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  1. #1
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    Tarmac too stiff, Roubaix too Flexy, what's a happy medium?

    I really, really enjoy riding my tarmac on shorter, faster rides. Unfortunately, I don't have the time nor fitness to ride as much as I did anymore, so when I ride, I want to put in 50 miles or more - kinda bang for buck idea. The roads here aren't exactly smooth so on longer rides, the tarmac gets a bit uncomfortable. I figured the new roubaix would fit the bill, but even after test riding a 2010 comp, I was still disappointed with how "soft" it felt. I even threw the roubaix wheels on my tarmac to see if it was the tires/wheels, but alas, my tarmac still felt a hell ofa lot faster (no surprise).

    Is there a happy medium between the two bikes? I haven't ridden ti, and was thinking about a madone 5.2 for 2010, but I still need to ride that, too. Any suggestions from those in a similar situation or found a bike that was that "happy medium?" Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Cervelo RS, custom steel or custom Ti. Last idea would be carbon wheels helps a lot. I try everything and carbon wheel probably help me the most to tune my ride. I have tubeless wheelset too and that does the job really well. Good luck.

  3. #3
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    Definitely try the Madone

  4. #4
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    What tires on the Tarmac? Try a 25mm tire wtih a few less psi. The tamac gets much more comfortable.

    The Cannondale Synapse rides somewhere betreen the other 2, but steering is slower than either.

  5. #5
    You're Not the Boss of Me
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bike N Gear
    What tires on the Tarmac? Try a 25mm tire wtih a few less psi. The tamac gets much more comfortable.

    The Cannondale Synapse rides somewhere betreen the other 2, but steering is slower than either.

    That was exactly going to be my suggestion. 25c tires at about 90 psi (depending on your weight) will probably do a lot of what you need.
    JESUS IS COMING

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bike N Gear
    What tires on the Tarmac? Try a 25mm tire wtih a few less psi. The tamac gets much more comfortable.

    The Cannondale Synapse rides somewhere betreen the other 2, but steering is slower than either.

    Good idea... Conversely, try some 23c tires on the roubaix at 115 PSI. They really tighten it up and sharpen the handling considerably. Or try your wheels/tires on the Roubaix.

  7. #7
    Cpark
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    Definately the tire and pressure.
    My Time rides kind of harsh with 120 psi but buttery smooth at 100psi.
    I do think that Ti frame with smaller tubing and longer top/seat tube does provide comfortable ride......

  8. #8
    Cycling induced anoesis
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    IME Tarmacs offer a good balance between smooth ride and quick handling and being overly stiff isn't a common complaint. Also, you don't say the year/ model of the Tarmac or the wheelset and tires you're using.

    If you otherwise like the ride/ handling (and it seems that you do) consider investing in another wheelset and/ or 25c's and lower tire pressure about 8 - 10%.

  9. #9
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    Agree with the others on tire and pressure.

    Also, if you are riding one of those super thin race saddles, like the Toupe, ditch it. Those are super stiff and transmit every bump on the road to your body. Go with a more padded saddle like the Selle Italia Max Flite Gel or something similar.

    The Roubaix bartape from the Big S is good too for adding comfort to a stiff ride.

    Tires are the shoes of your bike sort of speak. Think of them that way and you'll chose the proper tire for the occasion. Race day, run 23c. Training days run 25c.

  10. #10
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    So, I threw the roubaix wheels/tires on my tarmac when I compared the two @ 115psi (I weigh 180lb). However, I didn't do the opposite, and throw my pr3s/aksium wheels on the roubaix; maybe the roubaix would be funner?

    Even with the roubaix wheels/tires, the tarmac was noticeably stiffer and funner to ride, but that's not the issue on the tarmac. The issue is on 50mi+ rides, the tarmac wears me down. I've got a 2007 tarmac comp with mavic aksium wheels and brand new pro race 3 tires. I am planning on selling the bike anyway (because I want to do longer rides), so the tarmac and new tires are kinda out of the question anyhow.

    I might be making a mistake selling the tarmac without trying new tires, saddles, and wheels, but what's said is done.

  11. #11
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    A couple of thoughts....

    Out of 10 rides, how many are 50+? If you do more rides of 50 or less, do you want to sacrifice the performance you get out of the Tarmac on what may be the majority of your riding time?

    Have you had a proper bike fit recently? If not, get one and tell the fitter your looking to relax your position for longer rides. It could be a matter of tweaking your position by just a few mm's here or there. Even if you have been fit in the past, your position can need to be tweaked over time.

    The Madone series are very nice, I own a 6.9 Pro and have spent a lot of hours on a 5.2 Pro as well. The 2010 5 Series frames are carry over's from the 2009 design, so you should be able to find a '09 5.2 to test ride. You may even be able to get a good deal on a left over 2009.

