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Any Specialized Roubaix owners who've "switched" to a Tamarac (or other "racier" bike

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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

Any Specialized Roubaix owners who've "switched" to a Tamarac (or other "racier" bike

Old 08-08-10, 07:56 PM
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Any Specialized Roubaix owners who've "switched" to a Tamarac (or other "racier" bike

I'm a novice and I'm trying to understand something that puzzles me. I ride quite a bit (211 miles last week with 2 rest days), I'm slow (16.1 average on a very hilly 60-mile ride yesterday) but getting faster, and I expect that to continue for a while. That said, I realize I have lots and lots to learn. So I ask questions.

I am very impressed with the "plush" Specialized Roubaix. They are very well represented on the club group rides. A CF frame designed to be comfortable with lots of special attention like Zertz inserts to make it even smoother. The rising top tube raises the front stem, making the handlebars high compared to the saddle. But the bars can be lowered with a straight or down-sloping stem (I assume). Various models can be had with everything from 105 components up to the stratosphere (Works S).

This all sounds pretty great to me. And I can imagine buying one if I find a pile of money. But I would really hate to find that I wanted to "upgrade" after a year.

What are the visceral or technological or emotional reasons that someone would upgrade to a Tamarac, a model I chose because I think it's probably an excellent bike from Specialized at about the same price point. I would like you (if possible) to exclude reasons of pure racing - racers' needs should be focused 100% on what tools and techniques will produce the most wins.
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Old 08-08-10, 08:37 PM
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I own an SL2 Roubaix and, an SL3 Tarmac so, I can give you the skinny without any speculation or BS - at least imho.

The new SL3 Tarmac is more comfortable than the SL2 Tarmac, a bike which I also owned, and about the same as the SL2 Roubaix in regards to vertical compliance. So this speaks well of the new SL3 Tarmac, a bike that accelerates like a rocket and handles very confidently. There is a new SL3 Roubaix, which I know nothing about as its a new introduction for 2011. But comfort on the new SL3 Roubaix is supposedly improved.

The Roubaix, with its longer wheelbase exudes an "ease" to riding that eludes the Tarmac. The Roubaix is a bit more forgiving in regards to requiring attention. Its also a bit slower in steering, in that the longer wheelbase needs a wider turning circle. But if you're not racing crits, I can't see that this makes any difference. The Tarmac is more agile, and quicker to respond, with a very direct and instinctive feel that belies the Roubaix to a point. Again, outside crit racing I can't see this will make any difference. You're trading agility for ease. If you like riding events, chatting with fellow riders and taking pictures on the move, the Roubaix is a better pick. And it really compromises nothing in regards to performance outside crit racing, as the zero flex BB delivers instant acceleration also. I should mention that, with its longer wheel base the Roubaix may not feel quite as good during out of the saddle efforts while climbing. Its a matter of weight balance. But it gets the job done going uphill better than one might think.

For club riding, event riding and solo efforts the Roubaix is an outstanding bike. The Tarmac is more of a racing machine, where the manufacture has done an exceptional job in providing it with a degree of comfort not often found in race bikes.

Some will prefer the Tarmac, some the Roubaix. Myself, it I could only keep one I would have a hard time choosing. Fortunately, I can keep two bikes, and I have two keepers.
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Old 08-08-10, 08:37 PM
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You must have missed the "thread of the week" here:
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...alized-Roubaix
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Old 08-08-10, 08:42 PM
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A Tarmac and Roubaix that are set up with the same rider position will perform nearly identically.

The Tarmac has a shorter head tube, so you can set the handlebars lower than on the Roubaix. For those who can tolerate or prefer the aggressive position, that will result in a better aerodynamic profile for the rider and thus result in a performance advantage.

The Tarmac will accelerate and turn a little bit faster (due to the shorter wheelbase). The Tarmac will also transmit a little more road buzz, especially if the Tarmac has 23c's and the Roubaix has 25's or 28's. These create the subjective feeling of a "faster" bike while not really impacting performance, but can also increase fatigue on longer rides.

It's also not that hard (afaik) to toughen up the Roubaix a bit, by using skinnier tires, ditching the Zertz-encrusted seatpost, and so forth. Or, to make a Tarmac a little more comfortable with wider tires, gels on the handlebar, using a stem with lots of rise. And of course in this age of hyper-specialization, there are plenty of bikes with a road feel in between the two.

