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New Rider Here Need Help - Domane or Roubaix

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New Rider Here Need Help - Domane or Roubaix

Old 10-02-20, 08:35 PM
  #1  
Harfster
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New Rider Here Need Help - Domane or Roubaix

Hey everyone, new rider here. Iím trying to decide between two bikes to purchase. Iím 5í8Ē / 215lbs and have been fitted on a guru, with every measurement taken. Fitter said a Trek Domane, Specialized Roubaix, or Giant Defy in a 54 would be great for me. Iím able to get a Domane SL6 or a Roubaix Comp tomorrow, and have had the chance to ride both outside for 5-10 minutes today.

Iíve never spent much time on a road bike and every time I ride one my hands kill after 10-minutes and I have no idea whether Iím riding the thing correctly. That being said Iím determined to be outside as Iíve gotten in to all of this because of my Peloton that Iíve rode for the last five months consistently, have shed some weight and am looking forward to a new hobby. Hopefully itís like anything else, and in 2-weeks Iíll be used to it and more comfortable.

Iím not one to go into anything lightly, and am comfortable and fortunate to be able to afford either bike. Thereís only a $60 difference after negotiation, both Carbon frame/fork, both Ultegra groupset disc with alloy wheels.

I like the look of the Trek a little more - cables are cleaner, but the Roubaix is definitely 100% lighter and I like the idea of having a non-Trek in Trekland (Iím in Chicago, just south of Wisconsin Trek mothership).
Truth be told, I donít know what to do. Iím a novice and I canít begin to tell you whatís better for me. Maybe this forum has some ideas of what to do? Looking for that push off the ledge...Obviously want to make the right choice and am going to keep this thing for a while.
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Old 10-02-20, 08:39 PM
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I really like my Roubaix. I’ve put over 10,000 miles on it since getting it about this time last year. That being said I don’t think you can go wrong with either bike. For reference, I’m about 5’10 and 240 pounds. I can ride a 56 or a 54 with no issues but prefer 56.
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Old 10-02-20, 08:43 PM
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Roubaix or wait on the new Aethos which is friggin bad ass. I got to play with one today (no rides) but it is light and really looks sexy (round tubes, baby) and is minimally branded unlike Trek which uses aerodynamics as an excuse to build a rideable billboard.

Cleaner cables generally mean more PITA down the road. My old 520 from '85 is cool but the new stuff is meh at best sometimes. Though Specialized seems to be doing some really nice stuff lately.
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Old 10-02-20, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Harfster View Post
I like the idea of having a non-Trek in Trekland (Iím in Chicago, just south of Wisconsin Trek mothership).
Dems fightin' words!

I have a 2020 Domane SL7 and love it, but it's my opinion that both bikes are great bikes and you'll likely be happy with either (or neither!) Buy which ever one is a better color
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Old 10-02-20, 08:53 PM
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The orange-red color with the white lettering today on the Domane SL6 was like a red Ferrari in the showroom. Pretty hot! The Specialized and Trek also come in the black/matte black color...very stealthy.
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Old 10-02-20, 10:47 PM
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Seriously, either bike is so good that you wouldn't be able to make an objective judgement, particularly since it will likely be a season or two before you could get to know either of them---the first season is generally spent learning your own body in relation to a road bake.

Find onw which pleases you aesthetically and buy it. or ... take longer test rides, day after day, until one or the other grabs you. or both.

Try to ride over some rough pavement ---but either bike should be able to handle bad roads.

As to the pain in the hands---no matter how well-meaning, anyone who sets you up on a bike is using his or her own preferences. Until you train your body to work well on a road bike, you won't know your own preferences.

Pain in the hands usually means too much weight too far forward. That could be too long a reach, too great a seat-to-bar drop, or most likely .... new rider's bad technique.

On a road bike your legs have to hold you up when your legs get tired (even just a little) it is normal you lean on the hands more---and our hands were never meant to support a significant portion of body weight. Add to that the constant vibration through the bars, and your hands can get sore in a hurry.

