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Tarmac frame superior to Ultimate?

Old 08-20-20, 07:15 PM
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Tarmac frame superior to Ultimate?

I'm aware of the components of the Tarmac SL7 Expert and those of the Ultimate SLX 8.0, but essentially I'm trying to get a sense of the quality of the two frames. Being a brand-new bike, is the more expensive Tarmac SL7 a true leap ahead in terms of aero and other considerations that would make a difference to a NON COMPETITIVE, SCREW-AROUND cyclist like me who just wants to manage a bit more speed on the roads than what I can achieve on my gravel bike. And yes, I need a second bike not a second set of wheels/tires on my gravel bike. My average ride has some hills, but most of it is fairly flat.
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Old 08-21-20, 06:13 AM
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Honestly, the differences in frames across manufacturers is probably pretty small. At this point, any bike you bike is going to be more than capable for the average rider/racer. Really, buy the bike that fits you best, meets your budget and looks coolest. And if you need LBS support to maintain the bike, keep that in mind as well.
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Old 08-21-20, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro
And if you need LBS support to maintain the bike, keep that in mind as well.
Your LBS will be more than happy to support your bike, no matter the sticker on the down tube. If not, you need a different LBS.
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Old 08-21-20, 07:25 AM
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I'd hazard the assertion that there's zero chance of you noticing any differences between the two frames (provided similar fits are attainable).
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Old 08-21-20, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by basscadet
I'm aware of the components of the Tarmac SL7 Expert and those of the Ultimate SLX 8.0, but essentially I'm trying to get a sense of the quality of the two frames. Being a brand-new bike, is the more expensive Tarmac SL7 a true leap ahead in terms of aero and other considerations that would make a difference to a NON COMPETITIVE, SCREW-AROUND cyclist like me who just wants to manage a bit more speed on the roads than what I can achieve on my gravel bike. And yes, I need a second bike not a second set of wheels/tires on my gravel bike. My average ride has some hills, but most of it is fairly flat.
I know your question is about frames, but between the 2 bikes in question, the Ultimate has a much better wheelset, and a 12 speed drivetrain (vs 11 speed on the Tarmac).
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Old 08-21-20, 09:00 AM
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There is a rumor that the back end of the new Tarmac is a bit too stiff. (S-Works)
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Old 08-21-20, 10:39 AM
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I thought the Ultimate I just looked at was 11 speed like the Tarmac. You'll have to say for certain, link the exact bikes if you need more info from others of us.

Can you see, feel and experience them in person? They both will probably be great bikes. So look for color and maybe even weight if nothing else.
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Old 08-21-20, 02:37 PM
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Upon further review, there are 3 different versions of Ultimate SLX 8.0 on Canyon’s website, but they’re all spec’d better than the Tarmac, either thru wheels or drivetrain.
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Old 08-21-20, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by sarhog
Upon further review, there are 3 different versions of Ultimate SLX 8.0 on Canyon’s website, but they’re all spec’d better than the Tarmac, either thru wheels or drivetrain.
I would think the Canyon lighter too. Although I thought the Tarmac Expert had carbon wheels too, but maybe that was a 2020 model.

Although I've found that since getting a bike with disc brakes that I like the fact the cables are more out of the way than on the Canyon Ultimate SLX 8.0 that apparently is the rim brake model. This Specialized Tarmac Expert has the cable pretty well hidden and integrated which makes wiping it down after a ride and easy thing. Still not certain those are exactly the models with any of various options the OP is asking about.

And as I've said before, I think in a few years the available choices of rim brake wheel sets will be pretty dismal. And bikes sometimes need new wheels every so often.
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Old 08-21-20, 08:05 PM
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This is the bike I'm considering. https://www.canyon.com/en-us/road-bi...nfarbe=BK%2FMC

It's an AXS eTap bike, no deep-section wheels as I live in an extremely windy city and don't want to deal with crosswind.
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Old 08-22-20, 07:25 AM
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I'd go for the canyon since it has the latest 12 speed drivetrain, not one that will be obsolete real soon. If the crank and cassette can't be selected, that's a downside. I ride in the mountains, so I'd want the 46/33 crank and 10-33 cassette. The bike's build kit looks excellent.

