Specialized Tarmac SL

!www.cyclingnews.com presents the 92nd Tour de France. Drool, drool, this is an incredible frame called the Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL. $8K for just the frame and fork. It is supposed to be amazing. Mark Wong thinks they are very cool.

It is supposed to be the stiffest bike out there and incredibly light too. The full bike will be amazing as well with…

_a Tarmac SL ‘dream bike’ will also make its debut, complete with: a S-Works FACT carbon crank that’s said to be 165 grams lighter and 11 percent stiffer than its Dura-Ace equivalent; the Barmac FACT one-piece bar and stem, no brick either at 349 grams and to be available in 11 different sizes; the 155 gram Toup? saddle (for your bum, not your dome!); and Roval Rapide carbon wheels, tipping the scales at 1,550 grams per pair, with Campagnolo’s Record group gracing the rest of the dream machine._

Mark Wong on Bikes

Mark Wong dropped me a line. Worked with him in the early 90s (could that have really been 10 years ago) while at Microsoft. He was on the Bank of America account and I was working on Excel. Anyway, since then he went to Wordlink and has been hanging out in the Valley for 10 years now. He’s also encylopedic in his knowledge of bikes. We had a great hour where we talked mainly about great bikes. He doesn’t have a blog, so here are his recommendations:

!Steelman Cycles Carbon. These are custom carbon fiber bicycles. They are made from Dedacciai tubes from Italy and lovingly put together. Prices are reasonable too for full custom. They start a $2700 for the frame and a fully built up Dura Ace is $5000. Really nice looking luges, etc. Great lust factor. This is the all out racing machine.

For this kind of bicycle, he gets the frame and then builds up, so what kind of components does he recommend. We had a long spirited discussion about it and I kind of agree with him:

* FSA MegaExo Compact Cranks. These are cheap and light and most importantly with a 50-34 ratio, good for old guys.
* Shimano Dura-Ace for the rest. He like Campy but thinks the Japanese precision wins out. Cheaper too now with the euro where it is. Having just looked at a $270 12-25 cassette for Campy Record, I’m kind of inclined to agree if you are on any budget at all. You need the FSA by the way because Shimano doesn’t make a compact crank.
* “Rolf”:http://www.rolfprima.com/ wheelset. He actually has “Topolino”:http://www.topolinotech.com like me, but he finds them so stiff, they bang him up. I definitely find them harsh, but responsive. I thought my Topolino’s were cool but the new “Prima Elan”:http://www.rolfprima.com/products/elan.html wheelset weighs just 1295 grams for a clincher so is a full 100 grams lighter than the Topolinos. Wow! The Vigor is their aerodynamic set that weight 1400 grams. They also make a Vigor Tandem as well.

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