The most complimented paint scheme of all the bikes I have ridden. EVER. The Specialized Tarmac SL5 Expert backs up that aesthetic praise with equal performance praise. But back to the paint scheme it is really that cool and seeing it in person is the only way to really get it. I liken it to sitting around the campfire and staring into the fire for hours on end. It draws you in.
Please note: I upgraded to Specialized Roval CL 50 wheels and that WAS NOT A MISTAKE. Incredible wheelset that absolutely completed this bike.
This bike is outfitted with 11-speed Shimano Dura-Ace 9100. And a sprinkle of Ultegra with a dash of 105. Still unparalleled smooth crisp shifting from Shimano.
52/36t Shimano Dura-Ace crank is accompanied by a 11-28t 105 cassette on the back. And a Ultegra 11 speed chain.
The front end is pretty aero. Di2 would clean it up nicely. We love the powerful stopping power of Dura-Ace brakes.
Long live threaded bottom brackets! No more routine visits to the bike shop to fix a creaky BB. In fact, the mechanics at the shop said since switching to Specialized they can’t remember the last time they fixed a creaky bottom bracket. Sure it’s heavier but worth it in our opinion.
Check out each image. The bike appears to be purple. Walk around it and it turns blue. Aptly named Chameleon.
See what I mean! Freaky cool.
We LOVE the Roval CL 50’s. I mean R-E-A-L-L-Y love them. They really complete this bike. With 29.4 mm external width they are wide. And wide is good. We were just talking the other day about how did we ever ride narrow rim wheels before. Remember 19 mm tires? Wow, how things have changed. These wheels improve ride quality. At $1600 you would be hard pressed to find a better carbon, aero, tubless, wheelset. Oh, did I mention they are fast. 50 mm’s deep. I mean spin them up to 19-20 mph. They just want to hover there. The other game changer. Road tubeless clinchers. We immediately converted these to tubeless. Now running 80 psi on the road. Crazy right! Kind of mind blowing that this technology did not exist sooner. Thanks mountain biking for showing roadies the way! And bye-bye tubular tires.
While the Cannondale EVO is still one of the finest well rounded carbon frame bikes I’ve ridden the SL5 is right there. Neck and neck. Throw the CL 50 wheels on and you have a complete race machine. All bark and all bite. The bike handles exceptionally. Down hill, up hill, corners, super tuck, heck even wheelies. Thanks Peter Sagan.
Look, when you get to the $5000 level of road bike there are going to be some small differences between brands. Often times it comes down to what color the paint scheme is. Ride quality is one of those things that can be vastly different. This bike rides really well and kitted up with great wheels even better. The ONLY thing that is a small negative is that it is not as light as some other bikes we have ridden. Just shy of 16 lbs (with pedals) is not heavy. But when you have ridden a ‘illegal’ bike before it spoils you a bit. We know that the SL5 is being replaced by the SL6 and we can’t wait to get our hands on one in a couple months but the SL5 will still be around for awhile. This is a great bike. But don’t take my word for it. Head on over to The Bike Route and test ride one yourself!
FACT 10r Full Carbon Frame Size 54
Drivetrain: Dura-Ace 52-36t chainring, 11-28t 105 cassette
Crankset: Dura-Ace 9100
Brakes: Dura-Ace 9100
Wheels: Roval CL 50 Tubeless
Tires: S-Works Turbo 24 mm Tubeless
Saddle: Toupe Expert 143 mm
Weight: 15 lb 10 oz
Price: $4,000 (without CL 50 wheels)