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Mont Ventoux
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Pro bikes, January 8, 2007

Tom Boonen's Quick-Step Specialized Tarmac

Photo ©: Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com

Specialized answers the call

Quick-Step's new 2007 ride

By Gregor Brown

Head tube
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Left arm of the Specialized
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All data is output
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Campagnolo Record skeleton brakes
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Rear derailleur
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The Quick-Step team heads out
Photo ©: Takashi Nakazawa
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Tom Boonen with his new Specialized team bike.
Photo ©: Takashi Nakazawa
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Specialized made a coup this winter, scooping up the bike sponsorship for one of the biggest teams in cycling, Quick-Step. The Belgium-based squad had been using Time bikes over the past years but decided to switch to the American firm. The team, directed by Patrick Lefevere, boasts an impressive roster, including Peter Van Petegem, current world champion Paolo Bettini, and 2005 world champion Tom Boonen.

In addition to its wide-ranging palmarès, the team also possesses an equally broad spread of rider physiques, which presented an interesting challenge to Specialized. Thankfully, the company already offers its top-end carbon fiber S-Works Roubaix SL and Tarmac SL frames from 49cm all the way up to 61cm, and the company has been able to accommodate all of its new riders with stock sizes.

"For each size we went though frame after frame to ensure the carbon lay-up was just right," said Specialized President Mike Sinyard. "So we specifically designed each size but the model that Tom rides on is the same 58 cm you could find in the shops. All the bikes are standard sizes that we already sell; Tom is using an XL but we also make an XXL."

Team riders will not only be on stock sizes, but also completely stock frames (with no modifications other than paint) that you or I can buy from our local bike shops. In fact, Bettini is reported to want to become familiar with the new bike as soon as he could and went to a local store and selected an off-the-shelf 49cm Tarmac to use until his official rig was ready.

In comparison to his relatively diminutive Italian teammate, Boonen is a relative monster in the world of cycling and demands a bike that can withstand his thrashings. Boonen rides a much larger 58cm model than Bettini's 49cm, and his stem is also stretched out significantly in order to support his long torso. Likewise, his cranks measure 177.5mm to provide the proper torque he can deliver, but it is all standard componentry that Specialized provides. "There are no special adjustments for his bike," continued Sinyard.

For all of the team bikes, the American manufacturer uses a proprietary oversized, external bearing bottom bracket that handles its integrated cranks. The FACT Carbon Direct Drive cranks are a two-part system that are mounted with Campagnolo rings (Boonen is currently using 53/39). Unlike some other models on the market, the carbon arms do not have aluminium running though the inside for support; instead there is just a bit of bonded medal to handle the pedal threads. Aluminum is also used for the large-diameter bottom bracket spindle which is joined in its center with a unique spline.

Quick-Step is an undeniable powerhouse in the spring classics, and Boonen is a veritable king of the cobbles. Having won the Tour of Flanders twice and Paris-Roubaix once he will have special needs for the brutal one-day events. Although the team has both of Specialized's top road-going models at their disposal, Specialized will supply the team with their appropriately named Roubaix SL for those purposes.

"We suspect the whole team will be using the Roubaix [SL] model in Paris-Roubaix," confirmed Sinyard. The bike was first introduced as an aluminium version with Domina Vacanze but was developed into full carbon with Gerolsteiner. "Boonen already has a Roubaix [SL] model that he is using."

The frame has a more relaxed geometry, with longer stays for increased tire and mud clearance, and also boasts more vertical compliance than the somewhat edgier Tarmac SL. Again, though, the bike is a standard model offered by Specialized and is also their most popular bike being sold in the USA.

So far it seems the new arrangement has been extremely beneficial for both parties involved. Boonen, Bettini, and the rest of the Quick-Step squad have been equipped with top-of-the-line and purpose-built machines, and Specialized has landed one of the top teams in the sport. According to Sinyard, "We have been very happy with the feedback from the whole team."


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Gregor Brown/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Takashi Nakazawa/Specialized

Full specification

Frame: 2006 Specialized Tarmac, S-Works - Carbon FACT (Functional Advanced Carbon Technology) 10r carbon Az1
Fork: Specialized S-Works FACT monocoque carbon. Carbon legs, crown and steerer
Colour: Red

Critical measurements
Rider's height: --; Weight: --
C of BB to C of seat tube: 508mm
C of BB to T of seat tube: 520mm
C of BB to T of seat: 800mm
Top tube length (C-C): 574mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars: 640mm
C of front wheel to top of bars: 608mm

Cranks: Specialized Fact Carbon Direct Drive, 177.5mm, 53/39 Record rings
Chain: --
Front derailleur: Campagnolo Record 10 Speed DS
Rear derailleur: Campagnolo Record 10 Speed DS
Brakes: Campagnolo Record skeleton (black)
Levers: Campagnolo Record 10 Ultra
Rear sprockets: Campagnolo Record


Rim: Fulcrum Racing 5 Revolution
Tyres: Specialized S-Works (F), Specialized Roubaix (R)

Bar: Similar style to FSA models
Stem: Specialized
Headset: S-works mindset integrated threadless w/ ceramic bearings

Pedals: Look Keo
Seat post: Specialized S-works Zertz
Saddle: Similar to a Selle San Marco Regal, other riders using Specialized Toupe.
Bottle cages: Specialized Rib Cage
Cycle computer: Specialized Turbo Elite

Total bike weight: --