Experience with Specialized Tarmac or Roubaix



maddogbubba

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Jul 5, 2010
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Originally Posted by oldbobcat .

Let me revise a bit. In 2008, Specialized started furnishing the Quickstep team SL2 Tarmacs whose main distinguishing feature is a shorter head tube. There might also be extra layers around the bottom bracket for stiffness.

The Roubaixs furnished to Quickstep for Paris-Roubaix for 2008 and 2009 used Roubaix angles, chainstays, seatstays, forks, Zertz, doglegs, and all, but the head tubes were shortened to duplicate the stack height of the pro Tarmacs. Everything else being equal, the handlebars would be slightly higher on the Roubaix because the slackened head angle raises the stem angle. Other pro build features were non-detachable carbon derailleur hangers for snappier shifting (so what happened, Andy Schleck?) and threaded bottom bracket shells as needed to accommodate the bottom brackets of whoever was supplying the cranks. So while these bikes are not truly custom, they are a special pro build that is not in the product catalog. Leftover units might be available to non-sponsored riders who know who to call.

Classics leader Tom Boonen got the custom builds. To accommodate his height and proportions, his Tarmacs and Roubaix had extended top tubes.

Fabian Cancellara won in 2010, of course, riding on a Tarmac for that other Specialized sponsored team.

The head tubes of standard Tarmacs are still 2 cm taller than Trek's intermediate H2 geometry, the Roubaix is about 2 cm taller than the Tarmac, and Trek's latest answer to the Roubaix, H3, is still about a centimeter shorter than Roubaix..Trek's H2 geometry represents a growing de-facto standard for non-professional performance bikes. Other bike companies whose stock bikes reflect this standard are doing special pro-only builds. For example, the Les Roi and Centos Uno ridden by the Lampre team looked like nothing I ever saw at the local Wilier dealer, and now I see they are available by special order. On the other hand, you can order a Madone 6 with H1 at your neighborhood Trek store, just like the ones ridden by Frank, Andy, Fabian, and Lance.

And I apologize for my earlier crankiness, but I get impatient when a moderate bike like the standard Tarmac configuration gets branded as a radical, race-only torture machine. It really is designed for high performance all-day riding by amateur racers and enthusiasts who are at least reasonably fit, people like most of us on this forum.
bobcat - thank you for being more specific. although many cyclists in these forums may already know these things , I do not know about some of these finer points of cycling and all the info / knowledge that I can absorb - I will . This of course helps me and others make the best possible choices when it comes to bike / component purchasing time . Seems like one can never have enough info .
 

biker801

New Member
Jan 23, 2011
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Well I was finally able to get a better ride on both bikes, and Tarmac it is. Granted the Roubaix is extremely comfortable, the Tarmac felt absolutely awesome. I'm in my mid 30's, in fairly good shape and flexible (as I found out from the sales reps). So I am not very worried about needing benefits of the Roubaix. Not yet anyway.

I could keep looking at other brands etc., but I like the Specialized. I have been recommended the brand by several bike stores and also have read alot of good about them. Now I am really diggin the looks of the bikes also, but it is not as superficial as it sounds. I have actually done some research before choosing. And the lifetime warranty on the frame is just sweeter frosting on the cake.

My dilemma now is chosing between two Tarmacs. I can get the Tarmac comp for $2300. Which was the original bike I wanted.

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBCProduct.jsp?spid=53211&scid=1001&scname=Road

But my salesman is trying to talk me into this one.

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBCProduct.jsp?spid=52900&scid=1001&scname=Road

The Expert is an amazing bike, but I just don't know if it is more than what I will do with it. We weighed the two and there is a 2 lb difference between the two. As far as the shifting and braking between the two, to be honest, I didn't notice alot of difference. Then again, I am sure it takes alot of experience to notice these things. But as far as get up speed and climbing, I noticed a big difference between the two.

Any opinions? Like I said before, I will primarily use the bike for 20-30 mile rides, 4 -5 times a week. I am quite sure I will really like road biking, so I can see myself doing longer group rides sometime in the future. But as far as competitve racing, I just don't see myself having the time to dedicate to something like that. So what do you guys think?
 

biker801

New Member
Jan 23, 2011
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By the way, the Expert price is $3200, so about a $900 difference between the two. My son of course thinks, hey why not, get the best one! But I have to remind him that 900 is as much as his Allez was! I just want to make sure I make a wise decision here.
 

m0b00st

New Member
Jan 31, 2011
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Originally Posted by biker801 .

