Team Bike 2017: Quickstep’s Specialized Tarmac
Gianluca Brambilla’s Specialized Tarmac
Bike sizing info
Manufacturer’s size: 52cm
Saddle height (from BB): 708mm
Handlebar height: 865mm
Drop: 131mm Reach: 535mm
Saddle setback: 60mm
Pro since: 2010 Age: 29
Height: 170cm Weight: 57kg
See the full feature, all 18 bikes from the 2017 WorldTour peloton, in #RIDE75 – on sale in newsagents around Australia now!
This is one of two outfits in the WorldTour supplied by Specialized bikes. In a lot of ways it’s a quite similar set-up to the other sponsored team in 2017, Bora-Hansgrohe. The big difference in January was that Quick-Step only opted for one style of bike to be sent to the Tour Down Under, the S-Works Tarmac. With a significant weight advantage over the Venge, this bike is a kilogram lighter than Peter Sagan’s Venge (p.78).
The big news in terms of equipment is that Quick-Step is the first WorldTour team to win races on bikes fitted with disc brakes. This is courtesy of Fernando Gaviria and Tom Boonen (in Argentina) and Marcel Kittel (in Dubai), each time on a Specialized Venge.
The disc brake successes involved being able to go fast in sprints; stopping power had little to do with performance. In terms of product evolution, it is historic… but it hasn’t eased the passion that is associated with the debate about this product. Clearly, it’s something the industry wants and, depending on who you listen to, the riders either hate the idea, love it… or, frankly don’t really care about it at all.
The team uses a relative new power meter to our market, the 4iii fitted to the standard Dura-Ace 9000 crank.
The Ceramic Speed sponsored team uses that brand’s ceramic bearings throughout: on the hubs of Roval CLX50 wheels, the bottom bracket, as well as headset. Asked about the headset the team mechanic, Rune Kristensen, said: “It seems to last a lot longer, which is good for us.
“After testing in Roubaix last year, the riders found that they felt better for steering in the rough conditions.”
I have only seen a handful of ceramic headset bearings; to hear about an advantage beyond longevity is surprising and something I am interested to test out myself.
FSA parts finish this build. With the S-Works Tarmac frames being so light the team uses an alloy handlebar and stem to keep the bike above the legal limit.
With a 120mm stem the bike looks low and aggressive. (The cap states ‘Body Geometry’ on the top, indicating that the rider has done a Specialized fit, set up on their bikes, a nice touch from a big brand.) Supacaz takes care of the handlebar tape duties and seems to be going down very well with the team. “All the guys love it,” says Kristensen, “it is very comfortable and soft… and it also looks pretty cool.” The tape is finished off with some neat fabric adhesive ends adding a nice touch for a really affordable upgrade.
The Tarmac is a frame that seems to have been around for a long time and it is a reliable performer. The company is pushing the limits with other designs and meanwhile the professional riders are happy to race this frame with only a few minor amendments made to the product you can buy.
The bike of the Quick-Step team looks great with its smooth lines and it incorporates a fantastic build. In reality, like with many of the bikes in this feature, however, what is on offer for you and me (ie. the Specialized customer) is even better than what the pros race on.
– By Lachlan McKillop