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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm thinking of going to a bit cushier ride and could use some advice. I currently ride a Cervelo One with mostly 105 components. I'm thinking of moving to either a Specialized Allez Elite or base Roubaix. What are the main differences between the two? I've gone through the web site in depth to try to figure it out but am having trouble. Is the Allez more race/performance oriented. Its $400 more than the Roubaix, but comes without carbon seatstays. Both have 105 groups, but the Allez is 10 speed. Which would be better for a recreational rider looking to get faster and ride longer, but with no real racing aspirations?

To complicate things, my LBS has a leftover '05 Pilot 5.2 (rear Dura Ace, front 105), and full carbon frame. I rode it and its sweet. I could get it for slightly less than the Allez Elite. How does the Pilot compare to the other two?

These bikes all seem similar to me and I'm really trying to understand the intent for each. By the way, I have a budget of around $1500. Thanks for any insights.
 

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The Pilot has a more upright position to give a more comfortable ride.

The Roubaix has a longer wheelbase and different headtube angle than the Allez, which makes the Roubaix more comfortable on longer rides.

The best thing you can do is ride them all and see which is most comfortable. Don't forget to budget in accessories, such as a helmet, spare tubes, shoes...

For what it's worth, I just bought my wife a Roubaix Elite (carbon frame) last week. She liked how it felt better than the Allez. She also test rode the Giant OCR line, but she liked the Specialized better.
 

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I don't race and I average about 150 miles/week. Can't comment on the Pilot, but I own an '05 Allez Sport and an '06 Roubaix Expert. I like my Allez, but really love my Roubaix. The Roubaix will be the cushier ride, but you really should ride both to see what better fits your riding style.
 

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I have ridden the Allez, and ended up buying a Roubaix. I couldn't believe how comfortable the Roubaix was on long rides. I'm a mountain biker at heart, and this road thing is mainly for training, so I was really worried about the positioning and comfort of a road bike on long rides when compared to my 6" travel bike. After doing a 50 miler then a 60 miler then a 70 miler on my Roubaix, I keep thinking this is the perfect bike for me.

It really rides well, but doesn't feel "dead" like a touring type bike by any means. I ride with people who have much racier oriented frames, and never feel like the Roubaix holds me back. So far I'm blown away with it....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Roubaix vs. Pilot

I think one of these cushier bikes is probably the best choice for me at this point. Any thoughts on which might be better? It would come down to an 05 Pilot 5.0 with full carbon frame, rear Dura-Ace/front 105, for $1500, or an 06 Roubaix with carbon fork and seatstays, full 105, for $1300. Not a huge price difference, but will the full carbon frame really matter?

I'll also ride an Allez just to be sure....
 

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I was looking at the Pilots and the Roubaix. I'am a newbie, 43 yrs, 160lbs. I loved the pilot the first ride, it was so comfy (06 pilot 5.0), They had a 05 pilot 5.0 but it is a 9 speed(old technology) the 05- 5.2 is a 10 speed. What did I buy ? The Roubaix-Comp here is why, The pilot was more comfortable on the first ride(my first ride in 20ys) I'am in good shape and no health issues, I felt that I might "outgrow" the super comfy ride, The Roubaix was a little more "sporty". Hope that helps.
 

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good pick

dorian10 said:
I was looking at the Pilots and the Roubaix. I'am a newbie, 43 yrs, 160lbs. I loved the pilot the first ride, it was so comfy (06 pilot 5.0), They had a 05 pilot 5.0 but it is a 9 speed(old technology) the 05- 5.2 is a 10 speed. What did I buy ? The Roubaix here is why, The pilot was more comfortable on the first ride(my first ride in 20ys) I'am in good shape and no health issues, I felt that I might "outgrow" the super comfy ride, The Roubaix was a little more "sporty". Hope that helps.

