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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
if you were me, what would you choose for a first road bike and why:

me: 26yrs old, 5'8, 140lbs, 30' inseam, 22.5' arm length, athletic, not flexible,
and limited riding experience

allez comp double (size 54cm ?)
msrp - $1700
e5 slx frame, carbon seatstays
shimano 105 10-speed group
mavic aksium wheelset

roubaix elite triple (size 54cm)
msrp - $1700
6r carbon frame
shimano 105 9-speed group
alex 298r wheelset

test rode both.
both fit same, i think. both have 54.8 TT but felt more comfortable on roubaix. allez i had upper back and neck pain after longer ride. allez looks so sweet and better compents
 

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Two main things to consider here:

One is that the Roubaix as you discovered has a more compact geometry with a more upright and comfortable position where the Allez has a more traditional geometry with more of a racing postion.

The other is that the Allez is a double and the Roubaix is a triple so if you are a beginner and live in a fairly hilly area then you would probably be better off with the extra gears on the triple but if your area is relatively flat it doesn't matter that much.
 

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well...i can't be you since i don't know for what purpose are you getting a road bike. so my opinion is based on my experience.

if it's racing (perhaps not now but later when you've built up enough experience), then i'd probably go with the allez comp. this is not to say that the roubaix is not adequate enough for racing but for me personally, i'd rather crash an aluminium bike than a CF bike. a CF could probably survive a crash but i'd rather not take my chances.

i started out with the allez sport. i'm pretty flexible so the geometry didn't bother me. however i didn't really like the harshness of aluminium (carbon forks and seatpost doesn't necessarily mean a more comfy ride) and so i ended up buying the roubaix elite double. the roubaix is now my long distance bike - it's a very comfortable and the CF frame produces a ride that has a lower NVH (noise, vibration, harshness). the allez now stays attached to a stationary trainer most of the time (it's presently winter in the southern hemisphere).

i did the consider the tarmac, however at the end of the day, the roubaix is quite a different bike from the allez/tarmac - it has a more relaxed, upright geometry, suitable for those long rides. so it's a bike that serves a different purpose from the allez. if i plan to do a TT or crit, then i'd probably use the allez instead.

boon
 
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Boon sums it up nicely. The Roubaix gives a more upright ride where the Allez is a more race ready rig. My last bike was an Allez and I loved it. If your LBS is at all credible they will fit you to either of the bikes meaning they will flip or swap out the stem, set the seat height as well as the fore and aft of the seat, and pretty much set the bike up so you don't have the aches and pains you experienced on the test ride.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
okay, i actually have the allez comp, bought it a couple days ago, but i'm having doubts cause i'm not feeling comfortable on it. at first, it was my neck that was hurting after about 30 mins into a ride. then after a few adjustments with seat height and forard or backwards of seat, my neck felt better but my arms started to ache after 15 minutes of riding. there's too much weight on my arms.

is the bike too big for me? would a 52cm be better?
5'8, 30' inseam. allez - TT is 54.8cm

or is it because i'm a newbie rider and not yet use to the riding position?

or should i just exchange it for a roubaix?
 

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i'm 5'7", inseam's about 31.5" and i ride a 52cm Allez and Roubaix. i'm not a bike fit specialist so i don't think i'm qualified to comment on the right size for your measurements. my experience has been like this: when i first bought my bike (Allez Sport), i was getting shoulder pain after each ride, which required quite a bit of stretching and rest to recover, all of which limited the amount of time spent on the bike. not to mention that i was getting knee pain. if you're wondering, the LBS adjusted the saddle height and fore/after at the time of purchase.

anyway, i started googling for information about bike fit and bike related ailments, and after much reading i re-adjusted the saddle height and fore/aft. and that was the end of the shoulder pain. the problem with the original bike fitting was that i did not know where i should be sitting on the saddle, so the saddle was adjusted too far back. when i moved it forward, the height had to go up.

so in answer to your question:

1. Yes, you are a newbie and some conditioning is required to strengthen your upper body, which will happen in good time.

2. You might want to re-check your saddle fore/aft and height to make sure that it has been optimally set up so that most of your weight should be on your pedal and saddle rather than your shoulders. make sure that you're sitting correctly on the saddle before making any adjustment.