    Regardless of the bike, anything will start getting to you after a certain point. It's going to be more relative to your fitness level and your fit on the bike.

    Good luck with your quest...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by garbec
    A couple of thoughts....

    Out of 10 rides, how many are 50+? If you do more rides of 50 or less, do you want to sacrifice the performance you get out of the Tarmac on what may be the majority of your riding time?

    Have you had a proper bike fit recently? If not, get one and tell the fitter your looking to relax your position for longer rides. It could be a matter of tweaking your position by just a few mm's here or there. Even if you have been fit in the past, your position can need to be tweaked over time.

    The Madone series are very nice, I own a 6.9 Pro and have spent a lot of hours on a 5.2 Pro as well. The 2010 5 Series frames are carry over's from the 2009 design, so you should be able to find a '09 5.2 to test ride. You may even be able to get a good deal on a left over 2009.

    Regardless of the bike, anything will start getting to you after a certain point. It's going to be more relative to your fitness level and your fit on the bike.

    Good luck with your quest...
    Good thoughts. I would also add that an '09 or 2010 Tarmac Pro may be worth a look prior to bailing on Tarmacs altogether, but do agree that the longer the ride, the more likely fit will arise.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by garbec
    A couple of thoughts....

    Out of 10 rides, how many are 50+? If you do more rides of 50 or less, do you want to sacrifice the performance you get out of the Tarmac on what may be the majority of your riding time?

    Have you had a proper bike fit recently? If not, get one and tell the fitter your looking to relax your position for longer rides. It could be a matter of tweaking your position by just a few mm's here or there. Even if you have been fit in the past, your position can need to be tweaked over time.

    The Madone series are very nice, I own a 6.9 Pro and have spent a lot of hours on a 5.2 Pro as well. The 2010 5 Series frames are carry over's from the 2009 design, so you should be able to find a '09 5.2 to test ride. You may even be able to get a good deal on a left over 2009.

    Regardless of the bike, anything will start getting to you after a certain point. It's going to be more relative to your fitness level and your fit on the bike.

    Good luck with your quest...
    Thanks for your input. I actually just had the bike fit to me a couple months, but new bars & a new saddle were both suggested to me. Since I planned on selling the bike soon after my brother took it from San Diego to Phoenix ona 5 day ride, it was pointless to put money into it. I guess it was also pointless to have the bike fit, but I was hoping it would change the feel of the bike to be more comfortable; it didn't.

    I'd like to get 50mi+ rides in, and I usually do when I ride the road bike (once a week?) because I hate going out for 15 miles.

    I've been working out 4 days a week with a trainer now, so my fitness is definitely improving from where it was. I think it'll get better as time goes on.

    Can anyone give their input on ti vs carbon? I've also looked at a Look 566; any ideas?

  14. #14
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    You could also try a 2008 or 2009 Schwinn Peloton if you can find one to test ride. I've tested one over about 20 miles, and it seems to be a good in between of racing and relaxed. Fairly inexpensive, too - if you can bear riding a Schwinn

    I tested a Roubaix, and didn't care for it that much either. I ended up with a Cdale Synapse.

    Others to try:
    Giant Defy
    Scott CR1 - the 2010 have a more relaxed geometry, from what I've heard.
    Bianchi C2C

    As I think someone else mentioned, the Cervelo RS is really nice, also.

  15. #15
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    Instead of spending a pile of money on bikes, use that money to arrange your life so you have more time to train. Then you'll be fit enough to ride the tarmac on long rides.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by stumpy_steve
    Thanks for your input. I actually just had the bike fit to me a couple months, but new bars & a new saddle were both suggested to me. Since I planned on selling the bike soon after my brother took it from San Diego to Phoenix ona 5 day ride, it was pointless to put money into it. I guess it was also pointless to have the bike fit, but I was hoping it would change the feel of the bike to be more comfortable; it didn't.

    I'd like to get 50mi+ rides in, and I usually do when I ride the road bike (once a week?) because I hate going out for 15 miles.

    I've been working out 4 days a week with a trainer now, so my fitness is definitely improving from where it was. I think it'll get better as time goes on.

