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Summary of Reviews
We have read all expert and user reviews on the Specialized Tarmac SL7. In summary, this is what cyclists think.
20 reasons to buy
- The Tarmac SL7 is a road race bike that’s “more aero than Specialized's previous generation aero bike”.
- Test-riders talk about the SL7’s “astonishingly direct” and “electrifying sense of power transfer”.
- Reviewers report a fast and “exciting” ride, aboard the SL7.
- Testers say the SL7’s carbon frame is “supremely stiff” and therefore highly efficient.
- Expert testers say the SL7’s geometry and spec urges them to push themselves harder and faster.
- With frames from 800g and complete weights from 14.55 lb, the SL7 is undeniably light.
- A 10-33t cassette allowed S-Works SRAM RED testers to maintain speed across fast flats and steep climbs.
- Testers report “agility” and “poise”, while cornering at high speeds.
- S-Works Dura-Ace testers says the bike’s drivetrain shifts quickly and crisply.
- Dura-Ace hydraulic brakes offer “loads of power”. SRAM RED options provide “top-level deceleration”.
- Experts are floored by the quality of the SL7’s “huge” componentry spec.
- SL7 users value the bike’s updated tire clearance for tires up to 32mm wide.
- Roval Rapide CLX carbon rims weigh only 1400g. Handling and stability impressed testers.
- Reviewers say the SL7 is comfortable, for a race-focused steed.
- Aerodynamics and “gorgeous” aesthetics are enhanced by concealed components and cables.
- SL7 buyers can choose from 6x builds, including 2x S-Works builds.
- Riders can choose from 7x frame sizes, starting at 44cm and moving up to 61cm.
- S-Works Dura-Ace & Comp Rival builds come fitted with tubeless-ready rims.
- S-Works owners are blessed with either a 4iiii or SRAM RED AXS power meter.
- Experts and DIY owners are pleased to see a standard, threaded 68 mm bottom bracket.
4 reasons not to buy
- Roval Rapide CLX rims’ are not tubeless-ready, disappointing multiple reviewers.
- Some testers note an “uncompromising” level of stiffness and road feedback, aboard the SL7.
- The SL7 is expensive compared to similarly-specced pro bikes, especially the S‑Works.
- A tester notes: the SL7’s deep rims are susceptible to crosswinds.
Bottom lineThe Specialized Tarmac SL7 is a top-end, aerodynamic road bike suited to professional racing. Buyers can choose from six builds, including two ultra-high-end S-Works models. For the most part, the SL7 received incredibly high praise; regarding its low weight, fast feel, rapid acceleration, deft handling and superior component selection. Some testers lauded the bike’s comfort after riding for 4-5 hours at a time. Others felt vibration dampening was uncompromising. Most reviewers say it’s compliant for a pure race bike but agree that it isn’t the best choice for casual riders (or the cheapest!)
Expert Reviews90/100 based on 21 rated expert reviews
Specialized Tarmac SL7 Review
The bike delivered a truly electrifying sense of power transfer that, combined with its low weight, meant it launched into attacks and sprints, accelerating with ease and eating up the road… its poise when sweeping through fast corners on descents was unfaltering.
If there is a chink in this bike’s armour, I wasn’t able to find it.
Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Dura-Ace Di2 Review
If your primary concern is going fast, I’d wholeheartedly recommend it. As with all top-end bikes, once you get beyond the realm of £5,000, you’ve entered the territory of diminishing returns – the bike is not going to be ‘twice as good’ – but it does have S-Works on the down tube, and you can’t put a price on happiness.
Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Dura-Ace Di2 2021
The fastest bike I have ever ridden. As a complete package this S-Works is phenomenally efficient. Overall, this bike really does deliver on all the attributes you’d want of a top-flight race machine: speed, stiffness, handling and comfort. I have to say, if it was my money I’d go for the eTap model for the same money.
Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Review
The new Tarmac is incredible — as it damn well should be for the price! A seemingly perfect blend of aero traits, light weight, adjustability, and ideal handling characteristics; excellent small-detail execution. Tubeless fans will be disappointed in the clincher-only wheels; handlebar ergonomics and low seat-tube mount might not work for everyone.
Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Review
If the Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 were a person, it would be constantly, vocally egging you on, insisting you ride faster and hurt yourself more. It is a a fearsomely expensive, fearsomely effective speed machine that will delight go-fast riders with its ultra-stiff frame, sublime handling and engaging ride, but may just be too race-focused for more casual roadies.
Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Review:
A Proper Dream Road Bike for Those With Cash and Calories to Burn
It’s pure race-ready magic.
Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Review
The Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Dura-Ace Di2 doesn’t disappoint. It’s frighteningly fast, but it’s also frighteningly expensive. It’s bonkers money really, but there’s no doubting it’s a weapon of race destruction.
Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 in Review
If you’re looking for an off-the-shelf race weapon, you’ll find it here. A clear Best in Test! The Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 is the fastest race bike of the 2021 season… It is in a league of its own on the flats… However, strong crosswinds give it a hard time and anyone who appreciates a little more comfort…may have to think twice…
Independent Bike Test: Specialized Tarmac SL7 S-Works [Italian]
Compared to the SL6, there hasn’t been any improvement. On the contrary, the SL7 is less reactive, less comfortable and maneuverable… the weight of the complete bike…is higher. The price is exaggerated. I hope for an overall improvement in performance with the next SL8.
Test: Specialized Tarmac SL7 [Danish]
By far the ultimate racing bike. The most hyped bike of the year delivers on all parameters… It is stiff and responsive, quiet and fast on flat roads and it is well balanced.
We Tested the Specialized Tarmac SL7 Pro Ultegra Di2 [Norwegian]
We bow down and give the bike a five on the dice. This is simply one of the best bikes we have ever tested.
TEST Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 SRAM Red Tap AXS [Portuguese]
I have no hesitation in saying that this is the most versatile Tarmac ever built, which includes everything both a professional and an amateur could want: performance, lightness, speed, efficiency and comfort. I wouldn’t change a single component on this bike…
Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL 7 Review [German]
Aerodynamic, light, fast and extremely agile: The Specialized Tarmac S-Works SL7 achieved top values in all race model test categories. The handling, agility and balance are excellent. The equipment is very consistent.
First Test of the New Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 [German]
The Tarmac SL7 can currently claim the title of the best racing bike in the world.
Specialized Tarmac SL7 [German]
The brakes on SRAM’s top road bike group can no longer quite keep up with Shimano’s new Dura-Ace Di2; the Dura-Ace road bike disc brake can be better modulated and develops its full braking power faster in wet conditions.
S-Works Tarmac SL7 Additional Impressions | Summary of Impressions That Changed After Riding [Japanese]
How’s the ride quality? The descent is very nice. How about climbing? Not only is it simply not much different from the 6.8kg Venge, but unfortunately there was no drastic speedup on the SL7.
Specialized Tarmac SL7 Expert Di2 Tested [Portuguese]
A fast bike rolling, descending, climbing. Pure pleasure. This model is in the middle of the range of the Tarmac SL7, which leads us to wonder what the top of the range will be like… Specialized has fulfilled its objective. This is without a doubt a no-compromise bike.
Tested: Specialized Tarmac SL7 Expert [Dutch]
Specialized has managed to combine the best of all worlds: aerodynamics, weight, stiffness and comfort. It is the most all-round bike of this test…
Test Of The Specialized Tarmac SL7 Pro Ultegra Di2 [Norwegian]
The Specialized Tarmac SL7 marks a return to a one-bike solution for ambitious road cyclists. Equally good on flat ground as on downhills.