Few posters talk about the risk of full carbon frames
drop your chain and get it sucked - boom you can need a new frame
cat knocks frame over into chair - boom - you may need a new frame

Roubaix may last longer and be safely than the pilot
 

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As usual

I can't seem to understand where you get this stuff. :rolleyes: A carbon bike falling against a chair and breaking? My wife has put her Roubaix down several times now with only cosmetic and handlebar damage, my riding bud got T-boned by a steel Bianchi at 20mph and his Roubaix only got scratched and a wheel turned into useless metal. I don't think the guy's got to worry about it breaking unless it's a tremendous crash and then I don't think he'll be too worried about the condition of his bike at first. Also not sure about the Pilot being more "safely". I think he made a fantastic choice based on what felt and fit good. I also know he's going to have one heck of a great time riding that bike. Besides, the majority of aluminum bikes are almost half carbon fiber anyway. And for the most part (I'll give that a few fail, and a very small few) I've never seen anyone have much in the way of trouble with their carbon parts.
 

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ok - chain suck

Ridgetop said:
I can't seem to understand where you get this stuff. :rolleyes: A carbon bike falling against a chair and breaking? My wife has put her Roubaix down several times now with only cosmetic and handlebar damage, my riding bud got T-boned by a steel Bianchi at 20mph and his Roubaix only got scratched and a wheel turned into useless metal. I don't think the guy's got to worry about it breaking unless it's a tremendous crash and then I don't think he'll be too worried about the condition of his bike at first. Also not sure about the Pilot being more "safely". I think he made a fantastic choice based on what felt and fit good. I also know he's going to have one heck of a great time riding that bike. Besides, the majority of aluminum bikes are almost half carbon fiber anyway. And for the most part (I'll give that a few fail, and a very small few) I've never seen anyone have much in the way of trouble with their carbon parts.

depends on your chair and how far the fall - read Treks warnings

But what about chain suck?
ever hear of an all aluminum, all steel, or full Ti frame being ruined by chain suck
you can clearly use the safe use of a carbon fiber frame from chain suck

that is a risk many would prefer to avoid
 

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I had chain suck during a crash on my Roubaix without any issues except for some torn bar tape, I ride it fairly aggressively (but not stupidly) on a trainer, ocassionally have it fall over and who knows what else without a single problem with the CF frame. Heck the thing is designed to be ridden on rough cobblestones I'm sure it can withstand quite a decent amount of punishment!
 

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Who are the many that want to avoid it? Although I've heard it mentioned, and seen some gloss coat get scratched on my wife's bike, I've never heard anyone not buy a CF frame because they are afraid they'll saw a hole in their bike. Somehow, I don't think it's too much of a concern for the majority of riders out there.
 

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collectorvelo said:
But what about chain suck?
With an external BB crankset, if the chain pops off it tends to land on the bottom bracket cup. My chain has come off once on a shift down to the small cogset, and the chain sat on the cup nicely. No damage done.

Is it possible that you could crack a carbon frame? Sure. Is it worth the risk for the great ride? It is to me.
 

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I am not writting the warnings

the warnings on carbon fiber frames are written by Trek, Specialized, Fuji, Giant, etc
and these indicate that undetected damage from crashes or chain suck or similar events
can later result in unexpected frame failure in full carbon frames

Also - there have been several others post such concerns
including a guy who lost a frame to chain suck

I would not buy a carbon frame and expect it to last like steel or Ti or even aluminum
some people get new frames often
others want lifetime investment equipment

personal choice
 

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I wouldn't consider a bike with a slacker head tube angle more comfortable. More stable perhaps but not necessarily more comfortable. Certainly noticeably harder to ride no-hands but I don't see how that makes a difference. I have an 04 Allez Pro and I love the quick steering compared to a much older Trek 5000 and have had the bike on a double century. Comfort is often more about fit and tire size/pressure than frame angles.

Carbon stays are meaningless marketing material IMHO. Longer stays may be a bit more comfortable, though.

Try them all and decide for yourself - it's fun.
 

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Funny how the carbon argument comes up over and over again. (and those with Carbon swear by it, and those without talk of the perils ... neither using much science).

