2010 Cervelo RS versus 2010 Specialized Tarmac Expert thoughts?
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  1. #1
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    2010 Cervelo RS versus 2010 Specialized Tarmac Expert thoughts?

    I know, I know...another "this versus that thread".

    Am pretty much down to these two bikes after trying a few CF roadbikes here at local shops.

    Others were the Madone 5.2 and Roubaix.

    Both the Cervelo RS and Tarmac are 2010 models.
    Both Ultegra.
    Similar decent wheelsets.
    I can get either for same price at decent end of year discounts.


    I am getting fitted for both this week and will test ride again and like them both a lot.

    Both were quick, and comfortable even for an old guy like me.

    Am interested in opinions that folks have about these two.

    I am an avid recreational rider. Coming from a LeMond Zurich Reynolds steel 853 bike.

    Any comments are welcome.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Pick the one that feels the best. If they both feel the same, pick the one that looks better or is lighter. Both companies make good stuff and stand by their products.

    If you can, ride around some before the test ride, so you can feel what the bike's like when you are a bit tired. I'm less willing to ignore comfort issues then.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979
    Pick the one that feels the best. If they both feel the same, pick the one that looks better or is lighter. Both companies make good stuff and stand by their products.

    If you can, ride around some before the test ride, so you can feel what the bike's like when you are a bit tired. I'm less willing to ignore comfort issues then.

    Good advice on at least being warmed up before the next test rides I take on them.

    The Tarmac had a better off the rack fit, but they are going to do a proper fitting for both with me.

    Both were pretty smooth stiff, and light- can't say that the RS with the more relaxed geo was noticeably smoother.
    Both absorbed bumps well.

    This is tough choice............

  4. #4
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    The geometry approach to the 2 bikes are quite different. Like you eluded, the RS is geared towards a relaxed fit (but by no means slower), whereas the Tarmac is a race machine.

    Any reason why the RS is in your sights? What about an S2 or R3? The R3 is identical in price and the S2 about 2-400 dollars more, and would be a more direct comparison in terms of fuction against the Tarmac.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by simonaway427
    The geometry approach to the 2 bikes are quite different. Like you eluded, the RS is geared towards a relaxed fit (but by no means slower), whereas the Tarmac is a race machine.

    Any reason why the RS is in your sights? What about an S2 or R3? The R3 is identical in price and the S2 about 2-400 dollars more, and would be a more direct comparison in terms of fuction against the Tarmac.

    Good comment.
    I am 54 y/o rec rider. Common wisdom would say get a more relaxed geo bike.
    I am pretty flexible still.

    My present LeMond Zurich is setup pretty stock with a flipped stem. Not aggressive, but not relaxed.

    When I test rode a Roubaix-it seemed too upright to me. I know they can adjust these bikes, but would rather start with ones pretty close to good feel and fit off the rack and go from there.

    It seemed like the Cervelo RS might be in the middle between the Tarmac and a Roubaix.

    At least it feels that way to me. The geo on the Tarmac feels comfortable on test rides.
    The geo on the Cervelo RS is also comfortable and a little more upright-probably a little too upright for me in terms of what I am used to. The reach was too short and I will need a fitting adjustment.

    I will ask about the other Cervelo frames when I am in there today.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lkdog
    Good comment.
    I am 54 y/o rec rider. Common wisdom would say get a more relaxed geo bike.
    I am pretty flexible still.

    My present LeMond Zurich is setup pretty stock with a flipped stem. Not aggressive, but not relaxed.

    When I test rode a Roubaix-it seemed too upright to me. I know they can adjust these bikes, but would rather start with ones pretty close to good feel and fit off the rack and go from there.

    It seemed like the Cervelo RS might be in the middle between the Tarmac and a Roubaix.

    At least it feels that way to me. The geo on the Tarmac feels comfortable on test rides.
    The geo on the Cervelo RS is also comfortable and a little more upright-probably a little too upright for me in terms of what I am used to. The reach was too short and I will need a fitting adjustment.

    I will ask about the other Cervelo frames when I am in there today.
    IMO the bolded statements are spot on, and the geo charts reflect your opinion that the RS essentially bridges the gap between Tarmac and Roubaix. I also agree that an 'off the rack' good fit will pretty much guarantee that only tweaks to that fit will be required, indicating (IMO/E) that the bikes geo is near ideal for that rider.

    I wouldn't get too hung up on the marketing labels, especially given these two choices. The most notable differences in their geo is that the RS's chainstays are about 5mm's longer than Tarmac's and the HT length is 20mm's taller (and changes to stem angles/ spacers would equalize that). Other than that, they're very close.

    EDIT: You're only 54?? Punk kid.
    Last edited by PJ352; 10-20-2010 at 08:24 AM. Reason: addition/ correction...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352
    IMO the bolded statements are spot on, and the geo charts reflect your opinion that the RS essentially bridges the gap between Tarmac and Roubaix. I also agree that an 'off the rack' good fit will pretty much guarantee that only tweaks to that fit will be required, indicating (IMO/E) that the bikes geo is near ideal for that rider.

    I wouldn't get to hung up on the marketing labels, especially given these two choices. The most notable differences in their geo is that the RS's chainstays are about 5mm's longer than Tarmac's and the HT length is 20mm's taller (and changes to stem angles/ spacers would equalize that). Other than that, they're very close.
    Was hoping you might lend your thoughts here PJ352.....

