UPDATE, October 15: As expected, the recall was announced on Tuesday, October 12. Cycling Weekly has asked Specialized to provide further information on when the fault was discovered and how many bikes have been affected, we will publish an update in due course.
Specialized has confirmed that it is due to announce a voluntary recall on all Tarmac SL7 bikes.
The recall, which is set to be announced on Tuesday, October 12, is accompanied by a stop ride notice.
Owners of the Specialized Tarmac SL7 will be asked not to ride the bikes until they've taken them to a local dealer.
Cycling Weekly understands that the current proprietary system could result in the compression ring putting stress on the steerer, which could cause a crack under impact.
The brand has created a new extended expander plug and compression ring, which must be swapped on to existing bikes. It has already fitted this to new bikes. This implies that Specialized had an awareness of the issue before announcing the recall, and Cycling Weekly has asked Specialized to provide information on when it became aware of the problem, we'll be publishing more on this in due course.
In a statement, Specialized said: "We will be announcing a voluntary recall of Tarmac SL7 bicycles because harsh impacts may put extraordinary stress on headset components and may initiate a crack in the fork’s steerer tube."
In terms of a fix, the US brand explained: "We will improve the overall system with the addition of a new extended expander plug and an upgrade of the compression ring for riders that do not have one already."
Asked when the new extended expander plug and upgraded compression ring will be available, Specialized told Cycling Weekly that these were "ready to go."
Towards the end of the statement, Specialized has added: "As with any severe impact or accident, riders should always have their bike inspected at their local retailer, but they can also rest assured that the Tarmac SL7 meets or exceeds all industry safety standards" - however, the stop ride notice implies a level of concern.
In terms of those owning the Tarmac SL6, or those considering buying an SL7, Specialized has added: "Only Tarmac SL7 models already on the road will need this improvement. Tarmac SL6 and previous models do not require any action, and all Tarmac SL7 currently in store and in the future will have these new components.“
The Tarmac was re-imagined in 2020, taking features from the aero Venge. The bikes retail from £4,250 / $5,500 with Ultegra Di2, with the S-Works model costing £11,750 / $12,300.
This redesign included an integrated stem that allowed for completely hidden cables. Whilst total integration does seem to be the direction of travel - and something consumers are beginning to expect - it brings with it expense and complication. Or, in this case, potentially dangerous damage if the system is found to include faults.
Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining the two with a career in cycling journalism.
When not typing or testing, Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Favourite bikes include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6.
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