Results 1 to 16 of 16
  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    8

    Trek Madone 4.5 versus Specialized Tarmac Comp 105

    I'm a beginner (very beginner) cyclist and am currently training for a sprint triathlon. My long term objective is to move up to olympic distance triathlons.

    I'm upgrading my Specialized Allez Sport (I've only had it 3 1/2 months but I'm enjoying myself more than I anticipated so I decided to break my self imposed 12 month waiting period before I upgrade).

    I'm trying to decide between the Trek Madone 4.5 versus the Specialized Tarmac Comp 105. My understanding is that both bikes have similar components. The Madone 4.5 doesn't come with a 105 crank or brakes. However, if I buy the Madone, I'll upgrade the crank and brakes at the time of purchase.

    This will essentially make the bike costs almost identical at the LBS.

    Here are the pro's and con's that come to my mind

    Trek Madone 4.5
    Pro - I like the color scheme
    Con - less aggressive frame
    Pro - DuoTrap
    Con - LBS thinks this bike is better for MS150 over triathlons
    Pro - Lance rides a trek. haha


    Specialized Tarmac 105
    Pro - LBS feel this is a better bike for Triathlons
    Con - It looks just like the bike I'm upgrading from. I'm paying an extra $1400 and my bike will look the same!!!!
    Pro - I'm comfortable with the geometry of the frame (my allez has the same geometry except it's aluminum)
    Con - color scheme
    Pro - the winner and runner up of the 2010 tour de france road a Tarmac (a much more expensive one) haha

    Everyone's 2 cents is greatly appreciated! I'm a newbie cyclist so I know enough to be dangerous. I don't plan on bike racing. However, I do plan on participating in some triathlons. I'm not likely to ride longer than 50 miles and will usually ride less than that.

    Thanks in advance for your input

  2. #2
    Slightly Opinionated
    Reputation: robdamanii's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    10,142
    Which one fits better?

    That is the number one and most important thing to consider before anything else.

    And I love your final pros for each bike. You'll do fine here.
    Quote Originally Posted by bigrider View Post
    Teh Lounge- "Its not just for weirdos anymore. It is for those trying to escape the noobsauce questions."
    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    Trolling the lounge is like noodling for piranha.


    The Daily Grind Cycling Journal & Tailwind Coaching

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by robdamanii
    Which one fits better?

    That is the number one and most important thing to consider before anything else.

    And I love your final pros for each bike. You'll do fine here.
    Both bikes fit well. One doesn't fit better over the other, just different. The Trek is a little more comfortable (I'm not very flexible). However, I'm familiar and happy with the Specialized geometry (I've been riding a Allez Sport for the past 3 1/2 months).

    The LBS said the Specialized is more of a triathlon bike. Do you agree with this? The bike prices are essentially the same so I don't think they are trying to "upsell" me.

    What's up with the matte finish on these bikes? Will this "date" my bike. I think I prefer the glossy finish but neither bike offers this option in the colors I prefer (I'm not crazy about white bikes).

    I like the color scheme of the Trek better but prefer the sporty, aggressive look of the specialized.

    Anyways, thanks for your advice.

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: looigi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    5,573
    Two really nice bikes and a tough choice.

    The main performance differences between frames of similar type are pedaling stiffness, handling, and ride quality. Generally, given two appropriately sized frames, the fit can be made the same through choice and adjustments of components. You'll be able to get the exact same fit with either of these bikes. So, you need to decide which frame you like for its stiffness, handling and ride qualities, then select the size and adjust the fit as appropriate.

    Of course there are other frame related considerations like weight, aero-ness, appearance, and personal preference for design features like type of BB, headset, etc..

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    8

    I've made a decision. Thank god!!!!

    Thanks for the input everyone.

    I'm think I'm going to go with the Tarmac Comp 105. I still prefer the color scheme of the Madone 4.5 and the DuoTrap. However, I'm familiar with the geometry of the Specialized and the bike is much sportier looking.

    Plus, I visited 3 different bike shops today and everyone recommended the Tarmac for my needs (If didn't know better, I would think that the LBS employees have stock in Specialized even though they sell both brands)

    I just wish the damn bike didn't look so similar to my current bike. I'm paying $2200 for a similar looking bike. Oh well, I'm getting carbon and upgraded components. Now instead of finishing last in my next triathlon, I will finish 2nd to last. haha

    Thanks again!
    Last edited by NewbieTri100; 01-09-2011 at 05:59 PM.

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    337
    Quote Originally Posted by NewbieTri100
    Thanks for the input everyone.

    I'm think I'm going to go with the Tarmac Comp 105. I still prefer the color scheme of the Madone 4.5 and the DuoTrap. However, I'm familiar with the geometry of the Specialized and the bike is much sportier looking.

