The Specialized Tarmac, Part II

IMG_0071The Tarmac’s massive tapered fork steerer requires a 1.5-inch lower bearing.

After doing some group rides in which I knew the roads well, I ventured out to do some of the longer rides that take in some climbing and descending. I started with gentler roads with sweeping turns. The bike had a complete and utter lack of the nervousness I feared would characterize this bike’s handling above 30 mph. It was stable at 40 mph and turned in easily.

Next, I took it north to Malibu’s challenging canyon roads. If ever there was a place where a bike will demonstrate a weakness in how it handles in turns, Malibu is it. Turns come in rapid succession and very few of the roads can be descended safely without touching your brakes. Toss in a little off-camber action here and there plus the odd decreasing-radius turn and you have a veritable buffet of cornering challenges.

It was in Malibu that the Tarmac surprised me. What I expected isn’t what I’ve encountered with so many crit bikes: You get them above 40 mph and the front end starts to get loose. I’ve never understood the phenomenon, especially considering on paper it shouldn’t be happening. However, just what that phenomenon is will be addressed in a different post devoted just to trail.

Here’s the important part: At speeds above 40 mph the Tarmac was rock solid. What’s more, it remained easy to turn in. I have experienced the opposite of some crit bikes, bikes that were so rock solid in a straight line they resisted turning in—at all. The experience was a little like trying to drive a Greyhound bus through a parking garage at 50 mph. Showing Kim Jong Il the value of civil liberties would be both easier—and safer.

By the time I reached the bottom of Tuna Canyon Road the first time I descended it on the Tarmac, all of my assumptions about the Tarmac’s handling had been tossed aside like an unfinished energy bar. I concluded that the Tarmac was the heir to the handling I’ve always believed to be part of Specialized’s brand identity. I have yet to ride a touring bike that handled half as well as my Expedition and if you want to know how elegantly a lightweight cross country bike can handle, just climb on a Stumpjumper. The Tarmac redefined what I think a sport bike can be expected to deliver.

IMG_0070_3The Tarmac’s stiff fork is key to its great handling.

One aspect of the Tarmac’s handling that really can’t be overly emphasized is its stiffness. There are stiffer bikes out there, but I think the Tarmac offers spectacular stiffness for those of us who don’t generate 1000 watts (let alone more) in a sprint. Steering is particularly crisp with this bike, in part due to the tapered steerer which uses a 1.5-inch bearing at the bottom race and a standard 1.125-inch bearing at the top. This also increases stiffness in torsion by allowing the engineers to design a larger diameter down tube to mate to the rather enormous head tube.

My one and only quibble with this bike is its road sensitivity. The Tarmac SL is meant to be different from the Roubaix in two ways: comfort and handling. While the handling is sufficiently differentiated, I do have an issue (a small one) with one component of the Tarmac SL’s comfort. It doesn’t seem to me that the Tarmac SL should damp as much vibration it does. My basis for comparison in this regard are some other bikes in this price range that offer more road feel; they are few, but they are there. Getting this particular balance right is a colossal challenge, though; I think the SL2 delivers great road feel but is too stiff. The SL gets the stiffness right, but would benefit from a touch more sensitivity. My limited time on the SL3 says they got the whole package right.

With the introduction of the new Amira model—the women’s version of the Tarmac, which is built with women’s proportions in mind—Specialized can lay claim to producing the Tarmac in more sizes than any other bike company offers for a production road bike—11. The Tarmac is produced in six sizes, while the Amira is offered in five. And despite the crazy assertion by Giant CFO Bonnie Tu that no other company is designing bikes for women, Specialized’s commitment to women is arguably deeper than any other bike company going, with four road models and five off-road models.

IMG_0070_2The curving top tube is a key design cue of Specialized’s road bikes.

Like the Roubaix Pro, the Tarmac Pro is equipped with a Dura-Ace drivtrain save for the S-Works carbon fiber crank. Unlike the Roubaix, the Tarmac’s S-Works crank is equipped with 53t and 39t chainrings. Ultegra brakes do the stopping.

The Tarmac Pro rolls on Fulcrum Racing 1 wheels. The wheels are fairly light, boasting a claimed weight of 1485g for the pair, but what most surprised me is that in more than 2000 miles of riding at this writing, they are as true as the words from a Boy Scouts lips. It is reasonable, in my opinion to conclude that Fulcrum’s 2:1 ratio of drive spokes to non-drive spokes does substantially aid the wheel by equalizing spoke tension. This is even more impressive when you consider that the front wheel has but 16 spokes and the rear has 21. I’ve had whisky that wasn’t this stiff.