3. You might want to consider flipping the stem upwards, which would put you in a more upright position. it looks ugly but comfort & fit should come first.

4. Take a 52" bike for a spin and see how that feels compared to your 54". Get into the drops and see how that feels.

5. Posture on the bike: make sure your arms are bent, i.e. keep your elbow soft (don't lock it up). a soft elbow helps absord shocks. also keep your shoulders relaxed and soft - don't tense it up.

boon
 
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Again, you should talk to your LBS about these problems. A good bike shop will take detailed measurements of your physique and use those measurements to adjust your bike. They will then put your bike on the trainer and have you pedal for awhile and give them feedback on how you feel and they will make minor tweeks. If they don't offer that, don't shop there again and take your bike to a bike shop that will offer this service. They may make you pay a small fee since you didn't buy the bike there but it will probably be worth it.

In the meantime lets consider that your saddle is at the right height and the correct position for and aft. Try adjusting the height of the nose of the saddle. Bring it up about 1/2 cm and then go for a ride. If you nose if down to far it will throw your body weight forward onto your arms and shoulders. You should feel like your weight is evenly distributed between your arms and butt.
 

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I'm 5'8" and am on a 54cm Roubaix Comp and have 5000 miles on a 54cm Allez Elite. I'm pretty average for dimensions and my wife's 52cm Allez is too small for me (although it might be adjustable to fit me).

I love my Roubaix. Way more comfortable than my Allez. I am focused on long distance riding, with no desire to ever race, so the Allez has become my rain/trainer bike.

If you're just taking up riding, it will take a while for your body to get in shape, so the aches and pains you're feeling might be normal. But definitely talk to your shop to make sure the fit is right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
i rode my allez comp again today and i still felt uncomfortable. i feel too stretched out, not by much, i think, but enough to make me feel like going home after 20 minutes.
i tried raising the seat post, and bringing seat forward a little bit more. i also flipped the stem which helped. while riding i tried to stay relaxed not locking my elbows and not tensing up. still, i felt uncomfortable but better than the other day.

my LBS isn't all that great. i did get fitted after purchasing the bike, which took about 10-15 minutes to do.
still not sure if this is the right size for me or even the right bike.
as you can all probably tell, i'm somewhat picky.

used competive fit calculator, and this is what i got. (attached)
also, allez and roubaix, size 54cm both have a TT of 54.8cm, and 110mm stem
while a size 52cm bike has TT of 53.7cm, and 100mm stem

would the people at my LBS be pissed if i went in and test rode a 52cm, find out its better and exchanged it?
 

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hmmm...those data seem to suggest that you should be on a 52cm frame. i see no harm in taking the bike back to the shop for a swap to a 52cm. after all, if your LBS refuses a swap, it stands to potentially lose a customer (i am assuming that there are other LBS in your area that you can shop at in future?). perhaps you might want to take along those stats to convince him that you were wrongly fitted.

i was going to suggest swapping the stem to a 100cm as a last resort before asking the LBS for a swap however i think that might result in a slightly twitchy handling.

anyway, no harm asking your LBS. the worst he can do is to say no. good luck!

boon
 

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For what its worth.....

I just went through this very same predicament, walked out of a shop w/ a Roubaix triple a few days ago... and after riding it about 10-12 miles, I knew it wasn't really for me. It felt comfortable, but also felt sort of flimsy to me (I'm quite out of shape, and my weight is currently in an entirely different ballpark than you)...

While the geometry is relaxed, I do think I like a bike that's a little more aggressive.... maybe its because I've always ridden bikes like that (previous bike was a Cannondale Crit).

Long story short, I brought the Roubaix back, and upgraded to an Allez Expert triple, that will be shod with Mavic Aksiums instead of the 16/20 Shimano's.

Maybe I'll regret the decision as I get in better shape, but I just didn't have complete faith that the Roubaix would hold up... I guess I'm just too old fashioned or something.
 

