Specialized’s all-round road race frameset, the Tarmac, forms the basis of a rewarding and satisfying bike in this £2,000 Comp build – but it’s held back by the wheelset.
Specialized, like other big name bike brands, have a seriously comprehensive range of bikes to choose from for your every cycling need, from the aero-sculpted Venge ViAS at the very top of the range, to the Tarmac, which is billed as Spesh’s all-rounder, to Roubaix endurance bike – all race-tested bikes with a different edge. Then comes the aluminium-constructed Allez, as well as the female specific Amira, Ruby and Dolce bike. The road range is completed with the time trial Shiv and gravel Diverge as well.
That’s a serious range of bikes, and the Tarmac is arguably the most prestigious bike of them all, having been ridden by Tour Slam winners Vincenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador – that tells you something of its pedigree.
Specialized mark their bikes with range markers: Sport, Comp, Expert, Pro, and the range-topping S-Works. The Tarmac follows this general rule, and the 2016 Comp here is based on the SL4 version of the frame, introduced in 2011, while the Expert, Pro and S-Works now used by Nibali and Contador, is based on the latest iteration, introduced in 2014.