When it comes to frames it's hard to find a bad one. Fit is the most important thing. If you can't handle the low stack height, neither would be a good choice. The XS size would fit me just fine, except the stem length on the integrated bars is too short, even for a short torsoed rider like me.

If the bike was bought at a local shop, some of the parts might be swapped out for free. Otherwise, you have to resell them yourself.
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Old 08-22-20, 12:24 PM
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I have the Ultimate CF SL 8.0 Di2 DB, and it's a perfectly solid bike. The DT P1800 wheelset is the weak end of the build; they're not a hazard in gusty winds, but will drag - a lot - when leaning into side winds, whether steady or gusty. They really don't handle lateral loads well, but when they can be ridden upright or with purely radials loads (like when cornering) they're perfectly fine. The DT370 pawl engagement angle is high enough to occasionally "slam" against it when coming out of a shift or half coast (like when going from 9% to 0% to 9%, such as over a crossroad on a climb), but that's more of an annoyance. I don't know about the Reynolds on the SLX 8.0 SRAMs (this is the rim brake wheelset?), but given the price point I'd expect about the same. Other than that, pretty much everything they put on my SL is perfectly usable. The Fizik saddle is fine up to 2-3 hours, the bars are excellent (for my light pinball grip style riding), the bar tape is excellent, and there was really nothing else other than the wheels I felt an urge to replace. Even the shifters were properly positioned for me out of the box (= level with the tops). The large flat aero bar-tops provide a good solid grip on climbs to holf yourself down over the pedals.

The integrated cockpit is great IMO, but you won't be able to point the bars up if that's how you like to ride, but keep in mind if you drop the bars lower as you lean over them your forearm angle against the bars increases. For computers, Canyon has a plastic Garmin mount; K-Edge sells both a regular mount and a combo mount that can hold a camera or light. The K-Edge can be used with either a Garmin or Wahoo by replacing the insert. (I think it can only be bought stock for Garmin though.)
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Old 08-22-20, 04:16 PM
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Hi all, wanted to say thank you for all the fantastic advice. I walked into my LBS and was amazed that they had a SL7 Pro, in my size, just sitting there. He offered repeatedly to let me test ride it but I declined as it has the deep-section wheels and the 26mm tires that look really cool, but would be an absolute bear to deal with in Kansas winds. Fit/finish/weight of the bike were excellent. I just had to pass on it as I sat on it and the geometry is just not a fit, nowhere near as comfortable as the Emonda.
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Old 08-22-20, 04:51 PM
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Take a look at the stack and reach. The emonda and tarmac are nearly identical. You can't just sit on a bike with no adjustments made and tell that it doesn't fit. If the stack was too short it would tell you that you need an endurance bike.
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Old 08-22-20, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS
Take a look at the stack and reach. The emonda and tarmac are nearly identical. You can't just sit on a bike with no adjustments made and tell that it doesn't fit. If the stack was too short it would tell you that you need an endurance bike.
I adjusted seat on both bikes and while I didn't ride the Tarmac (but did ride the Emonda) the Tarmac almost certainly had a different feel to it that was immediately apparent. It's a fantastic bike, I'm sure. Just not for me.
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Old 08-22-20, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by sfrider
I have the Ultimate CF SL 8.0 Di2 DB, and it's a perfectly solid bike. The DT P1800 wheelset is the weak end of the build; they're not a hazard in gusty winds, but will drag - a lot - when leaning into side winds, whether steady or gusty. They really don't handle lateral loads well, but when they can be ridden upright or with purely radials loads (like when cornering) they're perfectly fine. The DT370 pawl engagement angle is high enough to occasionally "slam" against it when coming out of a shift or half coast (like when going from 9% to 0% to 9%, such as over a crossroad on a climb), but that's more of an annoyance. I don't know about the Reynolds on the SLX 8.0 SRAMs (this is the rim brake wheelset?), but given the price point I'd expect about the same. Other than that, pretty much everything they put on my SL is perfectly usable. The Fizik saddle is fine up to 2-3 hours, the bars are excellent (for my light pinball grip style riding), the bar tape is excellent, and there was really nothing else other than the wheels I felt an urge to replace. Even the shifters were properly positioned for me out of the box (= level with the tops). The large flat aero bar-tops provide a good solid grip on climbs to holf yourself down over the pedals.