Good gloves make a difference in my experience, and good technique makes a bigger difference, and add to that improved technique, and still, the most important thing is set-up. And your "perfect" set-up will take a while to find---and it is a moving target. I find that I need to sometimes make adjustments at the start of the season and fiddle with my seat at least as my body adapts. Legs and core are really important and if I don't keep up with my riding, I lose capacity, and the upshot is discomfort. I usually get it in the lower back, but my hands, neck and shoulders can also feel it.

Set up your bike however .... but make sure you have room to add a few spacers under the stem, or as an option, buy a different stem---they are usually easy to swap (get one with a removable face-plate, and you can change the stem without changing anything else.) You can get a decent stem for $20 and a really good one for $ 30 including shipping (check out the Uno stems here (https://neloscycles.com/Stems-3D-Forged/) just for comparison.

A lot of people set up riders longer and lower than their bodies can actually manage, figuring that if you ride many miles every day, you will grow into it, but it might take a long time before your body adapts---I often use a stem which angles up more (and people call dorky, and they can do ... whatever .... because it is my ride, not theirs) or even add a spacer, and then change back later in the year.
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Old 10-02-20, 11:46 PM
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I have the previous gen Roubaix, which has been a great bike for me, and I like that it is quite nimble for an endurance bike. Bike weight doesn't really matter for riding around Chicagoland (I grew up there and boy, what a freak out I experienced first time I encountered real hills), but in the absence of objective criteria then the best you can do is add up all the factors for each of your choices and guess which one you'd end up riding the most.
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Old 10-03-20, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by MattTheHat View Post
I really like my Roubaix. I’ve put over 10,000 miles on it since getting it about this time last year. That being said I don’t think you can go wrong with either bike. For reference, I’m about 5’10 and 240 pounds. I can ride a 56 or a 54 with no issues but prefer 56.

I don't have quite that many miles on my 2010 Roubaix Expert, but I'm 5'10".5 and I ride a 56. I was about 300 pounds when I bought it, and I'm 200 now. I have recently (post weight loss if that matters) been professionally fitted for the bike, including the new Ultegra pedals, cleats, and new Fizik short nose saddle.

Core strength is critical for riding a road bike. Daily situps, Pilates roll ups, etc. make a difference. While I ride longer, faster, and harder than ever before, I still struggle with hand numbness. I have addressed it with a pro, and aside from a strong core than can support your weight instead of putting it on your wrists, varying hand positions is important too.

EDIT - I'll say this, get fitted, determine your reach and stack numbers, then pick based on that. The stack is higher on the Domane across frame sizes, and the reach is less on most models IIRC. My next carbon bike will be a Domane, because while I've had my old Roubaix fitted to me, the Domane frame design fits my measurements better than anything else out there right now. IMO for long hours in the saddle, this is the primary concern when shopping for a bike if you're a fitness/recreational rider like myself. They're all great bikes, you can choose your group and wheels and saddle etc... pick the bike with the frame geometry that fits you best before having to change saddle, stem, bar, etc.

Last edited by SVTNate; 10-03-20 at 12:06 AM.
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Old 10-03-20, 12:59 AM
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The one that fits correctly is the correct one to get. That being said the two bikes are more or less the same. Meh. Get one, ya have the other. I strongly recommend test rides of 30 minutes or more on each bike as you know you have problems with your hands. If you come into my store both bikes will be set up to your fit for test rides and if neither eliminates the hand issue, then it is back to the fit to find the solution. If a solution cannot be found, then scratch "Project Road Bike" and go for a different type of bike that allows you to get the weight off the hands. Recumbent might be an answer, but I am no longer a fan. Do not compromise on this issue as down the road you will regret it as the bike sits in storage and you are walking instead of riding.
Note that there are those that cannot ride a road bike due to hand or neck issues. Don't compromise on this very important issue.
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Old 10-03-20, 04:33 AM
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I'm 5'10" (OK, that is probably really now 5'9") and 224 lbs. Made the decision to get a mid-life crisis bike in 2017, rode the Domane, Robaix and one other "endurance" style bike. All were phenomenal improvements over riding my 1996 Trek 520, the newest bike I had.

A lot was the same but the feel/geometry of the Domane felt better to me. My biggest worry about any of them was the rear wheel - 24 hole wheels at my weight worried me. I had changed to a 32H wheel on the 520 when I weighed more and broke spokes - no more problems after a hand built 32 spoke wheel. But, you want lighter that is what you get - I went with the Domane SL6 disc.

