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Pro bike: Vincenzo Nibali’s Astana Specialized Tarmac SL4 + videos

WorldTour 2013 bike: A close look at Nibali’s SL4 equipped with Campagnolo Record EPS and some of the lightest wheels in the peloton

This is Vincenzo Nibali’s Specialized Tarmac SL4, the bike raced by his Astana team for the past couple of seasons. In this video you can get a nice close look at the details of his bike and set up, including the Campagnolo Record EPS groupset, Corima all-carbon wheels and slammed 13cm stem.

Peter Sagan had a very good view of the back of Nibali’s Tarmac SL4 when the Italian rider made his decisive move on the wet roads of the penultimate stage of the recent Tirreno-Adriatico, even finding traction on the 30% climb that saw many of the peloton forced to dismount.

This fourth generation Tarmac SL has been in Specialized’s range since 2011, so we sort of half expect an update on it this year, particularly following the aero developments of the Venge in more recent years and updated Roubaix SL4 last year. It shares the same geometry as the Venge, but with a frame designed with stiffness and lightness as key priorities. (At the risk of over-dosing on Tarmac SL 4 goodness, and as an interesting comparison check out or video look round Alexandre Vinokourov's bike from the 2011 Tour de France - which we've added in below.)

Up front is a tapered head tube with a 1-3/8in lower bearing coupled with a 1 1/8in upper bearing race. This allowed Specialized to design a lighter fork, and cut a bit of weight from the frame and fork package. The head tube has an odd squished sort of looking. The top tube is heavily shaped, the dropouts are hollow carbon and the chainstays are tapered throughout their length, all in an effort to increase the stiffness over the previous SL frame.

The Astana team switched from SRAM Red of last year to Campagnolo, and Nibali’s bike is fitted with a Record EPS 11-speed groupset (not Super Record as the voice over inaccurately claims). The only deviation is the fitment of Specialized's own carbon crankset, in place of Campagnoo's.

FSA supply their the K-Force finish kit. A carbon post is a common sight in the peloton, but we are used to seeing aluminium bars and stems in place of carbon, but Nibali bucks this trend, choosing FSA’s light carbon models. Saddle choice is very personal and Nibali is comfortable on a Fizik Antares.

The wheels are the star of the bike. French firm Corima’s Aero+ MCC wheels feature an all-carbon 40mm rim construction with just 12 carbon spokes per wheel, and a complete weight of just 1,080g (460g front, 620g rear). The hubs are carbon too, and inside are low friction high precision bearings. There’s an integrated magnet in each rim for supplying a computer with speed sensor data. They wheels are shod with Specialized tubular tyres.

See the whole peloton of WorldTour bikes here.

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of 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

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