    Plus, I visited 3 different bike shops today and everyone recommended the Tarmac for my needs (If didn't know better, I would think that the LBS employees have stop in Specialized)


    Thanks again!
    There's a problem here... I doesn't sound like you've asked to take them out for a test ride! Before you make an decision, at least allow yourself the opportunity to see if one of these bikes 'feels' better than the other / or your current Allez sport. Don't leave it just up to what other people tell you 'should' be better for you!

    Both of these bikes are 'road' bikes and neither bike would be a better dual purpose 'tri' bike.

    I wouldn't bother upgrading the crankset on the Trek. There would be no functional / performance related improvement for doing so.

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by beston
    There's a problem here... I doesn't sound like you've asked to take them out for a test ride! Before you make an decision, at least allow yourself the opportunity to see if one of these bikes 'feels' better than the other / or your current Allez sport. Don't leave it just up to what other people tell you 'should' be better for you!

    Both of these bikes are 'road' bikes and neither bike would be a better dual purpose 'tri' bike.

    I wouldn't bother upgrading the crankset on the Trek. There would be no functional / performance related improvement for doing so.
    I've taken both bikes for test rides on three separate occasions. Both bike shift, accelerate, and handle the road better than my Allez in my non-expert opinion. Neither bikes stands out as a better ride. Just different. The Madone 4.5 feels slightly more comfortable (maybe because it's more upright and I'm extremely unflexible). However, the Tarmac Comp 105 feel familiar.

    In my mind, I like the way the Trek looks (plus the DuoTrap) but I feel the Tarmac is probably a better bike for Triathlons. It's more aggressive and lighter by about a pound!

    I know the asthetics should be secondary but I'm having a difficult time getting past it!

    My wife is going to kill me if I spend another weekend test riding bikes and researching over the internet til 3am every night.
    Last edited by NewbieTri100; 01-09-2011 at 06:00 PM.

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    737
    FWIW, the madone can be made plenty low. Have you tried removing spacers on the madone and flipping the stem? Are you planning on putting clip on aero bars on the bike for TRI's? (you'd be faster on the allez with properly fit aero bars than the CF bikes without).

    I like a bike with a bit shorter top tube for adding clip ons, which i assume the trek would have. Also, if you aren't very flexible, the taller HT may help when you add clipons.

    Do you plan to do more road riding or TRI in the future? I think either bike is fine for doing centuries plus, however have you looked into a more dedicated TRI bike.

    I understand it sounds as if you have made your decision to purchase a road bike, and am not trying to talk you out of anything, i too suffer from the n+1 syndrome, but if you do want to get serious about TRI/TT's, you would be well served to look into those bikes as well.

    for me, id rather have 3 $1000 bikes for road/cross/tri than 1 bike to try to fit all 3 costing significantly more, which is what i did for my first year, I rode my cross bike in TRI, centuries, group rides, and cross races haha, ive since added a china road bike, and am building a TRI/TT bike from an old frameset i have around

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    8

    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by adam_mac84
    FWIW, the madone can be made plenty low. Have you tried removing spacers on the madone and flipping the stem? Are you planning on putting clip on aero bars on the bike for TRI's? (you'd be faster on the allez with properly fit aero bars than the CF bikes without).

    I like a bike with a bit shorter top tube for adding clip ons, which i assume the trek would have. Also, if you aren't very flexible, the taller HT may help when you add clipons.

    Do you plan to do more road riding or TRI in the future? I think either bike is fine for doing centuries plus, however have you looked into a more dedicated TRI bike.

    I understand it sounds as if you have made your decision to purchase a road bike, and am not trying to talk you out of anything, i too suffer from the n+1 syndrome, but if you do want to get serious about TRI/TT's, you would be well served to look into those bikes as well.

    for me, id rather have 3 $1000 bikes for road/cross/tri than 1 bike to try to fit all 3 costing significantly more, which is what i did for my first year, I rode my cross bike in TRI, centuries, group rides, and cross races haha, ive since added a china road bike, and am building a TRI/TT bike from an old frameset i have around
    I'm planning on racing with clip on aero bars for this year. Afterwards, I will probably invest in a TT (assuming I plan on continuing to race TRIs and/or anticipate moving up from sprint to olympic distances)

    You mentioned that you prefer I bike with a shorter top tube for adding clip ons, why? Do you feel that the Madone or Tarmac will adapt better when adding clip ons?

    I've been told that the Specialized has a better (lighter) wheel set. Do you think it would be worth it to upgrade the Treks wheel set, crank and brakes to match the quality of the Tarmac? It's going to be less expensive to upgrade right now because I will get trade in value for the stock components. I don't want to be in the same situation as I am in right now (paying a premium because I'm upgrading after only a few months).

