Tour de France Tech 2014: Nicholas Roche's Specialized Tarmac S-Works McLaren

New frame developed with McLaren is 10% lighter than regular Tarmac and will debut at the Tour de France

by David Arthur   July 2, 2014  

Following the recent launch of their new Tarmac, Specialized have this week released the S-Works McLaren version of the bike, and Nicholas Roche will be riding it at the Tour de France. He’s the only rider on the Tinkoff-Saxo team lucky enough to be picked to ride the new bike.

The new S-Works McLaren will cost a reported $15,000 (we'll verify the price once we've spoken to Specialized) and be limited to just 250. The bike features many changes to the standard Tarmac as a result of Specialized's partnership with McLaren, the automotive company lending Specialized their expertise in carbon fibre development and manufacture.

Changes to the carbon fibre layup of the frame have resulted in a 9% - 11% weight decrease compared to the regular Tarmac, depending on frame size. This isn’t the first time Specialized have worked with McLaren, they also got together for the development of the Venge and and the aero time trial helmet.

Like the regular Tarmac, the S-Works McLaren frame features their new size-specific sizing which they call “Rider-First Engineered.” This sees each size frame in the lineup being specifically designed to meet the demands of different height riders. You can read about all the details of the new Tarmac here.

The production S-Works McLaren, finished in a McLaren Papaya Spark Orange paint finish with silver decals, will be built with a Dura-Ace Di2 groupset with a new version of their S-Works chainset that features a carbon fibre spider saving a claimed 10g. It’s colour matched to the frame.

The bike Roche is riding however is built with a Sram Red 22 groupset, because the team are sponsored by Sram. He’s riding an 11-28 cassette and long cage rear mech which should help on the Yorkshire hills, with a double 53/39 chainset. Tyres are Specialized All Round 24mm tubular tyres, continuing the trend for wider tyres in the pro peloton.

It’s not only the frame that gets special treatment, the Roval CLX40 wheels, which feature on the production bike and which Roche will ride on, have a different carbon layup claimed to save 40g per rim. They’ve also reduced the spoke count  from 18 front, 24 rear to 16 front, 21 rear. Total wheel weight is a claimed 1,150g.

His saddle of choice is a Prologo Zero CPC, atop a carbon Zipp seatpost. Up front he uses aluminium Zipp Service Course SL handlebars and stem, wrapped in Specialized bar tape. Bottle cages are carbon fibre Tacx numbers.

His bike was fitted with a handlebar mount for an SRM, but when we shot the bike there was no SRM Powermeter, just a regular S-Works chainset with Sram chainrings. Perhaps they’ve yet to swap over to the SRM Powermeter?The team mechanic did tell us that they’ve yet to add his name decals to the top tube, and Roche was presumably out riding when we visited the team hotel, so we presume they'll change that before Saturday.

Back to the production bike. As we said it’ll be limited to just 250 and you have to register to purchase it on their website. You also get quite a few extras, as you'd hope for such a staggering price tag. This includes a second complete set of CLX40 carbon clinchers for training, custom sized, colour matched S-Works Road Shoes as well as a colour matched S-Works Prevail helmet and a specially designed wall mount display developed exclusively for the S-Works McLaren Tarmac to hold the bike, shoes, and helmet. You also get a BodyGeometry Fit consultation with a qualified Specialized representative and the final detail is a personalized nameplate and certificate of authenticity .

We bumped into CermicSpeed Managing Director Martin Banke while photographing the bike, and he informed us that this is the first production bike to feature their coated bottom bracket and hub bearings as standard. These use their ceramic bearings contained in specially coated bearing races which they claim, as they would, are significantly faster. There are regular ceramic bearings in the headset.

24 user comments

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sweeeet!!!

posted by matcad [2 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 18:20

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Now I wouldn't say no to one of those!

posted by Super Domestique [1592 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 18:31

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What a gorgeous bike Love Struck

....perhaps if I'm a good boy for the rest of the year santa might leave one in my stocking

but if I dare to criticise... white handlebar tape?

