The $20,000 Road Bike

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By bicyclebluebook July 9, 2014

The first bike I ever saw with a price tag of $2000 was an Eddy Merckx with Campy, back in 1988. I remember it like yesterday. My first thought was, “That is crazy!” and my second thought was, “Who would pay $2000 for a bike!”

Well, as you well know, prices have gone considerably higher since then. New bike values and used bike values have outpaced inflation considerably. $2000 or more is frequently spent on used bikes in the Bicycle Blue Book marketplace. You can buy a set of wheels that are double the cost of the entire Merckx I saw back in 1988. Even with the crazy prices we see these days, Specialized managed to shock the world with its recent launch of a $20000 bike, ten times the price of the Merckx that shocked me so much all those years ago.

Specialized has been vocal about their partnership with F1 motor racing giant McLaren for some time. While much of the partnership has been behind the scenes with software development, testing protocols and manufacturing expertise two products have emerged with the McLaren label, the McLaren Venge and S-Works + McLaren TT helmet. Today Specialized announced the third product to earn the McLaren designation, the S-Works McLaren Tarmac.

The 2015 Tarmac, launched in May, benefited from McLaren’s expertise in data acquisition and simulation which resulted in a new way of understanding exactly what a bike needs to do and how that differs for riders of all sizes. The resulting 2015 Tarmac exceeded the Tarmac SL4’s already vaunted performance. To further increase that performance and slap the McLaren label on the bike required serious engineering.

“Our design benchmark, the new S-Works Tarmac, was already a very, very efficient structure to start with and in some ways this was a much tougher challenge than the Venge we worked on,” said Joe Marsh, Composite Design Engineer, from McLaren Applied Technologies Limited.

S-Works McLaren Tarmac Details.

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• Depending on size, between 9 and 11 percent of frame and fork weight was removed through new carbon lay up procedures with no sacrifice in ride quality.

• With Tarmac frame weights above 800grams the new McLaren version is still not among the lightest advertised road frames.

• Custom paintwork and graphics are applied at McLaren Special Operations in Woking, Surrey UK.

• Each bike comes with a Body Geometry fit. Frame, bar, saddle, stem and crank sizes are selected based on this fit.

• The Specialized components are custom finished for the new bike and mated to eeCycleworks brakes and Shimano Dura Ace Di2.

• Exclusive CLX40R tubulars save over 90 grams compared to a standard set of CLX 40 wheels.

• Color matched S-Works Prevail helmet and S-Works shoes are included along with a wall mount for display.

• Only 250 S-Works McLaren Tarmacs will be made available to the public, each with a personalized nameplate.

With the very limited production run and tap from the McLaren magic wand the S-Works McLaren Tarmac is $20,000, surpassing the McLaren Venge’s $18,000 price tag. If you are one of the lucky few with that kind of money to spend on your next bike, head to, but do it before July 31st. Specialized will shut down the pre-order process then, that is assuming the 250 S-Works McLaren Tarmacs even last that long. Bikes will be delivered in February 2015.

Bicycle Blue Book is the web’s only accurate valuation tool and the web’s most trusted used bike marketplace. Posted from with permission.



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