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  1. #1
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    Question Upgrading to Carbon - narrowed down to Fuji Altamira 2.2 or Cervelo R3 - thoughts?

    Hi all,

    I'm new to these forums - so apologies if I'm posting in the wrong thread! I was considering posting on either the Fuji or Cervelo boards, but figured I'd get a biased answer... And didnt want to post two new threads!

    Anyway, I've been doing test rides for the laste 3 months on carbon frames (upgrading from a Fuji Roubaix 1.0 with 105's) - and I think I've narrowed it down to two bikes. So, I was wondering what people think of each bike and if anyone has any good advice.

    The first choice is the Cervelo R3 with 105. I actually test rode the Ultegra bike, but ultimately the frame is the same at the 105. The bike brought a smile to my face - fast, light and hyper responsive. It was at the top of my list - except the price was relatively high - $2600 for 105, $3900 (!) for the ultegra. It beat the Bianchi infinito during the test ride (I really wanted the infinito the be the bike, but the silver cervelo won that round).

    The week after, I was up around my old riding grounds and had a brief test on the Altamira 2.0 (55cm frame). It seemed the perfect hybrid between the Bianchi (comfort) and the R3 (responsiveness). I thought the 55cm was too big for me, so I asked about getting in a 53cm - the dealer then telling me he could get a 2013 altamira 2.2 (with ultegra Di2) in 53cm for $2700! Of course, I requested he order one in immediately.

    So I'll ask - given the choice - what would people choose? What are peoples thoughts on the altamira and/or the R3? My only issue at this point is whether the 53cm fits (though given the similar geometries of the 53cm altamira and 56cm R3 - I should be okay), or whether there are unsaid issues with the altamira frame... Or the R3 frame!?

  2. #2
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    I don't know much about theFuji, but I rode the 2012 R3 last season. It's a great bike all around and there's not really any downside. The bike was ridden to multiple Paris Roubaix podiums and victories by pros for a reason. It's a well-built all-arounder that is fun to climb on if you have the legs. It descends well and is easy to handle. It's more than light enough for most of us and is solid in accelerations. It's comfy enough for a century or gran fondo (100+ mile days) if you set it up right and was great on extremely rough patches with the right wheels.

    All that being said, it's an aggressive race oriented bike that has a fairly low headtube, however, and only you know whether that is ideal for you. I also had some toe overlap issues, but nothing major. It's a great bike, but I feel like you pay a premium just to have the name Cervelo on your bike. You simply don't have to to spend that much to get similar quality in my opinion. You could easily get something like a Felt F5, Felt Z4, Diamondback Podium 5, Giant TCR Advanced, or Scott Cr1, and get a similar quality bike while saving yourself some money. It's a really nice bike though and if you like it more than others, then you like it and there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, I understand why you would.
    Last edited by Rashadabd; 07-05-2013 at 07:08 AM.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  3. #3
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    I should mention that there are a number of reviews of the R3 in the Cervelo section of this site (including my own). Also, UDi2 is a value in and of itself. If the frame is solid, that's a pretty good deal. Fit is huge though and I wouldn't lay down any cash until I was sure that one of the Fuji's fit (not every bike manufacturer has a size that fits every body type well).
    Last edited by Rashadabd; 07-01-2013 at 09:41 AM.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the advice. Yes the R3 rode very well - at this point frame fit/feel is a priority, though the UDi2 is highly tempting! Still want to hear more about the altamira though.

    I should perhaps also mention that I'm keen on a slightly higher head tube/upright position - not too upright... Though I know headset spacers can somewhat resolve that issue... I'm surprised that you think the R3 front end is low - i thought it wasn't too bad on the 56cm I rode...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmungbeen View Post
    Thanks for the advice. Yes the R3 rode very well - at this point frame fit/feel is a priority, though the UDi2 is highly tempting! Still want to hear more about the altamira though.

