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Descending with D'Aluisio on the New Tarmac

The last time I rode with Specialized's Director of Advanced Development, Chris D'Aluisio, was in Monterey on the McLaren Venge during that launch. I stayed glued to his wheel while descending down from the hills at the end of 17 Mile Drive. Chris showed me his Moto GP skills and I trusted him in the corners to find the lines, and get us back to the hotel safely.

Getting the new Tarmac download

Out of kit and relaxed, Chris was in Santa Cruz to talk with us about the new 2015 Tarmac and while my mind drifted to stay-on-his wheel strategies for the ride the next day, I took these notes:

  • First impression: feels much different than before, an iteration focused on the ride with better line tracking. Until now they didn't have the tools. McLaren gave them the tools and taught them to trust the data and then back it up with rider feedback.
  • Contador raced an SL4.5. He didn't like how the SL4 chattered compared to the SL3 and wanted his SL3 back. Spesh needed more leaned-over compliance to stop the chatter while banked into the corners. With the new Tarmac, texture of the road comes through to the rider without jostling him out of his groove. Boonen also told me that he races the Roubaix and Venge because he doesn't like the SL4 chatter.
  • Compared to the SL4, the seat tube is 35 mm shorter, way less periscope, and no overlap with the seat post, so it's more compliant.
  • Chris said the bike's job in a turn is to destabilize so that the wheels can catch you and push you through the turn. Like if you were to balance an upright broom in the palm of your hand. You begin the turn by counter-steering away from it which causes you to fall into the turn's direction, ...