Anybody out there put significant miles on both the Tarmac and E5 Smartweld Allez or 105 and Ultegra groupsets? I'm looking to get a new road bike and want to get some thoughts from bikeforums members before I drop $2G. I have done test rides on both and feel some some differences, but I'd like to hear about the subtleties noticed from owning the bikes. For some background I've owned a few Allez and Tarmacs over the years and my most recent bike was a Sora equipped 2013 Allez Sport. I typically ride 30-50 miles an outing and do about 1-4 outings per week. Mostly solo rides and a few group rides - no racing but I like to go fast. Both of the contenders are about the same price:
I've been reading about the "smartweld" technology but I can't decide if it's noteworthy improvement or just mostly marketing.
From the Specialized videos such as this they would have you believe that aluminum is making a comeback, though carbon seems to be the industry standard for a reason. I'm guessing the 2014 Allez probably hasn't been ridden much but maybe it's similar to the '13 S-Works Allez.
As far as the components go, I've found anything below Sora leaving something to be desired. 105 seems to be a sweet spot between performance and value, but I'm not sure anything above that will really be noticeable. Anyone feel a noticeable difference between a bike equipped with 105 compared to Ultegra?
Any faults or follies with them you notice after putting on a few hundred or thousand miles? Anything else I'm missing before I go place an order?