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Old 03-31-12, 04:12 PM   #1
Mobile 155
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Seeing red...

I was not happy at the loss of my Black and Gold Lapierre. I have talked about that in another post. I was even less happy knowing I have some century rides coming up my favorite ride was laying in a broken pile in my shed. One of my team members from when we did the Furnace creek 508 last October has come to my rescue. He made me a deal on a 2011 Tarmac SL-2 I simply couldn't pass up. My wife didn't even object. So I picked up the bike and am back in the fold and ready for our weekly group rides and two centuries. I have to get my Mavic Open Pros rebuilt but I can ride the stock wheels for a week or two while that gets done. I have spent two days getting the bike set as close as I can to my old fit but it is more agressive so some tweeking will be necessary. But I am moving forward.



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Old 03-31-12, 07:17 PM   #2
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Looks like you made out OK on the deal. Congrats! I hope it gives you as much pleasure riding it as your Lapierre did.
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Old 03-31-12, 07:31 PM   #3
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You've picked up a very nice ride. Dial it in the rest of the way and enjoy the daylights out of it.
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Old 03-31-12, 08:50 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. I hope to get the wheels back in a week or two. I plan on using the stock wheels for that time just to see how much differnce it makes. In that time I will have some numbers to compare to. Plus I do have a set of back up wheels if the open pros don't get back before the Double century on the 14th. I want to see how well the Specialized BG saddle works before deciding if I will move my SMP over to it.
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Old 03-31-12, 09:10 PM   #5
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I am impressed with the new bicycle, but even more impressed that you rode the Furnace Creek 508. Both are awesome. The Tarmac would be too aggressive for me, but based on your experience I don't think it will be too aggressive for you.

Sorry to hear about your unfortunate accident!
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Old 04-01-12, 12:12 AM   #6
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Think you "May" enjoy the more aggressive style of the Tarmac--Once you get the neck adjusted to having to be raised a bit. And it's great to have mates that will help you out till the Lapierre gets replaced.
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Old 04-01-12, 01:00 AM   #7
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Nice! The Tarmac is a great bike.
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Old 04-01-12, 03:20 PM   #8
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Thanks Stapfam and AlexZ. I will put it through the paces tomorrow with the group as we start to get ready for the Century and double century on the 14th. My first Lapierre was pretty agressive so I have set it up closer to that. I am looking forward to seeing how we get along. I will report on the ride sometime during the week.
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Old 04-01-12, 03:54 PM   #9
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Back in the Saddle Again!

Good going.
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Old 04-01-12, 05:18 PM   #10
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Looks nice as a replacement bike (or any bike for that matter!.) Is that a SRAM Red grouppo on the Tarmac?

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Old 04-01-12, 06:41 PM   #11
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Thanks Stapfam and AlexZ. I will put it through the paces tomorrow with the group as we start to get ready for the Century and double century on the 14th. My first Lapierre was pretty agressive so I have set it up closer to that. I am looking forward to seeing how we get along. I will report on the ride sometime during the week.
By the way, If that's a Red FD then check that it's steel cage and not titanium. Mine originally was titanium and too flexible - Sram will replace it with a steel cage Red if you ask. ....But if I am not mistaken that's a Rival on there.
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Old 04-02-12, 06:40 AM   #12
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Yep Alex, that FD looks like my Rival FD on the CAAD 10 4. Pretty sure you are right. Maybe Mobile 155 will put in his first ride report and tell us then. I have noticed several bikes with an otherwise Red grouppo having the Rival FD since the Ti Red FD was supposedly flexy.

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Old 04-02-12, 09:41 AM   #13
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So, two days have passed. Where's the ride report. What do you think of the stock wheels? I can't tell from the photo what they are. They don't look like the stock wheels that usually come with the Tarmac.
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Old 04-02-12, 11:38 AM   #14
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I just googled "Furnace Creek 508." Holy mackeral!!!
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Old 04-02-12, 07:30 PM   #15
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The ride report is coming as we speak. No the wheels are not all that great, yes the FD is Force on my old bike so it may get changed. Still here is it.

The Tarmac is more agressive than my Lapierre was. The seat tube is steeper and the head tube is lower. I thought this might be a problem but by using the measurements from when I had my fitting done it feels better than I expected. Yes I have to lift my head more. But the Tarmac is a bit like moving from a sports sedan to a coupe. The ride is a bit stiffer and that translates to forward motion when I step down on the pedals. Climbing seems improved and more precise. I find I spin more with the Tarmac and there is less flex when I corner I can't prove it but it seems more areo than the Lapierre did. I did a quick 42 miles today and all my body parts seemed fine. I may have to fine tune the saddle height but even that is close.

