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Felt z25 vs Specialized Roubaix Expert

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Felt z25 vs Specialized Roubaix Expert

Old 09-30-08, 07:26 PM
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gatorsactions
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Felt z25 vs Specialized Roubaix Expert

So, I've been looking for my first road bike for about 1 month now. As of today I've narrowed my search to the Felt z25 and the Specialized Roubaix Expert. I will be riding for fitness, with a goal of 50 miles a week.

I've ridden the Spec. Roubaix in a 58cm but also was fit (rough fit) for a 61cm. The fit tech at the LBS thinks the 61cm is a better fit for me, which I guess I'll take their word for. It just looks like a pretty big bike... I'm 6'3" and 160lbs. The bike rode nice and was less harsh than the Tarmac I rode.

I really like the Felt z25 on paper. I would prefer the SRAM component line over the Shimano, which the Felt has. The problem is I can't ride the bike. The LBS that sells Felt doesn't have one in stock.

I've read a lot online comparing the two bikes and it sounds as though they are very similar. Is it safe to make the leap and get the Felt z25 without ever ridding it? Or should the shop be willing to bring the bike in for me to test ride even though I'm not committed to buy it. What is the normal process there? Since I likely need a 61cm frame I'm concerned that they will be less willing to bring in the bike for just a test ride without a commitment from me to purchase. I understand the size isn't all that common and is therefore less desirable for a shop to keep in stock.
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Old 09-30-08, 09:54 PM
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Damn! That's a truckload of money to spend on your first bike, especially if you're only going to ride 50 miles/week.

Anyway, I tested both of these bikes recently. Personally, I'd never buy a bike without a test ride. Maybe your LBS has a Felt Z15, Z35, or Z45 you could try? The frames on all of these bikes are pretty similar. My take on the Z25 & Z35 is that the frames are very, very plush. They're also a bit heavy and feel sluggish when accelerating as compared to the Specialized Roubaix Expert. The plushness of the frame masks quite a bit of road feel. Great bikes if you're planning to ride all day long. Not so much if you want to race or climb a lot of hills. In terms of fit, I think the Felt Z-series and Specialized Roubaix Elite and Expert are all pretty close (at least in the 54cm size I tested). If a 61cm Roubaix fits you, then chances are that a 61cm Z5 would also fit.

Personally, I ended up liking the Roubaix Expert more than the Felt Z25. I simply loved the fast acceleration of the Roubaix. I also liked the fact that it absorbed all but the biggest pavement imperfections, but I could still feel what was happening beneath the wheels. And the Specialized dealer in my area is a much better LBS than the Felt dealer.

If you like the Roubaix Expert, but want SRAM components then order a Roubaix Pro frameset ($1900 list, $1700 at my LBS) and snap up a build kit from GVHbikes.com. You can get a Force gruppo with Red shift levers for around $1000. Add a saddle, stem, bars, and cheap wheels and you're good to go.
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Old 10-01-08, 06:35 AM
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sstorkel, I guess I should have clarified a bit, This will be my first road bike. I have a mountain bike and have been riding it on the road recently cause there are no trails near my new house. Hence, the decision to get a road bike. I plan to start doing a minimum of 50 miles a week, hopefully I'll work up to much more. Maybe even do some centuries, but we'll see

Anyway, you had some good things to say. I appreciate you taking the time to post. I'm interesting in hearing more about your assessment of the Felts feeling sluggish and very very plush. When you describe the ride as plush, you just mean it dampens all the road vibration and you feel as though your riding on clouds? I imagine this feel comes from the frame construction and layup schedule. Is that a true statement? You also state the Roubaix felt faster or allowed for quicker acceleration. What would cause that?

You also mention hills and racing. I have virtually no hills in my area (SW FL) and currently don't have plans to race seriously. Maybe some group rides and mostly solo rides.

On a separate note, the only thing that bothers me about my local Specialized dealer is that they refuse to discount. I feel like they should offer a little something when someone is dropping this kind of cash. Would you agree? Is this is sign of a bad shop?

How long have you been riding? Did you get the 09 Roubaix Expert? Any photos?
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Old 10-01-08, 06:41 AM
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50 miles a week is about 3-4 hours for me... and I'm pretty out of shape. It's closer to 2-3 hours for people who take this up for "fitness". If you're really looking to get fit, you should be thinking more along the lines of 200-300 miles/week if not more.

I have the Felt Z70... and am more than happy with it. It fits, and has had only minor problems with the front chainrings which were replaced promptly under warrenty. It seems you want to spend a bit more on the bike than I did. That's fine. But the Felt people treat their customers well.