The tires deserve some mention as well. The 700×23 S-Works Mondos feature a Kevlar bead and Flak Jacket protection combined with a 127 tpi casing. This tire ought to be unremarkable, and surprisingly, it corners like an architect’s T-square and I have yet to get a single flat. That’s as unlikely as a zero-calorie beer that tastes like a fine IPA.

Changes from 2009 to 2010 for the Tarmac SL include swapping the S-Works crank for a Dura-Ace one, subbing the Dura-Ace front derailleur for an Ultegra model and swapping the Fulcrums for Ksyrium Elites. My test bike weighed in at 15.5 lbs. before pedals and cages.

I’ll admit that I was infatuated enough by the Roubaix and wary enough of the Tarmac’s geometry that I really didn’t think I’d enjoy it much or put that many miles on it. Of all the bikes I’ve reviewed over the years, this may be the biggest surprise I’ve ever experienced. I love this bike.

Specialized Tarmac Pro: 94 points

Still to come: The Roubaix and Tarmac, head-to-head

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32 comments


    1. Author
      Padraig

      There’s nothing to disclose. I don’t work for them and they don’t advertise and they have no plans to advertise with me in the foreseeable future. I just think they do a fine job, with the possible exception of the Tarmac SL2; I thought that bike’s rear end chattered on anything other than countertop-smooth surfaces. Oh, and I don’t really buy into their terminology either. For me, that’s always the big Kool-Aid indicator.

  1. Troy M

    As a new Tarmac owner (pre-owned 2007 Pro Quickstep Bettini Frameset) who was torn between the Tarmac and the Roubaix, I appreciate this comparison series and have enjoyed reading it.

    So far I love the Tarmac but have been a little disappointed that I didn’t gain 2mph on my ride averages :) . I am excited to see how it corners relative to my prior bike (an aluminum Giant TCR0 which is very fast and stiff bike that does not dampen well).I can’t wait to descend our local Bogus Basin Road (172 turns in 16 miles) on the Tarmac.

    Although my new bike is an 07 model, I was also quite suprised at the dampening capabilities of the tarmac relative to the TCR. The Tarmac with 23c tires is as smooth as the TCR with 25c tires and double wrapped bars.

    Thanks again for a great comparison series.

  2. TedG

    FYI, Trek offers the Madone 6.9 (and others, I believe) in 7 sizes and the Madone 6.9 WSD (the “women’s specific design”) in 6 sizes, so 13 all together. I’d be interested in your thoughts on the relative merits of the Tarmac/Roubaix vs the Madone Pro/performance fit. I’m dreaming, of course, but the comparison would be enlightening given that they share the 1.5/1.125 head tube, huge bottom brackets, and a similar differentiation between a “sport” and “GT” model.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Troy: Bogus Basin road sounds like a dream; I’ll have make an opportunity to try that sometime.

      TedG: I must admit I missed the fact that the Madone was available in so many sizes; my recollection had been that there were six sizes for men and two WSD sizes; obviously that changed with the new Madone. Interestingly, Specialized offers a broader range in top tube length, while Trek with its seven sizes gives riders more latitude in choosing which size to ride. Giant offers six sizes for men and three for women.

  3. Adam

    TedG,
    That analysis has already been discussed to a degree here:

    “While I think the new Madone is easily the best bike Trek has ever produced, I have a serious issue with the company’s “Pro fit” versus “Performance fit.” What I’ve been working to address in this and other posts is the fact—not opinion, but fact—that when you raise the handlebar, you change a rider’s weight distribution. That change in weight distribution changes the way a bike handles. Once Trek increased the head tube length of the Madone by 3cm, the fact that all the rest of the geometry was the same as Lance’s bike ceased to matter. The change in weight distribution makes the bike handle differently. If you want to give riders a fit appropriate to their flexibility while giving them the best possible handling bike, you can’t just increase the length of the head tube, something needs to be done to shift more weight back onto the front wheel.”

    The Roubaix has factored this into their geometry. Similarly, the Cervelo RS has made the same modification over thier R3.

