Founded in 1974, Specialized is one of the biggest and most popular bicycle brands. It produces a vast number of models covering a wide range of cycling disciplines, so to help guide you through the 2018 range and help you choose the right bike for you, here’s an overview of the US company’s latest bikes.
We've picked out highlights from the new range. You can see a list of the full range with prices here.
Specialized has just announced new disc-braked Tarmac models, so let's first have a quick look at them.
As we note below, the Tarmac SL6 was the big noise for 2018, and shortly after the rim-braked version debuted a disc-braked bike was introduced at the very top of the range, the S-Works Tarmac Disc (£9,250). Two bikes, in fact, as there's a Women's S-Works Tarmac Disc too, although the differences appear to be down to colour scheme, a woman's saddle and an additional, smaller size for the women's bike.
The new models fill out a range of SL6-based Tarmac Disc bikes and replace the previous SL5 Tarmac Disc models. Visually, the new bikes can be distinguished from the old ones by their dropped seatstays. Specialized has also changed the naming convention, so the bike that replaces the Tarmac Comp Disc is the Tarmac Disc Comp. Because that's not confusing at all.
The Tarmac Disc Pro (£5,750) is the most expensive of the new models and is built round the SL6 frame, but slightly detuned with the the of Fact 10r carbon fibre instead of the S-Works Tarmac Disc's Fact 12r. This keeps the price under control and will probably slightly increase the weight. It’s specced with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset including the cranks - Specialized has a habit of fitting its own carbon cranks with Praxis chainrings - and Roval CL 50 wheels. These use the same carbon rims as the pricier CLX 50s but use different hubs and internals and round spokes instead of flat aero spokes.
Next up, or rather down, is the Tarmac Disc Expert (£4,000). This is built on the same Fact 10r carbon fibre SL6 frame as the Tarmac Pro Disc, but has mechanical Shimano Ultegra shifting instead of the Pro's electronic gears. It has Roval C38 carbon tubeless wheels.
The Tarmac Disc Comp (£2,800) has the SL6 frame in FACT 9r carbon and mechanical Shimano Ultegra shifting with DT Swiss R470 wheels.
Finally, for those without stratospheric amounts of spare cash, there's the Tarmac Disc Sport (£2,000), with an SL6, FACT 9r carbon frame, Shimano 105 groupset and DT Swiss R470 wheels.
The Tarmac has long been the company’s go-to race bike, favoured by its many sponsorship professional cyclists and amateur racers alike. The big news for the 2018 range is the launch of the SL6, the latest and lightest Tarmac ever produced. The headline detail is a 733g frame, a 200g saving over the previous Sl5. You can read all about the tech details here and watch an unboxing of the top-end S-Works Tarmac here.
Specialized reserves its best for the fabled S-Works top-tier models, with the highest grade of carbon fibre used and the best components, picked to create what is in anyone's world, a superbike.
Top dog is the S-Works Tarmac Ultralight (£9,000) which sheds more weight over the regular versions by using a very thin paint finish that weighs just 10g!
For £8,500 the S-Works Tarmac uses the same FACT 12r carbon frame with a regular paint job, so trades in a bit of weight for slightly less impact on your bank balance. You get the same Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 spec with Roval CLX 50 wheels wheel. You can buy just the frameset, with the regular S-Works version costing £3,250 and the Ultralight one coming in at £3,450.
The cheapest of this new generation SL6 bike is the Tarmac Expert. It costs £3,500 with Shimano Ultegra, Roval SLX 24 wheels and 26mm wide S-Works Turbo tyres.
The previous SL5 still exists and props up the lower end of the Tarmac range. The most expensive is the Tarmac SL5 Expert and it costs £4,000 with Dura-Ace, so you have a choice between the latest and lightest frame or a higher spec groupset.
The most affordable Tarmac is the £1,500 Tarmac SL4, and as the name suggests its reverts to frame that is now two generations old, but it’s still a thoroughly commendable carbon frame with low weight and good levels of stiffness. This model wears a Shimano Tiagra build with DT R460 wheels.
There’s a small range of women's Tarmac bikes as well, and here Specialized has taken a different approach to the women-specific geometry of previous versions of the Tarmac, the Amira, and now uses a shared geometry for both genders. The only small difference is the women’s bikes go down to a size 44cm, the men’s only go down to 49cm.
Aside from that, the key differences are the contact points, so the saddle shape, handlebar width and stem length are adapted accordingly.
There are just two models in this women’s range though. The most expensive model is the Women’s S-Works Tarmac SL6, and it gets the same finish and Dura-Ace Di2 build as the men’s version of the same name. Even the £8,500 price is the same.
Next up is the Women’s Tarmac Expert (£3,500) with a full Shimano Ultegra R8000 mechanical groupset and Roval SLX 24 wheels.
For 2017 the Roubaix was been completely redesigned. The iconic bike has been through several design changes over the years, but this is the biggest change in direction yet. Gone are the Zertz inserts and in comes a novel suspension damper housed in the top of the head tube that aims to isolate the handlebar from bumps and cobbles. It's called Future Shock and it provides up to 20mm of suspension travel, and can be adjusted to suit different rider weights.
