Pro bike: Lotte Kopecky’s world champion-edition Specialized Tarmac SL8

Kopecky Specialized bike received a makeover following her Wolrd Championships victory

Clock10:49, Saturday 24th February 2024
Lotte Kopecky's Specialized Tarmac SL8


Lotte Kopecky's Specialized Tarmac SL8

Things couldn’t have gone much better for Lotte Kopecky in 2023, a season that returned 14 victories. For many riders, her Tour of Flanders victory would be their crowning moment, but this was no ordinary season and Kopecky is no ordinary rider. Hammering home her status as the best one-day rider in the Women’s WorldTour peloton, the Belgian single-handedly overcame the might of the Dutch squad to soar to a solo victory in the road race at the World Championships in Glasgow.

A world title comes with plenty of perks, most notably a rainbow jersey, but teams often also reward their riders with special-edition bikes to commemorate their victory and SD Worx-Protime have pulled out all the stops for Kopecky’s Specialized Tarmac SL8.

We caught a close-up glimpse of the bike at the UAE Tour, a week before Kopecky kickstarted her Classics campaign at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Opening Weekend.

It’s all in the detail

Teams can take one of two approaches when designing a world champion-edition bike. The first is to go all-out with an in-your-face design, while the other is a more subtle approach. SD Worx have taken the latter with Kopecky’s bike and, as far as we’re concerned, it’s a resounding success.

As you would expect, rainbow bands provide a nod to Kopecky’s status, but they only cover a small fraction of the bike on the forks. Everywhere else has taken on what, from a distance, could be mistaken for a murky white palette. On closer inspection there are striped shades of grey.

It's a simple enough design, but one which is accented by small details on the top tube detailing Kopecky’s achievements. So, if she’s in need of any inspiration over the course of the season, all she has to do is look down.

Specialized Tarmac SL8 - big shoes to fill

By the time the Specialized Tarmac SL8 broke cover in August, Lotte Kopecky and her SD Worx teammates had swept up titles at virtually every race going, including the Tour de France Femmes where Demi Vollering triumphed. Add Kopecky’s wins at the Tour of Flanders and the World Championships and the SL8 was left with very big shoes to fill.

Enjoying the same success as its predecessor also requires SD Worx to operate at the same stratospheric level in 2024, something that their rivals will be praying won’t happen. If early-season skirmishes are anything to go by, their rivals will be left disappointed.

After a quiet January, the team clicked into full gear in February as Kopecky soared to the UAE Tour title courtesy of a stage win on the Jebel Hafeet climb. That will be startling to the rest of the peloton as long climbs haven’t traditionally been Kopecky’s natural terrain, suggesting that the Belgian could extend her reach in 2024.

That’s good news for the Tarmac SL8, though, a bike that evolved rather than revamped the SL7. There were subtle changes across the bike, resulting in a stiffer, lighter and more aerodynamic product, according to Specialized, but it’s the nose cone that steals the show. This is another name for the more elongated and narrow head tube, which Specialized has called the ‘speed sniffer’. Not everyone's a fan of the name, but it’s representative of its purpose of making the front of the bike more aerodynamic, which in turns leads to a faster bike.

SRAM shares in SD Worx success

Shimano currently enjoys a huge numerical advantage in the women’s and men’s WorldTour pelotons, but SRAM can arguably boast more success in 2023. It was a part of SD Worx’s all-conquering season and also accompanied Jumbo-Visma’s record-breaking clean sweep of Grand Tours over on the men’s side of things.

SRAM has one notable benefit over the other major groupset brands: 1x set-ups. It’s something most of its men’s teams took advantage of in 2023, but SD Worx were a bit more reluctant. That was the case again at the UAE Tour where Kopecky’s bike was sporting a 2x 50/37t SRAM Red chainset.

It was joined by a 10-33t cassette to provide a wide range of gears.

In-house Specialized components

The rest of the build was completed by in-house Specialized components, including the Roval Rapide CLX II, with a 51mm rim depth at the front and 60mm at the rear.

The bike also had Roval’s Rapide cockpit, while Kopecky uses a Syncros Belcarra saddle.

Bike Specification
  • year


  • model

    S-Works Tarmac SL8

  • Manufacturer


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