  4. TedG

    Adam,
    Fair enough, and noted. And while it’s clearly the case that lengthening the head tube without changing trail, head tube angle, etc will have an effect on handling, I don’t necessarily see that as a criticism of the design. Presumably (since I would imagine Trek puts a significant amount of money into the molds for these different “fits”) this was a conscious decision on Trek’s part. Saying that a bike with a taller head tube handles differently than a bike with a shorter head tube, all else being equal, is indisputable. I would speculate though that the average “performance fit” rider doesn’t WANT a bike that handles like a “pro fit” bike. The question that remains to be answered is whether the numbers on the performance fit translate into a bike that performs well in the “GT” context. It handles differently, yes, but is that a difference that makes a difference for its intended purpose? Only time on the road will tell, and I’m anxious for the views of anyone who has done the comparison.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Regarding Trek’s “Performance Fit,” the issue I take with simply extending the head tube 3cm is that it isn’t a particularly rational response in the context of the big picture of both fit and handling, which the best bikes out there integrate. Sure, the rider doesn’t have to bend over as far, but because no other aspect of the bike’s handling has been changed, the “Performance Fit” is going to handle more quickly than the “Pro Fit” of the same size if also equipped with the same length stem.

      Now, I’m going to assume that a rider who needs a bike with a longer head tube needs it to achieve a higher bar position because the rider can’t ride in the low-slung position enforced by the Pro Fit. It’s fair to surmise that a rider who lacks flexibility may not be the most avid rider on the planet. So, what’s the last thing in the world a more casual rider would want? I’m guessing it’s a bike that handles more quickly than the edition the PROs ride. In short, I don’t think those design elements make much rational sense. If anything, a less avid rider would generally benefit from a bike that doesn’t have the sharp reflexes of a sport bike.

  5. Alex

    I´m currently on a SL2/RED equipped Tarmac. It´s a very nice bike, stiff as it´s currently possible I´d say, and the geometry is spot on IMHO. It tracks as well as Padraig described, and that´s vital to me as I´m a bit on the crazy side going downhill. Being a 39 y.o. competitive master amateur, and like many others, I was between the Roubaix and the Tarmac. But I was coming from a Scott CR1 with DA components and chose the racing style of the SL2.

    Glad I did, for I must confess that Scott´s CR1 and Addict line are a tad above the competition in terms of racing performance: light, rigid and solid yet responsive and with excellent road feedback, and incredible geometry. And I had to pick something at this level, thus the SL2 instead of the Roubaix.

    I feel comfortable on the SL2 but the Roubaix felt way too comfortable for me. Too upright. I have friends training and racing on Roubaix but I couldn´t. I passed it up when I chose the CR1 years ago and once again when comparing to the Tarmac. My SL2 is light and fast, and I´m very comfortable on it even on those long, tiring training rides. Of course, it´s not a bike for rough pavement or cobbles, but I hardly ever need to ride those when training or racing. Plus, I also ride a mountain bike a lot.

    At this level (top end carbon racing bikes), I´d say that picking between a Madone, a Tarmac or a TCR Advanced frame is a matter of personal preference IMHO. Prety much like chosing Campy Record, Shimano DA or Sram RED. They´re all stiff, super light, extra rigid and solid. I´d ride any of them anytime for my training and racing.

    Very good review (both), Padraig ;-) Thanks!

  6. Jeff

    Padraig – I would be very curious on seeing you do a cliche “shootout” between the new Madone 6 series, new Tarmac and (just to match up all the big brands) the Giant TCR Advanced SL.

    For all the things written about the Madone, no magazine (despite all the ad dollars Trek pumps in) ever writes truly positive reviews of the Madone. Conversely, the Giant usually gets stellar reviews, but it seems to get written off because it’s a Giant and lacks a soul (or something like that.)

  7. Jurgen

    Thanks for doing this, Padraig.

    Given this talk about head tube length, Padraig, did your Tarmac SL have the regular or so-called Team Geo? Have you had a chance to compare both geometries?

    The non-team Tarmac has a relatively long head tube compared to most other so-called “crit” bikes (it’s more like the Performance Fit Madone), and like the Performance Fit Madone doesn’t have the other tweaks (longer seat-stays, lower BB, etc.) that Specialized deems necessary on the Roubaix.

    As best as I can tell head tube length is the only difference between the two Tarmacs. Isn’t this essentially the same Frankengeometry you take issue with on the Performance Fit Treks? And then isn’t it a compromise compared to what the PROs ride?

    Not trying to be provocative. Just curious.

    Thanks again!