    I should perhaps also mention that I'm keen on a slightly higher head tube/upright position - not too upright... Though I know headset spacers can somewhat resolve that issue... I'm surprised that you think the R3 front end is low - i thought it wasn't too bad on the 56cm I rode...
    It's taller than some (Supersix Evo, Focus Izalco, Felt F Series), but after 50+miles or so, you know that you are still on a race geometry bike. For me, the sweet spot for comfort is the "new" race inspired endurance geometry bikes that manufacturers are putting out this year. For instance, Specialized, Cannondale, and Felt did things like lowered the headtube height, improved the stiffness and/or improved the bottom bracket system on the 2013/2014 Roubaix, Synapse and Z Series to make them ""racier". I like a HT in the 130mm-140-mm range for a 52cm. I have found that I am more comfortable and can stay in the drops longer at that height and that by itself makes me more aero. You are absolutely correct that you can address the issue with spacers, but there are pros and cons to those as well. I recommend checking out the reviews on those bikes and taking them out for a test ride if you get a chance.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

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  7. #7
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    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  8. #8
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    a 53 altamira isn't the same size as a 56 R3 - take a look at stack and reach for comparison. The 56 R3 had a longer headtube (it isn't a low bike), which gives it a higher stack than the 53 fuji. Also, the fuji has a steeper seat tube angle, which effectively shortens reach. In terms of stack and reach, the 56 R3 is closest to the 55 Fuji while the 53 fuji is closest to the 54 R3.

    There isn't a right answer re which one is best - it's a subject call by you, differences in components, etc.

  9. #9
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    Yeah, it's unfortunate he didn't have a 53 while I was there - as said, I got on the 55 and felt too stretched out - figured the size below would work better rather than plonking on a 6-8cm stem.
    I read other people with roughly my dimensions getting the 53 frame. I also saw that the reach on the fuji was shorter than the R3, but that the reach was similar to the 55cm Infinito I'd tried earlier (which seemed to fit well). After reading other posts, it seems that sizing bikes is a personal preference thing and it's very difficult to get the right fit just from standard measurements! I'm hoping the 53 altamira works out well though - I enjoyed my test ride on it.

  10. #10
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    It depends on what one means by "low." The R3's HT is about 8mm longer than the Cannondale Supersix and about 18mm longer than the Felt F Series. The proof that it is race geometry is in the pudding for me. Team Garmin Sharp rides the bike unmodified as its primary race bike for most stage races. They simply slam the stem and if you buy one of their used bikes from slipstream sports, it's virtually the same bike you can buy from a retailer. By contrast, you don't really see any pro team racing their endurance road bikes in stage races outside of the Spring Classics and even those typically are modified to have slightly lower headtubes. The R Series line are race oriented bikes with race geometry. The headtubes are slightly higher, but not a whole bunch. If race geometry doesn't work for your back (for instance) don't expect to get an R3 and have that be the solution. After 50 miles, you will know you are on a race oriented bike. I feel really confident in saying that having put over 1000 miles on mine. No bike does it all perfectly, so you just need to find what fits you best.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  11. #11
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    The R3 is the closest thing to an 'endurance' frame in Cervelo's lineup - a reason why they went to a longer head tube was to be able to set it up for a more upright position. Garmin riders use a -17 degree stem to get low on it. They were early out with thin stays and popularized the notion of adding some compliance via them. With the intro of the R5, Cervelo also changed the layup of the R3 so it ended up being less stiff horizontally as well.

    The Altamira is designed to be a stage race bike (with the SST being their stiff and fast frame) so the R3 and Altamira should be fairly similar in terms of general ride characteristics. If the 55 Altamira is too big, then the 56 R3 probably is too.



    Quote Originally Posted by Rashadabd View Post
    It depends on what one means by "low." The R3's HT is about 8mm longer than the Cannondale Supersix and about 18mm longer than the Felt F Series. The proof that it is race geometry is in the pudding for me. Team Garmin Sharp rides the bike unmodified as its primary race bike for most stage races. They simply slam the stem and if you buy one of their used bikes from slipstream sports, it's virtually the same bike you can buy from a retailer. By contrast, you don't really see any pro team racing their endurance road bikes in stage races outside of the Spring Classics and even those typically are modified to have slightly lower headtubes. The R Series line are race oriented bikes with race geometry. The headtubes are slightly higher, but not a whole bunch. If race geometry doesn't work for your back (for instance) don't expect to get an R3 and have that be the solution. After 50 miles, you will know you are on a race oriented bike. I feel really confident in saying that having put over 1000 miles on mine. No bike does it all perfectly, so you just need to find what fits you best.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevesbike View Post
    The R3 is the closest thing to an 'endurance' frame in Cervelo's lineup - a reason why they went to a longer head tube was to be able to set it up for a more upright position. Garmin riders use a -17 degree stem to get low on it. They were early out with thin stays and popularized the notion of adding some compliance via them. With the intro of the R5, Cervelo also changed the layup of the R3 so it ended up being less stiff horizontally as well.

