This article compares the Specialized Tarmac SL8 and Giant TCR Advanced.
I’ll help you understand the bike model lineups, specifications, and suggested retail prices in USD. I’ll explain the carbon fiber technology (Specialized FACT and Giant Advanced Composite) and innovative frameset technologies on each bike.
The objective is to provide you with a clearer understanding of Specialized Tarmac SL8 and Giant TCR Advanced.
|Specialized Tarmac SL8||Giant TCR Advanced|
|Type of bike||All-rounder||All-rounder|
|Frame material||FACT 12r carbon|
FACT 10r carbon
|Frame sizes||44, 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61||XS, S, M, ML, L, XL|
|Groupset||Shimano, SRAM (12-speed)||Shimano, SRAM (12-speed)|
|Brakes||Hydraulic disc||Hydraulic disc|
|Price (USD)||TBD||$6,500 to $12,200|
Specialized Tarmac SL8
The Specialized Tarmac SL8 is the latest, all-rounder race bike.
Now in its eighth iteration, hence SL8, the Specialized Tarmac improves on the features of the Tarmac SL7 that made it one of the best bikes in professional cycling and a leading bike brand among amateur cyclists.
According to Specialized, the Tarmac SL8 has a 33% improvement in stiffness-to-weight ratio compared to the Tarmac SL7. The most significant improvement is in aerodynamics; a larger head tube with a sharper nose cone. Specialized calls this the Speed Sniffer.
The S-Works version retains the same FACT 12r carbon, while the Specialized Pro and Expert versions use the FACT 10r carbon. The difference between the S-Works and Specialized versions lies in the carbon fiber grade, choice of groupset, wheels, and components. The S-Works versions come with the newly launched Roval Rapide Cockpit, a one-pice carbon handlebar.
A size 56 bike weighs 6.62 kg (14.6 lbs) with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, and 6.85 kg (15.1 lbs) with a SRAM Red AXS.
There are six models in the Specialized Tarmac SL8 lineup based on its groupset setup. All models are electronic shifting only. It’s also available in frameset only for S-Works and for Specialized versions.
|Model||Frame material||Groupset||Wheelset||Max. tire size||Retail price (USD)|
|S-Works Tarmac SL8||FACT 12r carbon||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (R9200)||Roval Rapid CLX II |
(51mm front, 60mm rear)
|S-Works Tarmac SL8||FACT 12r carbon||SRAM Red eTap AXS||Roval Rapid CLX II |
(51mm front, 51mm rear)
|Specialized Tarmac SL8 Pro||FACT 10r carbon||Shimano Ultegra Di2 (R8100)||Roval Rapid CL II |
(51mm front, 60mm rear)
|Specialized Tarmac SL8 Pro||FACT 10r carbon||SRAM Force eTap AXS||Roval Rapid CL II |
(51mm front, 60mm rear)
|Specialized Tarmac SL8 Expert||FACT 10r carbon||SRAM Rival eTap AXS||Roval C38 (38mm)||32mm||$6,500|
More reading : Specialized Tarmac SL8 vs SL7 - What's Changed?
Giant TCR Advanced
The top-tiered Giant TCR Advanced SL uses the super light Advanced-SL carbon, has an integrated seat post, and is specced with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (R9200) or SRAM Force eTap AXS. The Giant TCR Advanced Pro sits in the mid-range, uses a lower-grade carbon fiber (Advanced carbon), and is slightly heavier.
The framesets are available in the Advanced SL and Advanced Pro versions for those looking to custom-build their bikes.
|Model||Frame material||Groupset||Wheelset||Retail price (USD)|
|Giant TCR Advanced SL 0||Advanced SL carbon||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (R9200)||CADEX 36||$12,200|
|Giant TCR Advanced SL 1||Advanced SL carbon||SRAM Force eTap AXS||Giant SLR 1 36||$9,200|
|Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0 AR||Advanced carbon||SRAM Force eTap AXS||Giant SLR 1 36||$6,700|
|Giant TCR Advanced Pro 0||Advanced carbon||Shimano Ultegra Di2 (R8100)||Giant SLR 1 36||$6,500|
Giant TCR Advanced vs others
Specialized vs Giant carbon fiber
Specialized FACT Carbon
Specialized FACT (Functional Advanced Composite Technology) is an advanced carbon fiber technology used in high-performance Specialized bicycles. It offers a lightweight yet strong frame construction with precise carbon layup, resulting in optimal strength-to-weight ratio and improved ride quality.
FACT carbon frames are engineered to efficiently transfer power, absorb road vibrations, and provide a comfortable riding experience. With continuous innovation and refinement, FACT Carbon demonstrates Specialized’s commitment to delivering top-notch performance and enhancing the overall cycling experience.
The carbon is available in three grades. The choice between FACT 12r, 11r, or 10r carbon depends on the bike model, your preferences, riding style, and budget.
- Specialized FACT 12r Carbon is the highest-grade carbon used by Specialized. Bikes (S-Works models) with frames made from FACT 12r carbon are the lightest and stiffest in the Specialized line-up. These frames are manufactured using the most advanced techniques and materials.
- Specialized FACT 11r Carbon used to be the highest-grade carbon until the S-Works Tarmac (SL5). Today, it’s the highest-grade carbon for the S-Works Roubaix.
- Specialized FACT 10r Carbon is two steps below 12r in the Specialized carbon hierarchy. While it doesn’t provide quite the same level of weight savings and stiffness as 12r, 10r frames are still very light and stiff, providing a high level of performance. FACT 10r carbon is used in all non S-Works models and is ideal for riders who want a balance of performance and value.
Giant Advanced Composite Carbon
Giant’s Advanced Composite Carbon is a proprietary carbon fiber technology used in constructing bicycle frames. It’s a high-quality composite material with carbon fibers embedded in a resin matrix.
Using Advanced Composite Carbon, Giant can design frames with specific performance characteristics tailored to different riding disciplines. The material offers excellent vibration-damping properties, enhancing comfort and reducing fatigue on long rides. It also provides efficient power transfer, enabling riders to maximize their pedaling efficiency and accelerate easily.
The Giant Advanced Composite Carbon is available in standard and SL (Super Light) versions.
- Advanced SL represents the pinnacle of Giant’s carbon fiber engineering and construction. Advanced SL frames undergo additional optimization, utilizing a higher grade of carbon fiber and meticulous layup techniques. It’s found in Giant’s top-of-the-line bikes.
- Advanced is a step down from the top-tier Advanced SL carbon fiber, but it still offers an impressive balance of performance and value for money.
Frameset technologies and innovations
Specialized Tarmac SL8 and Giant TCR Advanced framesets incorporate advanced technologies to enhance their bikes’ performance and ride characteristics.
Here’s an overview of the technologies used in each bike model.
Specialized Tarmac SL8
|FACT carbon||Functional Advanced Composite Technology (FACT). A carbon fiber construction method that balances lightweight, stiffness, and compliance in Specialized bike frames. |
Available in two carbon grades; FACT 12r and 10r. A higher number indicates a higher grade of carbon.
S-Works models use the FACT 12r carbon and Specialized Pro and Expert models use the FACT 10r carbon.
|Rider-First Engineered™||Rider-First Engineered™ is a design philosophy used by Specialized that ensures every frame size delivers the same predictable and responsive ride characteristics. This concept was first introduced with the 2015 Tarmac, and the idea has been incorporated into all models since.|
Instead of simply scaling frame sizes, Specialized takes into account that riders of different sizes have different weights, which are distributed differently. This means that each frame size experiences different forces. Therefore, each frame size is engineered independently with different carbon layups and tube dimensions, ensuring the optimal balance of rigidity, weight, and responsiveness for each size.
In short, no matter what the frame size is, the ride quality and performance remain consistently excellent.
|Win Tunnel||Specialized utilizes advanced tools and technologies to pursue aerodynamic excellence, such as the Win Tunnel, FreeFoil Shape Library, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), and Data Acquisition (DAQ) system.|
The goal is to optimize aerodynamic performance by conducting wind tunnel tests, developing new airfoil shapes, simulating fluid flow, and collecting real-world data to improve rider position and enhance overall performance.
Giant TCR Advanced
|Advanced Composite Technology||Utilizes Giant’s High Performance Grade raw carbon material and Modified Monocoque Construction technique to create a custom frame material. This carbon composite offers a high stiffness-to-weight ratio, balancing lightweight performance and strength.|
|OverDrive 2||Features advanced steerer tube technology with oversized headset bearings and a tapered steerer tube (1 1/2″ lower, 1 1/4″ upper). |
This design optimizes the front-end steering performance, resulting in superior steering stiffness, enhanced control, and precise handling.
|Compact Road Design||Originating with the professional Team ONCE in the 1990s, Compact Road Design revolutionized high-performance road bikes.|
It involves a downward-sloping top tube, creating smaller front and rear triangles for a lighter, stiffer bike. The design also enables riders of all sizes to find a perfect fit and maintain optimal power transfer.
|PowerCore||Incorporates a massively oversized bottom bracket/chainstay area with a fully integrated 86mm wide bottom bracket design (92mm wide for off-road bikes). |
The asymmetrical chainstays provide additional stiffness on the drive side and stability on the non-drive side, ensuring efficient power transfer and precise handling.
Where to buy
- Specialized online shops. Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States
- Specialized retailers. Use this tool to find your nearest Specialized retailers.
- Giant retailers. Use this tool to find your nearest Giant retailers.