Like this site? Help us to make it better.


Tour Tech 2016: Alberto Contador’s Specialized S-Works Tarmac

Tinkoff rider's bike has a chrome finish and some special one-off features

Twice Tour de France winner Alberto Contador crashed on both stages one and two of this year’s race but he’s battling on despite his injuries. The Tinkoff rider is racing most stages on this Specialized S-Works Tarmac with a special chrome finish.

Alberto Contador Specialized TdF 2.JPG

The frame is made from carbon-fibre, of course – what Specialized calls its FACT (Functional Advanced Composite Technology) carbon. It is built to a compact design with a sloping top tube. It also comes with a tapered head tube, and the cables run internally.

Alberto Contador Specialized TdF 26.JPG

One of the major talking points, though, is the chrome finish that Specialized has given to the down tube, seat tube and head tube, and also to much of the top tube and fork. Applying the very thin layer of chrome is a very labour intensive and expensive process, but if you want something this eye-catching, that’s what it takes. 

Alberto Contador Specialized TdF 24.JPG

The stays and the bottoms of the fork legs are black, separated from the chrome by yellow, pink and red stripes. As you could probably work out for yourself, those colours represent the leader’s jerseys in each of the Grand Tours: the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana, respectively. Contador is one of only six riders in history to have won all three, the others being Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Eddy Merckx (naturally), Bernard Hinault, and Vincenzo Nibali.

Alberto Contador Specialized TdF 22.JPG

Specialized will make about 50 or 60 frames in this finish available to the public, although they won’t be cheap. That’s just rain you can see on the surface in some of the pictures, by the way. The finish itself is impeccable. Look carefully and you can see Dave’s reflection as he took the photos.

Alberto Contador Specialized TdF 19.JPG

FSA has continued the colour theme on the OS 99 aluminium stem and K-Force handlebar. The bar is made from unidirectional carbon-fibre reinforced with Kevlar.

Alberto Contador Specialized TdF 5.JPG

The seatpost is FSA K-Force too, and it’s also made from carbon-fibre, That little graphic alongside Contador’s name on the frame sticker is a hand in the shape of a gun, a reference to his El Pistolero nickname and his victory salute.

Alberto Contador Specialized TdF 4.JPG

The Prologo Nago Evo PAS saddle has the same colour scheme as the frame, including the stripes, and it’s personalised with Contador’s name in several places..

Alberto Contador Specialized TdF 28.JPG

Tinkoff Saxo is sponsored by Shimano so all riders use Dura-Ace groupsets. Unusually, this bike is equipped with the mechanical version rather than with Di2 electronic shifters and derailleurs. Why? It’s apparently largely down to the mechanic. Contador’s mechanic prefers to work with mechanical components and Alberto is happy to go along with that. 

Alberto Contador Specialized TdF 8.JPG

This is existing Dura-Ace 9000, by the way, rather than the new Dura-Ace 9100 that was announced last week. The teams aren’t expecting to take delivery of 9100 until the off-season and are hoping to get plenty of time on it before the 2017 season begins.

Alberto Contador Specialized TdF 6.JPG

Contador uses 172.5mm cranks and this bike is equipped with a 53/39T chainset. Those are Look Keo Blade 2 pedals on there.

Alberto Contador Specialized TdF 12.JPG

The distinctive cables are Alligator i-Link – a system that we reviewed here on a few years ago. 

Alberto Contador Specialized TdF 9.JPG

Specialized’s Roval CLX 40 wheels have 40mm-deep carbon-fibre rims, carbon/alloy hubs, and they spin on CeramicSpeed bearings. CeramicSpeed also provides the bottom bracket and headset bearings. 

The tyres are Specialized’s own S-Works Turbo Gripton tubulars in a 24mm width. 

For mountain stages Contador will use some other tyres that are made with a 290TPI poly-cotton casing and Specialized’s own Gripton rubber composition. They’re designed to be extremely lightweight (260g), with low inertia. The idea is that they’ll accelerate fast and will be particularly useful when trying to jump away from a group on the climbs. Not all riders will get these, just GC hopefuls like Contador. They're going to have to make a big, big difference to get him back into contention from the position he's in right now.

Alberto Contador Specialized TdF 13.JPG

The flip-side of the low weight is a lack of durability. It'll depend on conditions but Specialized expect a lifetime of just 1200km (750 miles).

Only about 200 of these tyres will be made available to the public (perhaps only because pro racers have to use products that the rest of us are able to buy) at a retail price of €79.90 each.

Alberto Contador Specialized TdF 11.JPG

Anything we’ve missed? The bottle cages are carbon-fibre Tacx Devas, and K-Edge provides the chain catcher.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

Add new comment


Yorkshire wallet | 7 years ago


The kid from the 80s in me loves a bit of chrome. Never did get that Harry Leary Turbo I wanted. ...

Rapha Nadal | 7 years ago

I am very much in love with this bike!  I wonder how much the production frames will be?!

othello | 7 years ago

Any idea of rear cassette size? 


Bertie seems to like keeping the chain in the big ring and running a wider rear cassette, rather than dropping to the inner on the climbs .

clayfit | 7 years ago

what are those cables?  Nokon?

aladdin pain | 7 years ago

Until six years ago I read BikeSnobNYC daily and he used to point out the "disembodied hand" technique of holding a bike upright in a photo.  It's not often we're treated to a disembodied hand in a pro bike pictorial. 

Yorky-M | 7 years ago

love the chrome finish

Nemesis | 7 years ago
1 like

That'll be the bike with all the scuff marks then....

StraelGuy | 7 years ago

You didn't mention the bar tape Mat, it looks like it has at least 2 layers?

Latest Comments