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Specialized Tarmac Comp

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Specialized Tarmac Comp

Old 07-31-09, 12:38 PM
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Fullforce
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Specialized Tarmac Comp

Does anyone have an opinion about this bike?
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Old 07-31-09, 12:40 PM
  #2  
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Old 07-31-09, 12:41 PM
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i like mine.

not much to compare it to long-term with anything else, but my only complaint was the spoke tension on the wheelset that i got with it (Shimano RS-10) -- apparently not a great wheelset. the wheels needed truing after 2 weeks and then i broke a spoke and it needed to be retrued.

i chose this because it fit the best, the shifting was very quick, crisp and responsive, the braking felt very good, and at higher speeds it felt more stable. The only comparable bikes that i rode had aluminum frames with atleast a carbon seat stay, but it was (and should have been) head and shoulders above them all - close second going to the Allez Elite (feel) and F75 (value). I chose the Tarmac because it was offered to me for only $200 more than the Allez Elite due to it being last year's model.

bikes that i compared it to:
Spec Allez Elite '09
Trek 2.3 '09
Trek 2.1 '09
Felt F75 '09
Gary Fisher Arc Super '09

Last edited by sijray21; 07-31-09 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 07-31-09, 01:13 PM
  #4  
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I love mine, but I'm no expert. I've only had it a little over a month~450 miles. It fit well, didnt' feel harsh on bumps, and most importantly it was a cool blue color. I also liked the fact that it was all 105 components (other models didn't have 105 brakes). I'm Not sure I would have noticed a difference, but it is very hilly where I live, so wanted good brakes. I have no complaints so far, handles great and inspires a lot of confidence on decents (probably too much). Everything I looked at was such a big step up from my old 80's steel bike, they all seemed great. The Tarmac just felt right to me (also had the cool blue color).
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Old 07-31-09, 02:39 PM
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I'm asking everyone's opinion because after several weeks of anticipation, I finally got a day off to go ride bikes. The LBS I went to has two major brands: Cannondale and Specialized. Since it is apparently time for them to receive the '10s, they have limited stock. They sized me for either a 54 or a 56 (I am 5'11", 175 lbs., 48 years old).

I have ridden a cromoly Diamondback hybrid for 20 years; I ride on multi-use, paved trails, about 12 miles a day, 4-5 days a week as fast as I can. I have been running out of gears since the large chain ring on my bike is a 48. I have saved up around $2000 for a new (or used) bike.

The first bike they suggested was a 54" Specialized Roubaix Comp. I liked the smoothness (the seat, the shifting), but the bike seemed almost identical to my hybrid in terms of maximum speed.

Next, I rode a 56" Cannondale Synapse. Although this bike had the exact same gearing, and I rode it on the same path in the same way, I had two extra gears at the top end (I still don't understand why unless it was the larger frame, but the I don't know what this suggests), and it hurt my wrists, and I hated the seat.

The third bike I rode was a 56" Cannondale Six 5 which was the bike I LOVED (even though they told me that I wouldn't because the geometry was more aggressive (This surprised me because I was concerned about the same thing). It was comfortable in the wrist area, and it was FAST (It has a 53 rather than a 50 so I got going much faster), but After I got off the bike I realized that it was very bumpy in the rear whenever I went over rough spots in the road, I didn't like the seat, and it had problems shifting even though it had identical components to the other bikes (even after they adjusted it).

I then tried to ride a CAAD9 5 (everyone's favorite, but they were sold out in my size. I was considering riding a CAAD9 7, when the salesperson (who basically worked with me for six hours) suggested I try the Specialized Tarmac Comp (It is on sale for $2099, but it is blue). So I rode the 56" Tarmac Comp. The salesperson (an older man who riders both a Specialized S Works and a Cannondale Super Six) told me that he prefers the Cannondale ride.

Riding the Tarmac gave me the responsiveness of the Cannondale Six (and the 53 chainring), the comfort of the Synapse and Roubaix (both in the tail and in the wrists), was 105 all-around, I liked the seat, and it shifted like a dream. The only thing I did not like was was the blue color.

So I have put 25% down on this bike, but before I go back to get it next week, I need some input because I am not an expert, I do not have the means to buy a new bike every couple of years, and I know that there are more experienced riders on this forum who may have suggestions. So should I buy this bike or keep looking?

Last edited by Fullforce; 08-03-09 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 07-31-09, 02:56 PM
  #6  
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honestly the most important part is the right fit and how you feel on the bike and even though it sounds crazy the color and design play a major factor in how much you enjoy your ride as well.

take a look at the tarmac in Team Carbon/Red

i've got my eye on one in the lbs here that's just my size. i'm just waiting for a sale or until my bike spontaneously combusts.
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Old 07-31-09, 03:14 PM
  #7  
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I think you should go for the Tarmac. Personally, I bought the Tarmac Expert in the Team Carbon/Red and absolutely love it! Here's the picture of my bike. There are upgrades such as the wheels and the seat (I had bought the seat 2 weeks before so the swapped it out).