    Can anyone give their input on ti vs carbon? I've also looked at a Look 566; any ideas?
    I am not exactly in your same situation, but I am looking for a new ride. I have been on steel except for one alu de rosa since I started cycling in 1988. My current ride is a 4 lb Giordana steel bike that I have had for 9 years. I don't hate the bike, but I dont want to spend the money upgrading the components, fork, stem, etc. I would be spending quite a bit and I would like to treat myself for my 45th bday. My LBS suggested that I get a TI or steel bike since I tend to keep only one in my stable. I have looked at the Lynskey r330, the IF CJ and the Bianchi Pinella. All fantastic bikes, but they just don't seem like a huge enough leap forward from what I am riding. They shied me away from carbon, since it would be my only bike. Now my gears are turning. I could spend extra for the
    IF ssr, be happy with the Lynskey r330, or spend a little less and get a tarmac pro sl and put the rest into my old steel and have 2 bikes.
    I agree, personally the TI would be the choice for a single bike. The IF ssr would be my dream ride, and the carbon would be my ego bling and give me the chance to feel what its like to ride a lightweight bike up hill.
    Fit is very important, and will make any bike more enjoyable, Tarmac or not.. One thought on your riding, 50 mi once a week would leave me in pain. It is just not enough of a frequency to allow your body to get used to each aspect of the bike. I know you hate the 15 mi ride, but use those on the other days to get in a good workout. Intervals, hills, and speed work, it makes the short rides fun in a exhaustive way....

    best of luck..... I'm hunting too

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by stumpy_steve
    I really, really enjoy riding my tarmac on shorter, faster rides. Unfortunately, I don't have the time nor fitness to ride as much as I did anymore, so when I ride, I want to put in 50 miles or more - kinda bang for buck idea. The roads here aren't exactly smooth so on longer rides, the tarmac gets a bit uncomfortable. I figured the new roubaix would fit the bill, but even after test riding a 2010 comp, I was still disappointed with how "soft" it felt. I even threw the roubaix wheels on my tarmac to see if it was the tires/wheels, but alas, my tarmac still felt a hell ofa lot faster (no surprise).

    Is there a happy medium between the two bikes? I haven't ridden ti, and was thinking about a madone 5.2 for 2010, but I still need to ride that, too. Any suggestions from those in a similar situation or found a bike that was that "happy medium?" Thanks in advance.
    Take a good hard look at the Argon 18 Gallium. It's a great ride. Not too stiff and not soft at all. Just right.

  18. #18
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    Before I ditched the bike, try the 25 tires@100 and possibly get the handlebar up a cm or two with a new stem.

  19. #19
    ARP
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    Why custom?

    Quote Originally Posted by shaochieh
    Cervelo RS, custom steel or custom Ti. Last idea would be carbon wheels helps a lot. I try everything and carbon wheel probably help me the most to tune my ride. I have tubeless wheelset too and that does the job really well. Good luck.
    He can buy off the rack frame to fit (Specialized) certainly he can find an off the rack steel or ti.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979
    Instead of spending a pile of money on bikes, use that money to arrange your life so you have more time to train. Then you'll be fit enough to ride the tarmac on long rides.
    Lol, it's tough when you're a full time student, father, and work fulltime. I fit in my workouts at the gym at 6am during the weekdays and weekends are spent mountain biking early mornings. Road biking isn't as much as a priority as the aforementioned, hence the lack of saddle time.

    I'm giving serious consideration to the RS now; thanks for the tips! I'll try to fit in a madone & rs test ride tomorrow.

  21. #21
    Devoid of all flim-flam
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    Try a 585 Look. Soft. Quick. Light. Beautifully in balance. Not horrifically expensive.
    Mapie is a conventional looking former Hollywood bon viveur, now leading a quiet life in a house made of wood by an isolated beach. He has cultivated a taste for culture, and is a celebrated raconteur amongst his local associates, who are artists, actors, and other leftfield/eccentric types. I imagine he has a telescope, and an unusual sculpture outside his front door. He is also a beach comber. The Rydster.

  22. #22
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    Why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by ARP
    He can buy off the rack frame to fit (Specialized) certainly he can find an off the rack steel or ti.
    Why not? I think most of us is spending uncessary amount of money for cycling any how might as well go all out.

  23. #23
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    Roumac or Tarbaix, obviously.

  24. #24
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    i'm on tarmac pro sl. it is a fantastic frame.
    in addition to using 25c tires on the rear wheel, I'm running the fizik gel pads under the roubaix bar tape on carbon fiber bars. All these are enhancements to the ride quality, without washing it completely out.
    I ride 3-4 hours at a time (on weekends) regularly.
    I also used to ride a giordana. A very nice columbus slx frameset. Back in the day, I used to work in a shop and got it for less than half msrp.
    it was exactly the same geometry as the Merckx 7-11 geometry.

  25. #25
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    I ride a Tarmac Comp. My father in law rides a Roubaix Comp. Same wheels and tires on each bike (inflated to within 10 psi of each other). I can't tell any difference in the ride of the two bikes. The Roubaix handles a little slower, but as far as "smoothness" or "plushness" I don't see a difference. I have ridden my Tarmac on long rides and have sprinted on the Roubaix.

    I think a lot of people want to make it sound like riding a Roubaix is like ridding a full-suspension mountain bike, but honestly I think the difference is very negligible.

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