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Jeff: I don’t have a lot of miles on the Madone, but what time I have had tells me it is a big improvement for Trek. I think it’s the best handling road bike they’ve ever made and I do hope to a chance to review one this coming season. Additionally, the Giant is really something. The season will be incomplete without more time on it as well.

      As for shootouts, as I mentioned before, I’m not really a fan, so folks will have to infer judgement from the scores I give. I really want to devote the attention to each bike that it deserves and a shootout really cheats each bike involved.

      Jurgen: The one time I went to compare the team geo with the mere mortal geo, what I found on the Specialized site was identical. I’ll have to ask them. It doesn’t seem they are offering those bikes for ’10; at least, I can’t find them on the web site. Frankly, for the vast majority of everyone, I don’t see how a shorter head tube on the Tarmac is necessary, unless your forefathers were simian and your knuckles drag the ground. I mean no insult, but to say the head tube is too long on the Tarmac would be tantamount to calling the Roubaix a beach cruiser.

  8. Larry T.

    My overwhelming curiosity is “how does the ride compare with a fine quality steel bike like your Mondonico?” I understand the handling/control issues are spot-on but how does this thing, with none of the built-in or band-aid antivibration gizmos of it’s sister, the Roubaix actually ride? Good enough to take the supposed advantage of one kilo less on the scale? So far the best compliment I’ve read about any of the modern plastic bikes are “as good as steel”. So many of the test-riders are probably too young to have ridden a high quality steel bike since the ad dollars spent on marketing them are so small and test fleets non-existent. With the high cost, shorter lifespan and fragility it’s far from a worthwhile tradeoff for me, but I wonder when/if (or perhaps they already have?) they’ll get these dialed-in so a die-hard steel tifoso like me would actually consider trying one?


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Larry: I’m going to revisit the Torelli/Mondonico very soon here, but based on my experience what I’d say is that I wish I was the head of a big bike company so that I could offer a limited production run of framesets with the materials and engineering of something like the SL3 combined with the geometry of my Torelli, a Moser or a current Serotta.

      Actually, I think I’ve offered some carbon bikes praise higher than “as good as steel.” To have to suffer with an extra kilo in a frame, let alone another half kilo in the fork is a lot to ask. It does make a difference.

      One thing I can say unequivocally is that out of the saddle, carbon bikes blow away every steel bike I’ve ever ridden, with one exception, a Merckx MX Leader … and it featured a six pound frame. For the record, I haven’t ridden any of Dario Pegoretti’s bikes. Just never had the chance. I’ve got a friend with several and his love for those bikes is what you hope to get from a mate.

  9. Natascha

    Respectfully, the following comment is not accurate: “With the introduction of the new Amira model—the women’s version of the Tarmac, which is built with women’s proportions in mind—Specialized can lay claim to producing the Tarmac in more sizes than any other bike company offers for a production road bike—11.”

    One bike I can immediately think of off the top of my head that is available in a wider range of sizes is the Trek Madone 4.7 – including the WSD models it comes in a total of 13 stock sizes.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Natascha: It’s good to hear from you; thank you for joining the conversation. Another reader pointed out to me that Trek had increased the number of WSD sizes available and that statement was a regrettable oversight. The 13 sizes Trek offers the Madone in are commendable. While they don’t accommodate a broader distribution of rider dimensions than the Specialized, what it does do is offer riders a greater ability to select the right size due to the smaller increases in top tube length through the size run.

  10. Jurgen

    Thanks for your response, Padraig.

    It looks like the Team Geo is only available as a frameset for the SL3 in ’10. (At least in the US.)

    On the 54, the HT is 130mm for the Team and 145mm for the “Mere Mortal”.

    On the 56, the HT is 150mm for the Team and 170mm for the MM.

    I know HT can’t be looked at in isolation, but it’s curious most iterations of the Tarmac have more top tube than comparable “crit” bikes from Cannondale, Cervelo, Giant, etc.

    As someone who’s long-legged and short-torsoed (relatively speaking), I’ve been intrigued by the Tarmac–especially given all the raves (like yours) about its handling and performance.


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Natextr: My take on tire clearance is that if you need to run 27mm tires and are worried about crud buildup, then you need to be thinking about something with a lot of clearance … like a cross bike. Unlike some, I do think the Zertz in the frame make a difference. I’ve ridden some frames with similar geometry and carbon fiber layup and found them to transmit a great deal more road vibration. As for the point scale, I’m just one guy, but I am a guy who thought it was time someone said what he really thought.