Almost 4 years and now close to 11000 miles on the Domane, I love that bike. But, after about 8K miles I did break a spoke and about a year later at 10K miles another one. In my past experience, once more than one goes it is time to have the wheel rebuilt - but the bike shop said wait for one more, and that happened just a few miles later.

I ride the Doman 99% on roads, but do an occasional gravel stretch and on the roads plenty of rough surfaces. I had the wheel rebuilt with some heavier duty spokes, will see how many miles before I break a spoke - if it is more than 3 years, I 'll be happy.

As far as choosing, I echo the take a ride recommendations - even a short one. After that, it is mostly looks - that's not a big factor to me, after all I've been riding a Trek 520 for 20+ years...

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Old 10-03-20, 06:49 AM
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OP - I have a Roubaix, like a lot, but love my Giant TCR-1. Not sure why; some folks just bond with some brands.

Your post has some flags.

1. You "don't go into things lightly." OK. But you DO realize this is your FIRST, not LAST road bike, right? You have no experience on a road bike - and they are far, far from 'all more or less the same.' Supposing you commit to riding often, you will spend many hours in the saddle, which will mean that you will develop tastes and preferences, which means that soon you may be looking at different bikes.This is esp. true if you drop more weight - you're already stating that you propose to change your body type quite a bit.

Those are all great bikes on which to start; many people would consider those 'lifetime' bikes. The issue is not 'how good are they,' but "how much are your tastes likely to change?" This year's outrageously lovable bike may be very, very different 60 lbs. and three years from now.

2. I have an enormous personal bias against a particular mindset. Please be patient and read this; it is for your health. I used to climb a lot; outdoors, ropes, big mountains. As you might guess, safety is a big deal in that activity. Every year in my climbing area, there would be many issues (rescues, near misses, etc.) related to a single phenomenon: gym climbers who were proficient on plastic (e.g., great gym climbers) who would get outside, assume that their physical skill would transfer easily and completely, and completely miss the holistic skills necessary to safely climb actual mountains.

Why does this matter? Well, when I read your "ten minutes and my hands hurt" line, I knew that you either have a serious, undiagnosed orthopedic issue with your hands (not likely), or you are placing far too much weight on them. That's because your position is wrong, or your bike fit is wrong, or you're not used to road vibrations, you overgrip ... or some lovely blend of those factors.

The problem I can foresee with this quarantine's burgeoning army of Peloton Warriors finally getting outside is that they will think that they are able to ride a bike. They are not. They are able to ride a stationary bike indoors. They will go into traffic and get hit by cars, because they will be overconfident ("I got a KOM, I know how to ride!") and clueless as to traffic.

They will think that turning the handlebars is how to steer, having not learned the nuances of weight shift, and will crash on descents.

And they will "lean in" to their rides .... and hurt their hands after ten minutes. And get upset about a half dozen different things (bike geometry, tire pressure, handlebar position) without thinking about learning how to ride an actual bike.

So, please know: your health depends on your realizing that you are starting over when you get on a real bike and go outside. The motivation is transferable (amen to you - many of us here ride for reasons of health and you are our brother/sister). The cardio improvements and muscular development will come with you. But that's not what riding a bike is, and when you're outside, mistakes have far more serious consequences (a direct analogy to the climbing thing - falling in the gym is rarely fatal).

Don't be overconfident. Get your head on a swivel outside. Think ahead with traffic, and yes, pedestrians on MUPs. Realize that the mindless aggression of spin class instructors (I will stick by that description) does NOT translate to good citizenship outside.

3. Finally, I'd suggest looking at nice used bikes for your first bike. You'll save some money, and your first bike is going to be a learning bike. You'll also feel better about getting something 'nicer' (regardless of financial resources - everyone appreciates value) and you will begin the process of learning what you like. And there can be magic in a bike with a legacy.

If you're like many, you'll wind up with a great many outdoor bikes. I'm at five, and about a add a sixth this weekend, likely a seventh before next summer (MTB, baby!). With the exception of my "day off klunker," they are all used. And as you might have already guessed, I'm picky - I don't feel like these bikes are any lesser for being used. Just less expensive (so I can, cough, buy more bikes).

