Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently ride a 2007 Roubaix Elite triple. I am interested in a more aggressive, responsive ride. My initial thought was to switch to a Tarmac Elite; however, I am getting conflicting opinions about this move.

A friend of mine insists that moving from a Roubaix Elite to a Tarmac Elite simply doesn't make sense. He claims that its simply not that big a change and that if I am going to do that I might as well stick with the Roubaix.

A bike shop that I frequent disputes this argument. They said that going from the Roubaix Elite to the Tarmac Elite will be a major change (though not as major as going to a higher end Tarmac). They claim that switching from the Roubaix Elite to the Tarmac Elite is a bigger change than going from a Tarmac Elite to a high end Tarmac.

The bike shop can get me into a 2008 Tarmac Elite with a standard crank for a very good price. I willl likely test ride that bike next week, but I am trying to sort out the conflicting opinions I am getting.

I am trying to figure out who is really making sense here. These are wholly inconsistent viewpoints, and I am confused. I also called Specialized, and the guy thought the notion that there isn't a major difference between the Roubaix Elite and the Tarmac Elite is crazy but he's the manufacturer so I have to take his opinion in that light.

Any thoughts here?

Thanks.

Bill
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
269 Posts
Well, you could trim the top of the fork (thereby lowering the headset-the Roubaix has a stack of shims on them) and buy a longer length stem, that should put you in a more aggressive position.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Sorry, I wasn't clear. The choice isn't between getting the Tarmac or getting nothing and just keeping the Roubaix. Its between getting the Tarmac and getting something else.

The point about not bothering with the Tarmac was that my friend thinks getting the Tarmac is not materially different than sticking with the Roubaix, so why bother. His view was that I should get something other than the Tarmac if I want something stiffer and more responsive to ride.

Thanks.

Bill
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
3,494 Posts
I would take these opinions with a grain of salt, especially the one from the LBS which clearly has a bike that they want to sell to you! What you need to do is to test ride these alternatives back-to-back against each other. If you cannot tell the difference, then it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Note that you will need to consider the effect of wheels, tires and tire pressure in your comparison since these can have an effect as big if not bigger than the frame.

If you get the Tarmac, will you keep the Roubaix too? If you don't get a Tarmac, what else are you looking at?
 

·
Cycling induced anoesis
Joined
·
13,006 Posts
Here's the simple fact. Anyone who tells you there will be no difference in handling between your Roubaix and a Tarmac (any Tarmac) doesn't understand bike geometry and how those numbers affect handling, and to a lesser extent, ride.

Lengthen the wheelbase (partly accomplished by lengthening trail) and handling becomes more predictable (read, slower steering response) and the ride smoothes out a little. Do the opposite and handling becomes sharper (some say twitchy) and road feel increases slightly.

Those are the facts, but you need to test ride the Tarmac because some other issues (shorter HT, for example) may play a part in how comfortable you are on the bike. Bottom line - what you think matters more than what anyone will tell you. Ideally, bring your Roubaix along for back to back rides. That way riding impressions are fresh in you mind. Given the geo of both bikes, fit should be very close, so no issue there.

One last thing. Don't get caught up in the technical side of this. By that I mean, don't let people start telling you that the Tarmac Elite won't be stiff enough for you to notice a performance difference - and that you have to go higher end. If your present bike suites you in that respect, the Tarmac Elite will be at least as good, if not a shade stiffer because of advances in CF processes and the fact that the Tarmac is a competition frameset.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,914 Posts
I am the happy owner of a Roubaix and a Tarmac.

I am interested in a more aggressive, responsive ride.
Then you have an idea what you're looking for. Go ride a Tarmac. It's that simple. It shouldn't be that hard to find one. I really like both my current Specialized bikes a lot. They're both outfitted nearly identically, but it's not fair to compare them since the Roubaix's an '06 Pro/Expert, and the Tarmac's an '08 SL. Regardless, they definitely have different personalities. And IMO, my Tarmac is more 'plush' (Roubaix-like), and Roubaix handles pretty darn good and be set up aggressively and ridden quite fast. Someone here, I believe, was racing and doing quite well in Crits on a Roubaix.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
The Tarmac is a more aggressive ride. You will notice a difference in the responsive attitude of the bike. This is going to be due to the geometery and some of the weight from the double compared to triple.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
603 Posts
I say this humorously, but it's also true - on this topic your friend is out of his mind. :) I was bike shopping and test riding all last summer before buying a bike, including several difference versions of the tarmac and roubaix, but also Orbea, Scott, etc etc and the ride between different carbon fiber bikes varies *dramatically*. Even the difference between the Roubaix Base and the Roubaix Expert was noticeable to your average road rider in my opinion.

But the difference between a Roubaix Base and and Tarmac Base (Elite) are dramatic. You cannot find a noticeably stiff and more responsive ride than the Tarmac IMO, even with the base model.

I think the bike shop's opinion is right on. I found the difference in stiffness between the base Tarmac and the highest level Tarmac well above my threshold to perceive. I think the higher end Tarmacs are a little bit more responsive (in terms of handling) and do a noticeably better job of smoothing out the road and dampening road buzz while still retaining the feel of the road. Other people think I'm crazy on that last one, but that's what I found. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
92 Posts
I haven't ridden those two bikes so take what I say with a grain of salt. I have been Reading a lot about these two bikes and I think you will notice a difference between the two. Tarmac has shorter chain stay and various other differences in geometry. Over the last couple of years the by length on Tarmac was also increased. Roubaix also has 25mm tires (at least 2009 models do, not sure what year you have). There was a good comparison above between thetwo bikes. Also on bikeforums someone reviewed those two bikes a few weeks ago (good write up) but I think that was for SL2 models.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top