Léon van Bon Tests the Specialized Tarmac SL7 Pro [Dutch]
After this review, I’ll mount the Tarmac many more times. I’ll ride it a lot and enjoy it even more… In the Netherlands it is a great pleasure. This bike simply steers and rides wonderfully. It’s like it was made for me.
Test: Specialized Tarmac SL7 Pro – Ultegra Di2 [Slovakian]
The geometry is made for racers, so the frame is very stiff and has great response under more aggressive acceleration. It reacts perfectly when quickly starting a sprint on the flat, but also when properly gripping the pedals uphill. It is stable on descents, nimble in sharp turns… This bike simply asks for speed absolutely everywhere.
Aboard the New Specialized Tarmac SL7, Your Old PRs Don’t Stand a Chance.
A nearly perfect race bike. If you want the best, UCI-legal bike for getting from point A to point B as fast as possible on pavement—up, down, flat, or otherwise—I believe that bike is the Tarmac SL7.
Specialized Tarmac S-Works SL7 Is a Fairly Well Mannered Road Rocket
If you’re looking for an all-out speed machine to make every ride faster, go get the new Specialized Tarmac SL7. And particularly, the S-Works… I’ve set higher average speeds for every ride I’ve done on it and enjoyed every minute of it. Maybe it’s because this bike made me want to be better. To be faster. Maybe that made me push myself.
The New Specialized Tarmac SL7 Review: The Venge Is Dead
I love the Venge, and don’t want to see it killed by its own sibling… the next Venge will chuck UCI regulations out the window and come back faster than ever. I’d like that… Until then, this will be my favorite Specialized road bike.
The New 2021 Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Is Out for (Re)Venge
The Tarmac SL7 is a spectacular bike. There’s something about it that makes you want to just give’er. Top-end Tarmac SL7 models come with power meters. On Shimano builds… it’s a set of sensors from Canadian company 4iiii.
A Climbing-Aero Bike? The Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7
Welcome to ‘the singularity’. The Tarmac SL7 shows up with dual personalities—in the best way possible… The Roval Rapide CLX wheels…making the trademark “whoosh, whoosh” sound… Sprinting on the new Tarmac is akin to a supercomputer crunching numbers.
Brand New & Tested: Specialized Tarmac SL7 [Dutch]
It’s also a party uphill. We dare to say without a doubt that the Tarmac SL7 is one of the very best bikes of the moment!
Specialized Tarmac SL7 Expert is Race Bike of the Year [Dutch]
Just about the most important trend in racing bikes is the convergence of climbing bikes and aero bikes. Specialized’s Tarmac SL7 brings the best of both worlds. The Expert version was voted Road Bike of the Year 2021 by our jury!
Test of the Specialized Tarmac SL7, Ultra Versatility [French]
Apart from its very high price, it is difficult to find fault with this bike. Quite honestly, no matter how hard I look, I don’t see any.
New Specialized Tarmac SL7 [French]
One of the very best machines ever created. With the Roval Rapide CLX wheels as standard on the S-Works bike, the first sensations are a bit supernatural. So we are speechless when confronted with all this debauchery of technology.
Specialized Tarmac SL7 – First Test | Faster Than Ever [German]
As far as pure riding performance is concerned, nothing was left to be desired… The outstanding qualities are the almost unleashed pace and the balanced, perfectly predictable handling. It’s a shame that the Tarmac SL7 Expert doesn’t yet have the convincing aero cockpit. Then all would be right with the world. There is nothing to seriously criticize.
New Specialized Tarmac SL7: Mean but Rideable Race Machine [Italian]
Road behavior: this is where the Specialized Tarmac SL7 really impressed me. What is striking is the ease with which the SL7 accelerates and maintains speed, both on the flat and uphill. The more the speed and the effort increase, the more the qualities of the bike are appreciated.
Specialized Tarmac S-Works SL7 | Our Test [Italian]
Yes, it is a bike that caters to a competitive user base. It is also true that it allows you to go slow… the frame, no matter what size you consider, is always compact, a detail that affects its speed, responsiveness and agility. In fact, “you can turn it on a dime.” This sort of immediacy makes it quite fun.
