Specialized and McLaren reunite for limited-edition $20,000 road bike
By Ben Coxworth
July 2, 2014
Three years ago, US bicycle manufacturer Specialized teamed up with Britain's McLaren Applied Technologies to create what they called "the fastest complete performance bike in the world" – the S-Works + McLaren Venge. Now, the bike-maker and the high-end car-maker have once again joined forces, this time to produce the S-Works McLaren Tarmac. Only 250 of the road bikes will be made.
The bicycle is designed to be an even lighter, faster version of Specialized's existing S-Works Tarmac, which is no slouch itself. According to McLaren composite design engineer Joe Marsh, "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."
The big difference in this version of the Tarmac is the use of a new carbon fiber layup process, developed by McLaren. Known as FACT construction, it results in a frame/fork/handlebar that's 9 to 11 percent lighter than the original (depending on frame size), but that reportedly still offers the same standard of overall performance. There's no word on just what the bike's total weight is.
In any case, more weight-savings are achieved through the selection of an exclusive CLX40R tubular wheelset (as opposed to the standard S-Works Tarmac's CLX 40 wheels), a reduced spoke count, and a new carbon fiber seat post and crankset spider. Friction is also reduced, via ceramic-coated bearings in the hubs and crankset.
Along with bragging rights and a lighter wallet, buyers of the McLaren version will also get a personalized fitting session, a custom color-matched helmet and shoes, plus a personalized name plate and wall mount plaque for displaying the bike. The S-Works McLaren Tarmac not surprisingly additionally features a unique paint and graphics job, applied at the same facility where the McLaren P1 automobiles are painted.
If you want one, be prepared to part with approximately US$20,000. Specialized began taking reservations as of today, and will continue to do so throughout the month – or until the bikes are all snatched up.