    My ultimate objective is to stay in shape and keep my exercise routines from getting to monotonous. Competing in TRIs is really just a way to keep me motivated. I run several fun runs a year. A few of my family members and good friends just recently purchased road bikes to exercise together. I didn't expect to enjoy cycling as much as I do.

    I appreciate you suggestions. I reiterate that I know just enough to be dangerous.

  10. #10
    Slightly Opinionated
    Reputation: robdamanii's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    10,142
    Upgrading the crank and brakes will do barely anything for you. You'd be best off investing in better brake pads and a good wheelset.

    Right now, if you're thinking you'll be investing in a TT bike in the next year, you'd be best served with a very comfortable road bike that you can use clip ons in the meantime. And I know this is tough for you to get past, but looks do not matter. Really, they don't. Look at what you get for the money, how the bike performs, and how it rides. THEN look at the colour.

    Doing a quick scan of the geometry of both bikes, they both appear to be nearly the exact same numbers (within a few mm of each other) so really, the idea that "this bike is better for tris" according to the Specialized shops is really bupkis from a geometry standpoint.
    Quote Originally Posted by bigrider View Post
    Teh Lounge- "Its not just for weirdos anymore. It is for those trying to escape the noobsauce questions."
    Quote Originally Posted by QuiQuaeQuod View Post
    Trolling the lounge is like noodling for piranha.


    The Daily Grind Cycling Journal & Tailwind Coaching

  11. #11
    Ride bicycles? Why?
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    521
    Quote Originally Posted by robdamanii
    Doing a quick scan of the geometry of both bikes, they both appear to be nearly the exact same numbers (within a few mm of each other) so really, the idea that "this bike is better for tris" according to the Specialized shops is really bupkis from a geometry standpoint.
    I definately agree here. Neither bike is going to be better for TRI then the other. Both will get you a bike you can ride in TRI's and neither one will get you an advantage over your allez with the exception of weight. Why dont you buy an aero set of wheels that are light and turn your pedals with everything you've got. You'll spend less and not waste money on an upgrade that isnt an upgrade for TRI's. The bikes are both nice but the upgrade will only be worthy for road riding.

  12. #12
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by zach.scofield
    I definately agree here. Neither bike is going to be better for TRI then the other. Both will get you a bike you can ride in TRI's and neither one will get you an advantage over your allez with the exception of weight. Why dont you buy an aero set of wheels that are light and turn your pedals with everything you've got. You'll spend less and not waste money on an upgrade that isnt an upgrade for TRI's. The bikes are both nice but the upgrade will only be worthy for road riding.
    Thanks for your input. Essentially, I guess it's safe to say that I'm looking for a nice road bike that I can use for TRI's. I ride 120 times a year and only race 4 times. As long as I can clip on aero bars, I'm happy for the time being (especially if one isn't going to give me an advantage over the other when competing in TRI's).

    Thanks again.

  13. #13
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    8
    Quote Originally Posted by robdamanii
    Upgrading the crank and brakes will do barely anything for you. You'd be best off investing in better brake pads and a good wheelset.

    Right now, if you're thinking you'll be investing in a TT bike in the next year, you'd be best served with a very comfortable road bike that you can use clip ons in the meantime. And I know this is tough for you to get past, but looks do not matter. Really, they don't. Look at what you get for the money, how the bike performs, and how it rides. THEN look at the colour.

    Doing a quick scan of the geometry of both bikes, they both appear to be nearly the exact same numbers (within a few mm of each other) so really, the idea that "this bike is better for tris" according to the Specialized shops is really bupkis from a geometry standpoint.
    Point taken! I appreciate your candid advice.

  14. #14
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: terbennett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    2,032
    Quote Originally Posted by zach.scofield
    I definately agree here. Neither bike is going to be better for TRI then the other. Both will get you a bike you can ride in TRI's and neither one will get you an advantage over your allez with the exception of weight. Why dont you buy an aero set of wheels that are light and turn your pedals with everything you've got. You'll spend less and not waste money on an upgrade that isnt an upgrade for TRI's. The bikes are both nice but the upgrade will only be worthy for road riding.
    This is food for thought and good food at that.You would do better getting lighter wheels and aero bars for your Allez. That will give you even more money to play with next year when you go shopping for a dedicated Tri bike. If this doesn't dissuade you from buying, consider this: For what those two cost, you can buy a carbon fiber, 105-equipped, 2011 Felt B16 tri bike right now.

  15. #15
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    8

    I finally bought a bike!!!!

    I bought the Specialized Tarmac Comp 105 today! Thank you everyone for your insight!

  16. #16
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    52
    Pics!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Sea Otter Classic

Hot Deals

Contest


Latest RoadBike Articles


Latest Videos

RoadbikeReview on Facebook