If a rider likes the road feel of the Roubaix, and doesn't want or need the more aggressive position, there's no material benefit to the upgrade. The most substantial reason to switch from a Roubaix to Tarmac IMO is if you want the handlebars so low that the Roubaix can't really get there.
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Old 08-08-10, 09:01 PM
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For what it's worth.... My roubaix is sub 15 pounds has an extremely compliant ride and goes like hell when I need it to. My previous bike was a Tarmac and I loved it but I doubt I would ever go back to it. The Roubaix is just to comfortable and gives up so very little in terms of outright performance.
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Old 08-08-10, 09:16 PM
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I see a lot of guys with shorter head tubes that ride on the hoods 90% of the time if not more or they get shallow bars. Kind of negates the shorter head tube. Ride in the drops. It doesn't matter if it is a comfort race bike or not. My suggestion is to get used to riding in the drops with the elbows bent. And if it still feels too high then get a bike with a shorter head tube. In practice a taller head tube is more versatile than the aggressive shorter head tube. You can do recover spins , do long tours and still not get beat up with the option of getting aero and aggressive by adjusting your body position.

Stiffer bike? If you having trouble sprinting to 42 mph on the flat then maybe the tarmac is what you need as well. I do not think the Roubaix will prevent you from riding 25 for an hour solo now. Like someone said, tires and wheels will probably change the snap of your ride now.

However it is your money. And getting a race bike is eventually good for the economy.

BTW one of my favorite riders Marco Pantani had Bianchi make his bike with a taller head tube. That man climbed while being in the drops.
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Old 08-08-10, 09:27 PM
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BTW -- Visceral and emotional reasons.

I had the chance to take home a Tarmac last year from my LBS for 3 days. I went to a camping trip in the mountains and I brought my Orbea Mitis as well. Yeah the tarmac was lust incarnate. However when I looked at the ride data .. riding it in the Gila. I gained nothing on the Tarmac for the total ride. Maybe I crested a hill faster by a second ( did not have GPS though). The Mitis was heavier, longer wheelbase but actually the same head tube almost. The cruise speed was the same and maybe the Orbea descended better or I was just cautious not to crash the Tarmac.
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Old 08-08-10, 10:02 PM
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Every time this question comes up, I take the chance to point people to what is a really great comparison between the Tarmac and Roubaix.

The conclusion: https://redkiteprayer.com/?p=1408

and the original reviews:
roubaix part one: https://redkiteprayer.com/?p=1313
roubaix part two: https://redkiteprayer.com/?p=1400
tarmac part one: https://redkiteprayer.com/?p=1404
tarmac part two: https://redkiteprayer.com/?p=1406
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Old 08-08-10, 10:05 PM
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I have an 09' Roubaix Elite and I just started club riding this summer. I have even done one TT with it. Since I'm not a pro rider I can't imagine needing a "racier" bike.
The Roubaix does so many things so well that I will race it next season. And I don't think the longer wheelbase will hinder me as this bike will always be ahead of my abilities.
I have got to say its the best bike I've ever ridden a century on.
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Old 08-08-10, 10:53 PM
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I've had an 07 Roubaix comp (older style, mid spec CF frame) for the last 2 and a half years and it's been a great bike. Everyone who gets into riding has the urge to upgrade, and I've made a few changes during the time I've owned it, switching out 105 components for mostly DA/Ultegra, lighter, stiffer wheels etc. I've also done a handful of races on it, including some crits, and didn't find the bike was my limiter.

Having said all that, I am considering buying a second bike, quite possibly a CAAD9, that I can race if I want to as I have become a little nervous about trashing my Roubaix. I have also wondered if it tracks a little wider on the twisty descents on some of the faster group rides that I've ridden, but am not convinced that this is not rider related rather than bike related. You mention the phrase "upgrade to a Tarmac" - it's not really an upgrade, the bikes have different purposes.
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Old 08-08-10, 11:43 PM
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I went with a Cervelo RS. It's a beauty bike. You can ride it lotsa miles, it won't beat you up.
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Old 08-08-10, 11:49 PM
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I heard the Cervelo S1 is faster.
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Old 08-09-10, 01:08 AM
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Yes S series are faster, also R3 series. The RS was designed for spring classics, like the Roubaix. I test rode a Roubaix, it was nice. I took the RS out, and it was made for me. Depending on how you set it up, it's a 14ish lb bike, if you spend $$$ for light wheels even a 13ish lb bike. It's a f**ing fast bike, if you want it to be.
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Old 08-09-10, 02:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Eclectus View Post
Yes S series are faster, also R3 series. The RS was designed for spring classics, like the Roubaix. I test rode a Roubaix, it was nice. I took the RS out, and it was made for me. Depending on how you set it up, it's a 14ish lb bike, if you spend $$$ for light wheels even a 13ish lb bike. It's a f**ing fast bike, if you want it to be.
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Old 08-09-10, 03:34 AM
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At my age I miss all kinds of things.

umd you may ride a Tamarac, or more likely a Tarmac. You've probably never seen a Tamarack tree. Do you have any idea what it looks like? You don't know what a Sequoia, Bishop Pine Sugar Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Lodgepole Pine, Redwood, Doug Fir or Shasta Fir looks like, do you? Have you ever seen a Bristlecone Pine? Do you know how old they are?