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Old 10-01-08, 06:48 AM
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On a separate note, the only thing that bothers me about my local Specialized dealer is that they refuse to discount. I feel like they should offer a little something when someone is dropping this kind of cash. Would you agree? Is this is sign of a bad shop?
If they don't discount the bike they should give you 10-20% off the gear you need to go with it. My LBS gives 10% for the next year.
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Old 10-01-08, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by ripperj View Post
If they don't discount the bike they should give you 10-20% off the gear you need to go with it. My LBS gives 10% for the next year.
I keep asking and they keep telling me NO. They did say if I buy a bike I get a years worth of service and will get a coupon for 20% one item 1-2 weeks after buying the bike.

I would think in this economy they'd be willing to do something. I've even mentioned that I've seen bike shops in other stated advertising prices about 10% less for the complete bike. My shop is selling at MSRP.
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Old 10-01-08, 07:03 AM
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Wait until next month and then you'll get a deal.
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Old 10-01-08, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by gatorsactions View Post
I keep asking and they keep telling me NO. They did say if I buy a bike I get a years worth of service and will get a coupon for 20% one item 1-2 weeks after buying the bike.

I would think in this economy they'd be willing to do something. I've even mentioned that I've seen bike shops in other stated advertising prices about 10% less for the complete bike. My shop is selling at MSRP.
wow...that shop is taking a hardline stance...

i got a specialized roubaix expert last year for 33% off of MSRP...got a saddle and bartape change for free...got a shorter stem for free...got two free bottle cages...free toe-clip pedals...free tuneups for life...two free 10% coupons good for a year...and a free fix-a-flat coupon...

are there any other specialized dealers near you?
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Old 10-01-08, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by gatorsactions View Post
Anyway, you had some good things to say. I appreciate you taking the time to post. I'm interesting in hearing more about your assessment of the Felts feeling sluggish and very very plush. When you describe the ride as plush, you just mean it dampens all the road vibration and you feel as though your riding on clouds? I imagine this feel comes from the frame construction and layup schedule. Is that a true statement? You also state the Roubaix felt faster or allowed for quicker acceleration. What would cause that?
The Z25 isn't quite like riding on clouds... but it's getting close. It almost completely damps road vibration as well as feedback from most road imperfections (potholes, manhole covers, pavement ridges). You can feel big imperfections, but they don't slam through the handlebars and saddle like they do on a more race-oriented frame. As an example, at the end of my ride I flew into the parking lot going 10-15mph and barely noticed the inch-high pavement lip I had to pass over. This sort of damping is great on a bike that will be ridden long distances or for extended periods of time. At the same time, it does mask some of the road feel that allows you to tell what traction is like, etc.

I'm not sure why the Roubaix Expert seemed to accelerate so much quicker than the Felt Z25. When I mentioned it, the LBS employee suggested it was because the downtube and bottom bracket are very stiff on the Roubaix. Personally, I think the lighter weight of the Roubaix and higher-quality wheels also make a difference.

On a separate note, the only thing that bothers me about my local Specialized dealer is that they refuse to discount. I feel like they should offer a little something when someone is dropping this kind of cash. Would you agree? Is this is sign of a bad shop?
I don't think it's necessarily a sign of a bad shop. Who knows what their overhead is?

I will say that my Specialized dealer had the Roubaix Expert marked down from $3700 to $3200 right on the sticker. Not sure if they'd go any lower than that. At $3200, the price seems to be more in-line with what a carbon fiber frame with Ultegra SL components should cost. At $3700, it's pretty over-priced in my opinion. For $4000 (MSRP) you could buy a Cervelo RS bike with full Dura-Ace components and better wheels!

For comparison, the Z25 I test-rode was stickered at $3300 and that LBS said they'd knock 15% off the price, so $2805.

Did you get the 09 Roubaix Expert?
I hate white bikes. I wanted to buy a Specialized Roubaix Pro frameset; it's essentially the same frame as used on the Expert with a paint job that looks like an Elite. Unfortunately, they're out of stock and I wasn't willing to wait for one. Ended up buying a Cervelo RS frame. The RS ended up being a bit lighter than the Roubaix, a bit stiffer, with a ride that was almost as plush. I was fully intending to put my Ultegra SL components on it, but after riding the Z25 I ended up buying an SRAM Force+Red gruppo from GVHbikes.com.
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Old 10-01-08, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by JMRobertson View Post
If you're really looking to get fit, you should be thinking more along the lines of 200-300 miles/week if not more.
This is rediculous. You're saying you need to ride about 43 miles every day, 7 days a week, to get "fit". You better log out of BF and hop on that bike you dont wanna miss your quota.
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Old 10-01-08, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
For comparison, the Z25 I test-rode was stickered at $3300 and that LBS said they'd knock 15% off the price, so $2805.
Was that the 2009 model or the 2008? I know the prices went up in 2009...
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Old 10-01-08, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by celerystalksme View Post
wow...that shop is taking a hardline stance...

i got a specialized roubaix expert last year for 33% off of MSRP...got a saddle and bartape change for free...got a shorter stem for free...got two free bottle cages...free toe-clip pedals...free tuneups for life...two free 10% coupons good for a year...and a free fix-a-flat coupon...