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alexp said:
i rode my allez comp again today and i still felt uncomfortable. i feel too stretched out, not by much, i think, but enough to make me feel like going home after 20 minutes.
i tried raising the seat post, and bringing seat forward a little bit more. i also flipped the stem which helped. while riding i tried to stay relaxed not locking my elbows and not tensing up. still, i felt uncomfortable but better than the other day.

my LBS isn't all that great. i did get fitted after purchasing the bike, which took about 10-15 minutes to do.
still not sure if this is the right size for me or even the right bike.
as you can all probably tell, i'm somewhat picky.

used competive fit calculator, and this is what i got. (attached)
also, allez and roubaix, size 54cm both have a TT of 54.8cm, and 110mm stem
while a size 52cm bike has TT of 53.7cm, and 100mm stem

would the people at my LBS be pissed if i went in and test rode a 52cm, find out its better and exchanged it?
You need to take the online fit formulas with a grain of salt. Most are aimed towards flexible racer types and thus point a rider towards a smaller frame than might comfortably fit. 10-15 minutes isn't a real fit. See if they have a fitter and be willing to pay for a pro fitting. If they don't, go find a shop that does.
 

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"Too stretched out" means yer reach is TOO LONG (assuming your saddle setback is correct). After 600 miles on my 56cm Roubaix 27, I'm coming to the same conclusion.
This means you need a shorter and/or more upright stem. I'm taking mine back for another fitting. This is very common. Based on what I've read here, it sounds like I need a 58cm anyway. Too late for that!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
after a short ride over the weekend i decided that the allez comp wasn't right for me. so, today i went in to my LBS and explained my discomfort. he put my allez on the trainer and had me sit on it. he took a look and then adjusted the stem so it was pointing 'very' high which looked odd. got on the bike and felt only slightly more comfortable.

we then tried the roubaix (elite) in a 54cm and it felt better without having the stem point straight up. he told me my ideal bike would be a 53cm, which specialized doesn't carry. (i had a feeling i was in between a 54 and 52) he said he would build a 52cm for tomorrow and we'd go from there. i'm actually excited. the look of the blue tinted blue carbon looks awesome.

no problems whatsoever exchanging the bike for one that suits me. :)
also, he said if i'd like, i could take it home for a week and see if i like it. great service.
 

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AlexP, I've had the same problem as you...

I'm 5'8" with 30" inseam. I bought a Felf F80 road bike a few years ago - 54 cm.
My position was very stretched out. The LBS guy told me that the 54 was my correct size and put a shorter stem on the bike. After a year of riding I still felt too stretched out, I had back and shoulder pain while riding. I went to a different LBS for a bike fit. That guy told me the 54 was my correct size and put on really short stem, which a year later I'm still riding with. Anyway, I'm going this weekend to start test riding 52 or 53 cm bikes, specifically, I'll be looking at Specialzied Allez, Tarmac and Roubaix.

Be very careful with the sizing and fit. The most important thing is comfort - if you're not racing. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
SuperB
keep us updated on your search for the right fitting bike.


well, i went in the next day to try out a 52cm roubaix elite to try and compare it with the 54cm i tried the day previous but told me that the computer was mistaken and they didn't have the 52cm. they didn't have any 52cm roubaix's left. what a bummer.

so, i didn't have much of choice but to take the 54 roubaix elite home. i did ask for a shorter stem which they easily did. swapped the 110mm for a 100mm pro-set stem.

as soon as i got home, i hopped on the bike and took out for a spin. initially, i still felt a tad stretched out, but i think it might be due to lack of conditioning and flexibility issues. i can't touch my toes, maybe a little bit past the middle of my shins. the 54cm roubaix defintily felt better than the 54cm allez, that i am certain. they both have the same TT but different head tube angles.

after about an hour on the bike, i felt a lot less strain in my neck and upper back. the fit on the roubaix is much more comfortable for me than the same size allez.

as far as differences between ride and speed and handling....quite different. but i think that's enough rambling for now.
 

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The LBS went to 100mm Pro Stem on my Roubaix also.. While there is some improvement, I'm still feeling it in my neck and shoulders. Soooo, I ordered a 75mm 12 degree adjustable stem from the Specialized weibsite. If that doesn't do it, nothing will!!
 
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