My wife and I just returned from a trip to California where we rented a few road bikes to try on for size over a bit more than a quick ride from the LBS. We are thinking of retiring our Tricross Comps to our weekend house and buying road bikes for home. In any event we tried a lower model Jamis Ventura, Specialized Roubaix (no Ruby's in my wife's size so she rode a Roubaix), and Trek Madone 5.2s. Our conclusions in general were that the road bikes are nice but we would definitely go for larger than standard tires (28s if they would fit) for comfort on bumpy roads. Neither of us saw enough diference in the Roubaixs versus the Jamis to spend the extra money. But the Madones presented a different picture. We both liked them more than the others although not enough to warrant the $3K+ price.
My wife was particularly taken with the fit of the Women's Specific Design 54cm model that she rode. It fit her perfectly which improved the ride dramatically. It looks like the WSD version differs primarily in the use of a higher headset (they call it H3 vs H2 in the men's Madone 5.2). Other than riding these things for hours on end I can't tell SH** about bike geometries from looking at the specifications. From what I have described about my wife's positive reaction to the Madone WSD 5.2 does anyone have thoughts on other bikes we should look at with similar geometries? Would the Madone 3 series replicate the feel, albeit with lesser quality components? How about steel or titanium bikes with similar geometries - any out there? Also, since we like wider tires would we be better served by looking at more cyclocross bikes? Anything in that category going to have a Madone H3 feel to it.
I guess I am asking a lot but folks around here have a lot of knowledge so I may as well give it a shot.