FATBEGGARONABIKE's picture

posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [570 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 18:38

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According to BR (sorry Wink ) it'll be £16k ($20k) and only 10 of the 250 will hit the UK. You also get shoes and helmet so a bargain really!

posted by Super Domestique [1592 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 18:40

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lovely bike but the white bar tape looks terrible!

posted by hampstead_bandit [118 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 19:57

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Not too clued up on these things but the saddle looks awfully far behind the bottom bracket - are there not quite strict UCI rules on this?

posted by eoin999 [3 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 20:14

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I am not really a fan, prefer the regular sworks Tarmac

Specialized Allez 2009, Campagnolo Centaur 10, Campagnolo Shamal Wheels. 8.3kg

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posted by Miles253 [193 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 21:36

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Yeah!
'Cos that'll get my fat arse up hills a lot quicker.

posted by herohirst [55 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 21:49

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eoin999 wrote:
Not too clued up on these things but the saddle looks awfully far behind the bottom bracket - are there not quite strict UCI rules on this?

I think the rules are to prevent the saddle moving too far forward in relation the the bottom bracket, like you'd see on a TT bike. Nothing a simple morphological dispensation note can't fix, like it does 80% of the peloton on TT day.

posted by Nick T [752 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 22:52

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Anyway, what's this new thing for getting car manufacturers to put their name to a frame? This McLaren, the Pinarello Jaguar - I wouldn't buy a car that Raleigh put their name to, or a tennis racquet that Nissan did the layup for, or skis that Bentley assisted in the design of.

posted by Nick T [752 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 22:57

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Where does the bag of potatoes go to bring it up to the UCI weight limit?

posted by NikoD [2 posts]
2nd July 2014 - 23:53

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Does it have eyes for mudguard and rack mounts?

posted by SteppenHerring [168 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 3:03

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No, but it does come with a handy rear wheel balancing device as seen in the first photo.

Comrade's picture

posted by Comrade [133 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 4:07

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"the S-Works McLaren frame features their new size-specific sizing"

It's good to see technology pushing the envelope. The old sizing technique was really showing its age.

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posted by Didonc [14 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 9:11

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Weight-wise, how does the stack up against the new Trek? Are they carrying lead?

Sweet looking bike though

posted by Al__S [488 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 9:13

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Nick T wrote:
Anyway, what's this new thing for getting car manufacturers to put their name to a frame?

Fucking great wind tunnels and shit loads of experience with carbon layup for extremely high-performance vehicles ? I can think of worse people to help with bicycle frame manufacture and design.

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posted by fukawitribe [296 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 9:26

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McLaren should start a offshoot to produce their own bikes like McLaren Automotive has done for road cars.

posted by earth [64 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 10:20

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All that money spent on developing a 15 grand bike and they take photos in the staff car park with some punter holding it up by the back wheel!?!

posted by Beatnik69 [34 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 10:23

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Quote:
McLaren Papaya Spark Orange paint finish

And then they lost me...

posted by finbar [86 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 10:46

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Nick T wrote:
Anyway, what's this new thing for getting car manufacturers to put their name to a frame? This McLaren, the Pinarello Jaguar - I wouldn't buy a car that Raleigh put their name to, or a tennis racquet that Nissan did the layup for, or skis that Bentley assisted in the design of.

Who helped develop the bike that Chris Boardman made his name on in 1992?

Lotus I believe.

Hardly new is it?

posted by freespirit1 [141 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 10:49

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Confirmation that it is £16k

http://www.specialized.com/gb/gb/sworksmclaren/

posted by Super Domestique [1592 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 17:46

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well I have to say my Tarmac Elite SL4 is a thing of beauty in terms of ride quality, its simply sublime especially when cornering hard on descents

so this McLaren can only be better...but at a huge price for sure!

we sold 9 McLaren Venge bikes in my last job (at a concept store) which was a global sales record; there is certainly a market for "Halo" bikes out there

posted by hampstead_bandit [118 posts]
3rd July 2014 - 19:28

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So Nico Roche's bike only lasted one and a half stages of the Tour de France. Now there are only 249. Buy 'em while socks last!

posted by Chris James [159 posts]
8th July 2014 - 11:29

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Chris James wrote:
So Nico Roche's bike only lasted one and a half stages of the Tour de France. Now there are only 249. Buy 'em while socks last!

Did he crash it? Please tell me no....

Extra bike? What extra bike dear?

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posted by goggy [86 posts]
8th July 2014 - 14:14

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