So I Might Be in Trouble

More accurately my wallet might be in trouble. I just found out that there is a local bike shop within five minutes (walking) of where I work, and it’s nestled right in between restaurants the office frequents for coffee and lunch. They carry Specialized and BMC, and I had a great talk with the guys yesterday. Already bought a new saddle … :roll_eyes: … window shopped the bikes on the floor …

I’ve had my eye on a Specialized Tarmac for a while but I don’t race. All of my outdoor rides are fondos, centuries, etc. The rep thought the overall geometry of the Tarmac might not be the best for that type of riding and pointed me toward a BMC Roadmachine, which I had not considered.
Thoughts on this? Does anyone have experiences with Roadmchine and Specialize’s Roubaix?

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Life’s short, buy what you want.

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Own a Roadmachine since 2018. And lovin’ it ever since. Design, ride experience and the kinda racy endurance geometry. I would recommend it. (But have no experience with a roubaix)

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Have a new model of Roubaix and love it.

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buy once cry once

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Unless you are at the elite level, the exact geometry of the bike is less about ‘what’s best for speed’ and more about ‘what’s best for comfort.’

It’s also worth considering your w/kg. If you are (say) 3.5w/kg or below, then you’re probably going to be better off on a more comfortable bike, especially when the rides get longer and loger. The Tarmac will be better for that - more relaxed geometry and more ‘dampening’ means more comfort later in the day.

The Roadmachine is an out-and-out racing bike. It’s fast, it’s lively, it’s stiff, and it’s FUN. But it’s not the most comfortable, for exactly the same reasons as above.

If I owned both bikes, I’d probably use the Tarmac for group rides, fondos, and centuries. I’d use the Roadmachine for any racing on bitumen, and anything where I just wanted to feel the wind at speed.

You won’t dislike either bike.

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I’ll second this. My road bike is a Roubaix Expert with Di2 and 51mm deep wheels. It’s unbelievably comfortable and plenty fast. I did my longest rides ever (190 miles over a weekend) on the Roubaix and it was absolutely the right bike for that!!

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Do you mean Timemachine, which has a race geometry like the Tarmac? Looks like the Roadmachine is in between a Roubaix and Tarmac.

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Another thumbs up for the Roubaix. I have a 2020 model and have found it to be the most comfortable road bike for longer rides that I’ve ridden. I also enjoy the versatility of the bike, as I’ve found it to be an excellent choice for light gravel as well.

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This mentality of “oh, you don’t race so this bike isn’t for you” really needs to die because it is lazy. Next thing you know, he’ll ask you to straddle a bike and lift it up to “size” you. :roll_eyes:

The first question he should have asked you is “what are you riding now and how is it set-up?” The next question then should have been “what do you like about your current bike / fit and what doesn’t seem to be working for you?”

From there, they should assess your needs and how each bike fits those needs….but this reflexive “oh you don’t race so you need an endurance bike” is just codswallop. The Tarmac could be the perfect bike for you…but he needs to understand what you are riding now and then compare the geos of the different bikes to see which is a better fit.

Alternatively, he could offer to do a fit and, from there, determine which bike is appropriate.

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Disclaimer: I really like how BMCs ride, they seem to fit my personality and my riding style.

The Roubaix and the endurance bike of basically all large manufacturers like Trek, Cannondale and Specialized are more conservative and less opinionated bikes. They will handle more slowly and more stably, the geometry will be more relaxed, etc. That sounds like I am poo-pooing these bikes, but I am not. They are the VW Golf or Toyota Corolla of the bike world: great and reliable, but not (supposed to be!) exciting. I had a bike like that, too, a Cube endurance bike. On paper and wallet-wise it was great. I just hated the geometry. It wouldn’t want to carve corners and it didn’t feel as sporty as I felt I was (rightly or wrongly). Read: it wasn’t fun!

The Roadmachine by comparison is a more opinionated take on an endurance road bike: it is a lot more aggressive as the geo chart @rkoswald posted shows. Even if you don’t know what the numbers mean, his point is that the Roadmachine falls between a racy road bike like the Tarmac and a “proper” endurance road bike like the Roubaix. In that he is spot on. The Roadmachine will feel more fun in the corners with quicker steering, etc. But you’ll pay a little in terms of comfort. But I’d just slap on the widest tires you can fit, and that deals with that.

Personally, I’d choose the Roadmachine (or a Teammachine) any day of the week over the Spec. But that’s because the Roadmachine fits my riding preference. So my advice: test ride both bikes and see how they feel. Pick the one that feels better. If you can, take them out for a few hours rather than a around the block once. BMC makes high-quality bikes. Their integrated cockpits are great, you can get e. g. mounts for Garmin and Wahoo, etc.

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Your wallet is definitely in trouble with those 2 brands.

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I race but not road, and my favorite bike is my Roubaix. Incredibly comfortable on various road conditions, I can ride it all day. It’s more aero than the previous generations of tarmcs too supposedly.