Specialized Tarmac SL7, the Seventh Wonder Is Lightning in the Wind
What amazed us was the incredible ease that this bike has in reaching, and then maintaining, high speeds.
Test – Specialized Tarmac SL7 S-Works [Portuguese]
It’s justified for those who can and want to spend this much money. In terms of ride feel, for less money at Specialized itself there are bikes that offer a very good experience and performance.
Specialized Tarmac S-Works SL7 Test [Italian]
We can assure you that this Tarmac SL7 raises performance on asphalt, simply, to another level. Extreme speed, rigidity well above average and lightness . They are the three quintessential ingredients of a good competition bike. The ingredients that precisely, on this bike, have been raised to a level that we had not experienced so far on any other bike.
All-In-One Tarmac SL7 Launched, Integrating the Advantages of the Tarmac and the Venge [Chinese]
In terms of riding experience, as long as you set the Tarmac SL7 at a familiar angle, this bike feels like an old friend who has been with you for a long time, and it doesn’t take time to get used to it…
Evolution 45s Faster – 2020 Specialized Tarmac SL7 Zhangjiajie New Product Launch [Chinese]
It is very stable when cutting downhill and turning. The feedback of the whole bike is direct… It is light, tough, and exerts force directly. Rapide CLX wheels as standard …the inertia is fierce.
[Test Ride Report] Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Brief Review [Chinese]
This iteration of the bike is full of pressure to ride… But if you care about light weight, you care about aerodynamic riding posture, then this kind of bike will really have an advantage, it only thinks about how to make the maximum efficiency conversion of the power of the rider, it is a very pure racing bike.
Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Unboxing [Chinese]
Everyone feels different, at least I feel comfortable to ride and have a direct and quick response, so that’s fine.
Tested: Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 [Dutch]
This champ is not afraid of a little wind. And he also likes it raw. The S-Works Tarmac SL7 is very light-footed… You can safely fight against the wind for a number of hours without feeling broken.
Test: Specialized Tarmac SL7 Expert [Dutch]
It is a wonderful bike for both the fanatical asphalt eater and the relaxed touring cyclist. Women-specific bikes are an outdated idea at Specialized. As a female tester I had a Specialized Mimic saddle mounted… I ended up with a weight of 8.1 kg, not super light actually.
Review | Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 [Dutch]
The new Tarmac SL7 is a beast, a bike without compromises. It’s only when you ramp up the speed that you really appreciate the new Tarmac. Before I know it I’m riding a sloppy fifty an hour over the dike in a two-man breakaway.
100% Tested: Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 [Dutch]
The first impression is that of a true aero steed, where wattages are instantly converted into speed. After every turn, however, the trump card of light weight is thrown on the table. Compared to the SL6, this S-Works Tarmac SL7 is more direct in all areas, both in steering and pedaling.
Race Bike of the Year Award: Specialized Tarmac SL7 Expert [Dutch]
This Specialized in the same version won this competition two years ago. Now – despite the identical frame and wheelset – it is out of the running. How is that possible? In all honesty: the price of this bike has greatly influenced the odds. The Tarmac SL7 Expert is the most expensive participant in this year’s competition.
Tested: Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 [Dutch]
If our test has made one thing clear, it’s that this Tarmac SL7 is not just an evolution of the SL6, but a confluence of the Tarmac and the Venge. We clearly recognized that urge for speed from our time with the Venge, but the weight and the increased range of action scream ‘Tarmac’.
Specialized Tarmac SL7 Comp [German]
Compared to the outrageously expensive top model, the inexpensive version appears sluggish when starting and also uncomfortable.
Specialized Tarmac SL7 in the Test:
What Can the Miracle Weapon Really Do? [German]
Despite upgrades, new developments, facelifts and much more, the new Specialized Tarmac SL7 remains true to its original characteristics and is still a real mountain goat.
