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  1. #1
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    Aero Frame Vs Non

    Finally going to upgrade to a carbon bike this year. I am looking between a 2014 Venge and 2015 Tarmac. I work a bike shop so they are only about 200 bucks difference in cost. Im going to be racing a lot of crits and hill climbs this year and I'm torn between the 2. Any major benefits of the venge over the tarmac or vice versa?

  2. #2
    formerly dnuzzomueller dz_nuzz's Avatar
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    My GF had the same debate, she ended up getting the 2015 Tarmac because she noted it was a lot more forgiving than the venge.

    That being said I had the same debate 2 years ago with the SL4 and the Venge. I went with the Venge and personally I feel that the Aero benefit is noticeable and I have put somewhere around 30k miles on that bike (training and racing across a few years) and I love it.

    You can't go wrong, choose the one you prefer. The aero benefit might help but so might the more "balanced" ride of the Tarmac. I like to max out my aeroness and spend a lot of time in the wind so I went with the Venge. You should make the call yourself but both have their merits.
    I don't like cats.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Doge's Avatar
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    Our junior team is all Tarmacs and Venges - PRO and SWORKS. At Starbucks with 10 of them stacked up post ride you will not get a consistent answer which is better. I have heard the Tarmac rides better. We (my money, son ridding) had a choice between the two and we ordered a Venge and should be here early Jan. I don't know the color or the year. I expect it is a 2015. For USA typical racing, the aero just seems right. My son won VOS TT on a borrowed Venge last year by 1.8 sec. That pretty much sealed the concept that fractions of a second matter.
    So - racing - go Venge.

  4. #4
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    I was told that due to stature I would not be a good candidate to ride an aero frame. I've been riding a felt ar1 for a while now and love it. Not as harsh as the Masi (standard tubes) but comfortable and very fast at AL points of the ride. Based purely on limited training time I would go venge over tarmac.
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  5. #5
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Ygduf's Avatar
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    ^^ saves 26.981u too

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  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    I've ridden both bikes back-to-back and the Venge is noticeably harsher riding IME. I don't think I could live with the ride quality of the Venge on a daily basis.

  7. #7
    Senior Member furiousferret's Avatar
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    Bear in mind the frame accounts for 17% of the bicycles aerodynamic drag, but the caveat the bike as a whole is only 20% (the body is 80%), so it adds up to roughly 3.4% of the total drag. Adding up the difference of that gain between a Tarmac and Venge is going to be very small. Sometimes crits are won by small margins, however the best bike is the one you can be comfortable in an aero position for a long period of time.

  8. #8
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    love my Tarmac, but it was free so I didn't have a choice lol.

    either way, neither bike would be a valid excuse for losing a race!
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  9. #9
    The Slow One Alaska Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
    ...however the best bike is the one you can be comfortable in an aero position for a long period of time.
    This.
    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    either way, neither bike would be a valid excuse for losing a race!
    ...and this.

    Get what inspires you to ride harder/longer/better/whatever. Race crits in a skinsuit if you're worried about being aero, because there's likely more drag there than between those two framesets.
    My self-indulgent bike blog: http://alaskanpackfodder.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Ygduf's Avatar
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    I raced in a skinsuit and an aero frame and lost 3rd place by .3 seconds, officially. Time to buy lighter wheels.

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Mike View Post
    This.

    ...and this.

    Get what inspires you to ride harder/longer/better/whatever. Race crits in a skinsuit if you're worried about being aero, because there's likely more drag there than between those two framesets.
    Skinsuits have already been bought. I was told by a former coworker that the venge was a softer ride than the tarmac. Now Im hearing the opposite when doing research.

  12. #12
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    i've heard many comments on both sides of the venge-tarmac debate. usually the opinions i hear are based on short-term reviews.

    i lived with both tarmac SL4 and venge for 3 years and have ridden many thousands of miles on both. i have also ridden prior generations of the tarmac. i have them set up with the same fit coordinates, and i've ridden each with the same drivetrain and same wheelset/tires. in other words, i've gotten a good grip on the differences between the frames.

    i've also ridden each bike for 9h of continuous saddle time.

    any notion that the venge is unforgiving -- IME -- is silly. if it is any more "vertically harsh" than the tarmac, that is something that is tuned out with a few psi difference in the tires. (FWIW, i don't run high pressure.) i am no less fatigued after long hours in the saddle on the venge than i am with the tarmac.

    the difference in weight of the frame+fork (and any required pieces like the unique clamp) is ~150g. not much.

    the tarmac offers an amazing ride. one may prefer another bike, but it is hard to find any fault with it.

    the tarmac feels a little more lively with low-speed accelerations, like pace changes on a steep climb. the venge climbs just fine but doesn't have that same lively feel. it's a subtle difference.

    the venge comes alive accelerating from 25 to 30mph in a way the tarmac does not. it's subtle but noticeable.

    i've done long climbs and windy descents on both. i find the venge has a very subtle understeer that the tarmac does not.

    these days, 10 times out of 10 i choose to race my venge in road races/crits. the only time i race my tarmac is in a hill climb. when i first had both i alternated a bit to see which i preferred.

    if you stole all my bikes but one, the venge is the one you'd have to pry from my hands.

    just my opinion, but it's pretty well-informed.

