Tarmac/Emonda or Roubiax/Domane
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  1. #1
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    Tarmac/Emonda or Roubiax/Domane

    Hi all
    I have to buy a new bike and I have a question on comfort. My area is very hilly (every 20mile ride has about 1700ft in elevation). But, I also value comfort and I found 4 bikes that are actually in stock at all different places about 45 miles from me. (The 4 in the heading).
    My question is, has anyone preferred buying the traditional light-weight carbon bike and just changed out their seat, tires and raised the handlebar stem for extra comfort rather than buying an endurance bike?
    My situation now is Iíve been riding a 56cm steel frame bike with 9speed Durace for about 15 yrs now. Iím 6ft and should be on a 58cm. But I bought my bike from a friendís friend and just stuck with it. The size didnít bother me too much. But, now Iím in my mid40s and my knees and back arenít so forgiving. Im in great shape and flexible, though.
    Since test riding would entail a lot of driving (something my wife and kids would not be happy with), Iím trying to do as much research as I can instead. Iím willing to spend up to $4k and will probably hold onto this bike for 10 to 15 years just like my current one.

    Thanks everyone.

  2. #2
    flinty-eyed moderator
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    My money would be on the Domane SLR for you- you are going to love the gearing and comfort, and the aero elements make it speedy when you want to go fast.

  3. #3
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    I'm a bit older (61) and taller (6' 2") and have test ridden all of the bikes you mentioned during the past 4-5 months. I ended up with a 58cm '21 Tarmac SL7 Pro with Di2 and I love it! My impressions of the bikes:

    Domane: Comfortable but to me it rides like a big assed SUV. Not very quick or responsive. Some features I liked (the downtube storage compartment) but overall I was underwhelmed with the ride.

    Emonda: Really liked this bike. Rides nice, responsive, light, but wasn't wowed by the paint schemes. Also, I have a bone to pick about Trek. I think they handled the whole Greg LeMond (and LeMond Racing Cycles) vs Lance Armstrong thing poorly. For these reasons (admittedly small, maybe even petty reasons) I passed on buying a Trek.

    Roubaix: This felt much more responsive that the Domane. I was concerned about that the Future Shock would be annoying and feel mushy. I was well into the test ride on this bike before I remembered I was going to pay attention to how the Future Shock felt. It just kind of blended into the background and did it's job. Even during a standing climb it was pretty much un-noticeable. This was my #2 pick for bikes and I think I could have been very happy with a Roubaix.

    Tarmac: This was the one for me! Light, stiff but still a very comfortable ride, responsive. All the things I was looking for in a new bike. My old ride was a '04 LeMond Zurich so I was looking for something with similar geometry and the Tarmac fit the bill nicely. I have had the Tarmac for a few weeks and have a few hundred miles on it now and still love it.

    For me, I'm still in pretty good shape with decent flexibility so I could have really gone with any of these bikes. I did change out the stock 26mm tires to some Conti GP 5000s in 28mm and the ride is very comfortable. Good luck finding bikes and don't wait too long after you decide. They go fast these days. I was lucky to find my Tarmac at a LBS but it had just come in the day before and I snatched it up as soon as I could. My LBS told me they got 17 '21 Tarmacs in and they were all gone in about 3 days. He also said that he has several people call, give a credit card number to the LBS for a bike they didn't even have. They wanted to card to be run as soon as a particular bike came in. Crazy stuff!

    So far the tires were the only change I have made. I did go in for a full bike fitting and they tweaked a few things but I will be sticking with the stock seat and bars.
    Last edited by ivanthetrble; 3 Weeks Ago at 01:07 PM.

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys! Very helpful!

  5. #5
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    What size tires were you using on your old bike? I was on 23mm @ 120psi. I think you may find that going up to a bike with 28-30mm tires will have as much or more impact on the comfort of your ride as just about any other change or feature. Getting a light weight traditional road bike and putting wider tires that you run at a much lower psi is a great idea IMHO.

  6. #6
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    Thatís exactly what I have- 23mm tires are 120psi. Iíve heard wider tires make a huge difference. But I wasnít sure.

  7. #7
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    It very much does! I recently did a drive train upgrade on my old LeMond, including new wheels. I went from 23s to 25s and went from 120 psi to 90psi and the ride difference to me was very noticeable and much smoother and less harsh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ivanthetrble View Post

    Domane: to me it rides like a big assed SUV. Not very quick or responsive. ...

