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  1. #1
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    2010 Tarmac Expert SL Compact vs 2011 CAAD10-4

    The Tarmac specs: http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...2&menuItemId=0
    CAAD10-4: http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/road...aad-10-4-rival

    I've done some test rides, but have been limited on distance by the free time I can get to bike shops. I've narrowed it down to the above two bikes - each would get the same wheelset (Mavic Kysrium Elite). Both bikes felt really good to me, though I am coming off a 2001 Cannondale R400. For the 30 minute rides am on, both feel miles above my current bike. I don't think either bike will disappoint me, but am trying to figure out which is the better choice. It is difficult to stack them since they are at different shops, and given my schedule I have to test ride them on different days.

    Assume they are the same price - I'm looking for a bike to bike comparison.

    Background on me: I am 32, 6', 165 pounds.

    Background on my riding: Weekday rides are short maybe 20 miles once or twice a week. On the weekends Ill usually get in two rides with longer climbs (Im regularly in NY, CT, and VT) each ride is around 30-60 miles averaging ~1,000 feet of climbing per 10 miles (usually packed into sustained climbing versus rolling terrain). I do one (flat) century per year.

    The big comparison points to me are all carbon versus carbon/aluminum mix, and the Ultegra versus Rival group. My current bike has Shimano Sora, so either is a a step up and a different shifting style. I kind of liked the SRAM shifting, the option to drop multiple gears in one motion was nice, and it was quick on upshifting, too. The Ultegra was also nice, perhaps requiring a little more force to shift from what I could recall.

    Since I couldn't really gauge it well, which should be the more efficient bike, or is it a negligible difference? I've heard points in the CAAD10's favor are the BB30 and the stiffness of aluminum. Perhaps the Tarmac is a little "smoother" over road vibration and less fatiguing?

    The caveat for the Cannondale is that the shop said the seat was a little too far back and they would get a zero setback seatpost to swap in to compare for a different ride. It wasn't enough to bother me on a short test ride.

    Any thoughts? Just pick based on paint job at this point?
    Last edited by cadet; 04-08-2011 at 02:31 PM.

  2. #2
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    I'm not an expert on the subject, but if the two are indeed the same price and they FIT YOU similarly well, I think it'd be silly to not go with the Tarmac. I'm a little biased as I ride a 2011 Pro though. As you said, it would also perhaps be a smoother ride, and the difference in efficiency/stiffness would presumably be negligible. I would also prefer Ultegra (because I prefer Shimano), but if you prefer SRAM then so be it.

    I think you need to ask yourself if you want carbon or aluminum; basically both are sweet bikes but I would definitely prefer the carbon Spec. The only way I would consider the CAAD (if, like you said, we're assuming they're the same price) would be if you plan to race, in which case I might go with the aluminum bike. Maybe.

  3. #3
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    As i own a spec tarmac comp with 6700ultegras and caad10-4 i would take the tarmac. Tarmac is just smoother at everything. That is if you could get the tarmac for caad 10 pricing. Goodluck with your decision its a hard one!

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the feedback so far - I really want to just get one so I can ride, but don't want to have missed something important.

    Any comments on the efficiency/power transfer between the bikes? I was unsure how to stack the CAAD10's BB30 and aluminum frame against last year's Tarmac FACT IS 10r carbon frame.

  5. #5
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    Power transfer is the same to me. Both very stiff at putting power down. I'm no expert but think the wheels would flex before the frame.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cadet
    Thanks for the feedback so far - I really want to just get one so I can ride, but don't want to have missed something important.

    Any comments on the efficiency/power transfer between the bikes? I was unsure how to stack the CAAD10's BB30 and aluminum frame against last year's Tarmac FACT IS 10r carbon frame.
    The only difference in efficiency/power transfer will be due to a difference in fit, should there be one, not due to a difference in BB standard.

    The fact that the shop felt you should go to a no set back post MAY be an indication that the caad isn't the best fit for you. But it could be that your legs are proportioned such that you'd need that with most any stock bike including the tarmac or they could be trying to put you on the wrong size frame. Or it could mean nothing. Tought to say.

    It'll be worth your time in the long run to find the time to do more thorough test rides. When it comes to comparing bike in the same class the internet is pretty much useless. You need to ride them yourself and listen to what your body and somone who knows fitting and can see you with the bikes has to say about which is best.

  7. #7
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    Thats a pretty big price difference between Tarmac (3300) and the 10 (1799). Are you getting a substantial discount on the Tarmac?

    If it came down to price...I'd take the 10 without question. Use the money I saved on a nice set of wheels. Theres nothing performance-wise and possibly comfort-wise the 10 can't do just as well as the Tarmac. Plus you get the Sram Force BB30 crank.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AvantDale
    Thats a pretty big price difference between Tarmac (3300) and the 10 (1799). Are you getting a substantial discount on the Tarmac?

    If it came down to price...I'd take the 10 without question. Use the money I saved on a nice set of wheels. Theres nothing performance-wise and possibly comfort-wise the 10 can't do just as well as the Tarmac. Plus you get the Sram Force BB30 crank.
    It is last year's, but yes, a good discount. They both would have the same wheels (Kysrium Elite). You phrased the CAAD10 as being able to (possibly) match the Tarmac on performance and comfort - does that mean you feel the Tarmac is better? If they were the same price, would you still go for the CAAD10?

  9. #9
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    Not saying the 10 is a "better" than the Tarmac, but from a certain price point it could possibly be. Performance-wise the 10 will match the Tarmac. I've ridden a CAAD10, and for an aluminum frame...it rides mighty smooth.

    Bikes are highly subjective. Either bike will perform above and beyond what you want it to do. Its all on what your going to be happy with in the long run. Ride comfort also will depend on where you ride. If the areas you ride on have fairly smooth roads...then the aluminum frame will be fine. If you ride busted up roads all day...then carbon may be your answer.

    The horizontal top tub of both bikes (52 and 54) are pretty close in length. I don't see why one shop suggested you move to a zero offset post.

  10. #10
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    I've had a lot of aluminum bikes, and a few carbon bikes. I have said in the past I will not buy another aluminum bike (that remains to be seen.)
    Design and fit are the most important issues though. A poorly fit bike of any type is a waste of money. A well designed aluminum bike can have a nice ride- My Merckx Team SC was a good example. However, a well designed carbon bike has a light quick feel that I never noticed in aluminum, even when the aluminum bike was lighter.

  11. #11
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    If you can get a carbon bike for the same price as the alum bike for the same price, I think it's a no brainer to get the carbon.

    Chances are, the 10' Tarmac still uses the same carbon layup as the 11' model, and IMO all carbon frames tend to be lighter, stiffer, yet more compliant than alum bikes when done right.

    I just picked up a Giant TCR Advanced SL, and it is a bit stiffer, definitely lighter, and just as comfortable as my Cannondale Six 13.

    So in your case, I wouldn't think twice about getting the Tarmac.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the input - I went with the Tarmac and will pick it up later this week!

  13. #13
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    Congrats on the Tarmac, it's a heck of a BIKE!!
    "Those who like it, like it A LOT!"

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