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Old 07-31-09, 05:50 PM
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Anyone else?
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Old 07-31-09, 09:41 PM
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Tarmac's are great bikes. If it fits you, go for it...
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Old 07-31-09, 10:45 PM
  #10  
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I wound up buying the Specialized Roubaix Elite. I would ride them both again and make sure which one is more comfortable over the bumps. The closest road near the bike shop I bought at was quite bumpy. I really preferred the ride of the Roubaix over the Tarmac.

It doesn't matter which one is faster if you ride less because the bike isn't as comfortable. I bought mine on June 15 and have 1218 miles on it so far. If the Tarmac has a comfortable ride for you buy that one...

Good luck with whichever one you choose.
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Old 08-01-09, 12:05 PM
  #11  
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Good Lord, OP, your second post detailing the bikes you tested is longer than Herman Melville's description of every known whale species in "Mobey Dick" (in a chapter he suggested readers could skip).

I think I've boiled it down to this:

- After making an LBS employee spend six hours with you, you probably owe him and the shop the purchase of a bike.

- You like one of the Tarmac models the best.

- But your LBS only has it in blue, and you don't like that color.

- Thus you are soliciting expert opinion to help you decide if a color you don't like makes that big a difference.

OK, here's my opinion (and yes, I'm an expert on color): have your LBS order the bike in the compact double version, with the carbon/red color combo.
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Old 08-01-09, 05:20 PM
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Thanks for the feedback; I didn't realize I was channeling Melville!!

Actually, I don't like the color too much, but I am more interested in people's opinions of the bike because I won't get to buy another bike for awhile, and I want to be sure that there are no other bikes I should consider at that price point.
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Old 08-02-09, 11:22 AM
  #13  
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After riding a few back to back, I also decided on the Tarmac comp. I feel the only caveat to this bike is the RS-10 wheels, good wheels but if you want to do some hard climbing I personally think a ksyruim elite, or even an axium would be a major upgrade...seems like the others I rode with a much nicer wheelset responded better to my inputs.

I will change the wheelsets out in the near future but it's a sweet bike, no complaints at all and no regrets on the price.
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Old 08-02-09, 09:22 PM
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gtofan,

Can you describe what helped you decide to buy this bike? Has anyone ridden this bike? What are its strengths and weaknesses? Is it mainly the wheel set? Does it handle as well as other bikes in its price range?
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Old 08-02-09, 09:51 PM
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My wife is encouraging me to check out all bikes that are close in price to this one so I was considering trying out a Cannondale Six Carbon 3. Has anyone ridden the Tarmac and the Six Carbon 3? Any opinions before I buy a bike?
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Old 08-02-09, 10:03 PM
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OP: They are all good bikes. No one can tell you which is the best for you, only you can decide that. I think that if you have the money saved and want to buy a new bike, then you will almost certainly love the Tarmac. But the same could be said of the Synapse and Roubaix as well. It's not like you are back in calculus where one answer is right and the rest are wrong... you'll be happy with any of these I am sure.
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Old 08-02-09, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Fullforce View Post
I'm asking everyone's opinion because after several weeks of anticipation, I finally got a day off to go ride bikes. The LBS I went to has two major brands: Cannondale and Specialized. Since it is apparently time for them to receive the '10s, they have limited stock. They sized me for either a 54 or a 56 (I am 5'11", 175 lbs., 48 years old). I have ridden a cromoly Diamondback hybrid for 20 years; I ride on multi-use, paved trails, about 12 miles a day, 4-5 days a week as fast as I can. I have been running out of gears since the large chain ring on my bike is a 48. I have saved up around $2000 for a new (or used) bike. The first bike they suggested was a 54" Specialized Roubaix Comp. I liked the smoothness (the seat, the shifting), but the bike seemed almost identical to my hybrid in terms of maximum speed. Next, I rode a 56" Cannondale Synapse. Although this bike had the exact same gearing, and I rode it on the same path in the same way, I had two extra gears at the top end (I still don't understand why unless it was the larger frame, but the I don't know what this suggests), and it hurt my wrists, and I hated the seat. The third bike I rode was a 56" Cannondale Six 5 which was the bike I LOVED (even though they told me that I wouldn't because the geometry was more aggressive (This surprised me because I was concerned about the same thing). It was comfortable in the wrist area, and it was FAST (It has a 53 rather than a 50 so I got going much faster), but After I got off the bike I realized that it was very bumpy in the rear whenever I went over rough spots in the road, I didn't like the seat, and it had problems shifting even though it had identical components to the other bikes (even after they adjusted it). I then tried to ride a CAAD9 5 (everyone's favorite, but they were sold out in my size. I was considering riding a CAAD9 7, when the salesperson (who basically worked with me for six hours) suggested I try the Specialized Tarmac Comp (It is on sale for $2099, but it is blue). So I rode the 56" Tarmac Comp. The salesperson (an older man who riders both a Specialized S Works and a Cannondale Super Six) told me that he prefers the Cannondale ride. Riding the Tarmac gave me the responsiveness of the Cannondale Six (and the 53 chainring), the comfort of the Synapse and Roubaix (both in the tail and in the wrists), was 105 all-around, I liked the seat, and it shifted like a dream. The only thing I did not like was was the blue color. So I have put 25% down on this bike, but before I go back to get it next week, I need some input because I am not an expert, I do not have the means to buy a new bike every couple of years, and I know that there are more experienced riders on this forum who may have suggestions. So should I buy this bike or keep looking?

