These days, the Specialized brand is almost everywhere in cycling. Look at the bikes in your local bunch and chances are you’ll see either S-Works or Specialized.
But did you know Specialized only started in 1974?
It was founded by Mike Sinyard who initially imported Italian-made bike components and resell them into the U.S. market. It wasn’t until 1981 that the first Specialized bike was released; the Allez and Sequioa.
From then onwards, Specialized has gone from strength to strength and has a complete lineup of bikes that we often see today. Their range is extensive from lightweight to aero road bikes, gravel, mountain bikes, and everything in between.
Specialized Bikes in Pro Cycling
Specialized is probably the bike brand that has won the most bike races in the past decade at the highest levels. Grand Tours, Spring Classics, World Road Race, and Olympics among others.
In 2021, the Specialized bikes are ridden by current and former World Champions such as Julian Alaphilippe, Peter Sagan, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen.
What's the Difference between Specialized and S-Works?
Specialized uses the S-Works branding for their top-of-the-line models. For example, the all-rounder Tarmac SL7 comes in the S-Works and non S-Works version, which is called the Specialized Tarmac SL7. The major difference lies in the carbon fiber materials and the components.
Below the S-Works, there are the Specialized Pro, Expert, Comp, Sport and Base models. S-Works models are always specced with the best groupsets (Shimano Dura Ace Di2 or SRAM Red eTap AXS).
As the models trickle down from Pro to Base, and components from Shimano Ultegra to Sora, SRAM Force to Rival, the prices follow the same direction.
Read More : 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Shimano Di2
|Tarmac SL7||All-rounder race bike||$2,500 to $13,000|
|Aethos||Lightweight climbing bike||$4,800 to $14,500|
|Allez||Entry level bike||$1,000 to $2,300|
|Roubaix||Endurance bike||$2,600 to $12,500|
|Turbo Creo SL||Electric road bike||$6,000 to $16,500|
Carbon or Aluminum?
Most Specialized road bikes are available in both carbon and aluminum frame options except the Allez which is purely aluminum frame only.
The lower end, such as Base and Sport models are all aluminum while mid to top end are carbon. Within carbon models themselves, there are 8r, 9r, 10r, 11r, and 12r carbon fibers. The higher the number, the lighter, stiffer and expensive it is.
Specialized Tarmac SL7
The Tarmac is the complete race bike. It’s without a doubt the most popular model among all Specialized bikes.
Now in its seventh iteration (hence SL7), the Tarmac combines is an aerodynamic, lightweight, and disc-only road bike for all types of terrains. Light enough to climb the steepest mountain passes in Tour de France, fast and aero for the sprints on Champs Elysees.
The S-Works frame uses the FACT 12r carbon while the all Specialized frame uses the FACT 10r carbon. The difference lies in the choice of groupset, wheels, and components.
There are four models in the Tarmac SL7 lineup based on its groupset setup.
- S-Works Tarmac SL7 ($13,000) – Shimano Dura Ace Di2 / SRAM Red eTap AXS
- Tarmac SL7 Pro ($7,800) – Shimano Ultegra Di2 / SRAM Force eTap AXS 1x
- Tarmac SL7 Expert ($5,500) – Shimano Ultegra Di2
- Tarmac SL7 Comp ($4,800) – SRAM Rival eTap AXS groupset
It’s also available in frameset only for Specialized and S-Works editions.
Our Value Pick : Specialized SL7 Expert with Shimano Ultegra Di2 ($5,500)
Pronounced as Ay-thoss, the naming is based on the Greek word Ethos, meaning character.
Designed for the hardcore weight weenies, the Aethos is Specialized’s lightest road bike to date. Featuring a more traditional shape with rounded tubes and non dropped seat stay, the Aethos weighs only 5.9kg for a complete bike.
With its weight below the minimum of 6.8kg mandated by the UCI, the Aethos will not feature in professional cycling. Similar to the Tarmac, the S-Works frames use the FACT 12r carbon, and non S-Works frame the FACT 10r carbon.
There are five models in the Aethos lineup based on its groupset setup.