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What he said :+1:

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Good points. I over simplified my discussion with the LBS because we did talk about all of the things that you mentioned. My current bike is circa 2010 so geometries have changed a lot, and it’s probably one size too big for me. Comfort is my #1 objective for those longer rides.

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Loud and clear, I’m just 3.6 so am going to go and buy a race bike😎.

This was your point, right?

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Comfort is a funny thing and can’t always be determined by geometry charts. On paper, the Roubaix has a huge stack, but I lowered the stem and can get pretty low if needed. When I took it for a test ride though, it was like a magic carpet ride. Somehow I knew it was “the one” :star_struck:

On the other hand, I test rode a Tarmac SL7 before the Roubaix and it just wasn’t right for me. I can’t put my finger on it. I could have easily gotten my fit on either bike. Right around that time I was messaging @WindWarrior since he just got an SL7 and was singing the praises of the Tarmac saying he could ride all day.

My 2 cents…figure out your “must haves” and then ride the bikes if you can. But the one (regardless of race vs endurance geo) that feels right … or is the right color!

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Yup. Comfort depends on a ton of things, some of them being fit, tire size, another one being a cushy seat post. Even bikes with stiff frames can have a comfy ride.

One less excuse to delay a new bike purchase if you ask me. 11 years is a good run for a bike, I think.

Largely agree….especially the point about color. Seriously. If you are torn between two bikes and they are both reasonable fits, get the better color for you. It will make you want to ride it more.

And while you should ride the bikes if possible, most “test rides” aren’t worth much. They are so short and there are so many variables at play, there isn’t a whole lot of value in them ( unless the bike is obviously the wrong size / fit). The clothes you are wearing, tire pressure and size, which tires are spec’s, saddle differences, etc all have a significant impact in your subjective impression of how a bike “feels”. Plus, as you warm up, how you sit on a bike changes. A typical “spin around the block” won’t tell you much.

Ideally, a shop will let you take a bike for an actual ride, maybe an hour or so. That will give you a much better feel for how the bike rides. But most shops don’t really do that unfortunately.

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Personal experience with the Roadmachine 01 here. Let me add to the “comfy” points and ride feel, which is all personal and relative to primary terrain and purposes of the bike etc. I bought a Roadmachine 01 last year just as everything was shutting down in the spring and I wish I had ridden it more before I did so. For me, it was a soft and plush ride that made me think of a stereotypical cush Cadillac. However, once things opened up again, I kept taking the bike back to adjust the stack, swap out stems, because I could never get really happy with the geometry. It dawned on me the reason why was the geometry was very similar to my gravel bike, which I was spending loads of time on and the Roadmachine had me in a similar position. I wish I did a longer test ride – and not the “typical spin around the block” as @Power13 wrote – plus somehow I missed comparing the angels to my gravel bike. (I was in kit for the test ride with my pedals on the bike and had all the time I wanted, but it got really cold and I wasn’t dressed for the sudden temperature drop, so my ride was short, certainly shorter than they expected.)

I did get compliments nearly every time I went out, it just didn’t fit my need or style. I wanted an aggressive (or “aggressive”) road bike geometry to hit the hills. The RM is really a great all-around bike for long miles but I wasn’t impressed with its climbing compared to what I was going from and probably the fact I was already doing a lot of climbing on an endurance frame (my gravel bike) and this wasn’t shining above that. That’s not surprising since it’s an endurance bike for long hours in the saddle and not a specialized climbing bike. For clarity, I live in eastern Switzerland and I wanted a climbing bike that descended better than what I had (what goes up must go down) with long miles on the flats as training rides or filler between climbs. The Roadmachine was great on flats, good on small hills, and very stable on the descents but not my fav for the long hauls up the mountains. If you’re aiming for hills (my quickie out-the-door-I-only-have-less-than-an-hour is 11mi with 1750’), I’d steer you differently and away from an endurance frame. If long, steep climbs are rare or simply not a primary concern, the RM is a great, comfortable, all-day ride. It’s a Cadilac.

Honestly, I have seen remarkably few RM’s here (maybe 3 or 4, though I may have seen the same person twice, since last year). BMC are, naturally, popular here in Switzerland and I see loads of them on the road and the big climbs, like when they close a big pass to cars for cyclists (and everyone goes up, roadies, MTB, people hauling kids in a trailer – respect – ebikes, city bikes – respect, these are usually older like in their 60s or 70s – you name it) or cycling events (AlpenBrevet, Haute Route, etc), but not RMs. But this isn’t a scientific survey by any means.

Like @FrankTuna wrote, figure out your “must haves.” The RM may be squarely in this box and if so, you’ll love it and not look back. (I replaced the RM with a Factor, a very different bike but exactly what I wanted.)

That all said, I have no experience with the Specialized.

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