The Perfect Custom Bicycle: Expert Tips for an S-Works Tarmac SL8 Build

The Perfect Custom Bicycle: Expert Tips for an S-Works Tarmac SL8 Build

At time of writing this is the hottest bike in town, the Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL8. A long time customer sourced the frameset and bars and had them sent straight to our workshop. It was then up to us to swap components from another bike (which we also built for him) to the SL8 and plumb in the brand new Roval Rapide Cockpit.

Specialized claim a frameset weight of 685 grams (around 115 grams lighter than the SL7), and that the SL8 is around 16 seconds faster than the SL7 over 40 kilometers (45km/h average speed).  This build, size 56, with full Dura Ace 9270 (including DA powermeter cranks) came in at 7.09kgs.

Specialized Tarmac SL8 Custom

The new Roval Rapide Cockpit feels impressively stiff and has a really nice matte finish. The matching headset spacers look super sleek but beware the very tight fit with the hydro cable routing when setting up the bars. We also noted that unlike other integrated aero bar/stem combos on the market (e.g. BlackInc, Deda Alanera), the hydro lines actually exit the underside of the bars and run briefly along the underside of the stem before entering the headset through a hole in the top spacer.

Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL8 Headset
As with many fully integrated bikes these days, the front hydraulic hose gets snagged entering the window cut into the fork steerer as you settle the barstem and spacers into their final position.  Some light grease on the hose / edge of the steerer hole is well advised to help with this. 

Roval Rapide Cockpit

The front view of the bike screams "aerodynamics" and the feel of the bars when putting the power down is super solid with just the right amount of spring.

Roval Rapide Cockpit

Specialized's edits to the frontal area of the headtube are the talk of the town but if it adds up to "faster" then I suppose who can argue? 

There are some upgrades planned but the build features full Dura Ace 9270 with Dura Ace PM, Burgh Cycling bar tape, some seriously up-specced absolutleBlack GRAPHENpads, the latest release Dura Ace C60 wheelset, GP5000 cream sidewall tyres running Ride Now TPU inner tubes, a Ceramic Speed OSPW, a BSA threaded C-Bear Ceramic bottom bracket and an S-Works 3D printed saddle.

absolutleBlack GRAPHENpads®

This bike is a weapon and with Carbon-Ti chainrings and disc rotors as well as an SRM Origin 9 power meter and a Princeton Wheels in its future it's set to get even faster and lighter.


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