- S-Works Aethos Founder Edition ($14,500) – Shimano Dura Ace Di2 / SRAM Red eTap AXS 1x
- S-Works Aethos ($13,000) – Shimano Dura Ace Di2 / SRAM Red eTap AXS 1x
- Aethos Pro ($7,800) – Shimano Ultegra Di2 / SRAM Force eTap AXS 1x
- Aethos Expert ($5,500) – Shimano Ultegra Di2
- Aethos Comp ($4,800) – SRAM Rival eTap AXS groupset
It’s also available in frameset only for Specialized and S-Works editions.
Our Value Pick : Specialized Aethos Expert with Shimano Ultegra Di2 ($5,500)
The Allez is an aluminum, entry-level road bike which has been around since 1981. Unlike the aggressive geometry of the Tarmac and Venge, the Allez geometry is more relaxed to cater to a wider range of cyclists.
Over the years, many cyclists have used the Allez to race criteriums and a Specialized made model specifically for that; the Allez Sprint.
There are five models in the Aethos lineup based on its groupset setup. It’s also available in frameset only.
- Allez Sprint ($2,300) – Shimano 105
- Allez Elite ($1,500) – Shimano 105
- Allez Sport ($1,200) – Shimano Sora
- Allez Comp ($1,000) – Shimano Claris
Our Value Pick : Specialized Allez Spring with Shimano 105 ($2,300)
This endurance bike got its name from the hardest one-day bike race; the Paris Roubaix. It has a slightly relaxed frame geometry ad wider tire clearance compared to the Tarmac.
Specialized sponsored teams will ride this model for the race instead of their usual Tarmac for its Future Shock suspension system. This technology helps to make a more comfortable ride when the pros are riding across rough cobblestones at 30mph.
There are seven models in the Roubaix lineup based on its groupset setup. It’s also available in S-Works frameset only.
- S-Works Roubaix Pro ($12,500) – SRAM Red eTAP AXS
- Roubaix Pro ($7,500) – SRAM Force eTap AXS
- Roubaix Expert ($5,000) – Shimano Ultegra Di2
- Roubaix Comp ($4,800) – SRAM Rival eTap AXS
- Roubaix Comp ($4,200) – Shimano Ultegra
- Roubaix Sport ($3,200) – Shimano 105
- Roubaix ($2,600) – Shimano Tiagra
Our Value Pick : Specialized Roubaix Expert with Shimano Ultegr Di2 ($5,000)
Specialized Turbo Creo
The Specialized Turbo Creo is an electric road bike. While there are many models in the Turbo Creo lineup, all the models share three similarities.
They all have the same 240 watts Specialized SL 1.1 motor, a 480Wh battery which has a range of 120 miles, and a FACT carbon 11r. The difference lies in the components, wheels, and groupset used for the bikes.
The top of the line S-Works model weighs only 26.2 lbs., which is an impressive weight for an electric road bike.
Carbon models start from $2,800 and go up to $10,500 for the S-Works model.
- S-Works Turbo Creo SL Founder’s Edition ($16,500)
- S-Works Turbo Creo SL ($13,500 to $14,750)
- Turbo Creo SL Expert ($9,000 to $9,750)
- Turbo Creo SL Comp ($7,000 to $7,250)
Our Value Pick : Specialized Turbo Creo SL Comp ($7,000)
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is Specialized's warranty?
Specialized offers a lifetime warranty for the original owner covering the frame and fork. For second or subsequent owners, there is a two-year warranty from the initial purchase date.
Where are Specialized bikes made?
Specialized bikes are made in China, while being designed in the headquarters in Morgan Hill, California.
Where can I buy Specialized bikes?
Specialized bikes are sold through their network is dealers globally. You easily find a Specialized dealer in most major cities around the world.
Alternatively, try the Specialized Store Finder.
Which professional team does Specialized sponsor?
In 2021, Specialized sponsors Bora-Hansgrohe, Deceuninck Quickstep, and SD Worx. They’re the team of Julian Alaphilippe and Anna van der Breggen, the current men and women World Road Race champion.