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  1. #1
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    Road Bike transition. Roubaix or Tarmac. Anyone own or work at a shop in the bay?

    Copied from roadbikereview.com

    Hello, I'm a mountain biker I do a lot of riding on my mountain bike which is an 07 stumpjumper carbon. I'm looking to get a commuter road bike but not only for commuting I want to use it to get in better shape and to do some long rides. I'm young and in good shape 5'9 150 lbs. Which is the better bike for me Roubaix Elite or Tarmac Elite? I read all of the threads comparing these two and I see a lot of older people with back problems recommending the roubaix. Another question whats the deal with the compact?

    By the way we are going to be getting two bikes me and one of my mountain biking friends. We are looking for a good cash deal in the bay area!

  2. #2
    Pixie Dust Addict
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    I work at a Specialized dealer and have a Tarmac Pro. The Roubaix has a little more slack geometry which is gonna make it a little more stable or a little less responsive, depending on how you look at it. It also has a taller head tube relative to the Tarmac, which means the bars are going to be higher relative to the saddle. This is the reason why people with back problems are more inclined to get the Roubaix. I personally prefer the quicker handling of the Tarmac. It is responsive without feeling twitchy.

  3. #3
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    Transition= you like triathalons and time trial races. This would pretty much be a race only kind of bike.

    Tarmac= stiff, fast, light. Not the most comfortable for longer rides but damn is she stiff and responsive. Perfect bike for crits.

    Roubaix= not quite as blindingly stiff and fast as the Tarmac but excellent for putting on long road miles. This would be a great bike for centuries.

    BTW- I've got a 06 Sworks Roubaix and I love it. She's a lot more responsive than you'd think, and loves to hammer all day long. While someday I might get a Tarmac to add to my stable, the Roubaix is bada$$ enough. I'm a big guy, and I've had back surgery before so the more upright riding position suits me really well. Don't think this is just a Grandpa bike though... It's been raced in some pretty big races around the world underneath some big name riders.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for all the input keep it coming. I'm gonna go test ride the two of them again right now. Still looking for a good deal as well!

  5. #5
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    For 2008 specialized has made the tarmac's head tube length a little longer, it is still not as long as a roubaix, but the tarmac is a race bike while the roubaix is a all day bike, so it makes sense. Test ride both and see what you think.

  6. #6
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    I own a 07 Sirrus Sport and the geometry is one of the most comfortable frames I have ever ridden. The carbon fiber seat stays and fork with their zerk inserts take the edge off of all the hits. This hybrid bike is by far the best commuter bike on the market-test one out before you buy a touring or race bike.

  7. #7
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    Well my friend liked the tarmac and I liked the roubaix. But I don't know if I'm sold on the roubaix after a ten minute test ride on flat land. From what I understand the tarmac is lighter? To me on paper the tarmac seems like a bike I would prefer but the roubaix definitely smoothed out the pavement a lot better. I guess I need to test ride again. I really don't like the paint schemes on the roubaix. One thing I have figured out is that I want a compact.

  8. #8
    Two wheels are best
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    I faced the same choice last summer. I ended up choosing the Tarmac. In reality, the bikes are pretty close in performance both in ride quality and in handling.

    The Tarmac's handling is a bit quicker but, not twitchy at all. The ride quality is very good. I came from an older OCLV bike and the Tarmac rides pretty much on par with it in regard to handling bumps and vibration. The Tarmac handles a LOT better than the old OCLV, however.

    I felt weird on the Roubaix for some reason. Perhaps I could have fixed it with a new stem but, I never tried because the tarmac fit me well from the start.

    As has already been recommended, try to find one of each and test ride them. It's the only way you'll know for sure which is right for you.
    Never be afraid to try something new.

    Remember amateurs built the Ark.
    Professionals built the Titanic.

  9. #9
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    If you are not racing, weight really doesn't matter. The tarmac is really more of a race bike like others have said. I'd say the roubaix would probably be your best bet.

    Compact cranks are just the newest fad in road bikes I guess. It's ~50/34 front chainrings instead of the traditional 53/39. I personally like compacts because I'm not strong enough to push 53x11 and there are no hills I go down which my 49x12 tops out at and there are some hills where 39x27 seems barely adequate. Basically, I'm not a strong rider so I like compacts.

  10. #10
    The Other Dude
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    I was in the same position.....170, younger (24) and in good athletic shape. I ride mostly mountain, but every now and again we hit the road, and we always schedule atleast 2 century rides a year. The first year i was riding by myself, and the shop owner talked me into a left over 05 Roubaix elite triple. It was great for the rides, it was comfortable, and coming off a mtb, it felt really fast and smooth. Then my buddy started riding with me, I usually was a good bit in front of him on the trails and such, then he got an 05 tarmac comp double, and it just seemed like he was smoking me on the road. I didnt get it, we swapped bikes, and for some reason the tarmac was just a faster bike for some reason.

    After that, i sold my roubaix, and got an 06 tarmac pro, it leveled the playing field, and i loved the bike, now i have an 07 tarmac pro and love it also. I do have to say after a century ride, i could get off the roubaix like it was not big deal, and i wouldnt mind going more miles on it, its definatly an endurance road bike as they market it, 100 miles on the tarmac isnt bad, but i dont wanna see it for a few days after the ride if you know what i mean.....but man is it fast and fun!
    Sponsors: Specialized, Honey Stinger, The Hive, Twenty6, 661, Elka Suspension, www.Chainsmokeracing.net

  11. #11
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    I was in the same situation a couple of years ago. I test rode the Tarmac and the Roubaix. I went back and forth on my test-ride loop between the two bikes. On the Tarmac, I learned which bumps to avoid or unweight the saddle and handlebars. On the Roubaix, it did not seem to matter so much. The roubaix is much easier on my wrists, elbows, etc. I have not had any back problems. However, I am getting "up there" at 38 . You youngins might not be so concerned about pounding your joints for 100 miles, but I am.

    I went with the Roubaix as my first road bike. The bike is more stable feeling on the straights and was forgiving to me while I was learning to ride a road bike with one hand while reaching for my water bottle or food with the other hand.

    The Tarmac was a bit more responsive in handling and seemed to lay into the corners nicely - and I LOVE speed!!! I was really tempted to get the Tarmac. I must have changed my mind 10 times. But finally I decided that I would warm up to road biking on a more comfortable bike.

    Unexpectedly, when I replaced the Specialized pro all-condition tires with some Specialized s-works Mondo DTC tires (same size - 700x23c), the Roubaix is much more responsive in the turns and leans into the turns much easier that it did with the OE tires!

    After a couple years, am still super-happy with the Roubaix. No regrets and never looked back...

    I made the mistake of getting a 53/39 double.... Early on in the season, I am wishing for a compact on the steeps, but 6 weeks into it, it's not too big of a deal. I still might look for a compact though. There are some steep climbs in the CA bay area.

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