But as far as get up speed and climbing, I noticed a big difference between the two.
Are you sure that one of the bikes you were riding didn't have a Compact front chain ring? That would make a huge difference in the way the bike rides. My salesman put me on two bikes, one with a compact ring and one w/o and I had to ask him when I got back if they were geared different, because he didn't realize he had sent me out on two different set-ups.
 

amnesia

New Member
Jan 4, 2011
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Originally Posted by biker801 .

Well I was finally able to get a better ride on both bikes, and Tarmac it is. Granted the Roubaix is extremely comfortable, the Tarmac felt absolutely awesome. I'm in my mid 30's, in fairly good shape and flexible (as I found out from the sales reps). So I am not very worried about needing benefits of the Roubaix. Not yet anyway.

I could keep looking at other brands etc., but I like the Specialized. I have been recommended the brand by several bike stores and also have read alot of good about them. Now I am really diggin the looks of the bikes also, but it is not as superficial as it sounds. I have actually done some research before choosing. And the lifetime warranty on the frame is just sweeter frosting on the cake.

My dilemma now is chosing between two Tarmacs. I can get the Tarmac comp for $2300. Which was the original bike I wanted.

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBCProduct.jsp?spid=53211&scid=1001&scname=Road

But my salesman is trying to talk me into this one.

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBCProduct.jsp?spid=52900&scid=1001&scname=Road

The Expert is an amazing bike, but I just don't know if it is more than what I will do with it. We weighed the two and there is a 2 lb difference between the two. As far as the shifting and braking between the two, to be honest, I didn't notice alot of difference. Then again, I am sure it takes alot of experience to notice these things. But as far as get up speed and climbing, I noticed a big difference between the two.

Any opinions? Like I said before, I will primarily use the bike for 20-30 mile rides, 4 -5 times a week. I am quite sure I will really like road biking, so I can see myself doing longer group rides sometime in the future. But as far as competitve racing, I just don't see myself having the time to dedicate to something like that. So what do you guys think?
Hi Biker801

Been lurking for a while and thought I would post on this thread as I have had the same choice to make recently.

I am also in my mid 30s (well, actually 37 in two weeks, but who's counting ;) ) and will pick up my 2011 Tarmac Comp on Friday. I too, agonised over Roubaix or Tarmac and preferred the feel and look of the more sporty version. I am sure you will love it !!

As for the Expert or the Comp, well I guess that's purely down to you... the $900 gets you an SL3 frame instead of SL2, Fulcrum Racing 4 wheels instead of Racing 6, and full Ultegra groupset.
Personally I don't like the look of the Ultegra cranks... the silver doesn't match the rest of the frame IMHO, but I am sure that they are excellent and a little lighter than 105.

To be perfectly honest I would get the Comp and spend the difference on some lighter wheels.

BTW - I wish I could have bought in the US... I have paid the equivalent of $3200 for my Comp (£2000 GBP) here in the UK :(

Have fun,
Daniel.
 

biker801

New Member
Jan 23, 2011
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Yes the two are geared exacly the same. No compact rings. I may have exaggerated a bit. It is not a huge difference, but something definitely noticeable. My salesman credited it to the better SL3 frame vs. the SL2. The SL3 being the better design/ stiffer frame (and better carbon)= more responsive. I wouldn't think the 2lb difference would be the reason, but possibly a factor?

I am hoping to pull the trigger by Wednesday. My salesman will honor the lower price until then. Please help!!!!!
 

64Paramount

Active Member
Jul 25, 2009
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I think you're just going to have to decide this for yourself.

If you buy the Tarmac Comp, but then you kick yourself for not spending the extra $900 for the Expert then you may end up trading in the comp for an Expert later, which could cost you more then if you had just bought the more expensive bike to start with.

If both bikes really feel the same to you, or close to the same, you just have to decide how much you want to spend and how good you'll feel about the bike and the price you paid for it a year from now.

If you can afford it, buy the bike you really want to buy....but, don't let someone else talk you into buying a bike you really don't want.
 

biker801

New Member
Jan 23, 2011
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Well here it is! Thanks everyone for your comments and advice. Including yours Amnesia. For some reason I didn't see your post until I checked back in just now.?? Anyway, I did decide on the Comp and am very happy with the decision. This bike is plenty of machine for me. And like some of you have said, possibly upgrade the wheels in a few years or so. I am still trying to suck up spending $3400 for everything! (pedals, shoes, clothing etc)............but I know this stuff will last a very long time. And I figure I can't go wrong investing into a hobby that provides better health. So here it is, thanks again.









http://i728.photobucket.com/albums/ww286/mntnbike1/Tarmac.jpg
 

64Paramount

Active Member
Jul 25, 2009
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That's an awesome looking bike, biker801! Ya done good! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/drool.gif /img/vbsmilies/smilies/icon14.gif