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Tarmac/Roubaix Frame Sizing Advice Needed

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Tarmac/Roubaix Frame Sizing Advice Needed

Old 02-06-10, 03:10 PM
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Tarmac/Roubaix Frame Sizing Advice Needed

I've been riding a Waterford 2200 frame for a number of years ... steel frame, very traditional geometry, but a fantastic riding bike. Anyway, I'm getting older (48) and less flexible, and thinking about a more forgiving ride. My wife has a Roubaix, and really likes how comfortable it is. I'm thinking about picking up a used Roubaix or Tarmac frameset, stripping down the Waterford (full Dura-Ace) and buidling up the Specialized with the parts (then selling the Waterford frame). Since I'll likely buy a used frameset, my options for going to the LBS and getting sized are limitied. Here's where I'm torn ... I'm not sure whether I should go into a 56 or 58 in the Roubaix or Tarmac. I am about 6-1/2", with a 33" inseam. The specs on my Waterford frame are:

Top tube 580
Seat tube 600
Chainstay 410
Wheelbase 990
BB Height 280
Standover 850

The 56 and 58 Specialized frames are somewhat in-between. In particular, the effective top tube length on the 56 is 565, while the 58 is 582. I'm fairly stretched out on the Waterford, although not uncomfortably so. In searching for a little more comfort, should I drop down to the 56, or stay with the 58, with a tt that's slightly longer than what I'm on now? Will I be too cramped on a 56? I've always ridden a 58 frame (Trek, Softiride, Cannondale), but they've always been traditional geometries (not compact style frame like the Roubaix/Tarmac).

Any advice at all would be appreciated!!!

Tom
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Old 02-06-10, 03:21 PM
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I am about your height (6' 2"), age 49, and I ride a size 56 Sequoia. Like you, I needed a more comfortable riding position. I wanted the bars about 1" above the seat, but also wanted a short reach. So, I went with the size 56 and put a riser stem under the bars to get the lift I needed.

Do you like the bars below your seat, or even with it? If you go with the smaller size, you might have to add spacers, and/or an angled stem to get the height right.
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Old 02-06-10, 03:58 PM
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You and I must be the same person cuz I am going through the same exact dilemma with the same two bikes... and the same sizes. I am waffling back and forth between a Tarmac and Roubaix. Like you, I am looking for a not-so-aggressive riding position. I am 6' with about 33.5 inseam.

On a Roubaix, I seem to fit better on a 56. The 58 Roubaix just felt too big. On a Tarmac, the 58 fits me a little better than the 56. On the 56 Tarmac, I'd have to make up the difference by raising the seat, thus creating more of a seat to bar drop, and a more hunched over position. On a 58 Tarmac, it's a little bit stretched out, but I can make it up with a shorter stem.

When standing both both the 56 Roubaix and 58 Tarmac side by side, the head tubes on both are right about the same height. The Tarmac obviously adds about two cm in top tube length over the Roubaix.

I was fitted to a 58 Tarmac and we simply put a shorter stem flipped up and that got me in a very comfortable riding position, close to that of the 56 Roubaix.

In my case, I had to decide between making up the bar height on a 56, or the reach on a 58. Stem manipulation can probably get you close on either one... but a good fitting would certainly be the best way to find out
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Old 02-06-10, 04:42 PM
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FWIW, I'm 6'3" and riding a 58 2008 Tarmac.

Last edited by Snapperhead; 02-07-10 at 04:57 AM.
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Old 02-06-10, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Snapperhead
FWIW, I'm 6'3" and riding a 59 2008 Tarmac.
? I don't recall ever seeing a 59 Tarmac? I was under the impression that they went from a 58 to a 61?

OP, I am 6' with a 33.25" inseam and have owned both bikes in a 56, currently riding a 09 Tarmac Pro. I think either bike could be easily fitted to what you're looking for. BTW I am considering selling my frame and fork, FYI...
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Old 02-06-10, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by af2nr
? I don't recall ever seeing a 59 Tarmac? I was under the impression that they went from a 58 to a 61?