    oh yeah, IMO there was a noticeable difference between the SL4 & SL3. i spent a whole bunch of time on the SL3. i briefly rode a new tarmac, but i'm riding a 56 (w/ 140 stem) and nothing stood out....the SL4 was designed around the 56 frame, so there might be a bigger difference between SL4 and 2015 tarmac if someone was riding a fringe size.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
    however the best bike is the one you can be comfortable in an aero position for a long period of time.
    agreed, but in this case the OP can get an identical position on tarmac and venge, so that's out of the equation.

    all else equal, the venge is faster. it just is...and it is noticeable when ridden back-to-back.

    you have a great point that aero differences between frames can be overblown (e.g., "frame x is 10% faster than frame y!!!!! zOMG!!!")--but we're talking about a 10% redux on, at most, 20% of total drag, so it means a couple percent difference (as you note).

    does that matter? sometimes races are won or lost by very small margins. where the aero bike is valuable (again, IMO) is in saving just that little bit of energy when it is time for the selection or in races that involve a long grind.

    assuming one is racing in an appropriate field, the differences in power from one rider to another are really small, and sometimes saving 1, 2% over the course of a 2 or 3h race is advantageous.

    ymmv.

  14. #14
    The Slow One Alaska Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    I raced in a skinsuit and an aero frame and lost 3rd place by .3 seconds, officially. Time to buy lighter wheels.
    If you're going to go all 41 here, the correct progression is practical aluminum wheels to "aero" aluminum wheels to 50mm carbon wheels to 60mm carbon wheels to 88mm carbon wheels... and so forth until you get to an engine upgrade.

    ...and yes, I have been, and still am, trying to buy my way out of admitting that I'm too fat and otherwise completely ill-suited for this sport. If I was, I would have no interest in it.
    My self-indulgent bike blog: http://alaskanpackfodder.blogspot.com/

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tetonrider View Post
    venge/tarmac stuff
    I was waiting for you to chime in, knowing you had both and had a lot of riding time on both.

    I've read that the 2015 Tarmac is much better than the 2014 if the rider is on something other than a 56 cm. That might be a factor in selecting one frame over another.

    I wish I had the option of thinking of one or the other.

    Locally the rider that is most like me (bike size very small, rider type - sprinter although unlike me he can work in a race), but he's much, much better. He rides a Venge. He's also a huge factor in me running taller wheels (75/90) because he runs huge wheels (I think 88s). I appreciate the wheels in crits. I have no input on frame aero.
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

  16. #16
    Senior Member Doge's Avatar
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    While more common with juniors, TTs on road bikes is something I see in category stage races too. 1% - .01% can make the difference between podium or not.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doge View Post
    While more common with juniors, TTs on road bikes is something I see in category stage races too. 1% - .01% can make the difference between podium or not.
    aren't there rules for juniors regarding that sort of thing?

    or maybe it's just the big jr selection races like VOS.

    i get that TT bikes can be like an arms race, but there are lots of aero details on road bikes (esp for TT purposes), so elimination of a frame type doesn't exactly achieve the intended goal.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Doge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tetonrider View Post
    aren't there rules for juniors regarding that sort of thing?

    or maybe it's just the big jr selection races like VOS.

    i get that TT bikes can be like an arms race, but there are lots of aero details on road bikes (esp for TT purposes), so elimination of a frame type doesn't exactly achieve the intended goal.
    Rules are 15+ juniors use the same equipment as adults - except gear restrictions. But then specific races limit TT bikes - including some Cat races. I know of one in New Jersey area that requires same bike for all stages.
    Limiting the equipment does not stop the arms race as you say does not work. The best juniors all have their TT bikes anyway and use them for Nationals. Now they (parents/teams) are out buying aero frames, aero handle bars and 90mm profile wheels.

  19. #19
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doge View Post
    Rules are 15+ juniors use the same equipment as adults - except gear restrictions. But then specific races limit TT bikes - including some Cat races. I know of one in New Jersey area that requires same bike for all stages.
    Limiting the equipment does not stop the arms race as you say does not work. The best juniors all have their TT bikes anyway and use them for Nationals. Now they (parents/teams) are out buying aero frames, aero handle bars and 90mm profile wheels.
    where?

  20. #20
    Senior Member Doge's Avatar
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    It was Vermont. Green Mountain Stage Race - http://www.gmsr.info/pdfs/Flyer/Flyer.pdf

  21. #21
    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    yeah. was going to say that there's no even a lot of NJ stage races left. One I think. No very close to Vermont either

  22. #22
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    vermont....new jersey....same thing. ;-)

  23. #23
    Senior Member hack's Avatar
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    There were a couple of Team USA kids out on the River Ride in Sac today. One on a non-aero carbon bike and the other on a non-aero steel bike. One of the coaches riding with them was on an aero frame.

    edit: I recently started riding a Venge. Had been on a Giant TCR and a Leopard DC1 before that. I don't find the Venge uncomfortable at all. I'd also say I haven't really noticed any real aero advantage either (that's based on feel, not looking at numbers).
    Last edited by hack; 01-03-15 at 11:27 PM.
    Cat 2 upgrade status: never

  24. #24
    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tetonrider View Post
    vermont....new jersey....same thing. ;-)
    it's all within 30 sq miles right??
    cat 1.

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  25. #25
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    I ended up getting the venge. I think it was a better choice for me

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