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First Look: Specialized McLaren Tarmac

July 2, 2014
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The recently released new Specialized Tarmac is the recipient of a limited-edition version, thanks to the brand’s relationship with car manufacturer and auto racing company, McLaren. (Photos courtesy of Specialized)

Specialized‘s relationship with McLaren, the car manufacturer and Formula One racing outfit, has brought in some wild new designs and technologies into the the world of road bikes, not the least of which was the stunning McLaren Venge. And now the two have teamed up to create a special, limited-edition run of the all-new Tarmac. What does McLaren bring to the party, you ask, to make it better than the standard Tarmac? Chiefly, McLaren’s extensive knowledge of the world of carbon and other composite materials has helped them create a new carbon layup for the Tarmac, resulting in a 9% to 11% weights savings (depending on frame size). Likewise, the crank’s carbon spider and the handlebar both receive special layups. The McLaren Tarmac also receives special-edition paint, and is painted inside McLaren’s own facility that also finishes the brand’s P1 super car. Ultimately, though, you’ll be getting exclusivity with the McLaren Tarmac. Only 250 will be produced, so you’ll need to register to purchase one by going here. With your purchase, you’ll also get a custom wall-mount display, and a set of S-Works Road Shoes and a Prevail helmet, both of which are painted to match the McLaren Tarmac frame. The bike itself is built-up with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain and comes with another special edition item, Roval CLX40R carbon tubular wheels. And how much does all of this cost? Early estimates say around $20,000. Scroll down for the official word from Specialized, plus a behind-the-scenes photo gallery of the bike’s development.

The McLaren Tarmac gets a set of custom EE lightweight brakes.


THE OFFICIAL WORD: SPECIALIZED’S PRESS RELEASE
Over the years Specialized and McLaren have developed a unique relationship built upon a foundation of collaborative technical progress and a dedication to creating unrivaled bikes and equipment. The all-new S-Works McLaren Tarmac builds on that tradition of excellence creating the most exclusive and technically advanced bike Specialized has ever released. Limited to only 250 worldwide, it’s the next benchmark in complete performance. Starting with the S-Works McLaren Venge followed by the S-Works McLaren TT helmet, Specialized and McLaren have worked closely over the years to push the possibilities of cycling into new and exciting directions.

All of the carbon parts on the McLaren Tarmac receive special, lightweight carbon layups from McLaren’s composite experts, including the crank’s spider.


Recently, the partnership resulted in a completely new way to understand the forces exerted on bicycles via a custom data acquisition and simulation program developed exclusively with McLaren. The partnership between the two has always been one rooted in collaboration and a desire to push the envelope. On the heels of the launch of the all new S-Works Tarmac featuring Rider First Engineered technology, the S-Works McLaren Tarmac takes the technical and performance standards to the next level.

When you buy the McLaren Tarmac, you’ll get a custom Prevail helmet to match.


Designers from McLaren and Specialized took the S-Works Tarmac and started the process of trying to extract even more performance out of an already impressive machine. Joe Marsh, Composite Design Engineer, from McLaren Applied Technologies Limited was instrumental in the development of the exclusive frame. ‘Our design benchmark, the new S-Works Tarmac, was already a very, very efficient structure to start with and in some ways this was a much tougher challenge than the Venge we worked on,’ said Marsh.

Along with the McLaren Tarmac and matching Prevail helmet, you’ll also get a pair of matching S-Works shoes.


The S-Works McLaren Tarmac maintains all of the outstanding performance characteristics of the standard S-Works Tarmac via Rider-First Engineered design while reducing the weight of the overall frame and fork by between 9%-11% depending on frame size. Thanks to a proprietary carbon layup process developed exclusively with McLaren, the weight savings come at zero cost to the overall performance of the bike itself ? not often an easy task to accomplish.

McLaren started off its special-edition Tarmac project by looking at the ride quality characteristics of the standard Tarmac.


More than just strictly a frame and fork, the S-Works McLaren Tarmac is a complete collection of cohesive parts and equipment that add up to one incredibly unique, and exclusive performance package. Every single Specialized piece of equipment on the bike has been designed specifically for this project and was engineered for complete performance. Included with the bike is a Body Geometry Fit consultation to ensure the proper sized frame is selected. In addition to frame size, a range of component sizes are selected to best fit the customer including handlebar and saddle width, stem length and crank size. Exclusive to the S-Works McLaren Tarmac is a custom sized pair of S-Works Road Shoes as well as a S-Works Prevail helmet, both color matched to the bike.

Finishing and painting of the McLaren Tarmac frame takes place inside McLaren’s own facility that also churns out the brand’s P1 super car.


What sets the S-Works McLaren Tarmac apart from anything else on the road is not just the extreme attention to detail, but also the high level of complete performance. It’s a complete and cohesive package that encompasses every aspect of road bike performance. That dedication to performance is one of the key drivers in the project. Brad Paquin, Senior Engineer at Specialized explained that drive, ‘There is a competitiveness of all racers regardless of discipline to have the best tools to do their jobs. It doesn’t matter if it’s the latest aerodynamic upgrade on an F1 car, or the highest performance bike frame.’

The McLaren Tarmac receives the signature black and orange color combination synonymous with the McLaren brand.


Adhering to that ethos, no part was overlooked in the design development. From the exclusive CLX40R tubular wheelset that saves over 90 grams compared to a standard set of CLX 40 wheels, to the custom paintwork and graphic applique applied at McLaren Special Operations in Woking, Surrey UK ? no aspect has gone untouched.

What’s a little money between friends? The complete McLaren Tarmac road bike will set you back around $20,000-best get your order in now, there will only be 250 made.


With only 250 S-Works McLaren Tarmacs available worldwide, this incredibly limited production run will have an exclusive reservation process extended to invited customers and via www.specialized.com/sworksmclaren. Starting July 2, 2014, customers will be able to sign up for their very own, personalized S-Works McLaren Tarmac with the reservation process closing July 31, 2014 or while availability lasts. Included in the final product is a personalized name plate and wall mount plaque for displaying the bike, shoes and helmet. From the ground up, the S-Works McLaren Tarmac is a practice in pure performance innovation. It is a perfect marriage between the technical acumen of McLaren and the engineering prowess of Specialized. Incredibly exclusive and carefully curated, it is a bike that looks just as stunning displayed on a wall as it does carving through descents.

For more info, visit www.SPECIALIZED.com

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