Help - Specialized Roubaix Comp vs. Orbea Onix



mcw

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Jun 4, 2005
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I have pretty much narrowed my choice down to the Specialized vs. the Orbea. I am 5'8" and 160 pounds, in good shape but new to road biking, and a former (5 years ago) mountain biker. I live in the very hilly San Francisco bay area. I plan on doing mostly fitness rides of 25-40 miles, with the very occasionan 60+ ride. There is very little flat road where I live. I have $2500 in insurance money to spend, anything over that is out of my pocket, but price differential is not that much of an issue. The choices are:

Specialized Roubaix Comp triple - I like the comfort and the fact it has a triple, also very smooth shifting. It definitely handles bumps well, almost feels like I am riding with a pillow around the wheels after testing the Orbea, a Lightspeed and Bianchi Veloce 928. The Roubaix feels a little less responsive than the Orbea and a bit heavier. Comes with Mavic Ksyrium Equipe, all Ultegra except the rear, which is Dura Ace. $2500

Orbea Onix with Ksyrium Elite, Ultegra ten, compact double $2800 or
Orbea Onix with Kysrium Cosmos, Ultegra nine, compact double $2300
The Orbeas are more responsive/less forgiving, tighter steering and noticeably lighter. They are also fantastic looking. The Ultegra 10 seems to shift smoother.

My concern is comfort, though the Onix seems to be less aggressive in terms of geometry than some other racing bikes, and feels comfortable on test rides. Also, I am a bit concerned about a compact double vs. triple, and problems on steep hills. The bike store folks tell me I will lose just a little with a compact double vs. a triple on both the low and high end, but I can't test the bikes on steep hills to confirm.

The Specialized seems the safe bet, with the Orbea the passionate pick. Any recommendations or suggestions?
 

WP33

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May 21, 2005
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mcw said:
I have pretty much narrowed my choice down to the Specialized vs. the Orbea. I am 5'8" and 160 pounds, in good shape but new to road biking, and a former (5 years ago) mountain biker. I live in the very hilly San Francisco bay area. I plan on doing mostly fitness rides of 25-40 miles, with the very occasionan 60+ ride. There is very little flat road where I live. I have $2500 in insurance money to spend, anything over that is out of my pocket, but price differential is not that much of an issue. The choices are:

Specialized Roubaix Comp triple - I like the comfort and the fact it has a triple, also very smooth shifting. It definitely handles bumps well, almost feels like I am riding with a pillow around the wheels after testing the Orbea, a Lightspeed and Bianchi Veloce 928. The Roubaix feels a little less responsive than the Orbea and a bit heavier. Comes with Mavic Ksyrium Equipe, all Ultegra except the rear, which is Dura Ace. $2500

Orbea Onix with Ksyrium Elite, Ultegra ten, compact double $2800 or
Orbea Onix with Kysrium Cosmos, Ultegra nine, compact double $2300
The Orbeas are more responsive/less forgiving, tighter steering and noticeably lighter. They are also fantastic looking. The Ultegra 10 seems to shift smoother.

My concern is comfort, though the Onix seems to be less aggressive in terms of geometry than some other racing bikes, and feels comfortable on test rides. Also, I am a bit concerned about a compact double vs. triple, and problems on steep hills. The bike store folks tell me I will lose just a little with a compact double vs. a triple on both the low and high end, but I can't test the bikes on steep hills to confirm.

The Specialized seems the safe bet, with the Orbea the passionate pick. Any recommendations or suggestions?
I just bought the S-Works version of the Roubaix and on its first workout, a ride of about 15 miles over streets that have seen better days, it was like riding a cloud, and that feeling persists. The dampeners in the stays, fork and post do what they say. Of course mine is probably lighter than what you're looking at, but unless you're talking a difference of pounds and not ounces between the Specialized and the Bianchi, Orbea, etc., I'd say the Specialized has the edge (dropping the triple crankset would make a difference there, though ;)). You just don't feel beat up or fatigued after a ride thanks to the geometry of the bike and the engineering that went into the dampeners. They're claiming an 85% reduction in transmitted vibrations to the rider in Specialized's propaganda, and so far it looks to be true.