      Jurgen: I’m going to check with Specialized to see just how many guys are riding bikes with the team geo. Those are really short head tubes, almost as short as the Felt head tubes, which are the most extreme out there, to my knowledge. A really low handlebar is great when you’re at the front, drilling it. It’s terrific for descending. It’s no bueno for climbing and it is less than ideal for sprinting. Cav’ has been remarkable to me because he features one of the lowest bar positions of a road sprinter that I can recall seeing. Optimizing your needs is the name of the game.

      Lachlan: Exactly, but I would add an additional consideration: handling. I could have gotten a more PRO-looking fit on the 58, but I was concerned about how short the stem would be and, ultimately, how much weight would be on the front wheel. Without the ability to experiment, I went with the bike I knew I could get to both fit me and give me the desired weight distribution.

  11. ScottRS

    In response to LarryT, I would say that yes, you should give a carbon bike a try. In the last few years I have had mulitple custom steel bikes, some from builders with long wait lists, and many other carbon bikes to include U.S. made customs. That said, I bought a Tarmac SL2 basically to get a great deal on a Di2 kit and decided to ride it a few times before stripping the kit off. Wow, was I surprised. Now, after 4 months, the SL2 is the bike I reach for and most everything else has been sold off. Once you experience that stiffness.. I ride tubies which might contribute to my not having a ride quality issue as Padraig has mentioned with the SL2, but I was using the same wheels with the previous bikes.

  12. Larry T.

    To avoid any “rant” I’ll just admit that an extra kilo on the bicycle to a fellow who has more than one or two extra around his middle is totally meaningless. As I can’t tell on a climb whether my bottles are full or empty it’s plain that the bicycle weight doesn’t make any difference. What I CAN perceive is ride quality, handling, etc. which probably means I should look up something more like Vintage Bicycle Blogging rather than the newest-latest stuff as featured here. I’ll finish by stating that although I’m an unabashed fan of steel bicycles, our rental fleet not only has those but also aluminum/carbon bikes and everyone is welcome to join us in Italy whether they rent a bike from us or bring their own – no matter what material it’s made with. As the famous Texan wrote, “It’s not about the bike.” To me it will always be about RIDING the bike.

  13. Alex

    To me, it´s about the whole experience. I mean, I´ve been riding bikes with some regularity for almost 23 years (I´m 39 y.o. now), and I´ve enjoyed steel bikes when they were pretty much the only option around. Now I´m digging the nice carbon bikes as much.

    I´ve owned many quality steel frames both MTB and ROAD, from Whiskeytown Racers to Ritchey Logics and italians and also a few custom and semi-custom rigs. On top of that I´ve had the chance to test and ride a couple hundred bikes during my 8 year stint as tech editor for a local bike mag… every material, every design, of course not every frame out there but quite a few encompassing the whole spectrum of on-and-off-road designs. Enough, I´d say, to give some perspective on this material debate.

    Steel is real, as real as carbon or titanium and in (IMHO) rare ocasions, aluminum. It all depends on the craft, the level of experience behind the manipulation of tubes, measures and fabrication of a frame… we know how it goes.

    I´ve enjoyed the “riding experience” with every bike I´ve owned, and currently I´m 100% for carbon. Training and racing on a nicely built, stiff, light and reliable carbon bike is a joy as much as it was doing so on a lively cromoly one back in the day.

    It doesn´t have to be a übber-custom-500g frame and fork, but I´m really appreciating the current top rides from guys like Giant, Specialized and especialy Scott. That´s not to mention offers from guys like Serotta, Seven and the like, if one really wants (and can afford) the best of the best.

    Indeed, it´s not about the bike!

  14. Larry T.

    I forgot, the “stiffness” quality is just as meaningless to me as the extra kilo or two. As long as the chain doesn’t fall off or the bike go sideways when you stand up and pedal, how stiff the bike is (or isn’t) doesn’t make any difference. I throw all the “efficiency” claims that always seem to go with the claims of stiffness into the bin with “laterally stiff and vertically compliant.” Somehow I have a tough time believing Sean Kelly would have won more sprints had he been riding a stiffer steel frame rather than the flexy Vitus “screwed and glued” things he spent most of his career on. Off to “Vintage Steel Bike Lust” blog for me or better yet, I’ll get on the ancient steel Bianchi that lives out here in SB for our holiday visits and go for a ride. CIAO!