OP, I am 6' with a 33.25" inseam and have owned both bikes in a 56, currently riding a 09 Tarmac Pro. I think either bike could be easily fitted to what you're looking for. BTW I am considering selling my frame and fork, FYI...
So, if I read your comments correctly, you would recommend the 56, in either frameset? I'm leaning towards the Roubaix, by the way. Shoot me a PM and let me know what you're selling, okay? I may be interested.
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Old 02-06-10, 06:58 PM
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"Anyway, I'm getting older (48) and less flexible, and thinking about a more forgiving ride."

You must be kidding! There is no way, OP, at 48, you're so much less flexible, in your 48 year-old dotage, that you need a more comfortable ride. Admit it, you just want another bike.

Why consider a Tarmac if you want a more forgiving ride? If you have to upsize a Tarmac to make it feel like a Roubaix, then that's another reason for going for the Roubaix.

That said, I'm 62(how DID that happen!?!) and I have a Roubaix. It's extremely comfortable compared to other bikes I've ridden and/or have, especially for long distance rides. However, I love and ride my other bikes, too.

As I don't race, I decided, when it was time for a new bike, to purchase one that would make me hurt less by the end of a long ride. Yet, don't I want to hurt, at least a little, by the end of a long ride?
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Old 02-06-10, 07:10 PM
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I have a 56 Tarmac Pro SRAM and am getting a 56 Roubaix SL2 SRAM for a more comfortable ride. I'm 6'1" and 48 years old, I currently don't have the range of motion or flexibility that I used to have. Although that is changing each day with Bikram Yoga sessions. I may keep both or sell the Tarmac Pro but I think the Roubaix will be my go to bike for longer, rougher rider.
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Old 02-06-10, 07:22 PM
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[QUOTE=icyclist;10370926]"Anyway, I'm getting older (48) and less flexible, and thinking about a more forgiving ride."

You must be kidding! There is no way, OP, at 48, you're so much less flexible, in your 48 year-old dotage, that you need a more comfortable ride. Admit it, you just want another bike.

Well, I DO want another bike! But, I also had a hip replacement last summer, and though it was a total success, it has limitied the range of motion in my hip flexors. I don't want to be as stretched out as I am on the Waterford anymore!
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Old 02-06-10, 09:36 PM
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"I also had a hip replacement last summer"

Fair enough - time for a new bike! At least it's not a directly age related issue. Whatever you get, enjoy - I think, though, you'll enjoy the Roubaix more if you are looking for a more comfortable ride.
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Old 02-06-10, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by tlarwa
I've been riding a Waterford 2200 frame for a number of years ... steel frame, very traditional geometry, but a fantastic riding bike. Anyway, I'm getting older (48) and less flexible, and thinking about a more forgiving ride. My wife has a Roubaix, and really likes how comfortable it is. I'm thinking about picking up a used Roubaix or Tarmac frameset, stripping down the Waterford (full Dura-Ace) and buidling up the Specialized with the parts (then selling the Waterford frame). Since I'll likely buy a used frameset, my options for going to the LBS and getting sized are limitied. Here's where I'm torn ... I'm not sure whether I should go into a 56 or 58 in the Roubaix or Tarmac.
Tom
The Roubaix and Tarmac, as others have said, have different geometries. From the tone of your post, it sounds like you are comparing their frame sizes directly. Just to put that out there from the start.

If you are less flexible, you definitely don't want a longer top tube than what you have now because it will stretch you out even further. My vote is for calculating the stack and reach for each frame, then compare that to the calculation of your waterford.
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Old 02-07-10, 04:57 AM
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Originally Posted by af2nr
? I don't recall ever seeing a 59 Tarmac? I was under the impression that they went from a 58 to a 61?
DOH! Fixed.
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Old 02-07-10, 06:03 AM
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I have a Tarmac and Roubaix, both in the SL2 iteration, and both in 58.