    The Altamira is designed to be a stage race bike (with the SST being their stiff and fast frame) so the R3 and Altamira should be fairly similar in terms of general ride characteristics. If the 55 Altamira is too big, then the 56 R3 probably is too.
    I'm sorry man, but the R3 is no endurance frame. Cervelo doesn't do endurance, they don't do entry level (really), they don't do aluminum (anymore), they make race bikes, period. I don't know one person familiar with the bike that would classify it as a endurance bike. It's a race bike for the cobbles and is pretty much traditional geometry with a SLIGHTLY taller head tube. There is a huge difference between the R3 and a Roubaix, Synapse, even Domane. The S5 actually probably has a more comfy geometry than the R3 to be honest.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  13. #13
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    I have never ridden a Cervelo, but I do have an Altamira Hi mod frame, basically a 2012 Altamira 1.0 with 105 components and aluminum wheels. It's responsive and a great climbing bike.

  14. #14
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    Cervelo had an endurance frame, the RS, which is now discontinued. The R series incorporated a number of changes (from 2010 to 2011 I think) including substantial lengthening of the head tube. This was done to market the R3 in terms of its comfort and a more upright position. It is marketed to the gran fondo US market - that's not saying it's not a racing bike, but FC races the Domane and Boonen the Roubaix.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rashadabd View Post
    I'm sorry man, but the R3 is no endurance frame. Cervelo doesn't do endurance, they don't do entry level (really), they don't do aluminum (anymore), they make race bikes, period. I don't know one person familiar with the bike that would classify it as a endurance bike. It's a race bike for the cobbles and is pretty much traditional geometry with a SLIGHTLY taller head tube. There is a huge difference between the R3 and a Roubaix, Synapse, even Domane. The S5 actually probably has a more comfy geometry than the R3 to be honest.

  15. #15
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    Awesome, thanks for the brief review - the 2.2 has the lower mod carbon, but it still seemed to have a bit of get-up-and-go (from what I could see).

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rashadabd View Post
    The bike was ridden to multiple Paris Roubaix podiums and victories by pros for a reason.
    Yes, and that reason is $$$$. Pros can ride any bike and their results don't change. Think how often teams change frame sponsors and the results are the same. No pro is out there thinking, "Damn, if we get this Colnago deal I can podium at the Tour."

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevesbike View Post
    Cervelo had an endurance frame, the RS, which is now discontinued. The R series incorporated a number of changes (from 2010 to 2011 I think) including substantial lengthening of the head tube. This was done to market the R3 in terms of its comfort and a more upright position. It is marketed to the gran fondo US market - that's not saying it's not a racing bike, but FC races the Domane and Boonen the Roubaix.
    Correction, they race altered versions of those bikes with lower headtubes (google it if you don't believe me) and only in the classics. The R3 and R5 are raced in regular stage races and is their bike for competing against the likes of the Tarmac, Madone, etc. They run modified R3's for the classics, not the standard one. They also discontinued the RS for a reason, namely because they're not in the endurance game and don't want to be viewed as such. It's a flat out race bike with a slightly taller HT that is much shorter than true endurance geometry bikes. You have to look beyond HT height to determine whether a bike is race or endurance geometry and once you do, it becomes clear that the R3 is a race bike. Just compare the geometry to the roubaix, synapse, domane, gran fondo, etc.

    Now, endurance geometry bikes are becoming "racier" and other companies are swinging the pendulum back and shortening their headtubes and stiffening up the chassis and bottom brackets on their endurance bikes to make them faster, but the R3 will never be endurace geometry by any stretch of the imagination. Its seat stays make it more comfy than some race bikes, but it is still a race geometry bike. Again, even the S5 has a taller headtube. Are you arguing that the aero S Series is also an endurance geometry bike?
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by lampshade View Post
    Yes, and that reason is $$$$. Pros can ride any bike and their results don't change. Think how often teams change frame sponsors and the results are the same. No pro is out there thinking, "Damn, if we get this Colnago deal I can podium at the Tour."
    It goes beyond that. Good equipment makes a difference and pros have their favorite bikes just like we do. There are reportedly a number of pros that think the R3/R5 is the best bike they have ever ridden. They have to perform on whatever they are paid to ride, but they love the bike. The guys at redkiteprayer.com also rated it as one of their all-time favore it bikes (see links below). It was a ground breaking bike design in many ways and a number of brands have copied features of the bike ever since (including BMC with it's SLR 01 Team machine, etc.). Anyway, all of this has gone way beyond the OP's questions, so....

