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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All:

I'm getting ready to spend about $2200 for a new bike. My choices are between, Roubaix, Madone, Tarmac.

I'm a recreational rider, and my average ride is 1- 2 hours, solo-- for fun, and workout.

I think they are all fine bikes, and I would be happy with any of them, but I would really appreciate any imput from forum readers regarding ride, and build quality of any of these.

Also are there are any major differences between Roubaix, and Tarmac.

At that price point they are all Shimano 105 equipped.

Any input is appreciated.

Thanks,
Joseph
 

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Geometry

The Geometry is different for all those bikes, I would recommend spending some time test riding them and then make your decision. How the Bike looks will play a big roll in your choosing a bike as well. Pick the one you like to look at for then you will want to spend more time on it and just make sure it fits!
 

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g-Bike said:
The Geometry is different for all those bikes, I would recommend spending some time test riding them and then make your decision. How the Bike looks will play a big roll in your choosing a bike as well. Pick the one you like to look at for then you will want to spend more time on it and just make sure it fits!


yeah, see what bike can achieve the fit of your current ride, without using whacked out parts (super long/short stem, 0/big offset seatpost). setting the old ride side-by-side the new ones at a shop would be a good start for that
 

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If you're a rec rider I say Pilot.
 

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That's 3.5 different bikes.

Initially I'd agree with CleavesF, but the Pilot is no more.

Anyway, the Madone comes in 2 geometries; Performance (similar to the Pilot) and Race (closer to the Tarmac). The Tarmac is a pretty aggressive fit (like the Madone Pro). And the Roubaix is more relaxed with longer chainstays and more upright position.

If it were me deciding between those bikes, It'd be between the Roubaix and the Madone Performance. If you like to explore and could end up on gravel/dirt roads, the Roubaix would be the choice. If you're staying on pavement and don't want to mount anything larger than a 700X25 tire, go with the Madone Performance.

Ultimately, your test rides should be the true deciding factor. Just remember the type of riding you'll actually be doing, not just how responsive the bike is under you for the 5- (hopefully) 30 minutes you can test ride it.

Bob
 

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As most say, fit matters most, so I agree with the posters mentioning that thus far. Next comes test rides, because opinions on ride/ handling are highly subjective, so only you can ultimately decide what's best for you.

The geo of the three bikes differ, with the Roubaix being more relaxed than the Madone and the Tarmac being the most aggressive (although slightly) of all. You don't say whether you're considering the Madone pro or performance, but it's of little consequence, because the only difference is a 3 cm taller HT on the performance models. Something to keep in mind, though if you prefer a more upright riding position.

IME, the Roubaix Elite is the smoothest with slightly slower, but more predictable handling. Next comes the Madone (I tested the 5.2 pro). That ride was smooth and handling was quicker than Roubaix, but still predictable. The Tarmac Elite/ Comp, although not a rough ride, will not be quite as smooth as the other two, and handling the quickest. Some find it somewhat twitchy, but I like it.

There are no bad choices here, but my preference is the Tarmac. Picking nits, I'd say the Roubaix is a little too smooth and handling a little too slow for my tastes. The Madone, while striking a near perfect balance in handling, lacked road feel. At least to the extent I prefer. Then again, I came from steel, and IMO the Tarmac came closest to that ride.
 

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CleavesF said:
If you're a rec rider I say Pilot.
don't think trek makes the pilot series anymore... if that's what you are referring to. but the 2.3 is a nice, relatively light, well spec'ed bike for about 1800.
 

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Indyfan said:
If it were me deciding between those bikes, It'd be between the Roubaix and the Madone Performance. If you like to explore and could end up on gravel/dirt roads, the Roubaix would be the choice. If you're staying on pavement and don't want to mount anything larger than a 700X25 tire, go with the Madone Performance.


Bob
Any idea how fat a tire you can stuff into a Roubaix? Anyone have any experience getting a 28 in there?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks guys:

I am coming off an old steel bike (Pinarello), and am looking forward to a little more relaxed ride. I am 55 now, and ride pavement.

We are really stormy up here so I haven't had a chance to test ride these yet, but will in the next couple of weeks.

So from everyone so far, it sounds like it will be between the Roubaix Elite, and the Madone Performance.

Will I be happy with the wheels they come with, or should I swap them out at the beginning?

Thanks again,
Joseph
 

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LOL, you are asking questions that only you can answer. On that model, there are definitely better wheels out there. Try em out and see what you think.
 

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I'd say tarmac all the way. Treks are pretty pricey. The tarmac pro sl is fantastic, fits awesome and feels great. Has a taller ht for more "relaxed fit.
 

