Specialized Tarmac SL6

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Release Year
Wheel Size
Number of Gears
20, 22, 24
16.6, 16.82, 18.36 lbs
Brake Type
Frame Material

Summary of Reviews

We have read all expert and user reviews on the Specialized Tarmac SL6. In summary, this is what cyclists think.

14 reasons to buy

  • The Specialized Tarmac SL6 is a light and fast road bike.
  • The Tarmac is UCI-legal and has been raced by pro teams, including BORA-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck-Quick-Step.
  • The stiff fork and frame are highly responsive to rider input.
  • Lower-end models of the Tarmac SL6 have a threaded bottom bracket which is easy to maintain.
  • The leverless thru-axles and low seat stays are aerodynamic.
  • Testers were pleased to find there is clearance for tires up to 30mm. Wide tires offer riders comfort on rough terrain.
  • Specialized offers builds at multiple price points with SRAM and Shimano components.
  • Experts were pleased a power meter is included with the Tarmac SL6.
  • The Roubaix bar wrap on the Tarmac SL6 is notably cushioned for rider comfort.
  • Specialized utilizes their own Turbo tires on the bike. These are great all-weather tires.
  • The Tarmac SL6 is extremely lightweight.
  • Testers agree the bike is extremely attractive with the slim frame tubing and internally routed cables.
  • Experts agree the bike is priced fairly on each build for the included componentry.
  • The aggressive geometry, low head tube angle and stable wheelbase allow riders to corner smoothly.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Some builds have a press-fit bottom bracket. Testers found this creaked over time.
  • The entry-point of the cables was not favorable and looked messy, according to some testers.
  • The bike is so light that it does not maintain speed well on flats.
  • The saddle's 20mm of offset places riders in a position that one expert found to be overly aggressive.

Bottom line

The Specialized Tarmac SL6 is a capable and stable race machine, that excels on sprints. It's available in numerous builds from entry-level to S-Works. Peter Sagan, of team BORA-Hansgrohe, used it in the Tour de France. It’s lightweight but UCI-legal. It’s extremely responsive. Aerodynamic features include leverless thru-axles, slim tubing, and internally routed cables. The bike is priced fairly and includes a power meter. Unfortunately, top models use a press-fit bottom bracket that can easily develop a creak. It also struggles to maintain its speed on flats due to its low weight.

Expert Reviews

86/100 based on 5 rated expert reviews
Cycling Weekly

Specialized S-Works Tarmac Disc

The Specialized S-Works Tarmac Disc SL 6 was already one of our favourite bikes, and then Specialized added disc brakes and took it to the next level.

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Specialized Tarmac SL6 Expert Review

This Tarmac Disc Expert’s frame is built with FACT 10r carbon fibre, which is only two ‘r’s less than the top-level S-Works FACT 12r model.

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Specialized Tarmac SL6 Comp Disc Review

On the road, the SL6 has all of the familiar Tarmac traits: huge pick-up from hard pedal efforts and neck-snappingly fast reactions to steering inputs.

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Specialized Tarmac Disc Sport

If the S-Works Tarmac is the GTI of the range, the Tarmac Disc Sport is the humble 1.0 litre. Same fundamental design but with fewer frills.

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Specialized Tarmac Disc Comp Review

The SL6 frame design on this Specialized Tarmac Disc Comp has been with us for over a year now and there’s a clear theme across the range: dropped rearstays, which start lower down the seat tube than traditional versions, and aerodynamic tubing meets a straight fork that flows into a sculpted and deep, yet slender, head tube.

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User Ratings

78/100 based on 25 ratings
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Bike Comparison

Specialized Tarmac SL6 in comparison to averages
Specialized Tarmac SL6