I'll read it (maybe) if you insert some breaks between paragraphs.
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Old 08-02-09, 10:25 PM
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I looked at the Roubaix a few years back, rode a 56 and a 58 and the 56 was a better fit and it rode very smooth, there wasn't many hills along the path within a few miles so it was hard to really get the "feel" of the bike.

Fast-forward 2 years and now i'm serious about purchasing. My frame...32" inseam, tall back fits well over the LeMond and the specialized bikes...Roubaix/Tarmac specifically, i'm fitted to a 56 on the Specialized.

Rode the Roubaix & Tarmac back to back a few times on the same roads, small hills, seating and off the seat, the Roubaix would be a perfect cruising, fast bike however it didn't feel as responsive as the Tarmac when I got aggressive. When seated I also had to "try" a little more on hills.

The Roubaix seat tube is about 1" shorter, the front fork is raked out a little which gives a longer wheelbase, just a more relaxed riding position. Ride the two back to back a few times and when you get on the Tarmac, you will notice a slightly more agressive riding position but it's not bad at all.

I just like the positioning of the Tarmac and when you are on a long steady climb, not steep at all, seated, I felt I had to work more on the Roubaix, was definately a smoother ride. The Roubaix coupled with a light wheelset would be different but also I had a great deal on a closeout comp which was about $700 cheaper than the Roubaix so it was a no-brainer for me.

Rode the Giant TCR which was a great bike, very responsive but riding position was more agressive than the Comp. I would recommend riding whatever you are contemplating on back to back for a few days to be sure....take your time, these things aren't cheap.
If you have alot of flat areas, don't plan on doing alot of big hill climbs and are out for the casual ride you will likely prefer the Roubaix.
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Old 08-02-09, 10:31 PM
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Do Not Buy It. I gotta go do a quick errand so I don't have time to explain.

I repeat, Don't buy the Specialized Tarmac!

Be back in a bit. You'll crap your pants when you hear what I have to say.

hold tight op.
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Old 08-02-09, 11:15 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by bt View Post
Do Not Buy It. I gotta go do a quick errand so I don't have time to explain.

I repeat, Don't buy the Specialized Tarmac!

Be back in a bit. You'll crap your pants when you hear what I have to say.

hold tight op.
i can't wait to hear this
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Old 08-03-09, 01:25 AM
  #21  
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Thanks, gtofan; So far, that was my experience as well.

I think it's very funny on this forum. Posters are constantly suggesting that perspective buyers actually RIDE the bikes, and report back with details so they can comment. BUT, when someone actually takes the time to RIDE the bikes so they can make the best possible purchasing decision, half of the people posting in the thread use that as an excuse to ridicule the op.

Nice job, those who think it is hilarious that people ask others for advice when they are unsure if they are making the right decision.
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Old 08-03-09, 03:12 AM
  #22  
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I'd just like to point out that... yes... yes I do have an opinion on this bike. And a Tarmac Expert should not have a 75mm stem. It looks awful.
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Old 08-03-09, 08:58 AM
  #23  
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ok, here's the deal, I went back to the fac.......oh wait. hold on, BRB.
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Old 08-03-09, 09:44 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by igknighted View Post
OP: They are all good bikes. No one can tell you which is the best for you, only you can decide that. I think that if you have the money saved and want to buy a new bike, then you will almost certainly love the Tarmac. But the same could be said of the Synapse and Roubaix as well. It's not like you are back in calculus where one answer is right and the rest are wrong... you'll be happy with any of these I am sure.
Thanks,

I am addicted to RIDING (and I have been riding a steel hybrid), so I rarely have concerned myself with frame geometry, comfort, stiffness, frame material, riding position, component level, etc.... I have been reading everything, and talking to as many people as I can because no one wants to end up with something they don't look forward to riding. So your feed back is very encouraging. Is Specialized your favorite brand?
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Old 08-03-09, 09:56 AM
  #25  
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not for nothing, but saying the roubaix has the same maximum speed as your hybrid doesn't really make sense. Even if it it's a compact geared bike, 50x12 at 90 rpm is about 30 mph. From the sound of it, the roubaix would be a better fit for you .
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