I wish you well not just on the pure joys of outside riding that await you, but on your commitment to your health and happiness.

I'd find a used Roubaix; it's upright geometry will suit your current fitness and experience level, and even if you add a bike later that is more "racing oriented" in its layout, you'll appreciate the Roubaix for certain rides and never regret having it in the stable.
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Old 10-03-20, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Harfster View Post
The Specialized and Trek also come in the black/matte black color...very stealthy.
My Domane is matte black and so were my last 3 bikes because that's what was available and I personally would stay away from matte finishes. Reason being is that a matte finish is considerably harder to keep looking good than a gloss finish. Not only that, if you clean your bike often the matte finish will eventually be semi-gloss or ever glossy as the "bumps" that give the paint it's matte finish eventually wear down. A matte finish isn't a deal breaker and if you like it, you like it, just know that gloss finishes are easier to clean.
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Old 10-03-20, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
- Adjusting saddle angle...
- shorter and/or higher stem rise...
- Thicker dropbar tape...
One more thing to reduce hand and wrist pain that I tried recently and it certainly worked for me:
Brake Hoods Tilted Inward... Have You Tried It?

Tilting the brake levers in a little is free to try... if you hate it, undo!
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Old 10-03-20, 07:23 AM
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The hoods on all my bikes angle out, only way my hands fit right. Weight on the hands is a big reason behind pain in the hands. Get up is the general rule, get out or in is the following rule. Comes down to a proper fit on the bike. Everyone is different. My buddy Steve and I have the same lower back problem. His solution is down and out, mine is up and out. Same problem, two unique solutions. An experienced fitter may be able to help before you dive in. In my shop, the fit comes before the bike selection. The test ride with fit set to bike is next. The decision comes last, and we strongly discourage doing it any other way.
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Old 10-03-20, 07:55 AM
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I always advise new riders to get aluminum 105 and think of it as a starter bike and future backup bike. Then when your fitness improves and your preferences evolve, you can get something nicer that fits the new you, which may be quite different than the current you. I went from 215 to 165 several years ago, and the bike I would have bought at 215 is not the one I have now (I actually have 13, but that's a different problem). Coin flip between the domane and roubaix if your heart is set on one of those. Pick whichever one you think looks cooler.
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Old 10-03-20, 04:43 PM
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If I were you I would look at the Emonda ALR 5. Seems better suited.
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Old 10-03-20, 07:17 PM
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You can't go wrong with either bike. Seriously it might just come down to colour. They are both excellent. As mentioned the Roubaix is a little more aggressive and I use that word very lightly and the Domane is a little more relaxed. Both have a front suspension system and that helps with road chatter and comfort. Yes, you are going to have some discomfort when you first start riding, don't worry about it. The human body was not really designed to sit on a bike but we build the necessary muscles and posture to do this. It just takes time.

The bike shops have you on a 54 cm and this is perfect for you. Test ride both and one might feel just a little better than the other. When I was looking for a new bike I test drove the Roubaix because that is the bike I wanted on paper but tried others to make sure. I tried three other bikes, Domane, Defy and Synapse and the Domane was hands above the others for me. Not saying the Domane is the best for you, that you will have to decide for yourself.

Whatever you choose, congratulations on purchasing a new road bike.
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Old 10-04-20, 04:59 PM
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Thanks to everyone who responded. I can't really tell the difference between the Domane when I ride it and the Roubaix. Both look great (not that I really care about that). Wish the cables were tucked in a bit more on the Roubaix, but I bet that could be worked on. Domane is definitely heavier - but I don't think that really matters either given I can stand to lose another 20-30lbs. Going to sleep on it and buy one tomorrow/Tuesday. Looking forward to it.

I would love to find something used as some have mentioned, but the used market is slim pickings it seems. Especially in a 54 for either bike. Should I wait a few weeks and see what comes around now that the cold is starting to set in? Seems like I could get a decent deal on a used bike if I'm willing to buy a bike with rim brakes. My fitter - who fit me before I started this process - said that the market was moving to disc and said I was better off buying a bike off the bat with disc brakes.
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Old 10-04-20, 05:03 PM
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Disk brakes are unnecessary in Chicago. We don't have any hills.
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Old 10-04-20, 08:39 PM
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First of all, you are going about it in the right way getting fitted. Second of all, you cannot go wrong with either bike.