I think light weight alloy is the most fragile material (there were some scotts like three years ago that were way too thin in my view). I just can't see how the stress in those thin sections isnt over the critical limit to promote crack growth (fatigue) and cause failure (just a question of when ... 2 years or 6 years ... who knows).

I would think that most carbon owners would be mindful of taking good care of their frames, and not letting them fall of get scratched (or sit in the sun etc). If 'you' know that you're not very good at looking after things, then probably best to stay away from it (what does your car look like? dents and scratches?).

Carbon (in my view), is fine for racers who replace bikes often. Its fine for people that ride recreationally too. I don't think its the material for those who ride rough roads, rack their bike up often and those who want to have the frame for the long term.

I am slowly coming around to carbon, as I have 90% of my steel fixie and a steel retro geared bike ready for commuting and racking up at shops. A carbon bike would be used for training rides and racing (right now I'm thinking Roubaix if it fits, as I like the idea of comfort for century rides).

One last point, is would you be happy riding a full carbon bike after being in a crash with it, given that you wouldnt/couldnt know if it was still okay? The guy about who talks about the 20mph crash, and the frame being okay ...well, how do you know its okay? (Only way that I can see, is to have the frame tested for stiffness in various directions and checked against original figures ... but who can do that?).

I know for me, that I would not be happy doing 50mph down a hill on a frame that had been in a decent crash. But, that is just me. I'd also not be able to live with selling on such a frame on ebay without telling someone about it ... doing that is very bad karma.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you all very much for the inputs...here's a quick update:

I went to another LBS and test rode a base 2006 Roubaix with full 105, carbon fork, and carbon seatstays ($1400); a 2006 Giant OCR Composite Limited with full Ultegra and carbon everything (list $1900 but on sale for $1600), and a 2006 Cannondale Synapse setup like the Roubaix. I rode each at least twice and the Giant and Specialized 3 times. All three were triples. Here's my take....

The Giant seems like an enormous amount of bike for the money. It was very comfortable, shifted fairly well in the rear, but the triple was a PITA as it was a struggle to get it to shift to the big ring. It felt light, but the handling seemed somewhat dull. Braking was OK but not exceptional. Bottom line was that I really wanted to like this bike but was underwhelmed.

The Cannondale shifted as well as the Giant in the rear but just as badly in the front. The handling felt moderately better although the ride over rougher pavement wasn't nearly as smooth. All in all, I felt like it lacked any personality - did everything OK but wasn't particularly exceptional in any way.

The Roubaix handled much better than either of the others. It just felt very light and tight, and nimble. It had the best saddle and was as comfortable as the Giant, perhaps more so. It shifted the best of the three (not sure why this 105 set up felt crisper than full Ultegra), although it was still a struggle to get on the big ring in the front. It seemed to absorbe the bumps just as well as the all-carbon Giant. Like I said, the Giant seems like a tremendous deal. However, even though it has a much better spec than the Roubaix, the Specialized felt better in just about everyway.

One thing that became very clear to me is that I really dislike triple chainrings. This was the first time I've ridden bikes with them, and they seem pointless. Worse, they seem to actually inhibit proper shifting. Unfortunately, none of these bikes can be had with doubles.

After all that testing, I'm wondering if maybe I shouldn't just keep my Cervelo. The "plush" bikes felt a bit more comfortable, but there wasn't THAT huge of a difference. It has a double with 105 up front and Ultegra rear. Its getting tuned up right now...I'll take if for a nice long ride shortly and decide then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well, the quest is over. I decided that I DO need to get something with a bit less aggressive stance than the Cervelo. I thought I needed one of the "plush" bikes like a Roubaix or Pilot and rode everything comparable, and was prepared to get one. On a whim I rode an Allez Elite and a Tarmac Comp. I was amazed at how comfortable they were - I don't really need one of the more relaxed geometries, I just need to get away from the aggressive tri bike geometry. Anyway, the Tarmac blew me away with with its smoothness and comfort and I'm taking the plunge (and blowing my budget, unfortunately). Thanks for all the help, and if anyone's looking for a Cervelo One in excellent condition, let me know.
 
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