I rode several bikes myself in deciding and even rode the Tarmac (which might be a thought for you, as well), but I liked the feel of the Roubaix, coming from a steel bike. With a unique geometry and long headtube, the Roubaix definitely feels different than most bikes out there, that's for sure, but so far I love the thing. If you're planning on racing more than recreational riding, you might think about the Tarmac or the others you listed, though I can't see why you couldn't race the Roubaix...

The only thing, if it does bother you, is that Specialized no longer makes their bikes in the US, not even the S-Works. I was mildly dismayed when I saw the "Handmade in Taiwan" sticker on the seattube near the BB. :(

Seeing the part about the passionate pick at the end of your post, though, go with your heart or you will hate your bike, which is no good at all. :cool: The Specialized was my passionate pick, and therefore I know I'll be happy with it. The heart wants what the heart wants, eh?
 

dfvcad

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Aug 4, 2004
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Go with the Orbea, As you posted on the end that the Orbea is your passionate pick, you will hate yourself for many years if you dont get it. I ride an Orbea Liege with Ultegra 9spd and its a world of difference compare to my other bikes.
 

ender Wiggins

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Sep 7, 2004
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I vote for the Specialized Roubaix. I also live in the very hilly San Francisco bay area. I bought the Specialized Roubaix Pro and switched out to an FSA compact double because of all the hills in this area. I ride up Pinehurst, skyline, Tilden park, Wildcat canyon, 3 bears, etc. and the compact double 50/34 with a Dura-Ace 12/27 cassette works for me. It took me about 4 months of riding to get my legs in shape to tackle these hills btw. I am glad I did not get the triple because I don't like shifting all the time and I think a triple will potentially have more maintenance and adjustment needed along with the extra weight.

The main reason I got the Roubaix is because I have back problems and wanted to get a more comfortable bike where I could ride more upright and minimized road vibration. However, I also wanted to get a bike that had higher performance components (Dura-Ace) and was relatively light (17 lb). The Trek Pilot series didn't exist when I bought my bike. The Orbeas are also nice bikes, but I wanted the most comfortable high performance road bike and at the time of my purchase, the Roubaix fit the bill.
 

mcw

New Member
Jun 4, 2005
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ender Wiggins said:
I vote for the Specialized Roubaix. I also live in the very hilly San Francisco bay area. I bought the Specialized Roubaix Pro and switched out to an FSA compact double because of all the hills in this area. I ride up Pinehurst, skyline, Tilden park, Wildcat canyon, 3 bears, etc. and the compact double 50/34 with a Dura-Ace 12/27 cassette works for me. It took me about 4 months of riding to get my legs in shape to tackle these hills btw. I am glad I did not get the triple because I don't like shifting all the time and I think a triple will potentially have more maintenance and adjustment needed along with the extra weight.
Thanks for the response. Were you in shape when you first bought the bike? I ask because I have been spinning for a while in anticipation of the bike purchase and was hoping I could tackle the Marin headlands and other hilly riges right away if I go with the compact double, rather than waiting months to get into some crazy level of fitness I may never achieve.
 

emax

New Member
May 19, 2005
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I recently purchased a Specialized Roubaix Comp Double. I have logged in 100 miles since bought it 9 days ago. I live in Rhode Island which seems to be quite hilly, it may however not compare to your hills, not sure... I went up a very very steep hill which went on for about 1/2 a mile. To be honest I was wishing I had bought a triple at that point :D I did however make it up to the top, but barely, lol. Please note I am not in bad shape but I am not a hardcore cyclist either (I am working on it). All in all the double works for me, however I will be avoiding that hill on future rides.

Like everyone has said the bike is VERY comfortable. I picked it over the more agressive specialized model (the name escapes me) becasue it was so much smoother. Wieight wise I could not feel a difference, I believe it is only in the oz's. I have been doing 20 mile rides and my body is very comforabale through out the ride. I am very pleased with the bike and have no regrets.


