Specialized Tarmac SL3 Expert or Ridley Noah / Ridley Helium?


New Member
Mar 25, 2013

I really need your advice. I've been staring (for wayyy to long now) at the following three options for a new road bike:

- 2011 Specialized Tarmac SL3 Expert, full Shimano Ultegra, Fulcrum Racing 4 wheels
- 2012 RIDLEY HELIUM / SRAM FORCE, full specs here: http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za/CCY?PAGE=PRODUCT&OPTION=LOAD_PRODUCT_BY_ID&PRODUCT.ID=32902
- 2012 RIDLEY NOAH RS / SHIMANO ULTEGRA, full specs here: http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za/CCY?PAGE=PRODUCT&OPTION=LOAD_PRODUCT_BY_ID&PRODUCT.ID=32904

All three are about the same price point (around $2500, the Specialized is reduced from $3600). The Specialized is at a local dealer (a fact I appreciate, except that the sale staff is not quite as helpful as I'd hoped they'd be), but the deals on the Ridley's look pretty tempting, too. Other than flipping a coin, I'm not sure which one's I should go for.

A few words on myself and my riding:

- Current bike: Trek Madone 3.1; I really like the frame and the ride, but the bike needs an upgrade (and Santa Cruz Blur LT MTB, but that's not the point here)
- I ride 1-3 times a week, depending on the weather (road surfaces)
- average ride is ~ 50 miles, but can be up to 100 miles,
- my average "ideal" ride could probably best be described as riding the Blue Ridge Parkway

How would you decide between these three bikes? On the basis of which criteria would you decide?

Many thanks, Philipp

PS Let me toss in option 4: Upgrade my Trek with new wheels, new chain, cassette, crank set etc... would that change the decision?


Well-Known Member
Jun 10, 2004
If there's nothing you dislike about your current bike, option #4 is a great option.

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