  15. Sprocketboy

    I very much enjoyed this two-part review. I ride the “original” S-Works Tarmac E5 and do not feel the need to upgrade, but I bought an SL2 for my wife earlier this year and it is an excellent bicycle. I found that my Tarmac’s geometry is ideal and has made me a much better descender as it absorbs a great deal of road shock compared to my previous ride, an aluminum LeMond Maillot Jaune. That said, there is still a lot to be for steel. I am looking forward to the snow clearing so I can try my freshly restored c. 1983 all-Super Record Raleigh Professional, which comes in at under 19 pounds.

  16. Glenn P.

    Hey Padraig,

    Been a long time since our days at UMass and 800 N. Pleasant St. (aka…The Every Man Center)!
    Question for you regarding the ’09 Tarmac SL Pro. After only about 3 months of riding, ~130 hours, I’m getting a good bit of bottom bracket noise. Its especially noticeable under load but, there even when spinning. More apparent on the indoor trainer than on the road. Curious to know if others have had issue the Specialized crank/bottom bracket?


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Hey Glenn,
      Good to hear from you. I was thinking of the DMC course just yesterday.

      You know, funny you should mention it, but I’ve begun to experience some BB issues with the Tarmac Pro I’ve been on. Not sure if there are issues with one or both bearings, but something is up. I’ve not heard anything negative from anyone else. I’ll be looking into this more next week.

  17. TK

    I too have had a noticeable amount of noise from bottom bracket (prior to 1st snow fall). Have not taken it apart yet to see whats going on. Would be very interested to hear what others are finding. Thanks Padraig for this review!

  18. Alex Torres

    I´m having a problem with the BB of my SL2. After 2 months of use I was given a pair of Enduro Zero BB30 ceramic bearings to test, and it all went smooth untill before Xmas when I did a 4hr ride in the rain. Prior to that I had raced another couple of hours on a road with lots of rain and some sand too, but nothing too bad.

    It´s summertime for us here and it rains every day, though we don´t catch water on every ride but it´s not uncommon to get caught in the shower or wet asphalt once or twice per week. But things started to go bad two weeks ago, when I took it all apart, washed and lubed properly, including the bearings. I´ve used the Specialized tools, tightened everything to the correct torque. It all looked and spinned like new, shinny and smooth.

    But when I went for the first ride… Right from the first pedal stroke my BB began to sound like Nikko McBrain was tapping his drums inside it. Every time I put some torque on the pedals it went “crec crec crrrrrrec”. Drives me crazy. I went to the whole process again, this time being even more careful with the cleaning, lubing and reassembling.

    But the problem persisted, so yesterday I took it back to the shop to have the original bearings reinstalled. I´ve had problems with Enduro bearings on my previous bike (the wheels, original Enduro ceramic not the Zeros), so it could be the bearings gone bad even after such a short time.

    Anyway I´ll give a report as soon as I try it, probably today or tomorrow.

  19. Andrew Love

    have your specialized dealer re-install bearings with green loctite.. Noise comes from tiny, tiny gaps that move on each other. Loctite will fill those gaps. This is why plumbers tape or grease works on standard BB’s, for press-fit, loctite.

    This is the standard fix with s-works BB’s that make noise. Now those cermamic bearings might be off spec, and maybe so much so the sound can’t be fixed….


    1. Author
      Padraig

      Andrew is right: For BB noise, green loctite can or plumber’s teflon tape will usually cure that. However, if you’re experiencing trouble with the bearings themselves, it’ll do nothing for that.

  20. Alex

    I´ve reinstalled the original bearings only to find that the problem was, in fact, a slightly loose cassete lockring :-p I guess the Powerdome cassete amplified the noise and the carbon frame made it sound like it was in the BB. I should´ve known better, I´ve dealt with this kind of thing hundreds of times during my wrenching days. Apparently I´ve lost form, took me THAT time and hassle to find out hehehe…

    Anyway, it´s all quiet and smooth again, and the ceramic bearings look fine too. I´ll put them back in the next overhaul and see what gives. Thanks for the tips, I´ve used teflon tape on my threaded BBs (still do), but these are BB30 press-fit cartridges that sit on the alu beds. Has anyone tried it on these?

  21. labusball

    Specialized suck a big time don’t they Mr Andrew?..get a trek..or consider an italian or BMC..as a high performance bike to be added or mod things such loctite is retarded. Why dont you guys there in specialized just solve it.

    I wish Andy ride different bikes for his next year pro tour.

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