-Ethan
 

RC2

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May 21, 2004
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dfvcad said:
Go with the Orbea, As you posted on the end that the Orbea is your passionate pick, you will hate yourself for many years if you dont get it. I ride an Orbea Liege with Ultegra 9spd and its a world of difference compare to my other bikes.
I agree somewhat -- you don't want to end up with buyer's remorse over not going with the sexier choice -- but in this case the OP's comments lend themselves towards choosing the Roubaix....go with comfort over the bling. There's plenty to be passionate about with the Roubaix, and yes they do get raced (Specialized's teams use em not only in the Pave sections of some of the harsher euro courses, but I've seen them used even in TTs, strange but true). My wife has one, which is where I've researched the Roubaix...she LOVES hers as do nearly 100% of the people who by them. Its a great frame and a really good value. My vote is for the Roubaix. ;)
 

ender Wiggins

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Sep 7, 2004
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My situation is somewhat unique. I have been riding for 13 years until I hurt my back. I stopped riding for a year and a half and bought the Roubaix to get back into cycling. If I didn’t have a bad back, it would have taken me much shorter time to get back into shape to tackle the hills. You don’t have to be in “crazy” shape to get up the hills. Remember there is a world of difference in fitness level between going up a hill at a slow steady pace vs. trying to blast up at a record setting pace. I tackle steep hills even with a bad back.



Regarding bling factor, I think the Roubaix is an attractive frame. I especially like the exposed carbon fiber black aesthetic. I replaced all my major components with carbon fiber and they all match. The Roubaix Pro has also been used in the 2004 Tour de France. One of the Dominica Vasquez riders used it on the Alp De Huez time trial, which is a very steep long hill.



Here are pics of my ride Iposted on another forum:



http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=17033
 

RC2

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May 21, 2004
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ender Wiggins said:
...I think the Roubaix is an attractive frame. I especially like the exposed carbon fiber black aesthetic.
Those pics reminded me of something Specialized does on the Roubaix that I don't understand. The exposed composite in the tubes looks cool, but the lugs/joints are all painted in a black out flat black...do you know why they do that? (The obvious guess is b/c we wouldn't like what we'd see if they weren't blacked out?)
 

OCRoadie

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Oct 5, 2004
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Another vote for the Roubaix. I've got 2500 miles on my Roubaix Pro since the start of the year. It's the most comfortable bike I've ever ridden and I don't feel that I am compromising performance. I use the bike for centuries and doubles, crit racing, road racing etc. Don't think that because it's labeled "comfort or upright" that you will not be able to hold your on against more aggressive bikes. I like the idea of one of the other posts of using a compact double rather than the triple, but either would work for your SF hills. I don't much about Orbea or their service, but I've had very good experiece with Specialized (this is my 3rd bike from them). They have a reputation of decent customer service and standing behind their product. Good Luck...
 

Daverino

New Member
May 26, 2005
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I'm awaiting my Roubaix Comp Triple-- should be coming later this week. Anyway, I live in Vermont. Lots of hills. Long ones too. My choice came down to a 2004 Lemond Victoire with full Ultegra 9 triple and the Roubaix.

I had the same type of choice: the beautiful Ti/carbon bike with slightly more aggressive geometry (passion) or the really nice full carbon comfort bike (practicality). I don't race.

I went with the practical choice and have no regrets (yet). I know I'll be happier with my choice down the line, especially on those longer rides on the broken-up VT roads.

Anyway, you could always get the Orbea and slap on a 12-27 rear cassette, if I'm not mistaken. I would think riding 39-27 would be pretty doable in the bay area.
Good luck with your choice!
 

mcw

New Member
Jun 4, 2005
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Thanks everyone for the advice. I am leaning towards the Onix now after again riding the Roubaix Comp, which, the more I ride, just seems a bit too comfortable for the way I plan to ride, if that makes sense.

It really made a difference on the last ride, with the considerable wind presence. I compared it to a Guru Racelite, which was much more aggressive, and I could tell a definite difference.

As for the compact double vs. triple, a compact double is fine for me, even on steep hills.

As long as I can get the deal I want, the Onix it is. The nice thing to know is that I really can't go wrong with any of these bikes at this level.