Roman Kreuziger tinkoff saxo specialized tarmac 2015
Photos by Jakob Kristian Sørensen

Now with race season in full swing, it’s a good time for pro road teams to start testing prototypes for the coming year. Most of the time they are well hidden from the public eye but every once in a while you spot something – like what appears to be a new version of the Specialized Tarmac under Roman Kreuziger during Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

The photo above which was taken by Jakob Kristian Sørensen, appears on the Tinkoff Saxo team website and shows what is clearly a bike frame with an integrated seat post clamp. Due to the lack of an aero seat post and Zertz on the seat stays, we can safely conclude this isn’t a new Venge or Roubaix, which leaves the Tarmac as the logical conclusion. Whether this is an all new version of the Tarmac (SL5?) or just updates on the existing design remains to be seen, but it definitely appears to be what Specialized refers to as “Project Black.”

Check out Specialized’ statement on the design, plus compare it to the other Tarmacs on the road for LBL after the break…

Photos by Jakob Kristian Sørensen

Above, Chris Anker Sørensen does his thing at the front of the pack on a current model Tarmac.

Photos by Jakob Kristian Sørensen

As shown in the photo above, the blue and yellow Tarmacs have the current seat post clamp, indicating that Roman Kreuziger may have been the only one on a Project Black bike at the race.

When asked for comment, Specialized replied,

“Specialized relies on feedback from professional athletes in developing and testing advanced prototypes in real-world applications. Thanks to this top-level feedback some of these prototypes, or elements of their designs, eventually show up in future product offerings. We call these bikes Project Black.”

According to that statement, don’t expect to see a new Tarmac any time soon, but like most manufacturers you can bet they are working on one.

Thanks to Brian McDonnel for the tip!


  1. Well, nice try with the statement, Spesh, but UCI doesnt really allow one-off prototypes, right? has to be at least a limited production run if not the actual SL5 beast. And its a little late in the year for this not to be pretty much what we’ll get in the showrooms as SL5.
    It looks nice, pretty sleek and minimalist, would like to see the rest of it.

  2. @Velo Zephyr, that’s not even close to being the same. It’s simply another take on what some frame builders have been doing for years (Casati is an example).

  3. Hey bike Rumor… Can you please quit it with the Screaming audio ads? It’s really effin’ annoying, and makes me think twice about visiting a site I like to frequent.

    • Jeff, we don’t like those ads either. We try to keep those off the site but they’re served up by a third party and we don’t always have control over them. Do they have a google adchoice logo in the corner? Send us an email if they keep up, with a description of the ad and we’ll try to take them off: kristi at bikerumor dot com.

What do you think?