Tarmac Apex A Good Choice?



valentin84

New Member
Mar 22, 2012
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Hey guys, I have about 2K to spend and I'd like to get a long distance bike to step up from my Langster track bike. I've been looking at a new Tarmac Apex but don't know too much about them. Would you guys say that would be a good choice?
 

danfoz

Well-Known Member
Apr 12, 2011
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Any of the bikes built by the major manufactures in your $$ range are going to be good bikes. Most of the bikes in the same rubrik/price ranges are going to be of comparable quality between manufacturers. Specialized makes good bikes.

You already have a budget in mind so there are really only 3 criteria IMO:
1) Did the test ride feel good?
2) Do you like the look of the bike?
3) If you don't know bikes that well, does the sales staff seem like they have your best interests in mind and are willing to work on minor tweaks to get the bike to feel "just right" via minor changes like stem length swaps, basic fitting, etc. (as opposed to making a quick sale and rushing you out the door). You may be going back for maintenance and extra goodies down the road.

If all the above ring true, then you have made a good choice.
 

valentin84

New Member
Mar 22, 2012
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Originally Posted by danfoz .

Any of the bikes built by the major manufactures in your $$ range are going to be good bikes. Most of the bikes in the same rubrik/price ranges are going to be of comparable quality between manufacturers. Specialized makes good bikes.

You already have a budget in mind so there are really only 3 criteria IMO:
1) Did the test ride feel good?
2) Do you like the look of the bike?
3) If you don't know bikes that well, does the sales staff seem like they have your best interests in mind and are willing to work on minor tweaks to get the bike to feel "just right" via minor changes like stem length swaps, basic fitting, etc. (as opposed to making a quick sale and rushing you out the door). You may be going back for maintenance and extra goodies down the road.

If all the above ring true, then you have made a good choice.
First off, thank you for your help!

I have not ridden the Tarmac yet. They only have a 54 and a 58 in stock and I ride a 56. I'm not sure how much it matters when it comes to a test ride...?

The Tarmac is freakin gorgeous!

Yes, the shop owner offered to fully measure me out so that we can get the best fit possible, for free! I don't feel rushed or like they're just trying to make a quick sale.

I keep getting people telling me to look into the Roubaix as well though. I guess they are very equal in quality but different in geometry?
 

danfoz

Well-Known Member
Apr 12, 2011
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No problem and you are correct... the Tarmac is freakin gorgeous, and pricy. Make sure you get the correct size as this bike could be yours for years to come. This is not the time to take the consolation prize.

I have owned an SL3 and it rode like a dream - however a size up or down would not have been good at all. The smaller bike would have had too shallow a head tube and had me too low (I was maxed out at 2cm of spacers on my 54). The bigger bike would have had too long a top tube and had me too stretched out (I ride a shortish 90cm stem anyhoo and shorter is not an option). Both a possible recipe for lower back disaster.

The Roubaix and Tarmac are of similar quality but the riding position will differ drastically. You will be able to get much more upright on the Roubaix - which is fine if you need it. Otherwise you may not be able to get low enough (only so many headset spacers can be removed). The Tarmac is definitely more agressive (shorter head tube), but is not as agressive as some of the other race-inclined road bikes out there. Edit: Their "standard" geo that is, not the "team" geo (which may only be available on the s-works bikes, and which is even more agressive).
 

valentin84

New Member
Mar 22, 2012
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I'll definitely be measured up and order the correct size and have it fitted. Seems like that's the most important thing to keep in mind.

I don't have any back issues, but I am planning on bumping my rides to 75-100 miles. Would the Tarmac be a mistake?
 

danfoz

Well-Known Member
Apr 12, 2011
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Originally Posted by valentin84 .


I don't have any back issues, but I am planning on bumping my rides to 75-100 miles. Would the Tarmac be a mistake?
You could ask any of the recent TDF winners... they were banging out in excess of that each day on team geo Tarmacs. But these are pros... who are paid to suffer. You may not have back issues now, but a bike that doesn't work well with us can create back issues.

It's only a mistake if you couldn't get a comfortable saddle/handlebar difference that works for you. Height, limb length, flexibility all play a role. The way I was setup I could comfortably ride all day long on my Tarmac... in the drops - my measured saddle/handlebar difference of preference is 6cm. I know riders who need/like more and those who need/like less. When I look at new bikes the top tube and headtube usually tell me all I need to know. Each of my last few bikes has had me in relatively identical positions, a ratio that has come to fruition through much trial and error.

Adding/removing headset spacers, shorter longer/stem, and/or flipping the stem can all play a role in fine tuning, but ultimately the only person that knows will be you. Unfortunately it's a bit of a catch 22. When we have love in our eyes, sometimes mistakes are easy to make, and easy to live with. When the honeymoon is over the story changes...

Edit: Maybe you can test ride something similar (geometry-wise) if they don't have a Tarmac in your size on the floor?
 

danfoz

Well-Known Member
Apr 12, 2011
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Just another thought - when I got back into riding after a decade of boozing, cigs, and general hard living I up and ordered a cheap alu Colnago from a store in Ireland, thousands of miles away. I based my size on my earlier riding/racing experiences. After a day in the saddle my back was so sore I started thinking I had made a BIG mistake. My GF would joke about me putting the bike up on eBay while I would lay there groaning with an ice pack covering my lower back.

The bike was my size, I just wasn't conditioned to ride it. Cycling is a very aesthetic sport for me as well and IMO bikes, at least race bikes, should look a certain way. In other words flipping the stem was not an ideal option. Many people have no such compunction. In any case I was going to make the bike work come hell or highwater so I started stretching again along with the riding and made a compromise with a 0 degree rise stem. more riding, regular stretching, fast forward three years and now I can ride standard road bike geo with neg. rise stem, in the drops all day, quite comfortably. Some folks would say hogwash on the stem aesthetics issue, have no desire to stretch, or feel more comfortable bolt upright, never touching the drops. That's fine for them. I could have (and probably should have) started out again on something with Roubaix type geometry, but then I would have never done the necessary hard work that allows me to ride the same sexy bikes as the big boys.

The distance you mention in and of itself takes some working up to btw. I'd expect some growing pains there.