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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a 07 Tarmac owner, I never rode a roubiax, but now I am afraid to, it seems they are magnets. When I was originally selecting my bike it was between the caad9 and Tarmac bike shop never put me on a roubiax.

Can someone enlighten me? Most of the posts in this section are about Roubiaxs and even the pics in the sticky above prove Tarmacs are a minority.


Thanks,

Rob
 

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Let's try to quantify this. According to google "roubaix" has ~1300 hits on forums.roadbikereview.com and "tarmac" has 812 hits. So Roubaix is over 50% more popular than Tarmac!

Unfortunately, all those Paris-Roubaix discussions will be hits for Roubaix, while all those "black-top" discussions could be hits for tarmac!
 

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I'm one of the few that own a Roubaix and a Tarmac. I occasionally take the Roubaix out, but I ride my Tarmac. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Im still confused. What sets the Roubiax apart to make it that much popular. I understand the Roubiax to be a "softer" ride, but the Tarmac is "racier". I am about to go to my LBS and test a Roubaix just so I can understand this, but I am afriad I wil be like Dr. John and own both at that point.

Can those of you who have tested both clue me in on the deciding factor as to why you chose what you did?
 

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I have 2 Tarmacs - does this help up the Tarmac representation here? I have ridden both Tarmac and Roubaix (SL2) fairly extensively. Both awesome bikes and I'd be happy on either. I chose the Tarmacs for no other reason than simple stupidity, prejudice and ignorance: They allow me to feel like a bike racer as opposed to feeling like Boonen winning Roubaix (again)!! See what I mean?
I hope I've added to your confusion.

No, really, ride them both - one will speak louder to you than the other.
 

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i wish i could have tested the new allez also but they didnt have one in the shop, i chose the roubaix out of practicality, im a mountain biker that wanted a road bike for training and getting in more miles in shorter periods of time however ive come to actually really enjoy road riding also

i have no intention of ever being a road racer, i just needed a light fast comfortable ride, although i did like the tarmac a lot, over rougher surfaces it was harsh, the roubaix wasnt, the tarmac may have beaten my up over long distances, the roubaix doesnt.

although the tarmac is a little lighter more agile and racier i like the roubaix's stable handling and comfort which lets me concentrate on racking up the miles, i also love how it looks, although mine aint so pretty anymore after some moron scratched the crap out of it yesterday!!!!
 

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rcekstrom said:
Im still confused. What sets the Roubiax apart to make it that much popular. I understand the Roubiax to be a "softer" ride, but the Tarmac is "racier". I am about to go to my LBS and test a Roubaix just so I can understand this, but I am afriad I wil be like Dr. John and own both at that point.
Can those of you who have tested both clue me in on the deciding factor as to why you chose what you did?
I don't see where there's anything to be confused about. Generally speaking, you're right. The Roubaix is 'softer' and the Tarmac 'racier', so where's the confusion? Based on a number of factors, riders prioritize what's important to them and act accordingly.

I came from a background of steel bikes ('86 Bianchi Limited and '91 Serotta Colorado ll). The Bianchi had a more traditional race geometry, while the Serotta was slightly more relaxed (but not Roubaix territory). Both gave that stereotypical steel ride people talk about. So, given my background, when I started shopping for a new ride I looked for responsive handling along with road feedback - or 'feel' as some say. The Tarmac came closest to what I was looking for. But that's not to say the Roubaix is a 'bad' choice, just not the 'best' choice for me.

IMO it's smart to reach out to others and seek opinions, but we're not you and (just a guess) because the sales numbers tilt towards Roubaix's, doesn't mean it's the right bike for you.

Go ride, then decide. :)
 

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I am afriad I wil be like Dr. John and own both at that point
I know a few people here have gone the same route. I first bought an Allez Sport. I had no idea if I I'd like cycling or not. I really enjoyed riding a lot, so I wanted a nicer bike. I went with the "I don't race" mind-set, so the Roubaix seemed the natural choice. After two years, I wanted something different and more 'sportier.' What's funny is that I was looking at all makes that offered a frameset in my price range (~ $2000), and the S-Works Tarmac SL seemed like the best bang for the buck and best choice. The Tarmac is a great ride. Just because the Roubaix is a "century bike" doesn't mean you can't pile on miles on the Tarmac. My first year on my Tarmac, I put over 8000 miles on it, frequently did 300 miles/week and at least one century a week. It's a blast to ride. I occasionally do some moderately technical descents; on the Tarmac it's a joy. On the Roubaix it's more of a chore. Plus for me, the Roubaix is a bit too flexy. The Front fork is almost scary. I'm sure this has been fixed on newer models.

