Giant TCR C-1 vs. Specialized Tarmac Expert
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  1. #1

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    Giant TCR C-1 vs. Specialized Tarmac Expert

    OK: Here it goes. After 15 years of hardcore mountain biking (which was after five years of hard-core road biking), I've decided to jump back into road cycling. Other than the fixie I use for commuting, haven't owned a road bike for those 15 years. I've narrowed it down to two possibilities: The Specialized Tarmac Expert (probably around $2,400) and Giant TCR C-1 ($2,600). Differences in components: TCR - Kysrium Elite, Dura-Ace Rear Derraileur - otherwise full Ultegra; Tarmac - Kysrium Equipe, otherwise full Ultegra.

    Test rode the Giant yesterday - liked it a lot, smooth, snappy, light, good climber; Test rode the Tarmac in the parking lot only, but I did not want to get off of it. Seemed to leap forward with every turn of the pedals.

    The other choice is the Giant TCR C-2 (Aksium wheels, Ultegra except for brakes and chain) - $1,800. I want to like this one because of its price - seems like a much better deal than the C-1. Doesn't feel like it rides much differently either.

    Thoughts, Opinions? your help is greatly appreciated and will be thoroughly analyzed and discussed.

    Thanks.

  2. #2

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    i have the TCR C1. The C2 has terrible components and the aksium wheels are not too nice. The tarmac frame is heavier than the tcr carbon frame. The tarmac felt really long to me when riding. The TCR has a great geometry, really fast steering and climbs great. Your call, seems like you really liked the Tarmac.
    edit - is the C2 really that cheap?? Man, that seems like a pretty good deal, except for the aksium wheelset. I would consider saving the money if its a $600 difference between 1 and 2. I went w/ the 1 and am very happy w/ the ksyriums and da rear. By the way, if you're looking at 06' models, the C1 comes w/ the new raceface cadence cranks, not much info on those. I have the 05' and it came w/ the FSA carbon.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I own both bikes and they ride completely different. The TCR is lighter, more responsive, and twitcher. The Tarmac has a far smoother ride(absorbs bumps better), stiffer laterally, and is more stable. Both bikes have the same wheels and tires on them and I have ridden them for thousands of kilometers.
    I would choose based on fit and the type of riding you do. Either way, you can't go wrong.

  4. #4

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    Decision has been made

    Thank you for your input. Rode the Tarmac up a 1,000 foot climb last night. Felt easy! Love the bike, and as a bonus, the LBS is knocking off another $150. Makes it a no brainer for me. As for the C2, yeah, the price really is $1,800 right now - Giant is doing a sale on all of its carbon frame bikes - $400 - $500 off. My wife will be getting the OCR- W for $1,800 - full Ultegra - Aksium wheels.

    Which brings me to another point: I think the Aksiums will do ok for her at 120 lbs., but will the Kysrium Equipes work for me at 205? Any thoughts there?

    Thanks.

  5. #5

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    Thanks

    I'm going with the Tarmac - feels like the better fit for me. Glad to hear that you like both of 'em though, - it justifies my feeling that these were the two best bikes I found for the price.

    What do you think about the Kysrium Equipes on the Tarmac? Have they held up?

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I'm sure the Equipes are good although heavy. A friend has them and has no complaints. My Tarmac and TCR both have the Kysrium SSC's. If you have the money to spend and live in a hilly/mountainous area lighter wheels than Equipes are a worth while purchase.
    Enjoy the Tarmac. You won't be disapointed.

  7. #7
    SoCal--S Beach to the Dam
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    Quote Originally Posted by Idaho Guy
    I'm going with the Tarmac - feels like the better fit for me. Glad to hear that you like both of 'em though, - it justifies my feeling that these were the two best bikes I found for the price.

    What do you think about the Kysrium Equipes on the Tarmac? Have they held up?
    Plenty strong but i had them switched out for Curcults on my Roubaix. They gave me 150 bucks for the Equipes and put it towards the $450 Curcults.
    Carbon,Steel,Aluminum or Ti,who really cares as long as we ride.

  8. #8

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    my opinion

    Mavic rims are great - maybe the best
    But their Wheels are heavy and hard to service
    Lots of better wheels out there from American Classic, Easton, Ritchey, etc

  9. #9

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    Mavic Equipes

    The Equipes came stock on my '05 Litespeed Tuscany. They are very durable and roll very nicely. I think wheels greatly affect ride comfort, and these wheels make for a very comfortable ride. I think they are pretty good all-around, a great wheel for the price, probably the ideal training wheel as they are a bit on the heavy side. I weigh about 190 and have never had to true them. They have a higher spoke count, so I think they are a good choice for clydesdales. Contrary to previous opinion, I think they are very easy to service, and any decent LBS should be familiar with Mavic hubs. Equipes also have standard spoke nipples (at least in '05) and so no special tools are needed if you ever did have to true them.(I think some features like bladed spokes trickled down to Equipes in '06.)

    My only knock on Equipe wheels is that I could definitely flex the wheel into my brake pad during a max effort. I upgraded to SL's for this reason, and they are much, much stiffer, but probably(?) not as comfortable. The other "knock" on Mavic hubs in general is that they are pretty loud when you coast. I personally like the ratcheting noise. It's like a personal coach yelling at me to keep pedaling! But it annoys some people, especially if they previously had quieter wheels like Eastons.

    Overall, I think Equipes are good wheels. If you do mostly club rides, centuries, and fast touring, they are probably more than you will ever need. If your plans are definitely to race or do a lot of climbing, than you may want to suck up a couple hundred more bucks and get something a little bit lighter and a little bit stiffer like SSC SL's, Easton Orion II(good light standard wheel for heavier riders), or Easton Tempest II (good aero profile and bladed spokes). If serviceability really is an issue, then maybe you should consider a Shimano wheelset. Unlike most boutique wheelsets, they do not use cartridge bearings but rather an adjustable cone which shimano claims is better for axial forces imposed by cornering. Plus the top shelf Dura Ace wheelset can be used for UST type tubeless tires, whenever those start hitting the market.

    Anyway, hope that was useful.

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