    Good info.

    Quick question. What is the chainstay thing?
    I think I understand (and feel the difference) in the headtube design difference off the rack.

    I do not understand the intended real world effect of a longer chainstay on ride or handling.
    Thanks.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lkdog
    Was hoping you might lend your thoughts here PJ352.....

    Good info.

    Quick question. What is the chainstay thing?
    I think I understand (and feel the difference) in the headtube design difference off the rack.

    I do not understand the intended real world effect of a longer chainstay on ride or handling.
    Thanks.
    Longer chainstays lengthen wheelbase and place the rear wheel back (away from the rider) slightly, smoothing the ride a little. I'm not sure I'd consider 5mm's discernably longer, but because all facets of a bikes geo work in unison, you might feel a difference between these two bikes. Then again, other differences such as wheelsets, tires and PSI's all contribute at least as much as frame design.

    Yes, because differences in HT lengths put a rider in a more/ less aggressive position, those differences are more readily apparent.

  9. #9
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    Gotcha.
    Thanks for the explanation.

    Will certainly update this thread.
    Am going in again today for fittings and more test rides.

  10. #10
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    EDIT: You're only 54?? Punk kid.


  11. #11
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    One last thought. I'm not trying to sway you one way or the other, but if you think you prefer the saddle to bar drop on the Tarmac, ask the fitter to match it on the RS. Set up similarly it might make for a closer comparison.

    Good luck, and don't forget to have fun test riding!!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352
    One last thought. I'm not trying to sway you one way or the other, but if you think you prefer the saddle to bar drop on the Tarmac, ask the fitter to match it on the RS. Set up similarly it might make for a closer comparison.

    Good luck, and don't forget to have fun test riding!!
    Might be hard to do, given the difference in head tube length. But you'll only know when you sit on both bikes and tweak the fit.

  13. #13
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    Will do. The Cervelo RS was setup off the rack with the seat and bars pretty close to level which I did not like so much. Will have to see if they can adjust that lower.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by simonaway427
    Might be hard to do, given the difference in head tube length. But you'll only know when you sit on both bikes and tweak the fit.
    Possibly, but considering the OP has already been sized to the bikes, unless he opts for a fairly low saddle to bar drop, I think both geometries will accomodate. If not, he'll at least know that before commiting.

  15. #15
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    Rs

    I'm 60 and i ride a RS with campy 11 speed...last sportive rode 40 miles stright without even needing to get out of the saddle, a very comfortable and very fast machine, fit is all important tho...no regrets here!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  16. #16
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    RS has a 1.6cm longer wheelbase in size 54cm and a 72 degree head angle, the Tarmac has the shorter wheelbase and a 73 degree head angle, significant in my books and I have owned both...
    Last edited by a_avery007; 10-20-2010 at 05:26 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by a_avery007
    RS has a 1.6cm longer wheelbase in size 54cm and a 72 degree head angle, the Tarmac has the shorter wheelbase and a 73 degree head angle, significant in my books and I have owned both...
    The OP has been sized to a 56cm, not a 54cm, so your numbers are somewhat irrelevant.

    The HTA on the Tarmac is 73.5, rake is 43 and trail is 56mm's. On the RS, HTA is 73, rake is 43 and trail is 58mm's.

    Front center is within 2mm's on both bikes, and rear center is 3mm's different.

    Wheelbase on the Tarmac is 986mm's. I don't see it listed for the RS (feel free to cite your source) but given the numbers I've just provided, it's unlikely there would be significant differences. Ultimately, that'll be decided on the OP's test rides.

  18. #18
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    ahhh, i need to read more closely. did not see that OP was talking 56cm.
    you are correct, not enough to notice.

  19. #19
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    NM see below..

  20. #20
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    UPDATE-


    Well, spent the better part of 2 hours today test riding, tweaking fit, swapping spacers, etc.

    I am now the proud owner of a 2010 Tarmac Expert Ultegra.

    It was just a "feel" or intuitive decision at the end.
    Both felt smooth, quick, stiff, and fun to ride.

    The Cervelo may have been a hair better over rougher terrain.

    The Tarmac just felt right underneath me in more situations.

    I appreciate all of the advice and how generous everyone here is of their time.

    Took a quick loop tonight that has a couple shorter but steep hills.
    The bike does everything well. Very smooth and accelerates quickly.
    Pretty much easily goes where you point it and handles nicely.

    Now, to work on the engine......

  21. #21
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    Congrats on making a well informed, educated decision. Now post a picture of the bike!!

  22. #22
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    Congrats on the new bike!!

    As long as you got fit right, it would've been hard to make a wrong decision here, but we all have our preferences and you made mine... I mean, yours.

    Not that you'll need it, but good luck with the bike. Ride often, ride safe and yes, we need pics!!

  23. #23
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    Thanks for your help guys!

    Will try to get some pics up tonight.......

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lkdog

    The Cervelo may have been a hair better over rougher terrain.

    The Tarmac just felt right underneath me in more situations.
    Congratulations. You did it right. Got the fit requirements dialed in, to get it narrowed down to these two, then went with your interpretation of the ride quality to choose. Good job.
    It ain't rocket surgery. Buy everything on sale, pedal when you have too, coast when you can, and get home in one piece. Keep going forward - there is no reverse.

    OGWB

  25. #25
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    Here is link to a quick set of pics of the new bike.....

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/3801450...7625214541344/

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