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CAAD10-3 VS Tarmac Mid-Compact Comp - Thoughts/Suggestions, Please!

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

CAAD10-3 VS Tarmac Mid-Compact Comp - Thoughts/Suggestions, Please!

Old 04-22-13, 12:36 PM
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jay geisen
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CAAD10-3 VS Tarmac Mid-Compact Comp - Thoughts/Suggestions, Please!

So, I am looking at buying a dedicated road bike - finally. Up until now, I have been using my 2008 Jamis Nova (cyclocross bike) with two sets of wheels. Given my geographic location and budget, I have narrowed my choices to a Cannondale CAAD10 3 and a Specialized Tarmac Mid Compact Comp. Normally, the Specialized would be out of my price range, but they are currently running a sale that is ending today.

I intend the bike to be used on fast training rides and some road races. The terrain around here is rolling hills, with a reasonable amount of chip seal. Ideally, I'd like the "racier" bike, as I already have the Nova for when I want to do a century or something. Any thoughts appreciated. Thanks!

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bik...compmidcompact

http://www.cannondale.com/2013/bikes...ouble-crankset

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Old 04-22-13, 01:02 PM
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Ride them both and pick the one you like.

If after that, you are still undecided, which paint job do you like better?
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Old 04-22-13, 01:03 PM
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You cant go wrong. I'd go with the Tarmac. I almost bought one last year.
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Old 04-22-13, 01:09 PM
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Unfortunately, I won't get the opportunity to do so (test ride).
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Old 04-22-13, 01:11 PM
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Both are similarly spec'd bonafide race bikes.
The CAAD seems to have the edge components wise, and the Tarmac is carbon.

Couldn't go wrong with either.
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Old 04-22-13, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by jay geisen View Post
Unfortunately, I won't get the opportunity to do so (test ride).
Truthfully if you don't have the time to test ride them both, then I wouldn't buy either. No need to rush into a purchase and buy something that ends up not working out for you. Shops have sales all the time...the best seem to be Nov-Dec actually. You already have a bike that works for you, don't you?

Last year I rented both a Specialized Roubaix and a Specialized Tarmac, and rode each for ~100 miles (the Roubaix a little less, the Tarmac a little more). The shop I rented from has a deal that if you buy within 30 days of when you rent, they credit the cost of the rental to your purchase.

I ended up getting a Tarmac SL3. It was the version I rented, and of course after riding that one, I couldn't go down, could I?
That said, I really am glad I splurged, as I really like the bike, and have put over 7,000 miles on it over the past year (and this from someone who'd put in maybe 2,000 miles/year prior).

The Tarmac was a bit rough when I first got on it. So much that I nearly turned around and took it back home. Seriously, at least for me. I kept telling myself to go out at least 5 miles, then if I still wasn't happy, I could head home and say I gave it a shot. Well around mile 3 something magical happened and I kinda meshed with the bike, something that never happened with the Roubaix (similar components).
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Old 04-22-13, 01:38 PM
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Well, as nice as it would be to get to test both bikes, I doubt it's in the cards honestly. The Cannondale dealer doesn't typically keep any in stock and neither shop will order a bike just for me to try. Also, without really putting some serious miles into each bike (with matching setups - tires, adjustments, etc), I doubt I'd really be getting an accurate comparison anyway. I appreciate the response though.
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Old 04-22-13, 01:45 PM
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CAAD10 wins. Do you see a Cult of Tarmac thread? Didn't think so!
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Old 04-22-13, 02:05 PM
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You make a compelling argument.
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Old 04-22-13, 03:20 PM
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I own older models of both frames; CAAD8 and SL2. I prefer the SL2 and it is my dedicate race bike. The frame absorbs road vibrations much, much better and the handling is very responsive. That being said, I don't think you can go wrong with either. Let us know what you go with and post some pics!
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Old 04-23-13, 06:19 AM
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OP, just go by color then.

I've owned several Cannondales and recently sold my Caad 9 - truthfully, it never wowed me and was not nearly as impressive as my old aluminum S-Works frameset. Still, Cannondale makes a good bike.

Specialized also makes good bikes. My wife has a Tarmac and an Amira. She loves them both. I've taken them out for spins and they are both fine.

This is kind of like comparing an Accord to a Camry. So long as it fits your needs, you really can't go wrong.
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Old 04-23-13, 06:44 AM
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I would go for the Tarmac frame. Plenty stiff, but more forgiving than a AL. And if you go on longer rides you will probably appreciate that factor. Nice climbing bike. As per the components - both Ultegra! I also have to admit I am biased - I am no fan of AL bikes because as much as they say it - transmits more vibration, doesn't seem to have the extra umph when I ramp it up for speed. And I love the look of a black carbon finish.
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Old 04-23-13, 10:55 AM
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Get the Tarmac and I'll see you at RAGBRAI. (my scientific reply)
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Old 04-23-13, 02:30 PM
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love my SL3 Tarmac. Aggressive geometry, but even after 100 miles it's still comfortable. When I'm not riding it I just want to stare at it and rub it with a diaper.
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