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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was think of upgrading my 06 Tarmac Expert 6r frame to a new 09 Tarmac Pro 10r Frame. I am mainly trying to find out the stiffness difference since I weigh 230lbs and am a pretty strong rider; can anybody comment. Thanks
 

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I think you would notice a significant difference. You should test ride your bike followed by a Pro SL at a Specialized LBS to see for yourself. Also see this thread, and in particular the comments by PaulRivers and PJ352.
 

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if your serious about the upgrade why not get the SL2 with the 11r ultra high-mod carbon? It's substantially stiffer than the SL and more comfortable to boot. I'm loving mine and find it to be a great all-around bike.
 

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Catapult said:
if your serious about the upgrade why not get the SL2 with the 11r ultra high-mod carbon? It's substantially stiffer than the SL and more comfortable to boot. I'm loving mine and find it to be a great all-around bike.
x2 on the SL2. Great all-around bike..super stiff, but a fairly compliant ride for being so stiff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I really didn't want to shell out the extra $1k for the difference between the SL and SL2. I'm fairly new to biking but it seems like you really get hosed when you buy the components seperate. The same bike shop has the complete Tarmac SL2 on sale for $5k with SRAM red components and the rival high end wheels; but they want $2900 for just the frame.
 

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agordon1980 said:
I really didn't want to shell out the extra $1k for the difference between the SL and SL2. I'm fairly new to biking but it seems like you really get hosed when you buy the components seperate. The same bike shop has the complete Tarmac SL2 on sale for $5k with SRAM red components and the rival high end wheels; but they want $2900 for just the frame.
The complete must be a leftover model at that price. You definitely do better buying the whole bike. It killed me to buy just the frame too, but I already had the complete group. I even contemplated buying the complete and just selling what I didn't need.
 

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agordon1980 said:
The same bike shop has the complete Tarmac SL2 on sale for $5k with SRAM red components and the rival high end wheels; but they want $2900 for just the frame.
That's a bargain - go buy that bike! The frames are special ordered from Specialized, so there is never any product sitting on the floor waiting to be discounted. You should be able to do a bit better than MSRP. I can understand being cost-sensitive. I went with the Pro SL instead of the SL2 for that reason only, and then built it up with discounted DA7800.
 

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A couple of thoughts.

IMO, the upgrade you describe is different than the thread Ukbloke recommends you read (but I think you should as well). In that, we discuss one bike with 6r triple monocoque construction and one with 8r triple. There, I offered several reasons why I saw any tangible differences as subtle, if not nonexistent. But IMO comparing 6r triple to 10r FACT IS is going to be noticeably different. Not so much in ride quality (and certainly not handling) but in a higher STW ratio (strength to weight), thus lighter weight. If you're a strong rider, you could very well reap some benefits.

Regarding pricing of complete bikes vs framesets vs SL2 and Pro, IMO, the Pro frameset is the sweet spot of the Spec line. It gives you most of the SL2 performance at 1K less, and you could easily build up a complete bike with good componentry for less than the Pro bikes Spec is now offering. This IME runs counter to what is normally the case, but makes the Pro frameset that much more enticing.

If possible, ride some of the models. Who knows, maybe with advances in CF manufacturing the '09 Expert will give you the performance increase you want, especially in that new Saxo Bank color scheme. :)
 

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My 10r tarmac (this year's Pro level) has a stiffer feel than either the 8r Tarmac or the 6r Tarmac when I took them for extensive test rides (no noticeable difference between those). That being said, though, I've always felt it's entirely possible that feeling comes from the wheelset. I wish I could be more specific, but it's nothing more specific than a vague feeling.

I definitely feel the 10r frame is a smoother ride than the other two, though.
 

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PJ352 said:
...But IMO comparing 6r triple to 10r FACT IS is going to be noticeably different. Not so much in ride quality (and certainly not handling)...
Well, I strongly disagree! :D While the 10r "feels" stiffer than the 6r, it's nothing that makes a difference to me personally. It could be 10 times stiffer, I never reach the kind of power output to notice. I only do a "measly" 19mph (typical) on the flat for a long sustained period.

The ride quality, though, is something I always notice. And the 10r is a very, very smooth ride. In that other someone linked to I wrote that after riding a while, the 6r frame made my wrists hurt on almost any bumps, but the 8r frame only had that effect on rather large bumps like big potholes and recessed railroad tracks. If I was to be completely blunt, I would describe the feeling as a "shooting pain" going up my forearm. I rode those bikes many times - that was my experience.

The 10r frame, though, has NONE of that. I don't notice any sort of shock until I'm plowing off of a full height curb onto the street, but even it's "jolting" and not "shooting pain". That road buzz is *completely* gone. Last summer I went riding and traded off bikes with a friend of mine for a while - he couldn't believe it was such a smooth ride either, and he had a mid-range Allez from several years ago, when the Allez was essentially their flagship bike. I mean, during the summer I ride this thing on over 5 miles of crushed limestone trail. Believe me, if there was road buzz, I would have noticed.

