A very sweet ride

Occasionally I manage to combine work and a ride. I especially like a ride in California, nothing better to beat the jetlag.

Sunday was one of those occasions.  I got to ride with my friends Andrew, his wife Beth  and Jeremiah, as well as bunch of guys from Workday.  A very friendly gang indeed (Ned, Nick, Seth and Sean).

This was my first ride in the East Bay. We rode up the Calaveras Road, and then out  past the reservoir. A lovely route, relatively quiet, and a gentle climb, winding up a couple of relatively gentle  hills.  The route has featured on the Tour of California.  There were lots of cyclists out, and very few cars or motorbikes.  The weather was perfect, not too hot, hardly any wind.  I spent a lot of the ride sitting on Seth’s wheel. 

However, the main reason for this post is the sweet bike Andrew arranged for me. I got to ride a Specialized Tarmac 2011 pro. It isn’t even in the shop or on the website yet.  I don’t know how he managed to borrow it.

The closest approximation is the pro SL SRAM in terms of spec, but the 2011 version uses the newer frame SL3.


This is the same frame that Contador and Schleck rode on the tour. Components included a mainly SRAM red drivetrain, TRM brakes, and Roval Fusee 28 wheels. Many of the other components were Specialized specific, tyres, seat etc.

The Roval fusee 28 wheels, they weigh 1695g, which is not that light, but they are very stiff. With a frame of this quality, I’d probably go for a more high end wheelset for big climbs (lightweights), with the fusee as a training wheelset, but then this bike is close to the UCI weight limit as it is.


SRAM Red shifters.  the hoods are very comfortable, but I found the reach to the brakes a bit long when riding in the drops, but that is probably just a set up thing.  This was my first ride with SRAM, and once I got used to it, I found it really easy to use, very smooth changes.


Specialized stem and bar. These were aluminum, and if it was my bike, I’d probably upgrade these to carbon (probably to the richley that I have now). 

Cane creek headset.




I spent the day in the big chain ring, as the hills were nice and gentle.  50/34 compact is ideal for amateurs like me.  Force front derailleur, rather than Red. The drive train was smooth, no creaks or groans.

TRP brakes.


These guys are known for their cyclo-cross brakes, but they have a road bike option too. Very light. Wondering if these will be standard though.

This is the most comfortable ride I have ever ridden, even though I didn’t really carefully set up the bike for seat height, reach etc.  Specialized seat was very comfortable too, similar to the SLR.  The bike corners immaculately and I felt that every little watt I had transferred to the road. This is good, as I’m short in the watt department.


This is one sweet bike, and one happy cyclist.  Thanks to Andrew and friends and to Specialized for the loan. 

5 thoughts on “A very sweet ride”

  1. I will post photos of the ride I did in KZN on Sunday on Facebook. One 4km climb in Granny gear having to lean forward to stop the front wheel lifting. It was also a SWEET ride

  2. Very nice. I saw a floor model in my LBS recently, but I’ve only ridden one in my dreams. Perhaps my move to Paris will force me to upgrade. It would be a pity to survey the French countryside on my old Cannondale! 🙂

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