The integrated cockpit is great IMO, but you won't be able to point the bars up if that's how you like to ride, but keep in mind if you drop the bars lower as you lean over them your forearm angle against the bars increases. For computers, Canyon has a plastic Garmin mount; K-Edge sells both a regular mount and a combo mount that can hold a camera or light. The K-Edge can be used with either a Garmin or Wahoo by replacing the insert. (I think it can only be bought stock for Garmin though.)
I have the same bike and I love it. In terms of the computer mount, I've spent tons of time researching it, but there are options out there for Wahoo/Garmin and others and they're all that paddle/spoon shape where it's affixed to the underside of the aero cockpit by two screws. If you want to mount a computer AND a light or a Gopro, it gets annoying but there are solutions out there.

I do wonder though, what wheels and saddle did you swap for (if you did at all)? I never really minded the P1800s but I got a set of ARC1400 Dicut 48s on a sale and I think they feel a bit faster (they also probably are), but I never found the P1800s to handle poorly with lateral loads. I don't find the 48s to be that much worse in crosswinds either but I haven't encountered anything too bad yet I suppose.
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Old 08-23-20, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by basscadet
I adjusted seat on both bikes and while I didn't ride the Tarmac (but did ride the Emonda) the Tarmac almost certainly had a different feel to it that was immediately apparent. It's a fantastic bike, I'm sure. Just not for me.
That makes absolutely zero sense. The only thing you "felt" was the saddle and the handlebars. Either you don't like the saddle, or the reach/stack was different. Both of these things are extremely easy to adjust.
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Old 08-23-20, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by mattscq
I have the same bike and I love it. In terms of the computer mount, I've spent tons of time researching it, but there are options out there for Wahoo/Garmin and others and they're all that paddle/spoon shape where it's affixed to the underside of the aero cockpit by two screws. If you want to mount a computer AND a light or a Gopro, it gets annoying but there are solutions out there.
The K-Edge combo mount I referred to will hold a gopro or light.
https://k-edge.com/shop/computer-mou...s-combo-mount/

I have the plastic Canyon one, but will get the K-Edge before too long so I can mount an Ion RT 200 light for when I'm out after dark. I do mostly short high intensity workouts on the Canyon, after work, so that will be needed soon. (My only concerns really are legal compliance and to some extent visibility. Every so often here they randomly ticket cyclists for any silly violation, like lack of a light after dark or don't have a bell.)

