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I've test ridden 2008 models of both the Trek Madone 4.5 and the Specialized Tarmac Elite, and they ride equally well and fit me well.

I just wanted to get some comparison input--pros & cons--about each bike from the forum to help me make a purchasing decision.

Thanks!
 

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heath said:
I've test ridden 2008 models of both the Trek Madone 4.5 and the Specialized Tarmac Elite, and they ride equally well and fit me well.

I just wanted to get some comparison input--pros & cons--about each bike from the forum to help me make a purchasing decision.

Thanks!
With those two choices I'm surprised that you don't see at least some difference in fit, ride and handling, but maybe that's because I do.

There's good and not so good in the components mix of each bike. I like the Shimano crankset and the Ultegra rear der. on the 4.5, but prefer just about everything else on the Spec. and I think the frameset is of better quality.

Beyond the hardware, I think ride quality of both bikes is similar, with the Elite feeling a little livelier than the 4.5. The Elite also handles a little quicker than the Trek, so all things considered, my money would go to Specialized.

FYI.. RBA and Bicycling both reviewed the Elite recently.
 

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Wow, I just went through this decision last month. I test rode both bikes extensively. Initially, I liked the Trek because it seemed to jump off the line snappier, but I found that the Tarmac seemed an all around better ride (and I loved the color scheme).

However, I returned the Tarmac two days ago and got a Roubaix Pro: the Tarmac had too aggressive of a riding position, and it was wearing me out in the neck and shoulders quickly (that being said, it was still more comfortable than the Trek). Plus, I decided that I just wanted better components, too.

I was comparing the Roubaix Pro to the Trek 5.5. I really wanted to get the 5.5, but it was more of the same with the aggressive riding position, and it hurt my neck and shoulders more than the Tarmac.

Between the 4.5 and the Tarmac, I prefer the Tarmac.

I did have all of the bikes that I tested sized to me: the LBS staff was very knowledgeable and went to great lengths to fit me to each bike.
 

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I just picked up a madone 4.5 this past week and have to say I'm loving it so far. I test rode about 20 different bikes and nothing else seemed to feel as good as the 4.5.

I didn't ride a tarmac since I thought the geometry was too race for me, but I probably should have. Instead I rode a roubaix and it felt great, fit great, but just didn't seem to be as fun to ride as the madone.

The geometry on the 4.5 doesn't seem too aggressive so far as I haven't had any problems with getting sore. I'm a bit curious if the poster above actually had the bike sized to them because with the performance geometry the madone seems to still have a pretty comfortable riding position. You can always flip the stem or shuffle the spacers around if you want a more aggressive position as well.

I've never bought a trek before so this was a first for me. I'm not biased beyond the fact that I bought the 4.5, I actually own a specialized enduro mountain bike and I feel specialized makes great bikes as well. If it were me I'd go for the madone, but I'm sure the tarmac is a great bike as well.
 
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