Specialized Tarmac SL7 Pro 2021 on Test [German]
The Specialized Tarmac SL7 Pro leaves almost nothing to be desired. It accelerates effortlessly both uphill and in sprints. The handling is razor sharp, but always controllable and predictable.
Specialized Tarmac SL7 – An Unexpected Date [German]
Other Mums have nice road bikes too and it was a pleasure to have speed dated one of them. The test drive with the new Specialized Tarmac SL7 Expert was like that one-night stand that you don’t want to let go home the morning after.
First 1000 Km Test – Specialized Tarmac SL7:
“Convincing All Along the Line…” [German]
We’ve ridden the bike under the most adverse conditions – including heavy rain – and it didn’t emit a moment’s uncertainty, even on fast descents. After almost 1000 kilometers in the saddle, the face of the Tarmac as a “World Tour Racer” shows itself clearly: whether uphill, downhill or in a sprint – the bike is convincing across the board.
[Test] New Specialized Tarmac SL7 [Italian]
The new Tarmac SL7 is a great climber who is also at ease on the flat when it comes to hitting the pedals.
S-Works Tarmac SL7 Review: Unraveling the History of the Tarmac, the All-Round Bike of Today and Beyond [Japanese]
In actual races…riders can rest assured that the SL7 has few weaknesses in each speed range. The vibration transmitted from the steering wheel does not leave a good impression.
S-Works Tarmac SL7 Review [Japanese]
The sprint was great.
If the Venge is a gorilla hammer, the Tarmac SL7 is a fencing rapier!
If the Venge is pork bone ramen, the Tarmac SL7 is straight salt!
If the Venge is the summer solstice, the Tarmac SL7 is the winter solstice! (?)
Unparalleled Overall Performance and Great Feeling on the Road: Specialized’s S-Works Tarmac SL7 Test [Japanese]
When the agility brought by the light frame – and the flexibility that the Rapide CLX boasts – are combined, the only words that leak from the mouth are “Wow, it’s crazy”.
A Venge Rider Tries to Ride the S-Works Tarmac SL7!
The Tarmac SL7 Really Made the Venge a Thing of the Past!? [Japanese]
Compared to the Venge, which accelerates gradually, the SL7 launches with a bang. I have a notion that I may attack without caution and burn myself out.
Information/Lecture: S-Works Tarmac SL7 vs. SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod
Performance/Speed Comparison [Korean]
I happen to have two all-round flagships. I bought a Tarmac SL7 last year and briefly compared it to the SuperSix Evo Ultegra I already owned… The SuperSix is a little harder and the Tarmac is a little softer… the SuperSix was 3 seconds faster …the power was 9 watts higher on average…as expected, there is little difference between the two bikes at the power level of the club.
Test – 2021 Specialized Tarmac SL7 Expert Road Bike [Polish]
Of course, it’s not like the Specialized SL7 is riding at 35 kph or providing 150W by itself. You have to pedal your own way, but remember that aerodynamic resistance increases exponentially in relation to speed, so even the smallest build detail counts significantly ….. and this build is very, very well thought out.
We Rode The New Tarmac SL7 [Portuguese]
It rides well; agile, precise and confident, while the front end is never twitchy at any time, which makes for a pleasant and easy-to-ride bike.
Specialized Tarmac SL7 Pro Ultegra Di2 Red Tint [Swedish]
I can state that the bike is fast and explosive. I also get a better effect on the bike when jerking and sprinting. Definitely aero and rolls great… I find this bike at least as fast even uphill. I think the bike is pretty too! The only thing that you should bear in mind is that this is not exactly a comfort bike.
First Pedal Strokes: New Specialized Tarmac SL7 (2021) [Spanish]
The truth is that now, myself, as someone who would always change something on all the bikes I’ve tried… I wouldn’t dare touch a single screw, because it would be impossible to make it better, let alone faster.