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2011 Specialized Tarmac vs. Roubaix

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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

2011 Specialized Tarmac vs. Roubaix

Old 07-25-11, 06:29 AM
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FlashBazbo
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2011 Specialized S-Works Tarmac vs. S-Works Roubaix

I tried the search feature but clicking "search" takes you to an advertisers website this morning. Arrgh.

I'm thinking of building up a new bike this summer. My current frameset is a 2009 S-Works Roubaix. Great frameset, but it has a lot of miles on it.

My two primary candidates are S-Works Roubaix and S-Works Tarmac. (Yes, I know you love your Trek, Felt, Cervelo, Willier, but give me a break here.) For those who know . . . what is the weight difference between these two framesets? I know the Roubaix is under 1kg, but that's all Specialized says about the matter.

Also, for those who have ridden both . . . how much of a comfort difference is there REALLY between the two framesets? And, is there a difference in how they handle technical descents? Turning ability PLUS confidence is what I'm looking for.

I appreciate any knowledgeable (i.e., actually weighed and/or really experienced) input you can provide.
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Old 07-25-11, 06:39 AM
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They are both podium finishing bikes, from Cancellara at Paris-Roubaix to Contador at any number of events. Weight and stiffness difference is probably effectually nil.

They have different wheelbases, geometries and only you know how you ride. Test ride both and decide.
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Old 07-25-11, 11:20 AM
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I have both a 2010 Roubaix Expert and 2010 Tarmac Expert. Both bikes are great. The Roubaix rides better, does better absorbing road buzz, and is more stable. The Tarmac is more responsive to inputs and handles better. Weight is pretty much the same between the two. Two different bikes with different purposes... Tarmac for fast group rides and tight circuits, Roubaix for centuries and rougher roads.
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Old 07-25-11, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Menel View Post
They are both podium finishing bikes, from Cancellara at Paris-Roubaix to Contador at any number of events. Weight and stiffness difference is probably effectually nil.

They have different wheelbases, geometries and only you know how you ride. Test ride both and decide.
You're delusional if you think the Roubaix Cancellar podium'd with resembles the Roubaix that is available to the public.

OP: You already have a Roubaix, so get the Tarmac if you want a more aggressive frame.
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Old 07-25-11, 12:06 PM
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the roubaix is going to feel more comfortable...i prefer the stiffness of the tarmac though. I would say go Tarmac, the bike looks sexier too and THAT is whats really important
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Old 07-25-11, 12:14 PM
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Menel
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Originally Posted by Blackdays View Post
You're delusional if you think the Roubaix Cancellar podium'd with resembles the Roubaix that is available to the public.

OP: You already have a Roubaix, so get the Tarmac if you want a more aggressive frame.
True they are different, the public one is probably superior since he was riding a prototype version that has now become what is now sold as the S-Works SL3.

But I wouldn't think his bike was all that far behind in design, and besides, if it was, they surely took his input and wrapped up all the final latest and greatest tweaks into the final mass production version.
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Old 07-25-11, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
My current frameset is a 2009 S-Works Roubaix. Great frameset, but it has a lot of miles on it.
Just curious - how many miles did you put on it?
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Old 07-25-11, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Blackdays View Post
You're delusional if you think the Roubaix Cancellar podium'd with resembles the Roubaix that is available to the public.
Good lord man…”delusional”….that’s quite a salvo to a post.

Yes, the pro frame sets delivered by sponsors are often tweaked for their riders in a collaborative effort. But product similarities to market are more so than not. Now while I error on the side that a better bike rider can ride just about anything to a finish, insofar as the Roubaix’s redesign carrying Boonen on back to back P-R wins following the next year with Fabian’s P-R win on the project black frame…I agree with Menel : The Roubaix (and Tarmac) is a podium finishing bike.

To the OP: I've noticed "aggressive” used which in my mind is just too popular and tired and does little to define the difference between the Tarmac and Roubaix. Rather it’s the longer wheelbase and rear triangle that dictates what buy best meets your daily rides.

