Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Climber
Joined
·
78 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Background...120 lb. climber with some decent speed, coming from a Cervelo R3 (49 cm). Force build-up with various training wheels and Reynolds KOM for hillier races.

Just did my third ride on the Tarmac today. Impressions are as follows.

1. Bike is as, if not more, comfortable over bad pavement than the R3 was. I was surprised thinking this would only be the case with the Roubaix. Very little rattling or jolting (Zertz perhaps?)

2. Climbing is virtually a wash between these two bikes. Both respond immediately to acceleration and continue either seated or standing to push forward.

3. Descending is much better on the Tarmac. I attribute this to tapered headtube. A simple flick of the wrist is all it takes to make this bike track. Feel very confident in technical descents.

4. Sprinting is also much better on this bike over the R3. Tarmac seems to rev up more quickly and seems to continue accelerating with less effort over the R3.

5. Biggest bonus for me is not in frame design or material. Biggest bonus is a simple engineering decision that was poorly made by Cervelo, but well done by Specialized. Bottle cage bolts on the Tarmac are down as low as possible without interfering with one another or other aspects of the bike. This allows me to put two large bottles in with no problem. One of my biggest complaints with the R3 was the placement of cages. I could get one big bottle in (barely) on seat tube, but not on the down tube. Big deal to me.

6. Differences: Cervelo was balanced differently than the Tarmac is. Due to this difference, the Tarmac felt as if the back end was loose and almost detached when out of the saddle, either climbing or sprinting. This was because on the R3 I had grown accustomed to having my weight centered in a more forward position. A simple 'rebalance' on the Tarmac solves this issue and keeps me centered more over the saddle than up into my bars.

7. Very happy with this bike!
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
3,494 Posts
Nice write-up!

I just took my Pro SL out on the road today after a month on the rain bike. My first impression was "wow", and I haven't stopped smiling since I got back. As well as some hills, I tried some sprints for the first time on this bike and was amazed at how quick it jumps. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
I absolutely love my 09 Pro SL, I didn't think I was going to enjoy road biking as much as mountain biking.. but it has definitely changed my mind :)
 

·
Cycling induced anoesis
Joined
·
13,006 Posts
Very comprehensive write up. Thanks for sharing.

While impressions are (obviously) personal, I was very surprised reading this comment:
Bike is as, if not more, comfortable over bad pavement than the R3 was.
As a light rider (I'm 17 lbs. heavier), I found the R3 to be very harsh and unforgiving, while heavier riders appreciated the stiffness. No right or wrong here, just surprising given your weight.

I didn't quite get #6 either, but maybe I'm just not that savvy about weight distribution. I don't race and I'm old. :) Don't get me wrong here - I'm not critiquing your post, merely offering thoughts relating to some comments.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,914 Posts
Bike is as, if not more, comfortable over bad pavement than the R3 was. I was surprised thinking this would only be the case with the Roubaix. Very little rattling or jolting (Zertz perhaps?)
Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but the only Zertz on the Tarmac is the one in the seatpost. From what I heard/read, Specialized removed them from the Tarmac to save weight. I dumped my Pave Pro SL seatpost for a Ritchey Carbon. I certainly don't notice any difference.

I just took my Pro SL out on the road today after a month on the rain bike. My first impression was "wow", and I haven't stopped smiling since I got back. As well as some hills, I tried some sprints for the first time on this bike and was amazed at how quick it jumps.
See, I told you. :D Even commuting on my BMC Road Racer makes me look forward to the weekends, when I can ride my Tarmac SL. I suspect that once the days get long enough, I'll be commuting on my Tarmac. I really miss riding it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
Curiosity question:

I recently upgraded from an ancient Trek OCLV (5200 circa 1991) to an 08 S-Works Tarmac SL2. I love the Tarmac, got a screaming deal on it "lightly" used on ebay (built up with DA and DT Swiss 1450 wheels) and find it a joy to ride but I was wondering what the functional difference between this and the Tarmac SL might be? I know there is a different carbon spec (11r vs.10r), but does this translate to an actual performance difference? Did you try the SL2 and compare it to the SL?

I'd never give this bike up but I was just wondering if the differences between the two are subtle or significant.

Oh, and thanks so much for the comparison, the R3-SL was on my short list but I went with the Tarmac because I liked the design better (well, the price was better too). Sounds like you confirmed my choice for me though we are quite different in size...I'm 6'4" and ~190lbs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
Nice review and congratulations on your Tarmac.


bmax119 said:
Background...120 lb. climber with some decent speed, coming from a Cervelo R3 (49 cm). Force build-up with various training wheels and Reynolds KOM for hillier races.

Just did my third ride on the Tarmac today. Impressions are as follows.

1. Bike is as, if not more, comfortable over bad pavement than the R3 was. I was surprised thinking this would only be the case with the Roubaix. Very little rattling or jolting (Zertz perhaps?)

2. Climbing is virtually a wash between these two bikes. Both respond immediately to acceleration and continue either seated or standing to push forward.

3. Descending is much better on the Tarmac. I attribute this to tapered headtube. A simple flick of the wrist is all it takes to make this bike track. Feel very confident in technical descents.

4. Sprinting is also much better on this bike over the R3. Tarmac seems to rev up more quickly and seems to continue accelerating with less effort over the R3.

5. Biggest bonus for me is not in frame design or material. Biggest bonus is a simple engineering decision that was poorly made by Cervelo, but well done by Specialized. Bottle cage bolts on the Tarmac are down as low as possible without interfering with one another or other aspects of the bike. This allows me to put two large bottles in with no problem. One of my biggest complaints with the R3 was the placement of cages. I could get one big bottle in (barely) on seat tube, but not on the down tube. Big deal to me.
6. Differences: Cervelo was balanced differently than the Tarmac is. Due to this difference, the Tarmac felt as if the back end was loose and almost detached when out of the saddle, either climbing or sprinting. This was because on the R3 I had grown accustomed to having my weight centered in a more forward position. A simple 'rebalance' on the Tarmac solves this issue and keeps me centered more over the saddle than up into my bars.

7. Very happy with this bike!
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top