I believe it is easier to climb with but that can be subjective. It is easier for me to hold a fast pace over distance and that was established on a timed section of the ride we had today. I took off on a solo break after a short climb once we past the starting point of the section. I was about as fast up the front side and maybe faster down the back side. It was the six miles of flat that told the story. My best average on that section before today turned out to be 19.4 MPH. Today the same section was 20.5 average. My heart rate was better and I was less tired and out of breath.

Cutting corners with the Lapierre was like a dance, a correct set up rewarded you with a smooth tight turn. The Tarmac is just goes where you point it. The saddle seems like it will work and I will leave it on for the next century ride I do.

Improvements needed? Better wheels. These wheels are ok but not up to what the bike deserves. I have some hand builts and a set of Dura Ace wheels that will improve it I am sure. I see there is plenty of room for 25s and I may change tires as well. I have some CF bars I might try but for now the light Aluminum seem OK.

So side by side? The Lapierre reminded me more of the Rubiax and is smoother. The Tarmac respons to rider input quicker and is more precise in the corners.The Tarmac likes to climb and jumping on the pedals gets you an instant forward jump.The ever so small extra power transfer seems to allow me more energy to put into forward motion. I am not as upright on the Tarmac but it seems to be right for my body. The wrists and hands didn't go numb and my sit bones weren't sore when I got home today. Some of the frame stiffness my be the BB-30 Bottom Bracket but I am not sure. for now the more agressive riding position is working and I am impressed whith how it worked into the wind today.

Bottom line is if I were doing a group ride against myself I believe I would be faster for longer on the Tarmac. I would climb better with the Tarmac. Downhill would be a tie. In a sprint I think I would be faster on the Tarmac. Top speed would be a tie. A rough road might go to the Lapierre. Riding a Crit or a winding mountain road the Tarmac would be more precise I think. On Century it would be a toss up. If I were doing a TT the Tarmac would be easier to keet a pace going.

Once I get my wheels back I will know more but I believe I have found a new friend in this Bike.
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Old 04-02-12, 07:45 PM   #16
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Great report for the commissioning ride of your new Tarmac, Mobile 155! Glad that she seems to work well for you. I'll bet when you get some good wheels you like things will get better and better. After the crash and the death of the young French girl you deserve some good karma. Ride Safe!!!

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Old 04-02-12, 08:23 PM   #17
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Great report for the commissioning ride of your new Tarmac, Mobile 155! Glad that she seems to work well for you. I'll bet when you get some good wheels you like things will get better and better. After the crash and the death of the young French girl you deserve some good karma. Ride Safe!!!

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What surprised me the most was how quickly I got used to the riding position. I thought for sure there would be too much weight on my wrists, one that is still a bit sore. But that wasn't the case. I guess I thought my head was the peak of the triangle and that must not be the case. It must be the shoulder blades because my head is lower than the other bike.
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Old 04-02-12, 08:27 PM   #18
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Funny that you say this, I figured my stem would stay in the "up" position forever, along with the spacer in place. After riding regularly and getting my mobility better in my lower back I went to the flipped, normal position today and it felt really great to be in a better, more aerodynamic position. Maybe we aren't aging quite as quickly as we thought! Ride Safe!

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Old 04-03-12, 01:39 AM   #19
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I knew you would like that Tarmac! I have a white 2011 SL-3 and a Focus which is lighter and has some super nice Mavic Cosmic Carbones and yet I find that the Tarmac with fairly cheap Eastons is but a hair's breath slower!
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Old 04-03-12, 09:59 AM   #20
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I knew you would like that Tarmac! I have a white 2011 SL-3 and a Focus which is lighter and has some super nice Mavic Cosmic Carbones and yet I find that the Tarmac with fairly cheap Eastons is but a hair's breath slower!
What I am looking forward to is seeing how it feels when I get my Dura Ace 7801s and my Handbuilt open pros back. I am not sure which ones I am going to use but I have been impressed with the handbuilts. If the insurance comes through on my other bike I am considering some American Classics.
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Old 04-03-12, 10:33 AM   #21
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Nice rdie report. Thanks. BUT... you left out one very important thing. How do you feel when you look down and see that red frame flying down the road?
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Old 04-03-12, 11:32 AM   #22
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Your impressions of the ride are perfectly valid, but I've never been a big fan of bicycle road tests. Too much is subjective. However, I do think the subjective impressions of the cornering are well-founded. Specialized tends to design a longer top tube for a given size, and I find that this greatly enhances the feeling of cornering "like you're on rails." When I went from a typical fashionable Italian frame (with short top tube) to a carbon fiber Trek (back in the late '90's), the difference in cornering was startling. The Italian frame was always sketchy in the turns; the Trek, with its longer top tube, was absolutely solid.