The Roubaix also provides more fit adjustability, and now offers a much more aggressive setup if you want it, with a 7mm lower stack, but you can still replicate the high handlebar position of the previous model if you want. It has developed a similar ViAS handlebar setup to the Venge, with an Aerofly handlebar providing a 15mm rise compared to a regular flat handlebar. The new Roubaix is also a disc-only bike and uses thru-axles front and rear and has space for 32mm tyres. It’s also the lightest Roubaix frame ever, with a claimed 900g for the S-Works compared to 960g of the old model, for a 56cm.
There are 10 models in the Roubaix range priced from £1,900 to £9,995.
The range-topping model is a limited edition S-Works Roubaix McLaren Dura-Ace Di2 (£9,995) but only ten are coming to the UK and most are sold now, so that’s a bit of a collectors bikes.
The S-Works Roubaix Dura-Ace Di2 (£9,500) packs the latest Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset with hydraulic dis brakes and S-Works carbon fibre chainset.
Plucking a bike from the mid-range, the Roubaix Expert Ultegra Di2 (£4,600) has an Ultegra R8000 Di2 groupset with Roval SLX 24 wheels and the same ingenious Swat Box as the S-Works, a removable compartment in the elbow of the down tube/seat tube junction for storing ride essentials.
Propping up the range is the Roubaix (£1,900) which has the same frame but made from a lower grade Fact 9r carbon, still with the Future Shock and a Shimano Tiagra groupset with TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes.
The Ruby is the women’s version of the Roubaix and features all the same tech, with frame sizes going down to 44cm, and seven models to choose from.
Top of the range is the S-Works Ruby eTap (£8,500) with a SRAM Red eTap HRD groupset and Roval CLX 32 Disc wheels.
At the other end of the range is the Ruby (£1,900) which uses a FACT 9r carbon frame and Shimano Tiagra groupset with Tektro Spyre mechanical disc brakes.
The aero bike in the company’s range, the big news for 2018 is not a change to the bike as such, but the fact that it’s now only available, in the UK at least, with disc brakes. There are four models ranging from £4,300 up to £9,000.
If you want the most expensive one, this S-Works Venge ViAS Disc Di2 (£9,000) is it. And what a stunning bike it is in this purple chameleon paint job. The Fact 11r carbon frame with 12mm thru-axles and flat mount disc brakes is shod with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9150 groupset with Roval CLX 64 Disc wheels.
Costing £4,300, the Venge Expert Disc swaps to a regular handlebar and stem, and while it’s not as aero nor as sleek looking, it does permit easier stack and reach adjustments. This model wears a Shimano Ultegra R8000 groupset with Roval SLX 24 Disc wheels.
For 2018 the Allez, Specialized’s aluminium line of road bikes, has been completely updated and takes a few style tips from the new Tarmac SL6.
A revised E5 aluminium frame and all-carbon fork drop the weight by 450g. As well as reducing weight, they’ve also relaxed the geometry to make it a better all-round bike well suited to new cyclists, and they’ve added mudguard and rack mounts. A thumbs up for those.
However, as of December 14, 2017 you won't find most Allez models in the shops, because Specialized has issued a recall. The company says it has found a problem with the forks on 2018 Allez, Allez Elite, and Allez Sport bikes. Specialized says nobody has been injured as a result of the problem, but potential fork failures are not something to take lightly.
Pick of the bunch and coming in just under a grand, ideal for the cycle to work scheme, the Allez Elite (£999) packs a Shimano 105 11-speed groupset, with an 11-32t cassette, DT R460 wheels and Espoir Sport 25mm tyres.
The Allez Sport (£799) and you get Shimano Sora 9-Speed and a Praxis Alba 2D chainset with Tektro Axis brakes.
The most affordable Allez (£599) is equipped with a Shimano 2000 Claris 8-speed groupset and Axis Sport wheels.
What happened to the aero Allez Sprint from last year. It’s still available, the Allez Sprint Comp (£1,600) uses the advanced D'Aluisio Smartweld Sprint Technology frame with aerodynamic features and a Shimano 105 groupset.
The Diverge was a well-received bike when it first arrived, which was at a time when the whole gravel and adventure style of riding was only just starting to take off. But after a few years of good reviews and sales, the Diverge has been completely updated to keep it abreast of the changing trends in this sector. It now takes bigger tyres, is disc brake only as before, now with 12mm thru-axles and flat mounts, but borrows the Future Shock from the Roubaix. It’s been adapted for off-roading with a firmer spring.
There are six models to choose from, three E5 aluminium bikes priced from £799 up to £1,500, though only the most expensive aluminium Diverge gets the Future Shock, and three carbon models from £2,000 up to £8,500.
The S-Works Diverge (£8,500) is the flagship bike in this new range and is packing some seriously hot equipment. There’s a Shimano XTR Di2 rear mech covering an 11-40t cassette with an Easton carbon single ring chainset. Tyres are 38mm wide Specialized Trigger Pros on Roval CLX 32 carbon wheels, and there’s even a CommandPost height adjustable seatpost. A very trick build.
