thanks for the addition insight guys.. three demo rides today:
Cervelo S1 -- Ultegra components. I really liked it as this was the first road bike I've been on in a while. Rolled extremely well, and very smooth. Didn't really feel anything "harsh", but this was the first ride.
Specialized Tarmac Comp -- Shimano 105 components. This bike felt smoother around the same test route. Might be my imagination, but it didn't feel like it rolled as nice, but wow was it smooth. Nicer stock bars and seat to me.
After that shop, I headed to the trek dealer and got fitted on a Madone 4.7. It was set up with the SRAM Rival components. I actually liked the SRAM system of shifting, though I also liked the Shimano setups. I got to take the bike home, so I went out for a 40 minute ride over hills, flats, rougher and nicer roads. I think this is the one.
As much as I love the aero look of the Cervelo, it didn't feel as comfortable to me as the two carbon fiber bikes. And they all just went compared to the old mountainbike I've been riding. Now the tricky part is selecting between the specialized and trek..
Anyone care to weigh in? I need some help because both felt great.. if it matters, trek is the blue, black and white and the specialized is the black and gray carbon look.. hmmmmmmmmm..
If all else is equal, go with the shop that you liked the best. Honestly, a good bike shop is literally worth its weight in gold. "My" shop is like home away from home. I am there almost 5 days a week (sometimes more). Just today I stopped by to pick up my bike which I had left there out of convenience, to 'borrow' some tools, and to drop of clothes that I am going to need to change into after my ride tomorrow.
Yes, the folks who run the shop are VERY tolerant . . . and friendly, understanding, and accommodating. It's not something you find every day, and if you can find that kind of service in any of the LBSs you have visited, don't overlook it's importance.
haha.. I hear ya.. but both places were great. spent a lot of time with me checking out all sorts of components, wheel sets and other things even though I wasn't buying at the moment. Both places had employees that just dig the sport.. actually at both places multiple people working there hung out and threw their two cents in as we were fitting the bikes and I was getting my education..
I'm doing a 30 mile ride with my wife tomorrow on the trek which they let me bring home, so that might seal the deal if it feels good, as I couldn't take the specialized home.. we'll see.
went out for about a 20 mile ride yesterday on the trek and thoroughly enjoyed it.. sure wish I would have had an opportunity for a more lengthy test ride on the specialized, but they didn't offer the demo to take home, and they were also 45 minute away from my house..
so i went with the trek madone 4.7 with the SRAM Rival group.. first set of bicycle shoes and clipless pedals too.. they freaking rock.