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Spesh comparison- Tarmac v. Roubaix

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Spesh comparison- Tarmac v. Roubaix

Old 06-23-14, 08:38 AM
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IANative
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Spesh comparison- Tarmac v. Roubaix

My original LBS set me up w/ the Roubaix SL2 as my first road bike, citing it's more relaxed geometry and comfortable ride as "the only way to go" for a new cyclist. Really like the bike- don't know if I "love" it, but it does handle 50-70 mile rides (which is long for me) very comfortably.

A couple of years later I added the Orca BRV (NOT a Tarmac, I know), which I think I like better than the Roubaix. I'm faster on it, it climbs better, responds better and I can much more easily go "hands-free" on it (if that's even relevant). 95% of my rides are in the 15-25 mile range, and while the ride is not as "plush" as the Roubaix, it's fine at those distances. Not sure that I can say that I love this bike, either. In fact, I'm not sure (experienced enough?) what it'll take for me to "love" my bike. The biggest question on the Orca is how it/I would handle a 50+ mile ride on it... which only happens once or twice per year... and hasn't happened yet this year.

Now, I was having a discussion w/ the owner of my current LBS about my preference for the Orca over the Roubaix for local rides, but questioning how I would like it on a longer ride of 50 or more miles. He said many of his customers start w/ the Roubaix, only to eventually transition to a Tarmac, "even for 100-200 miles," in his words. (These folks likely ride more than I do- I'm happy to hit 100 miles/week.) But he went on to say that way too many "noobs" are pushed into the Roubaix by the hype and the sales force, and that in many cases the Tarmac would be a better fit and offer greater comfort for the rider, even at greater distances.

I understand the importance of fit, and I also understand that a properly fit Tarmac would be more comfortable than an improperly fit Roubaix. But all things being equal, assuming the proper fit on both bikes, is it logical to believe that the Tarmac could be just as comfortable as the Roubaix at rides of 50+ miles? And, if so, would it also then be logical to believe that the biggest advantage of the Roubaix over the Tarmac would be for rougher-surface (cobbles, chipseal, etc.) rides?
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Old 06-23-14, 09:52 AM
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enjoi07
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Originally Posted by IANative View Post
My original LBS set me up w/ the Roubaix SL2 as my first road bike, citing it's more relaxed geometry and comfortable ride as "the only way to go" for a new cyclist. Really like the bike- don't know if I "love" it, but it does handle 50-70 mile rides (which is long for me) very comfortably.

A couple of years later I added the Orca BRV (NOT a Tarmac, I know), which I think I like better than the Roubaix. I'm faster on it, it climbs better, responds better and I can much more easily go "hands-free" on it (if that's even relevant). 95% of my rides are in the 15-25 mile range, and while the ride is not as "plush" as the Roubaix, it's fine at those distances. Not sure that I can say that I love this bike, either. In fact, I'm not sure (experienced enough?) what it'll take for me to "love" my bike. The biggest question on the Orca is how it/I would handle a 50+ mile ride on it... which only happens once or twice per year... and hasn't happened yet this year.

Now, I was having a discussion w/ the owner of my current LBS about my preference for the Orca over the Roubaix for local rides, but questioning how I would like it on a longer ride of 50 or more miles. He said many of his customers start w/ the Roubaix, only to eventually transition to a Tarmac, "even for 100-200 miles," in his words. (These folks likely ride more than I do- I'm happy to hit 100 miles/week.) But he went on to say that way too many "noobs" are pushed into the Roubaix by the hype and the sales force, and that in many cases the Tarmac would be a better fit and offer greater comfort for the rider, even at greater distances.

I understand the importance of fit, and I also understand that a properly fit Tarmac would be more comfortable than an improperly fit Roubaix. But all things being equal, assuming the proper fit on both bikes, is it logical to believe that the Tarmac could be just as comfortable as the Roubaix at rides of 50+ miles? And, if so, would it also then be logical to believe that the biggest advantage of the Roubaix over the Tarmac would be for rougher-surface (cobbles, chipseal, etc.) rides?

It is very logical to believe that, especially considering it's use in Paris-Roubaix. Note that the geometry, however, is closer to the Tarmac with a smaller head tube.

Pro Bike: Tom Boonen's Specialized Roubaix SL4 - VeloNews.com

I don't think the Roubaix is simply hype. You can read great reviews about it on RKP:

The Crucible: Tarmac vs. Roubaix | RKP

The Specialized Roubaix | RKP

The Specialized Roubaix, Part II | RKP
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