‘I put this one together as well – thought you might be interested in it.’
While shooting the Craddock track bike I wrote about before, this Specialized Tarmac was brought out. I’m a big fan of the frame, and it was pretty obvious that the build had a few lightweight parts.
How light? 4.8kg.
‘Oh right yeah, that is pretty light isn’t it?’
‘Well, I wanted it to be as light as possible without going mad.’
Let’s start with the frame. It’s an ’07 S-Works Tarmac SL, in Gerolsteiner colours (nice), bought second hand from one Liam Killeen (of Commonwealth Games, Olympics, National Championships fame).
Next up come some judicious choices of drivetrain components. 10 speed SRAM Red is hard to beat for weight –although the front mech is a Dura Ace 7900 model. The cranks are carbon, from S-Works. KCNC brakes are super light and still work when it comes to slowing down.
If you’ve a keen eye for detail, you’ll also notice the Aligator cable outers, which are paired with Powercordz composite inners to shave a chunk of weight. The cassette is made by recon – although not the most durable, it’s a lot lighter than most alternatives.
A super-boutique-looking AX Lightness stem, USE carbon bars and a carbon Signatures saddle make up the finishing kit along with a carbon post, along with some sparingly applied Lizard Skins tape.
The rims are shallow carbon tubulars – the front a Planet X one from a set that had apparently originally been used for cyclocross. Bold! The rear one is unbranded. Some super light Tufo tubulars finish the build.
It’s getting easier and easier to buy ‘off the shelf’ bikes that are super light, and come ready supplied with a selection of the most expensive components that can be found. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that – if that’s your thing, don’t let me stop you. However, you’ll miss out on choosing every part of your bike to suit you, and the exercise in customising your kit to suit your needs. When you do this, you’re forced to evaluate exactly what it is that you do and what your plans are, and I think there’s value in that.