    Tarmac: This was the one for me! Light, stiff but still a very comfortable ride, responsive.
    Wow! a member that actually gets what's it about...road bike ridding.
    Conditioning, Core Strength, Flexibility, Efficiency and Fit .
    If I would have said this I'd just mite be kicked out the sandbox!
    Last edited by rudge66; 3 Weeks Ago at 04:26 PM.

  9. #9
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    Ok. I can try a 28mm tire. I wouldnít mind raising the stem about a cm either, if it helps.
    Iím in good shape and flexible, too (aside from the occasional neck and shoulder aches) ...& I do like a light bike thatís very responsive. So, it sounds like I can eliminate the Domane. Down to 3 options now! But, I canít find anywhere that tells me how much a 58cm roubaix comp weights. I donít mind a 1/2 pound to a pound extra (when compared to the tarmac or Emonda). But, it helps with narrowing down my options.
    I really appreciate knowing that the future shock isnít that noticeable when riding and doesnít create any issues when climbing. I was wondering that. Thanks.

  10. #10
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    So your looking for comfort are ya? And you've considered a padded saddle and a raised spacers under your stem eh?
    Well have you given thought to flipping your stem positive up to?
    ...and of course you'll want to raise the hoods after you rotate up your bars

    This bike position sounds strangely familiar.

    ...your all over the place with what your saying.. and yes the future shock jiggles. it's a comfort sales gimmick. If it dont jiggle your uncomfortable and its broken.

    Understand clearly emonda and tarmac are not good bikes to do Prairie Dog fits to.
    its not what they are designed for.
    Last edited by rudge66; 3 Weeks Ago at 05:29 PM.

  11. #11
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianc401 View Post
    Thatís exactly what I have- 23mm tires are 120psi. Iíve heard wider tires make a huge difference. But I wasnít sure.
    What you heard about bigger tires is correct. I'd never go over or even to 100...I'd use 90 in 23mm tires if I was loopy enough to ride them. You can drop 10 psi for ever tire size you go up to maintain the same feel. The thing is as you go to bigger tires you can drop even a little more pressure because you have so much more air volume. 120psi is crazy even on 23mm tires.
    Also, pay no attention to rudge, he thinks everyone should fit on their bike the same way and if they can't they should work on it til they can.

    The way most recreational riders will set up a Tarmac or Emonda is not exactly 'racy'. They could probably get the same fit on either a Roubaix or a Domane, or get close enough it wouldn't matter. I worked for Trek for years, now I work for a shop that sells a ton of Specialized. I honestly like all the bikes, but the Future Shock still bugs me. If it doesn't bother you and you like the rest of what a Roubaix brings to the table, go for it. I'd want 32mm tires minimum. I weigh 170 and use roughly 60psi rear/50 front w/ that size tire.
    #promechaniclife

  12. #12
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    Thanks again everyone! Sounds like either the tarmac or emonda would be the right bike for me with the right setup. I think those bikes cost a little less than the endurance bike. So, thatís a little extra bonus there, too.

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    Tarmac... or ...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    I worked for Trek for years, now I work for a shop that sells a ton of Specialized.
    When did you change shops, CX?
    "COMPLACENCY IS LETHAL - VOTE in November." - System Shock.

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    bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."
    -- DCGriz, RBR.





  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rudge66 View Post
    Tarmac... or ...
    ...or maybe a Schwinn Hybrid

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianc401 View Post
    Thatís exactly what I have- 23mm tires are 120psi. Iíve heard wider tires make a huge difference. But I wasnít sure.
    They "are" 120 meaning that's the max on the label or that's what you actually use?

    If the latter, holy crap. In all seriousness; if I was forced to use only 23mm tires and 120psi I would quite cycling.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianc401 View Post
    Since test riding would entail a lot of driving (something my wife and kids would not be happy with), Iím trying to do as much research as I can instead. Iím willing to spend up to $4k and will probably hold onto this bike for 10 to 15 years just like my current one.
    First off, if you are spending $4,000 on a bike, I would not buy without a test ride - no ifs, ands or buts. Otherwise you are risking a $4,000 mistake! Where do you live that it's such a long drive to a bike shop?