The Tarmac SL2 is remarkably comfortable for being the race bike that it is. It is lively, agile, confident and quick yet manages to keep a degree of compliance in the ride. I think its comfort comes primarily from the seat post and clamp design - I think - but its there.

The Roubaix is slightly more comfy but, I find its the "ease" of handling that gives this bike such an alluring nature. It doesn't require quite the rigorous attention that the Tarmac and and other race bikes require. It exudes a solid and secure feel, and easy to ride. It has a stiff platform so it doesn't lack for performance, and it climbs well. You will not get any BB flex out of the Roubaix - at least not the SL2 Roubaix. It just doesn't dive into a corner at speed like the Tarmac can. However, it is a great all around bike and has become my go-to bike primarily because of its ease in handling and feel. I ride it probably 10X more than the Tarmac. Of course one reason might be my Tarmac has Sram Red and I don't like it near as much as the DA on the Roubaix. That's a personal preference thing though.

The new 6-series Trek Madone is also a comfortable ride, especially for a race bike. Its more comfortable than the Tarmac, especially as speed increases. It has an amazing ability to just float over rough pavement. It is not quite as comfy as the Roubaix when speeds are low, like under 12 or so MPH, but as speed increases it feels every bit as comfortable. And its handling manners are impeccable.

The lower model Roubaix's are reported to be more comfortable than the SL2 version and have a strong following. Its rare to meet anyone who owns, or has owned one that doesn't like it. I have not ridden one to any length so can not reliably comment. I would think you will need to be careful if you want a more comfortable ride that the Waterford. I am not sure you will get that from a Tarmac, new Madone or SL2 Roubaix. Try to ride rougher pavement when you do your test rides. There are other carbon bikes out with a good reputation for comfort, such as the Bianchi C2C, Felt (I forget the model), and new BMC SLC.

Making recommendations on the internet on size are risky. However, I think in the case of the Roubaix you will be able to ride either a 56 or 58, though I feel pretty sure a 56 will fit you better.
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Old 02-07-10, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by tlarwa
Top tube 580
Seat tube 600
Chainstay 410
Wheelbase 990
BB Height 280
Standover 850
You don't mention head tube length - to me that is one of the most important measures for a "comfortable" bike. How tall is the HT on your Waterford, and how does that compare with the Roubaix and the Tarmac? A longer or shorter stem could compensate for differences in reach between 565 and 582 mm top tubes, but the issue of stem angle and / or spacers is determined by the head tube.
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Old 02-07-10, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by roshea
You don't mention head tube length - to me that is one of the most important measures for a "comfortable" bike. How tall is the HT on your Waterford, and how does that compare with the Roubaix and the Tarmac? A longer or shorter stem could compensate for differences in reach between 565 and 582 mm top tubes, but the issue of stem angle and / or spacers is determined by the head tube.
The head tube on the Waterford is fairly short at 170, at least compared to the carbon frames I'm considering.
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Old 02-07-10, 07:22 PM
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The new Roubaix is amazing. For a moment, forget about the comfort- that is a given with all the Roubaixs and the new one is possibly even better. The slightly longer wheelbase and slightly slacker headangle makes this bike descend in such a stable manner. I'm not an experienced roadie though I am an experienced mtn biker and at 40-45 mph, I was reeling in other bikers on this long 10-mile descent and felt like I still had room to speed up. I probably am confident due to my mountain biking background but I have never felt this stable at speed- on any roadbike. Now I just need to work on my climbing legs but the bike is absolutely amazing and the handling so intuitive.

I have ridden a Tarmac now and I like the high-speed handling of the Roubaix. The Tarmac is still a nice bike but I am really digging the stability of the Roubaix and it doesn't give up much on the uphill or flats at all. My Roubaix is the 2009 S-Works model. My buddy prefers the quicker front-end handling of the Tarmac but cannot believe how comfortable yet fast the Roubaix is. My 56 has a 19cm headtube.
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Old 02-07-10, 09:58 PM
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6' 33 inseam with a 58 S-Works Tarmac.
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