As for the response to acceleration, I think most of this is just the cleaner drive train. A new chain and cassette will do wonders for an old bike. In fact, I've always thought that you can save a lot of money by just replacing chain & cassette than going n+1. Too much of cycling is based on desire, and most people mistakenly see performance improvement accruing through equipment, rather than training. Were I to give advice to young bike racers today, I would just tell them to race on what they have; it makes little difference. Your competitors are never intimidated by your equipment; they couldn't care less. But if you really are good enough, you will get the equipment you need for free - you'll either win it or a team will give it to you.

But then if you're over 50, this is not too likely to happen, and you've likely got the bucks anyway, so there's nothing wrong with getting the equipment you deserve. I'm just saying it's a fallacy to get too hung up on it. It's really not going to make you go any faster. Heck, I get more satisfaction out of riding my steel fixie, especially when I can hang in with guys on $5,000 superbikes. Buying expensive bikes just encourages them (the bike companies)!

Anyway, as for the wheels: I think you can never have too many wheels. You want a trash set to train on so you can save your good wheels for the big rides. But again, wheels are terribly subjective. Just tightening the spokes or chaingng tire size can enhance performance. And wheels can be too stiff - witness the guys who crash in the TdF because they're on disk wheels that don't have the "give" to let the tires adhere to the pavement (ever notice the "disk wheel skip" on tight turns?).

Otherwise, a very nice bike. If I were to go n+1, it would likely be a Specialized Venge with the McLaren mods, but it's based on the Tarmac. I prefer the shorter head tube (the Roubaix is the "comfort" version), but then I raced for about 35 years and I prefer the bars being lower than the saddle.

Luis
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Old 04-03-12, 11:38 AM   #23
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Nice rdie report. Thanks. BUT... you left out one very important thing. How do you feel when you look down and see that red frame flying down the road?
That is the harder part to describe. It is a bit like dancing with a new partner. We are both doing the same dance but the new dancer responds just a bit differently. The new partner might not be as fluid as the old one but she is crisper. Because of that it makes me concentrate more and try to learn to match her move for move. I feel like I am starting a new adventure and when I look down at that new red frame I feel like I have joined a new team. Moving up a notch on a ride I know well also gives me confidence that greater things may be in the future. I am looking forward to some warm spring days after my wells make it back so I cen see how that red frame does climbing the 3500 feet to the mountain resort just to the east of me. Somehow I expect do improve my time there as well.
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Old 04-03-12, 12:55 PM   #24
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I have always liked Aluminium and My first road bike was a basic OCR. Changing over to Road from MTB and I set the bike up in older rider configuration. Bars level with the saddle- 25 tyres and it rode OK. Took 6 months before I needed something better and after a year went for Boreas. Lightweight Aluminium frame with race Geometry. What a difference- Bars 4" below the Saddle- 23 tyres on low spoke Ultegra wheels and it was- and still is- a dream to ride. 6 months later and I decided to try C.F. Got a TCR-C with similar spec to Boreas and Aksium wheels. That bike was a pig -except it went up hills. I mean it- you started a hill and they were over. Took a while to sort the bike and it was down to the Lightweight rider- very stiff frame and stiff wheels. Once I put the handbuilts on it the bike worked. Still goes uphills and will be my bike of choice for Long or extra hilly rides. Latest bike and it is aluminium again. Not as light as the others and is the cheapest bike I have. Still not cheap but the money on this bike went into the frame and you can tell the way it handles. Need better wheels for it and a few lbs to be lost but it is currently my bike of choice.

Many people ignore Al frames as they ones they are used to are not quality frames. Once you start to out of the stock "Starter" bikes you are talking about a different beastie.
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Old 04-03-12, 12:59 PM   #25
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But, that bike is so um, like, wellllll, RED? The cops are gonna pull you over a lot!

Furnace Creek eh, I'll be there in a couple weeks. 508, NOT, maybe 58 on the Mountain Bike.
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