There is one drawback. I don't know if you've ever had to walk around on concrete all day or dance on it, but concrete is very, very stiff. Even though you're wearing cushy shoes, eventually it still gets to you and your feet and knees hurt. You wouldn't believe how your knees end up hurting. It's a really weird effect, because seriously - how could the tiny bit of difference between the flex in a solid wood floor or carpet and the lack of flex in concrete make a difference like that? But it does - your knees hurt at the end or they don't.

And with the frame, it's kind of like that. It *sounds* cool that it's extremely stiff, but after a while you can feel it on your body. Don't miss-assume and think that the correlation is for your knees - it's not. It's just something that affects your whole body to a small degree. I end up the tiniest bit ackey all over my entire body after a long ride. And I just don't think I had this feeling when riding either of the lower models. So I eliminated my wrist pain - something I suffered from even on my previous bike with 35c tires (aluminum fork, though). And I never suffer through bumps and rough roads. But in exchange I ended up with a bike that's a little to much on the "unyielding" side. Strange, huh?


One other things I've noticed, that may not be specific to that model, is that while I've gone from a "typical" cruising speed on flat ground from 16mph at best (on a 35c tire, Cannondale touring bike on size to big for me) to 19mph on my tarmac, I used to end rides and think "Aaaaah, I could do more!" and now I can really push it on an hour ride and end it going "OMG, I'm exhausted!". But now I'm just getting off topic... :)
 

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The same bike shop has the complete Tarmac SL2 on sale for $5k with SRAM red components and the rival high end wheels
I'm guessing you mean Roval wheels, and that being the case, I agree with UKbloke. Stimulate the economy and go pick that up. The Rovals have definitely improved, to the point where some teams are actually using them this year.
 

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You can do that (disagree). It's allowed. :)

But IMO you based your response on your experiences without possibly accounting for the technology of the two bikes in question and the riders initial comments.

FACT IS is Spec's current state of the art technology. That being the case, when compared to a 6r triple monocoque frame, there is going to be a discernable difference to a stronger rider (but not in ride/ handling, which I'll get to).

As you go up the ladder in models lines, what companies like Spec and Trek among others strive to maintain is their signature ride. That's why the geo doesn't change within model lines. What a consumer does get for his extra $$ is a lighter but stronger frame, yielding less in flex, but (if designed properly) similar in compliance to lower end models. You touched on this when you stated that (paraphrasing) you don't feel 'refreshed' after an hour ride on the SL2. Less flex and less 'forgiving'.

Taking into consideration how you describe your rides, normally I'd say that a rider such as yourself would do just as well on a lower end frame, but you've got a sensitivity to road buzz that affects your wrists, so a softer ride is probably beneficial. One (unsolicited) suggestion I'd have is to go to 25c tires and run w/ 95 psi. Or, dare I say there's a Roubaix in Paul's future? But now I'm the one that's straying off topic. :eek:
 

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As far as ride quality goes... I say don't worry and go tubeless, makes me wish I had gone with aluminum instead of carbon! As far as rider weight vs stiffness and power transfer, I have no clue... I say test em out if possible.
 

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PJ352 said:
You can do that (disagree). It's allowed. :)

But IMO you based your response on your experiences without possibly accounting for the technology of the two bikes in question and the riders initial comments.

FACT IS is Spec's current state of the art technology. That being the case, when compared to a 6r triple monocoque frame, there is going to be a discernable difference to a stronger rider (but not in ride/ handling, which I'll get to).

As you go up the ladder in models lines, what companies like Spec and Trek among others strive to maintain is their signature ride. That's why the geo doesn't change within model lines. What a consumer does get for his extra $$ is a lighter but stronger frame, yielding less in flex, but (if designed properly) similar in compliance to lower end models. You touched on this when you stated that (paraphrasing) you don't feel 'refreshed' after an hour ride on the SL2. Less flex and less 'forgiving'.

Taking into consideration how you describe your rides, normally I'd say that a rider such as yourself would do just as well on a lower end frame, but you've got a sensitivity to road buzz that affects your wrists, so a softer ride is probably beneficial. One (unsolicited) suggestion I'd have is to go to 25c tires and run w/ 95 psi. Or, dare I say there's a Roubaix in Paul's future? But now I'm the one that's straying off topic. :eek:

While other people are certainly, definitely free to have a different opinion than mine based on their experience, I've thought about your post and...I just cannot figure out what you're saying above. "accounting for the technology involved"? There's so much market-speak when talking about these bikes I can hardly imagine anyone has a realistic grasp on how the "technology" affects anything about the bike. But if you did listen to the marketing, all the marking says that the higher level you go, the stiffer AND more vertically compliant the bike is. Heck, I don't trust marketing at all unless, you know, it just happens to agree with my opinion. :) Which it happens to in this case, so, haha, I'll agree with it.

