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Spesh Roubaix vs. Tarmac


camerons

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Hello,

 

I've been riding a 105 equipped Specialized Roubaix for a couple of years and always found it a really comfortable ride.

 

I recently built myself up a DA equipped Specialized Tarmac as I

 

a. wanted a new bike and

b. wanted something a bit more "racey" and aggressive in terms of setup as I find myself getting more into bike racing these days.

 

Anyway try as I might I just cannot get the Tarmac setup to a point where I feel 100% happy with. I can ride it fine but I just don't feel as good as I do on the Roubaix. I guess essentially the reason for this is down to the reason why I bought it - because it is more racey and aggressive.

 

So to my question...

 

In a bike race how much am I giving away by riding on a Roubaix versus a bike with more aggressive geometry? My guess is it is probably not much given that I am sitting in a bunch most of the time.

 

My current thinking is that if I happier on the Roubaix then I may as well take the DA components off of the Tarmac and put them on the Roubaix and race on that. The Tarmac frame can then be sold and the money spent on some zipp wheels or something of the nature.

 

However, I am not keen to do this if I am making life harder for myself. If there are significant benefits to be had from the Tarmac then I am more than happy to HTFU and ride on that.

 

I suppose the answer is to just try it and see how it feels

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I have had several models of both over the years.

The Roubaix has the extended head tube, this I personally find a bit arb. reason for me, once set-up properly you should end up at the same stacking height (or at least thereabouts)

The Zerts inserts on the rear stays add that extra "little" bit of comfort.

Personally, I prefer the Tarmac, it's a bit stiffer and more responsive (but not more comfy)

A nice set of wheels sorted that out for me too.

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Why not keep both and use the Roubaix for long training rides and the Tarmac for your intervals. The Tarmac would give you a better edge if you the racer type. Would you also want to do long social rides on the Tarmac?Remember rule #12 of The Cog, ' the correct number of bikes to own is N+1, where N is the current amount of bikes owned or written as S-1, where S is the amount of bikes that would cause seperation from your spouse.

Edited by Super Mario
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Keep both the Roubaix and the Tarmac, then complete the circle and get a Venge! Then you've got an endurance bike, an all-rounder and a sprinter. What more could you ask for?

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Thanks for the replies.

 

As it stands I use the Roubaix as a training bike and the Tarmac as a racing/special occasion bike. This is all well and good however because my setup between the two is quite different (this is down to the stack height that Dangle reffered to in his post) I am wondering if this is wise? If I'm feeling happier on the Roubaix then why not tart it up and train and race on this? Ideally I suppose I would could get the S-Works Roubaix frame as well (I'm a big believer in the n+1 rule :))

 

My question goes back to this part of your statement.... "the tarmac would give you a better edge if you are the racer type"... how much of an edge is it really giving me? I can definately feel that the power transfer and responsiveness is better but it's got a better wheelset, groupset and is the flagship (s-works) version of the frame. Would a fully kitted Roubax not give the same effect? And given that the geometry is a bit "slacker" on the Roubaix it is therefore less aerodynamic. How important is this when you are sitting in the bunch in a race?

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Firstly, give the Tarmac some time. You will never get it to feel like your Roubaix, your body must just adapt.

 

Secondly, I am willing to bet that you will not have any differeces to your time between the two. Many Pro Tour rider opt for the Roubaix in the rougher races (like the Paris-Roubaix). They would never do this if there was any compromise in their times.

 

The Nashua cycling team use the Infinito frame, which is Bianchi's version of the Roubaix. So too did Robert Hunter. If Pro's can ride comfort orientated bikes, so can we.

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I went from a Roubaix to a Tarmac, and everything you say is correct - it is a hard, it is more aggressive, and the body certainly takes a beating on long rides.

 

BUT, it is a fantastic bike to ride/race - it goes up hill faster than the Roubaix, and descends far better too.

 

Our roads might be bad, but they aren't Paris-Roubaix bad, so to quote rule 5 - HTFU, and get out there and enjoy the Tarmac

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ride whichever one makes you feel the most confident and smile the biggest mate. On paper the tarmac is a better bike - yet in reality we all know its about the engine.

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I went from a Roubaix to a Tarmac, and everything you say is correct - it is a hard, it is more aggressive, and the body certainly takes a beating on long rides.

 

BUT, it is a fantastic bike to ride/race - it goes up hill faster than the Roubaix, and descends far better too.

 

Our roads might be bad, but they aren't Paris-Roubaix bad, so to quote rule 5 - HTFU, and get out there and enjoy the Tarmac

 

Out of the horse's mouth.

Good post.

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I think it depends on your individual setup. If you can get the same relative positions of the contact points on the two bikes, then the Tarmac will probably be more responsive due to it's steeper head tube.

 

If your individual body shape means you have to make compromises on your fit to get into a reasonable position on the Tarmac and those compromises significantly affect your comfort and power production, then you'd be better off ditching the Tarmac.

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What on earth makes you think the Roubaix isn't a racing bike? It is - of the highest calibre.

 

As mentioned above, Roubaix is designed with different racing in mind - more endurance racing on any surface while Tarmac is a fast-steering, short-wheelbase crit-type bike. On steeper routes Tarmac will feel livelier, on more demanding routes, Roubaix will be less demanding.

 

Key is to get properly set up on both. Simply replicating fit from one to the other might not work as the geometries are different but you should be able to get comfortable on both. That being said, Roubaix will always be a more compliant ride. And you fit bike to the rider, not the rider to the bike.

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