    Second, I would not focus too much on a particular brand. There are many excellent road bikes brands not mentioned here yet - Cannondale, Jamis, Scott, Giant. Don't overlook these.

    Third, I agree that tires make a bigger difference in comfort than any bike frame or wheel choice. As CXWrench wisely said, wider tires mean you can run lower pressures. Unless you are well over 200lbs., 120PSI is waaaaayyyy higher than you need - even on 23mm tires.

    Fourth, pay no attention to Rudge, our current resident troll who consistently regurgitates the same clueless advice over and over again.
    "COMPLACENCY IS LETHAL - VOTE in November." - System Shock.

    "With
    bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."
    -- DCGriz, RBR.





  18. #18
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    When did you change shops, CX?
    First day was 4.21. Cool shop, very busy. Mostly mountain bike stuff. I'm learning a lot even after 25 years.
    #promechaniclife

  19. #19
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    Yep, if you could narrow it down to maybe the Tarmac and Roubaix you could ride them both with one trip and I think it would be well worth the time and trouble.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    First off, if you are spending $4,000 on a bike, I would not buy without a test ride - no ifs, ands or buts. Otherwise you are risking a $4,000 mistake! Where do you live that it's such a long drive to a bike shop?

    Second, I would not focus too much on a particular brand. There are many excellent road bikes brands not mentioned here yet - Cannondale, Jamis, Scott, Giant. Don't overlook these.

    Third, I agree that tires make a bigger difference in comfort than any bike frame or wheel choice. As CXWrench wisely said, wider tires mean you can run lower pressures. Unless you are well over 200lbs., 120PSI is waaaaayyyy higher than you need - even on 23mm tires.

    Fourth, pay no attention to Rudge, our current resident troll who consistently regurgitates the same clueless advice over and over again.
    I agree about the test ride. I wish I had the time to drive all over. But, itís not an issue of where I live. I live in CT and thereís several bike shops near/around me. The guys at each of them are all friendly and willing to help, too. But, the COVID situation has wiped them all out of inventory! I suppose one option would be to take a day off of work to drive around. This way I wouldnít be ďskipping out on my family dutiesĒ. Lol
    Iím open to look at any road bike as long as itís new, 58cm, has a carbon fiber frame, disc brakes and ultegra (or equivalent) components. Itís just a coincidence that the only 4 I can find are specialized and trek.
    I admit I didnít think about the lower PSI helping. Iíll definitely keep that in mind going forward. Iím 6ft and 192lbs.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ivanthetrble View Post
    Yep, if you could narrow it down to maybe the Tarmac and Roubaix you could ride them both with one trip and I think it would be well worth the time and trouble.
    Thatís a good idea. I think I might be able to do that. Theyíre about 20mins from each other (in normal traffic). Iíll check the waze app to see when the best time to travel on Labor Day wkend would be.

  22. #22
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    We are pretty similar in size and yeah, I was an old school 23mm, 120 psi guy. No longer and it does impact the ride quality.

    PS - my wife just got a '20 Roubaix Pro with the SRAM Force group and she loves it. She had issues with hand numbness and the Future Shock had definitely helped reduce this. Personal opinion, go to the closest Specialized dealer and ride the Tarmac and Roubaix, or Trek dealer and ride the Emonda and Domane. I think riding those two bikes from each brand would give you a really good idea of the differences between a more endurance type bike and a more classic road bike.

  23. #23
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    Another Trek hater here because of the Lance / Lemond debacle and their bikes just look clunky.
    Definitely go with the Tarmac. Even race bikes nowadays have taller head tubes than the old steel bikes like you are now riding.
    Not sure how high you can raise the bars, you should ask the bike shop and test ride to see if it is comfortable.
    Cannondale EVO or Synapse might be another option if you can find them.

  24. #24
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    Ok. I took the advice a few of you mentioned and called the place that has the trek Emonda. I asked if they had any endurance bikes I could try just to feel the diff in the 2 styles.
    They said they have a Trek Domane in the $8k price range and they wud be totally fine with me test riding.
    They also said something a couple of you mentioned. Any race bike can be adjusted for more comfort and any endurance bike can be made a little more racy. They also said a few millimeters of adjustment can make a huge difference in feel.

  25. #25
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    Have fun riding them! You will likely be amazed at the improvements in technology over your old bike. Too bad the price tag is sometimes more than a bit shocking!

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