I'm afraid I wasn't around to hear the riders initial comments on the 2007 Tarmac SL - were there some? What did they say?

I really don't understand your feeling that a higher end frame can definitely be stiffer, but it cannot have a more comfortable ride. Why do you think stiffer is possible but being more compliant is not?

Someone recently tested a Tarmac SL2 versus a Roubaix SL2 and said the one drawback of the Tarmac was that the handling was kind of twitchy on the downhill, which is something I've found to be the case. They said putting 25c tires on made it a lot less twitchy, so I might give it a shot...hmm... :) I'm already running my tires at 95psi - I'm not some crazy racer type, hahaha. :)

The 2009 Roubaix SL2 really does come very close to sounding like the ideal bike for me...but not, I think, for my wallet... ;-)
 

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not sure where the twitchy claims are coming from regarding the SL2. Yeah, its got a steeper head angle than the Roubaix, but it's not twitchy in my opinion. It's completely steady going downhill at 55 mph with 700x23 tires...and no hands on the bars (albeit briefly, I was trying to beat my "record" of 62 mph) :D
 

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Catapult said:
not sure where the twitchy claims are coming from regarding the SL2. Yeah, its got a steeper head angle than the Roubaix, but it's not twitchy in my opinion. It's completely steady going downhill at 55 mph with 700x23 tires...and no hands on the bars (albeit briefly, I was trying to beat my "record" of 62 mph) :D
If by "twitchy" you mean "flies out of control" then no, it's not twitchy.

If by "twitchy" you mean "it's difficult to maintain a normal straight line while pedaling hard, especially near the end of the ride" that's why I mean. You should see my bike light on my ride home after a long ride - it's left, right, left, right, left, right....I mean, it's only by a little bit once I've been on a bunch of rides and gotten back in shape, but it was still there after a month of riding...maybe this year I'll develop the arm muscles to keep it under control. :)

Oh, and it's definitely "twitchier" on the the downhill while pedaling than my older bike (the 2nd definition). I thought maybe it was partially just the fact that the wheels are so light...
 

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interesting, I'm not experiencing anything even remotely like what you describe though I've heard others make mention of it (my light at night is rock steady, no side to side at all). My bike is built up from a frameset (not frame module so it has a conventional BB) with DA and DT Swiss 1450 wheels. Not sure what it weighs but it is light. One factor may be size, I'm riding a 61 cm and I'm a big guy so maybe that is a factor.

I know my bike is dialed in and there is nothing maladjusted or out of whack...I also know I'm real happy with my ride and have no issues with twitchiness...hope you can find out what's wrong or figure out a way to correct it because I know from previous bikes that having a twitchy front end is not fun at all.
 

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Quick not twitchy

I would describe the Tarmac handling as quick. This should be no surprise as the Tarmac is Specialized's competitive racing bike. The lowliest Tarmac has essentially the same geometry as the top-of-the-line Tarmac, and other than the head tube on the team bikes, are the same geometry as used by the Pro teams riding the Tarmac.

PaulRivers said:
If by "twitchy" you mean "it's difficult to maintain a normal straight line while pedaling hard, especially near the end of the ride" that's why I mean.
This sounds like rider fatigue! Most people get more sloppy on the bike as they approach their endurance limits.

PaulRivers said:
Oh, and it's definitely "twitchier" on the the downhill while pedaling than my older bike (the 2nd definition). I thought maybe it was partially just the fact that the wheels are so light...
This might be your pedal action. Try to spin smooth pedalling circles around the whole revolution rather than cranking down hard on the down stroke. You could try a set of rollers to see if you can improve your pedal action and ability to hold a line.

You ought to be able to adjust to the quick handling over time. When I first rode my new Tarmac I almost threw myself off the bike when trying to accelerate hard while standing because the handling dynamics were so different to my old bike. By the end of that first ride, I felt completely in tune with the handling and now I hardly even think about the bike while riding.

If it continues to bother you, there could be some other things that you could look at. Do you think you are well balanced fore/aft on the bike? If you are too far back or too upright you might not have enough weight on the front-end while descending. I have read that a 45% front, 55% back distribution is ideal and presumably this could be measured with a set of scales. Adjustments to body, saddle and bar positioning can address this. Relatively subtle body position adjustments on the bike while riding can have a significant effect on handling. Perhaps, you need to slow down the steering input by getting slightly wider handlebars.
 

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It's interesting to hear that other people have the same "twitchiness" issue while others don't.

I'll sure be thinking about it. I can't report back on trying any of the suggestions at the moment, though - it's still pretty cold and snowy outside here in Minnesota. :-(
 

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Anyone that's ridden with me will tell you I've got about the worst bike-handling skills around, primarily due to a poor sense of balance. But I feel extremely confident and in control (of course, relatively speaking) on my Tarmac. For me, its handling is absolutely perfect: predictable at any speed and perfectly balanced response.
 
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