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Old 08-09-10, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Eclectus View Post
At my age I miss all kinds of things.

umd you may ride a Tamarac, or more likely a Tarmac. You've probably never seen a Tamarack tree. Do you have any idea what it looks like? You don't know what a Sequoia, Bishop Pine Sugar Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Lodgepole Pine, Redwood, Doug Fir or Shasta Fir looks like, do you? Have you ever seen a Bristlecone Pine? Do you know how old they are?
wut

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Old 08-09-10, 06:09 AM
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Old 08-09-10, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by f4rrest View Post
You must have missed the "thread of the week" here:
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...alized-Roubaix
Yeow! Yep, I missed that one. That's painful reading. Hopefully nobody will lynch me for misspelling Tarmac!

Great responses overall, including several with 100% perfect direct experience. The Red Kite Prayer link by Pacific Slim was also excellent. Thanks.
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Old 08-09-10, 03:59 PM
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A lot of people have talked about the comparison between the super expensive roubaix and the super expensive tarmac.

But a lot of use buy the entry level models.

I compared them several years ago, and since then they've redesigned both. But back then, my basic comparison on the lower end models was that the lower end Tarmac was stiff, but not very "compliant" - not a lot of vibration dampening. As you got more expensive, the Tarmac stayed stiff and got a lot more vibration dampening. The Roubaix, on the other hand, was also comfortable even in the lowest cheapest model (well - $2k, so "cheapest" lol). It got stiffer as you got into the more expensive frames.

The Tarmac was more fun to ride up hills with, but it got rather twitchy on the descents - couldn't ride down the hill as fast (apparently if I did stretches and core workouts I could learn to control it easier...). The Roubaix wasn't as fun to ride uphill, but rode downhill faster and more stable.
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Old 08-09-10, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
The Tarmac was more fun to ride up hills with, but it got rather twitchy on the descents - couldn't ride down the hill as fast (apparently if I did stretches and core workouts I could learn to control it easier...). The Roubaix wasn't as fun to ride uphill, but rode downhill faster and more stable.
The "twitchier" allows it to turn into corners more quickly, which helps with downhill speed on technical descents, at the expense of requiring more concentration, and more precise apexing.
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Old 08-09-10, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
A lot of people have talked about the comparison between the super expensive roubaix and the super expensive tarmac.

But a lot of use buy the entry level models.
For 2011 both the entry level Roubaix and Tarmac utilizes a 8r SL2 frame so safe to say that this years entry level bikes are equal to past years midlevel and better.
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Old 08-09-10, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
The "twitchier" allows it to turn into corners more quickly, which helps with downhill speed on technical descents, at the expense of requiring more concentration, and more precise apexing.
Yes.

As I think I mentioned, serious racers also often do regular stretches, core workouts, and stuff like that which lets them really take advantage of that extra amount of control.

...but I don't want to do all that, lol.
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Old 08-09-10, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
Yes.

As I think I mentioned, serious racers also often do regular stretches, core workouts, and stuff like that which lets them really take advantage of that extra amount of control.

...but I don't want to do all that, lol.
Just wanted to clarify that the Roubaix will not necessarily be faster downhill.
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Old 08-09-10, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
Just wanted to clarify that the Roubaix will not necessarily be faster downhill.
Sure, I was just saying if you're a wimp like me that while the Tarmac is more fun and perhaps faster biking up hills, the Roubaix is more fun and perhaps faster downhill. It sorta evened out for me. I just can't ride downhill as fast on my tarmac and I could on other bikes I've ridden - I reach that "OMG I'm going to die, lol" speed faster, at a lower mph speed.

If I was really one with my bike and did the requisite workouts and stretches I'm sure it wouldn't be a problem. It's also possible that the newest models (mine's a 2007) are better. When I asked other people if they had experienced the same thing, some hadn't, and others had....dunno.
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Old 08-09-10, 04:28 PM
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I don't have any experience with the Tarmac, but I do own a 2010 Roubaix Elite, which is one of the lower models. I've been EXTREMELY happy with the bike. I'm a Clyde and have found it very comfortable on long rides (I did my first century in over 20 years on it) and it's as fast as I can make it go...I'm sure under a stronger rider, it would be even faster!

When I tried it out at the LBS, the only thing I could think of to explain its comfort was "it's like riding my LaZy-Boy". I generally think unless you're looking to do "serious" racing that the Roubaix will meet all your need for speed, and still be comfortable for as long as ride as you want.

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