but here in these static shots bike is pictured with his Roval C38 training wheels and bombproof Specialized Roubaix Pro tyres.
The flagship Shimano chainset has a dual-sided power meter - not that Cavendish has time to look at his peak sprint power. He runs 170mm cranks.
The S-Works Power Mirror saddle is 3D printed and uses a honeycomb structure to fine tune material density in a way that Specialized says is impossible with foam.
Cavendish uses the size 143mm (it also comes in 155mm).
Specialized’s own Tarmac S-Works bar and stem are stiff enough for Cavendish, who once had his own signature PRO Vibe bar and stem. On this bike a spacer is stacked on top of the stem rather than using the Tarmac stem cap designed for 'slammed' stems. Pictured at the start of the race, this bike's steerer had yet to be cut, but we do know that Cavendish likes to made adjustments to his set-up mid race.
Cavendish rides a 130mm stem and 42cm bar.
The bars are wrapped with Supacaz bar tape with a satellite Di2 sprint shifters under the levers - Cavendish prefers to prefer to use his first finger on a button located on the front of the bar rather than on the inside and operated by a thumb, which is the standard position.
As for his pedals, Cavendish toes the line and rides Shimano Dura-Ace 9100 Carbon.
A photo posted by on
Since he took over the green jersey Cavendish's bike has largely remained the same, with only the bar tape changed to a version that features green flecks at the ends of the drops.
He's also been using a green-cased Wahoo Elemnt Bolt and green Tacx Deva bottle cages.
|Mark Cavendish's Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7|
|Frame||S-Works Tarmac SL7 size 52|
|Groupset||Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Di2/hydraulic dis|
|Chainset/power meter||Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 P with 170mm cranks|
|Wheels||Roval Rapide CLX|
|Tyres||Specialized Turbo Cotton clincher|
|Stem||S-Works Tarmac 130mm|
|Saddle||S-Works Power Mirror 143mm|
|Pedals||Shimano Dura-Ace R9100 Carbon|
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor on the magazine following an MA in online journalism (yes, it was just after the dot-com bubble burst).
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Shorter fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
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