I do wonder though, what wheels and saddle did you swap for (if you did at all)? I never really minded the P1800s but I got a set of ARC1400 Dicut 48s on a sale and I think they feel a bit faster (they also probably are), but I never found the P1800s to handle poorly with lateral loads. I don't find the 48s to be that much worse in crosswinds either but I haven't encountered anything too bad yet I suppose.
I didn't actually swap them. The saddle is fine, and on this bike the P1800's are fine for what I use them for. For general-purpose riding I'd replace them though. I do all my endurance and distance tempo riding on a Cervelo C3, with a set of ENVE SES 3.4's. Those wheels are in a different league, but obviously priced absolutely silly.
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Old 08-23-20, 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by basscadet
...a NON COMPETITIVE, SCREW-AROUND cyclist like me who just wants to manage a bit more speed on the roads than what I can achieve on my gravel bike.
If you have an unlimited budget I'd suggest going for whatever floats your boat, and to quote Marie Kondo, "Sparks joy." If you're anything like the other commoners around here, or a more frugal kind of person, go for the cheaper option. Because, seriously, like you said, for someone like you, it won't make much difference.
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Old 08-23-20, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval
That makes absolutely zero sense. The only thing you "felt" was the saddle and the handlebars. Either you don't like the saddle, or the reach/stack was different. Both of these things are extremely easy to adjust.
I'm curious - how am I supposed to adjust the reach and stack on a bike without me having to sell those parts and repurchase the correct parts? I'm not building the bike.
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Old 08-23-20, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by mrblue
If you have an unlimited budget I'd suggest going for whatever floats your boat, and to quote Marie Kondo, "Sparks joy." If you're anything like the other commoners around here, or a more frugal kind of person, go for the cheaper option. Because, seriously, like you said, for someone like you, it won't make much difference.
Good advice - and I'm thinking it is hard for me to justify the extra $1100 for the SLX frame for 300 grams. This is assuming, of course, that there aren't other benefits to the SLX frame (comfort, etc) over the SL frame.
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Old 08-23-20, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by basscadet
I'm curious - how am I supposed to adjust the reach and stack on a bike without me having to sell those parts and repurchase the correct parts? I'm not building the bike.
You buy whatever you need. That's the problem with buying stock bikes; you get parts that don't fit/you don't want.

Not that you'd actually know what you needed from just sitting on the bike once...
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Old 08-23-20, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval
You buy whatever you need. That's the problem with buying stock bikes; you get parts that don't fit/you don't want.

Not that you'd actually know what you needed from just sitting on the bike once...
So you can't tell the bike fit/reach by sitting on the bike? Even if the seat is adjusted to your height and you are putting your feet on the plastic flat pedals they use at the store? I'm sorry, I guess I'm endowed with a superpower...because yes I can. You think motorcycle shops let everyone test drive motorcycles? There is such a thing as telling if a bike fits you by sitting on it. Sorry this has escaped your experience, but it is a thing.
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Old 08-23-20, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by sfrider
The K-Edge combo mount I referred to will hold a gopro or light.
https://k-edge.com/shop/computer-mou...s-combo-mount/

I have the plastic Canyon one, but will get the K-Edge before too long so I can mount an Ion RT 200 light for when I'm out after dark. I do mostly short high intensity workouts on the Canyon, after work, so that will be needed soon. (My only concerns really are legal compliance and to some extent visibility. Every so often here they randomly ticket cyclists for any silly violation, like lack of a light after dark or don't have a bell.)


I didn't actually swap them. The saddle is fine, and on this bike the P1800's are fine for what I use them for. For general-purpose riding I'd replace them though. I do all my endurance and distance tempo riding on a Cervelo C3, with a set of ENVE SES 3.4's. Those wheels are in a different league, but obviously priced absolutely silly.
I ended up getting this cheaper solution.

I found the K-edge to be both expensive and over-articulated. I don't need to adjust the angle and the whole thing just looks too chunky and I use a Light & Motion light so if the light sits too far back, it interferes with the cabling. I did wish there was a mount that was more sculpted for the Elemnt Bolt (like Wahoo's own spoon mount) but with a Go Pro attachment. Before I 3D printed a part but it kept breaking. I may try to make a custom part again in the future.
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Old 08-24-20, 06:34 AM
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Stock bikes come with a big stack of spacers under the stem to allow vertical adjustment of bar height, a stem length and angle that may place the bars too high or low and a bar reach that my be too long or short. Trek for example may use an 80mm stem and combines it with 100mm reach bars, which is just the opposite of what I'd do.

If you sat on the bike with a full stack of spacers and the bars felt too low, then you're not a candidate for any modern race bike. You need a tall stack endurance bike.

The main point is that there's room for siginificant fit changes on any bike. If you can't grasp that, your chances of spending a lot of money on an ill fitting bike are high. Hopefully your local shop can explain that.
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