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They're not exactly apples and oranges...

Clicker7 said:
Thanks guys:

I am coming off an old steel bike (Pinarello), and am looking forward to a little more relaxed ride. I am 55 now, and ride pavement.

We are really stormy up here so I haven't had a chance to test ride these yet, but will in the next couple of weeks.

So from everyone so far, it sounds like it will be between the Roubaix Elite, and the Madone Performance.

Will I be happy with the wheels they come with, or should I swap them out at the beginning?

Thanks again,
Joseph
The Roubaix Elite is $2200 and the Madone 4.5 is $2470. Are you getting more with the Madone? Maybe. The RD is Ultegra, for example. I don't know enough about the wheels on both bikes to say, but I'm guessing they're both servicable, middle of the road (joke, ha ha) road wheels. If you start swapping out wheels, you might as well just go up to the next price point, because you'll get better wheels, better components, etc. I think your test rides are going to give you the answer...
 

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The Tarmac is a stiff, racing bike. All Tarmacs are stiff, the more expensive ones are a lot better at reducing road vibration (technically they're stiffer to, but only a pro would ever notice). It's very responsive - great for an exciting ride, not as good as a "cruise and relax on the open road" bike. I personally felt that the base model was to hard on my hands and wrists, but PJ352 has the same frame I rode and thinks I'm crazy, so only you could test ride and find out for yourself. :D

The Rouabix is a "comfortable ride" road bike. All of the Roubaix's have a very comfortable, vibration absorbing ride. As you go up they're all very comfy (supposedly the higher end ones are even better at vibration absorption) but the more expensive ones are also more stiff and responsive, while still being comfortable. Personally, I found the very low-end Roubaix to be a little to spongy of a ride - I felt like some of the power I was putting into pedaling was being lost. The ride was a bit dead feeling, to. It was a great bike for a "cruise and relax on the open road". You pointed the bike in one direction and it just kept going that way. Steering was fine, but it didn't "feel" quick and responsive. I personally found the Roubaix Expert (that's more like $3700 retail, though) to be more responsive, not have that "losing power" feeling, and not feel dead at all (to be fair, I rode the 2008 versions so things might have changed - I know some of the "levels" of carbon did). That's what I would recommend except it's out of your price range (unless your local bike shop has one of last years models - those were $3,000 to start, on discount it might be less...).

Cannot comment on the Madone - didn't ride one.

Regarding the wheels, which exact version of the Roubaix are you looking at? The $2200 Roubaix Elite comes with a "Mavic CXP22 rim". That's reputed to be a reliable wheel. Any wheel that would be an upgrade to that would put you in a price range where you might as well just buy the next bike up. Again, in my own personal opinion based on the 2008 models, if I wanted a performance upgrade for a Rouabix I'd buy the next level of frame up (Specialized rates the carbon on their frames with numbers like 6r, 7r, 9r, etc - the higher the better).
 

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Orbea Onix. Good looking, great warranty, something a bit different. I highly recommoned Orbeas!
 

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IMO the Mavics on the Roubaix are going to be a little more reliable than the lower end Bonty's on the Trek. But unless you're a clydesdale, keep the OEM stuff on the bike and upgrade as things wear or become troublesome.

Another opinion, if you're down to the Madone 4x series (TCT carbon) bikes versus the Roubaix Elite, I definitely think the Roubaix frameset is superior in quality. Subjective to a point, but that's been my experience from test rides and looking both over for finish quality.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks Paul, that was an informative post.

I will probably end up with a Roubaix Comp, or Elite, both have 7r carbon. The Elite has a few better components: crank, hubs, rims, and bottom bracket. The Elite sells for about 400 more here.

I'm not sure about the wheels, though I am trying to hold the price down, and would rather have a bit better wheelset if I could get it for another couple of hundred from the dealers (may not be possible).

Thanks everyone for your input.

Joseph
 

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Clicker7 said:
Thanks Paul, that was an informative post.

I will probably end up with a Roubaix Comp, or Elite, both have 7r carbon. The Elite has a few better components: crank, hubs, rims, and bottom bracket. The Elite sells for about 400 more here.

I'm not sure about the wheels, though I am trying to hold the price down, and would rather have a bit better wheelset if I could get it for another couple of hundred from the dealers (may not be possible).

Thanks everyone for your input.

Joseph
I think you got them mixed up - the Elite is the lower level bike, the Comp is a step up in components but the same frame.
 

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The Giant Defy Advanced line (similar to their OCR line) has comfortable compact recreational geometry. The Defy 2 or 3 would put you at a similar price point.
 
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