So Specialized teamed with McLaren to refine the ride characteristic using hardware for data collection and software for parsing the data—two bits of technology and expertise only McLaren could provide. Together, they tweaked the Tarmac’s design, making adjustments to each frame size to make sure every size rider could get a bike that rode like butter. By tailoring the carbon layups, headset sizes and fork steerer tubes to each particular frame measurement, every frame size was equally optimized.
When I took a 2015 model out on the road to test it, I encountered a few people riding the 2014 Tarmac. They asked me if the latest version is really “all that,” and wondered if it’s worth upgrading. I told them what I’ll tell you: The 2015 model is a nudge better than the 2014 if you ride a frame in that sweet spot of 56cm. So if you’re the kind of rider for whom incremental improvement is a big leap, and a “nudge” is all that’s keeping you from winning all the KOMs along your regular routes, then yes, it’s worth the upgrade. If you ride a 52cm or a 60cm frame, you’ll probably notice a huge improvement, and the answer as to whether or not it’s worth upgrading becomes undeniable.
A big part of what makes this machine so enjoyable is the components: the infallible Shimano Dura Ace di2 electronic shifting and the hydraulic disc brakes. The shifting is flawlessly precise. And the disc brakes, although not completely turning me into a devotee, offer impressive stopping power and solid feel at the lever. Discs are fussy, though. There are few things more annoying on a long climb than a slightly wobbly front brake rotor. By the time I reached the summit of Mount Diablo, I swore I’d never again ride discs brakes on the road. They’re fine on the trails but they were just too precious on the pavement. Of course, I’d completely forgotten that promise once I reached the bottom of the mountain, by which time I’d come to appreciate the amazing power and control a set of disc brakes offers. Also of note is the Specialized Toupe carbon-railed saddle, the Roval Rapide CLX 40 SCS disc wheelset, and the surprisingly solid yet supple Specialized Turbo tires.
As for me, I was sad to see my loaner Tarmac boxed up and shipped back to Specialized. I’d be more than happy to add another hook to the garage to make room for this murdered-out precision-tuned assault weapon.
source: wired.com By Jim Merithew