Demi Vollering of Team SD Worx won the Tour de France Femmes Avec Zwift at the weekend and here (main pic) is the Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 she rode for most of the race – aside from the final day’s time trial. She was presented with a yellow version of the bike to reflect her race winner's jersey.
Yellow bike pics: @tornanti_cc
Vollering has had a stellar year, winning Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne Féminine and Liège–Bastogne–Liège Femmes, and also becoming the Dutch national road race champion. She took the yellow jersey in the Tour de France Femmes on the penultimate stage, dropping her rivals on the Tourmalet.
Specialized announced the S-Works Tarmac SL7 back in July 2020, calling it “one bike to rule them all”. The US brand declared that the era of offering the choice between a climbing bike and an aero bike was over. With some notable exceptions – such as Pinarello – most brands had been offering two top-end road platforms for years.
“We have the technical ability to create a bike that's as aero as rules allow and as light as rules allow in a single package,” said Specialized’s Cam Piper at the time. “Anything else would be forcing riders to make a compromise on race day, and we just weren’t okay with that anymore.”
Specialized has since launched the super-light Aethos, but the influence of the S-Works Tarmac SL7 has been huge. Over the three years since its launch, loads of other brands have made their lightweight bikes more aero and/or their aero bikes more lightweight. We’re thinking about bikes like the Cannondale SuperSix Evo, the Factor O2 VAM, and the yet-to-be-released new model from Ridley, amongst many, many others.
The bike world is pretty certain that Specialized is planning to launch a Tarmac SL8 soon. That would fit with the brand’s usual product cycle and various pictures have been floating around that show Soudal Quick-Step riders training on a new model. We can’t tell you for certain that an updated Tarmac is on the way, but put it this way: no one would be at all surprised.
When will we see it raced for the first time? Well, we have the World Champs coming up and then the Vuelta a España, so take your pick.
SD Work riders use SRAM’s top-level Red eTap AXS groupsets, the chainset coming with integrated Quarq DZero power measurement. This bike is fitted with 48/35t chainrings, although the choice will vary according to the terrain.
The team has switched wheels from SRAM-owned Zipp to Specialized-owned Roval this year. This is a Rapide CLX wheelset fitted with Specialized's Turbo Cotton tyres.
Vollering uses a Specialized Roval Rapide cockpit and that's a Specialized S-Works Power with Mirror saddle with carbon rails. Even the saddle's little S logo is in yellow.
Vollering’s pedals are from Time, which is a brand that’s in the SRAM stable. The XPRO 12s use Time’s i-Clic system which means the retention mechanism is open when there’s no cleat in place. Engagement is really simple. The pedals have a carbon body and titanium axle with a fairing at the bottom that’s designed to improve aerodynamics and protect the carbon blade. Time claims a weight of 94g per pedal.
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 road.cc 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.