Specialized Tarmac SL7 Expert review

The entry-level Tarmac SL7 is still a premium-priced bike – can it deliver £5K's worth of performance despite cost-saving components?

Specialized Tarmac SL7 Expert
Cycling Weekly Verdict

The Tarmac SL7 is a great frame, even when made from lower-grade carbon and specced with Ultegra rather than Dura-Ace, but the budget aluminium wheels could be a cut too far for customers paying £5,250 for this bike.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Ride quality

  • +


  • +

    Threaded BB

  • +

    Cockpit integration

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Budget wheels

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

We tested the Specialized Tarmac SL7 Expert as part of a four bike shoot out which also included the BMC Teammachine SLR TWO, Scott Addict 15 and Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0. Each bike was tested with its stock tyre, and a control tyre (Schwalbe Pro One TLE, 25mm), using the same test loop which covered 32 miles and included ascents and descents of Leith Hill and Box Hill in Surrey.

The full set of reviews and final conclusions will be published in Cycling Weekly magazine, out on Thursday April 29. 

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Simon Smythe

Simon Smythe is a hugely experienced cycling tech writer, who has been writing for Cycling Weekly since 2003. Until recently he was our senior tech writer. 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 most of his time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.