    Cervelo R3, Part I : Red Kite Prayer

    Cervelo R3, Part II : Red Kite Prayer
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  19. #19
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    This followup hits on the same points:

    Cervelo R5 : Red Kite Prayer
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

  20. #20
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    I'm sure it's the best bike ever produced.

  21. #21
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    I'm not saying it's not a 'race bike' but the changes that Cervelo made with the R series was exactly to get market share in the 'endurance' 'sportive' 'gran fondo' or whatever you want to call it segment.

    As Nick Legan says in a review of the Domane, "we had perfect conditions for testing Trek’s answer to the Specialized Roubaix, Cervélo R5 (or R3) and other so-called endurance bicycles."

    The two key elements in this category are 1) longer head tube to accommodate a more upright position, and 2) additional vertical compliance for comfort. Cervelo also changed the carbon layup and grade in the R3 to make it less stiff horizontally as well, making the R5 the stiffer, lighter version. They introduced a 105 spec'd version for this market. They made these changes even though it means pro riders often have to go to great lengths to get dialed in on it (like sizing down and having custom 150mm -17 degree stems).

    Quote Originally Posted by Rashadabd View Post
    Correction, they race altered versions of those bikes with lower headtubes (google it if you don't believe me) and only in the classics. The R3 and R5 are raced in regular stage races and is their bike for competing against the likes of the Tarmac, Madone, etc. They run modified R3's for the classics, not the standard one. They also discontinued the RS for a reason, namely because they're not in the endurance game and don't want to be viewed as such. It's a flat out race bike with a slightly taller HT that is much shorter than true endurance geometry bikes. You have to look beyond HT height to determine whether a bike is race or endurance geometry and once you do, it becomes clear that the R3 is a race bike. Just compare the geometry to the roubaix, synapse, domane, gran fondo, etc.

    Now, endurance geometry bikes are becoming "racier" and other companies are swinging the pendulum back and shortening their headtubes and stiffening up the chassis and bottom brackets on their endurance bikes to make them faster, but the R3 will never be endurace geometry by any stretch of the imagination. Its seat stays make it more comfy than some race bikes, but it is still a race geometry bike. Again, even the S5 has a taller headtube. Are you arguing that the aero S Series is also an endurance geometry bike?

  22. #22
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    Am I the only one who thinks that all these so-called "roubaix" bikes with the godzilla long headtube and overly slopping geometry looks somehow too feminine??

  23. #23
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    i think the legend of the R3 is based on the earliest models (2006-08, iirc). since then, the other manufacturers have caught up. still a nice bike, but you can find its equal almost everywhere now.

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    From what I've test ridden now in the 2000-3000 price range, the R3 is still the most responsive. The brief altamira test was kind of an eye opener - I believe Fuji have got a bike that has struck a nice balance of stiffness/comfort. After trying the Cdale Synapse and supersix today (both very nice bikes) - I still think that Altamira outclasses them. The R3 seems way overpriced, unfortunately.

    I'd still like to hear more about the Fuji Altamira from people that have owned one, though - also as compared to bikes in a similar price point. Also, I don't think comparing the super high-end specialized bikes to the mid-level altamira is that fair - might as well throw the R5ca and the bianchi oltre XR2 in there.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmungbeen View Post
    From what I've test ridden now in the 2000-3000 price range, the R3 is still the most responsive. The brief altamira test was kind of an eye opener - I believe Fuji have got a bike that has struck a nice balance of stiffness/comfort. After trying the Cdale Synapse and supersix today (both very nice bikes) - I still think that Altamira outclasses them. The R3 seems way overpriced, unfortunately.

    I'd still like to hear more about the Fuji Altamira from people that have owned one, though - also as compared to bikes in a similar price point. Also, I don't think comparing the super high-end specialized bikes to the mid-level altamira is that fair - might as well throw the R5ca and the bianchi oltre XR2 in there.
    Good to hear you are out test riding more. To be fair, Specialized, Cannondale, and Trek (and other similar companies like Giant) have a bike in pretty much every price range and style. You can get a Roubaix and the technology that comes with it in your price range should you choose. The geometry will be the same.
    Every climb has its end, for verily with difficulty there is relief...

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