Don't get me wrong. My Roubaix has been a great bike. I still ride it at least once a week, and/or when I venture into unknown territories (it has a compact crank; my other bikes have standard cranks). Tarmac versus Roubaix really depends on what you're looking for geometry-wise and what you like. As PJ352 says, you need to go ride them and not let sales figures influence your choice. They're both fine bikes. I recently bought a BMC Roadracer, which has a relatively short head tube and a pretty good drop. I love the fit and geometry of the frame. Coincidentally my lower back started hurting a bit. For me, fit fixes always seem to be counter-intuitive. So what did I do? Increase the drop on all my bikes. Voila! No more back pain and position-wise I feel perfect. So now I have no spacers on my Roubaix, and that headtube seems gigantic!
 

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I own both a Roubaix Expert and Tarmac Expert and love both. However, if I had to sell one of them it would be the Tarmac. I like the "smoother" ride of the Roubaix and the fact that it has a more relaxed geometry. Also, I started as a mountain biker, definately not a racer, and mainly ride solo or with the wife. I am only able to get about 3500 miles/year in on the road and do a couple of centuries a year. I would probably want to keep the Tarmac if I was faster and did more group rides.
 

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I think a lot depends on how aggressively you ride. Using a car analogy, it's like comparing a regular BMW 3-Series to the M3 - most people wouldn't feel much difference in normal driving but anyone using it on the track or blazing down curvy canyon roads will appreciate the power and handling of the M3.

Although I don't race, I bought the Tarmac because I like the responsiveness and feel. The downside is it requires more focus when I'm tired because it responds to every little input.

If you test them, ride hard and fast then decide.
 

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My choice was Tarmac expert, I rode Roubaix first and it felt stiff during acceleration, and it seems to absorb bumps like my steel Lemond. Then I rode Tarmac, I got sold on quick acceleration, stiffness, and how efficiently it climbed and absorbed bumps as well. It took me while to get used to the “twitchy” handling of the tarmac but I liked a lot drop handle bar position. I never had any ‘comfort” issues on long ride. Based on my experience and group that I ride with choices go like this,
If people are coming from MTB or buying their first road bike they tend to go with Roubaix, second road bike ends up being Tarmac more often
 

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2008 Tarmac SL2 here. Considered a Roubaix, but the ride characteristics of the tarmac (lively AND comfortable) made the choice obvious for me. The Roubaix is a a great bike but you seem to be giving up some road feel when compared to the Tarmac and that difference matters to me.
 

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ksanbon said:
I think a lot depends on how aggressively you ride. Using a car analogy, it's like comparing a regular BMW 3-Series to the M3 - most people wouldn't feel much difference in normal driving but anyone using it on the track or blazing down curvy canyon roads will appreciate the power and handling of the M3.

Although I don't race, I bought the Tarmac because I like the responsiveness and feel. The downside is it requires more focus when I'm tired because it responds to every little input.

If you test them, ride hard and fast then decide.
Actually, a pretty good analogy. Before you posted, I was thinking of asking the OP:
Are you a Lexus kinda guy or a Porsche kinda guy.

I couldn't tell you the model of a Lexus, but I sure know Caymans and 911's. :D
 

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Personally, I consider the analogy of the Tarmac to a 3-Series - sportier, quicker, easy to toss in corners, more fun to drive, and the Roubaix to a 5-Series - more stately, reserved, comfy, etc. :)
 

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PJ352 & Dr_John,

Excellent examples! Thanks.

BTW PJ, the Lexus is probably the IS but I'm w/ you on the Porsche's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I am planning on taking a Roubaix out tomorrow to see what I am missing. The Tarmac I have tends to cramp me up on long rides 25-40mile. Shoulder blades, back, neck. It never bothered me before since I was coming from MTB and I thought I needed to get used to it, but now I want to get fitted.
After the test ride I hope to figure out if its worth getting the tarmac to feel more comfortable with a fit (new stem/seat etc..) or just go with a Roubaix which from the forums seems more upright and comfortable.

Anyone else ride both? Pros? Cons?
 
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