I'm not familiar with the Trek but I have the Specialized Roubaix (2007 Comp Triple) that I love. When I bought it I was sort of regretting not going for the compact version. As I've gotten older and done more hills I thank God every time I'm on it that I got the Triple chainring.

My opinion is fit matters more than frame material. If you can, try each one. Hopefully one will be the clear winner. If not, Specialized has an impressive warranty on their frames (lifetime if they haven't changed it).
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Old 10-04-20, 08:42 PM
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The market is moving to disks, but I love my calipers. The technology is mature and stopping power is plenty. With disks they aren't as easy to maintain (and my friends complain about weird noises due to tight tolerances and heat induced warping), BUT they perform better in the rain.
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Old 10-04-20, 09:25 PM
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Either bike is a winner. If both are equally suited, go with what your gut is telling you. I enjoy both of mine. Don’t get caught up on the weight thing, my Roubaix is also lighter. Meh, big deal. I’m on a 60 cm Domane, so I’ll never be on the lightest frame of any model. Whichever one you buy, don’t have buyers remorse and second guess yourself. Let us know what you end up with. And remember: we need a pic, or it didn’t happen. 😆


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Old 10-06-20, 07:09 PM
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Both great rides, and I would go new, not used. If you establish a relationship with a local bike shop (LBS), then not only can they do maintenance for you at a reasonable rate, but they can advise you on your next bike.

Good weather this weekend, so pick one and post a picture you having fun!
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Old 10-06-20, 11:32 PM
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I am 5'10", 195lbs. I have been looking at the same two bikes; Trek Domane SL6 with Ultegra mechanical component group and a Specialized Roubaix Comp with Ultegra Di2 electronic.

I was about to pull the trigger on the Domane but decided to sleep on it over night. The shop took time to examine my riding position because on men the shortest ride, the back of my neck and shoulders were super strained. They deemed the stem was too long for my body. They didn't have a shorter stem in stock and it would be 2-3 weeks. Sigh. I also test rode a 54 and it felt a little cramped and twitchy.

In my mind I had dismissed the Specialized because I love the clean cable management on the Domane and the storage compartment in the downtube is brilliant.

The Domane frame felt very compliant and supply and the bike was smooth. But my body position wasn't working as well as I wanted. I also felt like the bike was a little more lethargic when I stood and stepped into acceleration.

After test riding the only other few 56cm bikes in town (The COVID shortage is horrendous) Order now and get one in Feb/March or April? Yikes.
I test rode a BMC Roadmachine 01 Three with SRAM Force eTap. Bad fit, too much $$$ and felt stiff and harsher. More like a racing bike. Tried a Pinarello 2020 Prince Disk. again, snappy, fast, stiff. but the stem needed to be shorter. and $$$ Tried a Cervelo Caledonia 105. That felt really nice. Compliant but still felt responsive. Then I went to the shop with (1) Specialized Road bike in my size.

Roubaix Comp Disk/Ultegra Di2. Wow! It just FITS. It felt super quick. Almost as snappy as the BMC or Pinarello, but it was more a blend of all things I wanted: comfy, quick and compliant ...and Ultegra Di2 is on another level. I was worried about the Future shock but it didn't bother me a bit and I love how quick and snappy the bike felt while being really plush and compliant. In short, I bought it. The Trek was a little sexier visually, but I'll take Ultegra Di2 electronic over Mechancal Ultegra. The 2020 Roubaix was also discounted so it was just $200 more than the Trek Domane SL6.

The Specialize Roubaix Comp is a home run. Fast, quick, agile feeling but also plush. smooth and compliant. That's my personal experience.
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Old 10-07-20, 06:21 AM
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redcon1
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Bikes: Focus Arriba, Specialized Roubaix Expert, Bianchi Impulso Allroad

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Love my 2019 Roubaix Expert. Plenty fast, and awesome comfort on the crappy southern PA pavement as shown in front. Test rode the both the 2020 Domane and the Roubaix., just seemed like the Roubaix rode better, and then found a killer deal on a leftover 2019.
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