If you like to bump bars or turn around on a narrow shoulder to fetch back up the group you’re leading go with a Tarmac. If you like to go off on some washboard knar as you explore or put a wider tire on to tackle your version of Flanders go Roubaix. So while both bikes are equally stiff, fast and aggressive…it’s which bike gives you a bit of advantage over what course you normally take. Saddle up a ride them on your course. I’d be interested in a post with your findings and decision. Good luck.
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Old 07-25-11, 01:29 PM
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^No, my point was that bike manufacturers love to make any bike in their product line seem "perfect." Trek used to do this with their aluminum models by marketing them as, and I kid you not, "Be like Lance."

The Roubaix is a fantastic bike, but the geometries of the one that is available publicly is completely different from the ones ridden in the pro tour. Compare pictures of Cancellara's Roubaix to the one on Specialized's website. The top tubes look nothing alike, neither do the head tubes. The Paris-Roubaix version is essentially a Tarmac with the Zertz inserts, and a longer wheelbase.
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Old 07-25-11, 08:07 PM
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Another difference . . . the Tarmac has external cable guides and the new Roubaix has internal routing. (I'm not big on fussy, faux-aero internal cable routing.)
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Old 08-04-11, 03:31 PM
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Great Discussion

I owned an '06 54cm Roubaix and then went with a 56cm '09 S-Works Tarmac...the older Roubaix was like a smooth Cadillac on the road...it just wasn't as responsive in terms of my effort and output...on the other hand...my current Tarmac is like a race car compared to my older Roubaix...step on the pedal and whatever effort I put in...comes out...BUT...it's just not as comfortable in the long haul...

With that said...in recent years both makes of Specialized bikes have closed the gap with the other...the Tarmac is more 'comfortable' while the S-Works Roubaix has become much faster...all in all...I'm looking at selling my Tarmac and going with an S-Works Roubaix...why?....'cause...

...all in all...while I'm an avid rider I'm not a pro so minor performance differences don't seem quite as important...and, as such, the new S-Works Roubaix models seem to do it all now (compared with my '06)...they're incredibly light and fast, climb incredibly well, and can go long distances with the same comfort...so...unless you're a pro and racing...why go Tarmac any longer???

The S-Works Roubaix seems to have it all...IMHO...the only issue is price...a Roubaix will set you back some $$$...I need to wait a year or so and buy an older S-Works Roubaix frame or complete bike...again, I'm not a pro...and I don't need the latest and greatest.
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Old 08-04-11, 04:21 PM
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The 2012s are jut about to come out, get one of those
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Old 08-04-11, 04:31 PM
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Originally Posted by kabex View Post
The 2012s are jut about to come out, get one of those
Today, I received word from my LBS on 2012 pricing on S-Works Tarmac frameset . . . the price is going up . . . by $900!
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Old 08-04-11, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by FlashBazbo View Post
Today, I received word from my LBS on 2012 pricing on S-Works Tarmac frameset . . . the price is going up . . . by $900!
Well the new S-works Tarmac is the SL4. New fancy headtube and on piece bb/chainstay.

Personally, if I didn't weigh 200 lbs I'd be on a venge. They have a non-sworks coming out in the fall that is a killer frameset option. It's a little less stiff than the tarmac but it absolutely roars when you get up past 23-25mph. It's incredible how that bike handles and moves at speed.
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Old 08-04-11, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by W F Collins View Post
Well the new S-works Tarmac is the SL4. New fancy headtube and on piece bb/chainstay.

Personally, if I didn't weigh 200 lbs I'd be on a venge. They have a non-sworks coming out in the fall that is a killer frameset option. It's a little less stiff than the tarmac but it absolutely roars when you get up past 23-25mph. It's incredible how that bike handles and moves at speed.
And, for the S4 Tarmac, internal cables (for the first time) and (drumroll please) . . . 50g lighter than the SL3!!

As for the Venge, that would probably be THE frameset for me. But for the tiny benefit, the price difference is pretty massive.
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Old 08-04-11, 06:15 PM
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And just so happens to be much slower than a Cervelo S5 XD, just playing with you Specialized guys, I had a Roubaix too
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