SPECIALIZED ROUBAIX SL8 EXPERT VS SPECIALIZED TARMAC SL8 EXPERT
In this review, we'll be comparing two specialized bikes: the Roubaix SL8 Expert and the Tarmac SL8 Expert.
The Roubaix SL8 Expert excels in endurance, featuring a design that emphasizes comfort for longer rides.
On the other hand, the Tarmac SL8 Expert is tailored for racing performance, offering aerodynamic savings, agility and speed.
Both bikes showcase advanced technology and engineering, and this comparison will highlight their unique features, advantages, and suitability for different types of cyclists.
Suitable events for each bike:
Roubaix SL8 Expert:
- Endurance rides
- Cobbles and Rough road cycling
- Light gravel adventures
- Long distance cycling
Tarmac SL8 Expert:
- Road races
- Competitive cycling events
- Climbing stages in races
- Fast, aggressive riding scenarios
Jump to conclusion
1. Price | Weight | Material
2. Frame and Fork
5. Wheels and Tyres
6. Cockpit and Seat
The Roubaix weighs 850 grams more than the Tarmac.
The Roubaix employs the Future Shock 3.0 system, which provides 20mm of front travel. Unlike typical suspension systems that use stanchions in the forks, this design positions the travel above the headset, resulting in only the handlebars moving up and down. This unique setup makes it somewhat unusual in appearance, and a bit of an acquired taste.
The Tarmac lacks front suspension, focusing primarily on aerodynamic improvements to the headtube area. The resulting pronounced hump being refered to as the "speed sniffer nose cone." While its appearance may seem weird to look at, even to the point of initially being mistaken for a joke when the bike broke cover, Specialized's data suggests that the sharper leading edge of the head tube significantly reduces drag. According to their information, it can save 16.6 seconds over a 40km distance, a performance gain that is quite significant.
In terms of geometry, the differences are clear: in size 56, the Roubaix is 21mm longer, has a 40mm higher stack, 6mm shorter reach, a half-degree slacker head angle, 10mm longer chainstays, and a 6mm lower bottom bracket compared to the Tarmac. These differences contribute to the Roubaix feeling more stable and confident, particularly on rough terrain. Conversely, the Tarmac's geometry makes it more agile and suited for racing. These contrasts are easily observed in the BIKOTIC visual comparison tool at the top of the page.
The Roubaix features a dropped seat clamp design to enhance deflection. In simpler terms, this means it provides greater compliance, resulting in a more comfortable ride on rough terrain.
Regarding gears, the Roubaix is equipped with 46/33T front chainrings, while the Tarmac, aiming for slightly higher speeds, comes with 48/35T chainrings. Both models use a 10-36 rear cassette. You can see the detailed gearing comparison using the BIKOTIC visual comparison tool at the top of the page.
Both bikes are equipped with carbon wheelsets. The Roubaix uses the Roval Terra C 32mm deep wheelset, priced at £1150.00, with a total weight of 1610 grams and an inner rim width of 25mm. The Tarmac features the Roval Rapide C38 wheelset, slightly less expensive at £999.00, weighing 1560 grams and having an inner rim width of 21mm.
Both bikes are fitted with Specialized's own brand tires, with the Roubaix featuring 32mm wide tires and the Tarmac equipped with 26mm wide tires, indicative of their intended uses.
The Tarmac is equipped with a Quarq power meter. As for the Roubaix, although it's not clearly visible in the photograph, the bike's specifications list it as 'w/Power,' suggesting it might include a power meter, although this is not definitively confirmed.
The Roubaix features exposed cables, while the Tarmac seems to utilize the SL7's stem design, where cables are routed beneath the stem and then enter the large headtube through the top cap.
It's worth noting that the Roubaix is equipped with mounting bolts on the top tube and under the downtube, providing a variety of bike packing options.
In conclusion, both the Roubaix SL8 Expert and the Tarmac SL8 Expert are exceptional bikes, each tailored to specific cycling experiences. The Roubaix SL8 Expert, with its endurance-focused design, is ideal for riders who seek comfort on long rides, rough roads, and light gravel adventures. Its capability to handle various terrains and its adaptability for long-distance cycling make it a top choice for endurance enthusiasts.
Conversely, the Tarmac SL8 Expert shines in the realm of racing and speed. Its design caters to those who thrive in competitive settings, excelling in road races and climbing challenges. The bike's blend of aerodynamics, lightweight construction, and stiffness makes it a formidable contender in fast and aggressive riding situations.
Ultimately, the choice between the Roubaix SL8 Expert and the Tarmac SL8 Expert depends on the rider's preferences and the type of cycling they are passionate about. Both bikes stand as testaments to advanced cycling technology and design, offering distinct experiences to suit different cycling aspirations.....all be it with eye watering price tags.