are there any other specialized dealers near you?
My specialized dealer gave me 10% off list all tune ups and adjustments for 2 years for free and 15% off any and all accessories for 1 year.
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Old 10-01-08, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by gatorsactions View Post
Was that the 2009 model or the 2008? I know the prices went up in 2009...
That was the 2009 SRAM Red-equipped Z25.
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Old 10-01-08, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
If you like the Roubaix Expert, but want SRAM components then order a Roubaix Pro frameset ($1900 list, $1700 at my LBS) and snap up a build kit from GVHbikes.com. You can get a Force gruppo with Red shift levers for around $1000. Add a saddle, stem, bars, and cheap wheels and you're good to go.
What could I expect to pay the lbs to assemble the bike? Do they use an hourly rate or just a flat fee?
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Old 10-01-08, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by gatorsactions View Post
sstorkel, I guess I should have clarified a bit, This will be my first road bike. I have a mountain bike and have been riding it on the road recently cause there are no trails near my new house. Hence, the decision to get a road bike. I plan to start doing a minimum of 50 miles a week, hopefully I'll work up to much more. Maybe even do some centuries, but we'll see
FYI, I made this same transition... though many years ago. If your transition is anything like mine, you'll find that you can easily ride twice as far on a road bike as you can on a mountain bike. If you're not planning to compete, allow me to suggest that you test ride the Specialized Roubaix Elite (or Comp) and Felt Z35 in addition the the Roubaix Expert and Z25. I thought that these two bikes offered perhaps 90% of the performance of the more expensive bikes for quite a bit less money... You won't end up with a high-end SRAM Red or Ultegra SL component group, but Shimano's 105 components work very well.
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Old 10-01-08, 08:00 PM
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i have an 07 z25. i also put about 2500 miles on an 07 z35 frame as well.

let's see. yes, i love the ride. i don't think it's any more 'plush' than the trek pilot 5.0 i tested. compared to my steel roadie, the z25 is very stiff. i weigh 225 and when i mash (which isn't too often), there's not much flex in the frame. i thought the trek accelerated from a stand still much better than the felt. the felt accelerated well when i was already at speed. when i first got it, i found the bike 'wanting' to speed up to 25 mph once i got momentum going. thing is, i'm a 19 mph rider. it took me a few weeks before i learned to pace myself better.

my felt isn't stock. i traded quite a few components on it. it came with an 11-21 cassette and i swapped to a std 105, 53-39 crank. i believe the trek had a 12-25. that may have been part of the difference in feel as far as acceleration goes.

obviously, i can't speak for your lbs. the dealer i bought from was eager to order a z35 for me to try....no strings attached. even after it came in and they built it up, i hadn't committed to buying it. however, i ride a more 'common' size...56cm. they weren't willing to discount the bike. well, not really. but after i swapped out parts, etc., they ended up knocking $100 off when i hedged.

money is relative. for me, the amount of $ you're willing to spend is a lot for what you anticipate to ride. when the weeks play out how i'd like them to, i get about 250 miles in. more often that not, i come in just under 200 miles/wk.

personally, i wouldn't spend that much cabbage without test riding a bike. if an lbs wanted a commitment to buy before ordering....that's a dealbreaker. if they want a non-refundable deposit, that's a dealbreaker (unless i'm set on buying the bike). if they want a commitment that i will buy 'any' bike from them before they'll order one for me to ride, that's a dealbreaker. i don't say all this because it's typical for shops to be this flexible. i say it because that's just how i feel about the process.

another thought, once a shop has a frame in, they'll swap out the components you want. some do it with a price sheet and a calculator in hand. others use the 'that's close enough' technique. the former annoys me and have avoided buying from shops that do it. here's the felt z35 i bought for $2200 out the door;
-07 z35 frame
-105 rd (dura ace was stock, but i down-graded as part of the negotiation process)
-105 wheelsets (which are friggin awesome! 16 spokes front, 20 rear. i've got about 5k miles on them. i've weighed between 210 and 230 that whole time and they've never had to be trued).
- swapped the cf seat post for a thomson elite.
- they swapped out the stem for a shorter one with a higher rise.

couple of other comments, the stock saddle is a knock off of the arione. i find it more comfy than my terry falcon. also, the felt 2.1 bars are a better ergonomic fit for me than the deda newtons i swapped them with.
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Old 06-25-10, 08:52 PM
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Felt Z24 2009 vs other brands

I tested a Felt z25 today and a Felt AR and my LBS also sells Orbea, Giant and Specialized. I want to get a carbon road bike with great components for fitness, group rides and centuries. My LBS is suggesting the Felt, because he says i need a shorter horizontal top tube and that most of the other brands are longer. I appear to need a 52 or 54 cm bike. Does anyone have any suggestions on other bikes I should look at and how the Felt Z25 stacks up? Thanks
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Old 06-25-10, 09:12 PM
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Haha, old thread.
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