A more modest option whilst keeping the carbon frame is the Diverge Sport (£2,000) which features a more conventional Praxis Alba 48/32t double chainset with Shimano Tiagra mechs and brake levers, with Tektro Spyre disc brakes.
To provide a more reasonable price whilst retaining the Future Shock, the Diverge Comp E5 (£1,500) swaps from carbon to an E5 aluminium frame. A mix of Shimano 105, Tektro Spyre and Praxis Alba 2D provide the going and stopping. Looks like a good bike to us.
This is the Diverge E5 (£799), the cheapest model in the new range. It does without the Future Shock but does retain most of the key features, such as the dropped rear stays, disc brakes and space for wide tyres, in this case 30mm Espoir Sports.
There are two dedicated women’s Diverge models to choose from, and they’re both E5 aluminium versions with all the same tech as the carbon bikes, including Future Tech, disc brakes and wide tyres. Sizes go down to a 44cm.
This is the Diverge E5 Comp (£1,500) and there’s also a cheaper Diverge E5 (£799).
The Sequoia is another adventure bike in the company’s range that is intended to sit alongside the Diverge as a less racy option more aimed at exploring and bikepacking riding, and there are mounts all over it for fitting racks and bags.
There are two models in the 2018 range. This, the Sequoia Elite (£1,750) is now the priciest option available in the UK with a 2x11 drivetrain comprising an FSA 48/32t chainset and Shimano 105 gears and brakes. Tyres are the company’s own 42mm wide Adventure Gear Sawtooth with a tubeless-ready design.
The Sequoia (£1,100) uses the same steel frame but swaps the carbon fork for one made from steel, and a Shimano Sora groupset takes care of shifting duties while Tektro Spyre disc brakes control your speed.
|Allez Sprint Comp||£1,600.00|
|Allez Sprint Frameset - Sagan Superstar Limited Edition||£1,300.00|
|Amira SL4 Comp||£2,500.00|
|Amira SL4 Sport||£1,750.00|
|CruX Expert X1||£3,900.00|
|CruX Elite X1||£3,000.00|
|CruX Frameset S-Works||£2,500.00|
|CruX Sport E5||£1,750.00|
|Diverge Men's S-Works||£8,500.00|
|Diverge Frameset Men's S-Works||£3,350.00|
|Diverge Comp Men's||£2,600.00|
|Diverge Sport Men's||£2,000.00|
|Diverge Comp E5 Men's||£1,500.00|
|Diverge E5 Comp Women's||£1,500.00|
|Diverge E5 Sport Men's||£1,000.00|
|Diverge E5 Men's||£799.00|
|Diverge E5 Women's||£799.00|
|Roubaix McLaren Dura-Ace Di2 S-Works||£9,995.00|
|Roubaix Dura-Ace Di2 S-Works||£9,500.00|
|Roubaix SRAM eTap S-Works||£9,000.00|
|Roubaix Expert Ultegra Di2||£4,600.00|
|Roubaix Sagan Superstar Frameset S-Works||£3,350.00|
|Roubaix Frameset S-Works||£3,250.00|
|Ruby eTap S-Works||£8,500.00|
|Ruby Expert Ultegra Di2||£4,600.00|
|Shiv TT Module S-Works||£4,500.00|
|S-Works Tarmac Disc||£9,250.00|
|Tarmac Disc Pro||£5,750.00|
|Tarmac Disc Expert||£4,000.00|
|Tarmac Disc Comp||£2,800.00|
|Tarmac Disc Sport||£2,000.00|
|Tarmac Ultralight Men's S-Works||£9,000.00|
|Tarmac Men's S-Works||£8,500.00|
|Tarmac Women's S-Works||£8,500.00|
|Tarmac Pro Men's||£5,400.00|
|Tarmac Sagan Superstar Frameset Men's S-Works||£4,500.00|
|Tarmac SL5 Expert DA Men's||£4,000.00|
|Tarmac Expert Women's||£3,500.00|
|Tarmac SL6 Expert Men's||£3,500.00|
|Tarmac Ultralight Frameset Men's S-Works||£3,450.00|
|Tarmac Frameset Men's S-Works||£3,250.00|
|Tarmac Frameset Men's S-Works||£3,250.00|
|Tarmac Frameset Women's S-Works||£3,250.00|
|Tarmac Comp Men's||£2,600.00|
|Tarmac Elite Men's||£2,000.00|
|Tarmac Sport Men's||£1,750.00|
|Venge ViAS Disc Di2 S-Works||£9,000.00|
|Venge ViAS Disc eTap S-Works||£8,500.00|
|Venge Pro Disc||£6,700.00|
|Venge Expert Disc||£4,300.00|
|Venge ViAS Frameset—Sagan Superstar S-Works||£3,350.00|
|Venge ViAS Frameset S-Works||£3,250.00|
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David worked on the road.cc tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes.