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Astana Pro Team Specialized Tarmac S-Works

Astana Pro Team Specialized Tarmac S-Works

Astana Pro Team Specialized Tarmac S-Works
Pieter Van Pietersen

Astana Pro Team is using a Specialized frames - Venge, Tarmac, Roubaix - Corima Aero-S Tubular 40mm wheels and Campagnolo Super Record EPS components.

This set up worked for Vino at London 2012, although you have to wonder if he won in spite of the bike!

The bike components used by Astana Pro Team are listed below.

Tarmac S-Works

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Specialized Tarmac S-Works Complete Bike

Comfortable and refined.

Weight is on the higher side for a non-aero frame. 1348g compared to 1100g for a Scott Addict SL. But having said that, you'd never notice 250g on a frame.

Aerodynamically, the Tarmac SL4 falls behind most of the competition. It requires 14W more to ride at 30mph compared to its aero brother the Venge. That could equate to half a wheel's difference over a 200m sprint, which is how much Mark Cavendish (Venge) won over Matt Goss (Tarmac) in the 2011 World Championships.

It isn't really that cheap, either. e.g. For under half the price, you could get a Canyon Aeroad CF with Reynolds Assault wheels. That bike would see you through a race just as well.

SaxoBank is also using this frame in 2014, with SRAM Red 22 components. It doesn't seem to be slowing down Alberto Contador.

Weight: 6800g

RRP in USD: $12383 with Roval Rapide Wheels

Specialized bikes tend to be sold in bike shops rather than online.

Specialized FACT

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SRM Specialized FACT Power meter

SRM was the first power meter brand, from around 1986. As a result, the design appears to be the most mature and reliable. Strain gauges in the crank measure the force, and this data is sent wirelessly to the head unit.

These power meters seem to work reliably for years. Worst case is to replace the electronics, which SRM service can do (cost about $600). SRM service also need to replace the batteries for you, which is expensive and inconvenient (about $100 + calibration). When the battery is replaced, the zero offset needs to be adjusted, but you will need an oscilloscope to get the correct settings. It's not as easy as pushing a button.

SRMs are high quality and robust, which is why people love them.

SRM adds the most weight to your bike compared to other power meters: 208g over a normal Dura-Ace crank.

Pros: reliable, accurate, easy to swap between bikes. The most bling power meter to have on your bike.

Cons: Expensive, heaviest power meter, doesn't auto-calibrate due to temperature, doesn't do L-R, unit has to be sent for expensive battery replacement, no GPS in the head unit (although this is coming with the PowerControl 8, summer 2014 or pair it with a Garmin). Software is free but adequate. Better to buy WKO+

Weight: 672g

RRP in USD: $2795

Aero+ 47mm, carbon hubs

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Corima Aero+ 47mm, carbon hubs Wheels

These are light and aero wheels with a foam core and an internal brake track reinforcement strut. The French manufacturer's wheels are not as commonly seen on the roads as, say, ENVE or Zipp, but engineering and quality is top end.

Nipples are located inside the rim, so you need to take the tyre and rim tape off before fiddling around. Once you get the hang of it, truing a rim this way isn't difficult. If you do it right, it shouldn't need to be very often either.

The braking performance could be improved a bit to bring it up to the standard of some of the other carbon rim manufacturers (2014). At the moment, whilst there is no grab, the rims seem too slippery for the pads.

Weight: 1335g

RRP in USD: $2125

Super Record 2014 11 Speed

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Campagnolo Super Record 2014 11 Speed Front Derailleur

Very similar to the Record model, just 4g lighter and it says "Super" on the top. Regardless, it works well, trims, and will accommodate 24-55 teeth chainrings. Expensive when you think that a Shimano Di2 front derailleur is selling at $350.

Weight: 129g

RRP in USD: $855

You can buy an entire EPS upgrade kit in a box here for $2700 or just the front derailleur for $756.

Super Record 11 Speed EPS

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Campagnolo Super Record 11 Speed EPS Levers

These work as well as the Shimano Di2 levers. They are probably easier to get used to, since the shifting control is similar to the mechanical version. These levers also give a more audible click compared to Di2, which you may prefer (I don't).

With the downshift lever on the inside of the hood, it can be reached with your thumb while in the drops, so a special sprint button isn't required.

These are actually cheaper than Dura-Ace and feature integrated CPU functions, but you still need a CPU fixed to your stem with ugly zip-ties.

Weight: 265g pair

RRP in USD: $780 pair

A single lever sells for $253 here and of course you'll need two.

Powercontrol VII

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SRM Powercontrol VII Computer

Very expensive compared to a Garmin and no GPS capability until Mid 2014 when the Powercontrol 8 is released.

If you are using an SRM then this does look good. I find it difficult to remember what the buttons do.

Weight: 65g

RRP in USD: $750

These cost $750 pretty much everywhere. Hard to find a new one on discount. Perhaps when the PC VIII comes out the price will drop (Except you'll want a PC VIII).

Super Record 11 Speed EPS

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Campagnolo Super Record 11 Speed EPS Rear Derailleur

It does look good with all that carbon. The motor is quite well hidden inside the derailleur body.

The pulleys have holes to save weight, but these tend to fill with oily gunk, which weighs more than plastic. So unless you keep them very clean, the benefits will be lost.

As with Shimano Di2, this derailleur has a 'Ride Back Home' function. If the battery dies or if there is a crash, the motor is uncoupled, so the derailleur may be positioned manually.

Weight: 206g

RRP in USD: $750

A Campagnolo Super Record EPS 11S Rear Derailleur 11S Short Cage Carbon sells for $468 here and $765 here.

Super Record 11 Speed

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Campagnolo Super Record 11 Speed Cassette

Five of the sprockets are steel (the smallest ones i.e. 11-15). The other 6 are steel. They are mounted on an aluminium body. The reason for using steel is to save weight, reduce cost and improve wear. it is better to use Ti on the larger cogs as these have less load on them, and can be made lighter than with steel. Its a fine balancing act.

Light and quiet running, it is nevertheless rather expensive.

Available sizes:
11-23, 11-25, 12-25, 12-27, 12-29

Weight: 177g (Actual: 194g for 12-27)

RRP in USD: $470

The Record 11 cassette is selling for $299 for 12-25 here (other sizes more expensive, but 12-25 is a good cassette) and Super Record for $332.45 here.

Chorus cassettes $145 are a fair bit cheaper and only 59g heavier.

Keo Blade 2 Ti

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Look Keo Blade 2 Ti Pedals

I've used look pedals since 1988, but in the last few years I changed to Shimano. I found that the Look cleats tended to fall apart very quickly (the non slip grip tore off followed by rapid wear of the plastic) and the bearings got crunchy after some wet rides.

The slightly worn cleats would also rock from side to side (i.e. pitch introduced) which may have caused some knee niggles. The Shimano platform is more solid. Perhaps this has been solved with Look's new pedal body shape. Let me know if it has.

I've also seen issues with the carbon blade delaminating or snapping, so check yours regularly. Perhaps the issue is solved with this wider blade. Note that the blades come in different spring strengths, with blue as the highest.

There have been complaints about an aggressive seal on the pedals, which adds friction.

Having said that, these pedals look fantastic, and if you have a Campagnolo group set, you can't be putting Shimano pedals on, can you?

The price is high, so consider the Keo 2 Cromo steel axle version which is 20g heavier per pedal but 40% cheaper.

Weight: 90g per pedal, 34g cleat

RRP in USD: $400

Look Blade 2 with Cr-Mo axles sell for $164 here or $393 for the Ti version.

Super Record 11 Speed

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Campagnolo Super Record 11 Speed Brakes

A great functioning brake caliper, only available in black.

The main issue is cleaning the things with all those holes. Brake dust and grime will accumulate, and you'll need pipe cleaners and ear buds to get it out. Who can be bothered with that?

Campagnolo has finally fixed their brake pad issue. They used to be impossible to remove, which is a pain if you need to regularly change the pads for carbon or alloy rims. The pads now slide easily out of the shoes.

The rear brake has a single pivot design, which makes the brake a little lighter and less powerful than the front dual pivot. This is useful, as less braking force is required at the rear wheel.

Weight: 272g Mono/Dual pivot

RRP in USD: $335

The single pivot version is selling for $300 here or $312.50 here . The dual pivot version costs a more at $390 here


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FSA K-FORCE SB32 Seat Post

This is being used by the Cannondale 2014 Team. Nice looking post but I'm not sure about the seat clamping area. It looks like it might have serrations, which will stop you from getting the exact seat angle you want.

Weight: 219g for 35cm.

RRP in USD: $200

The FSA K-Force seatpost sells for $125 (2011 model).


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You can get lighter aluminium stems, for example the Ritchey WCS 260 is 105g.

This stem will be a reliable performer, and the few grams won't make a difference to your performance, especially if your bike can't weigh less than 6.8kg.

The price is a bit on the high side for an aluminium stem. There are cheaper options that are just as good, but you might need an FSAS stem to match your seat post and bars.

Weight: 141g for 10cm

RRP in USD: $89.99

FSA SL-K stem selling for $81 here or $111.30 here.


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Light bar, compact (short depth to the drops) at 125mm. Compare that to a short drop 3T bar at 123mm.

If you want to get low down on your bike, you may prefer the K-FORCE ERGO bar which has 150mm of drop and weighs a little less at 185g.

Weight: 210g 40cm

RRP in USD: $-

The FSA K-Force Compact Carbon sells for $259 here.

Super Record 11 Speed

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Campagnolo Super Record 11 Speed Chain

This chain has a Ni-PTFE treatment which should yield lower friction and a longer life.

It runs quietly, and has a high 'retention force' so it is less likely to snap when being shifted under load.

The major downside is the requirement to use a special Campagnolo chain tool (UT-CN 300 that's an anagram eh?) to join it. At nearly $200 that's a lot of money for a chain riveter. Normal tools don't work right.

I recommend using a quick link instead.

Weight: 245g

RRP in USD: $84

You can buy a Campagnolo Record 11 Chain for $65 here.
You can also buy a KMC 11 - Speed Missing Link for $31. The Park Tools chain tool is $53.50.


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