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View Full Version : Time to go carbon, thoughts on frames



SteveTheTech
07-11-2012, 03:45 PM
Greetings all,

You guys are always such a good wealth of knowledge and I was hoping you could offer your collective two cents on something for me.

I'm looking at replacing the frame that is a little too large for me. I like the performance of the low end aluminum frame (Dawes), my biggest issue is its size. I've begun the process of shopping for a new frame and have it narrowed down to a few fairly highly rated ones within a budget, I'm still on the fence whether to build one from scratch or buy a whole bike. At this point I am partial to entire unit replacement that way I can start collecting parts in the mid range instead of collecting entry level items I have in triplicate. When I bought my first bike I was looking for components over frame weight and geometry...this time I am going the opposite way. I would rather have a lighter frame with a Rival or 105 groupset than compromise on the frame. Since the majority of the difference above those levels is primarily weight saving, and are easily upgradable.

At the top of my list sits the Specialized Tarmac.
My wife has a Ruby and loves it, I've riden hers and it's just a beast, compared to what I've got now. This is also the only one in the group with a standard crank.

http://s7d5.scene7.com/is/image/Specialized/9927?$Hero$

Next up we have the Litespeed C1R- I love aero frames....This one on is one of the aeroest of the aero. They are fairly well reviewed and seem to hold up well.

http://www.competitivecyclist.com/images/products/litespeed/2012/c1_rival-zoom2.jpg
From Competitive Cyclist this one comes in perfectly within my budget and has a Rival setup.

Rounding out my top three is Canondale, not just one...several. I really like the CAAD10-3 I can bump up one component set if I go with super lightweight aluminum and save several hundred bucks. I also like the carbon lineup. I think that may be something I have to go try out. I'll need to find some hills near TSFKAFB
http://cdn.cannondale.com/catalog/product/cache/3/small_image/725x/17f82f742ffe127f42dca9de82fb58b1/c/_/c_12_2rax3c_bbq_8.png

At dream level...if I could would be this beauty, with an Ultegra groupset.
http://www.competitivecyclist.com/images/products/pinarello/2012/fpteam_6700-zoom2.jpg

As a backup I am thinking the Specialized Roubaix- It is a little softer riding than the Tarmac and just about the same with the exception of the Zert inserts....not convinced that is worth it though. But this one is supposed to be more comfortable on longer rides, again I am not convinced being so similar that any real differences will ever be noted.
---Too many photos, it looks like a red Tarmac basically----

Any thoughts, comments, or additions would be greatly appreciated...thanks

off2ride
07-11-2012, 03:55 PM
I'd go for the Cannondale Super Six or EVO for everyday riding. Shimano Dura Ace groupset would be my first choice, (wait for the 11 speed DA version) Campy 11 Record 2nd then Sram 4th.

bluerider
07-11-2012, 03:59 PM
As always it depends on how you are going to use it. I made the switch to carbon over the winter (a Blue Norcross EX). If you are planning to run errands and lock it up at bike racks and public place I don't recommend it. Carbon is just to fragile and impact sensitive to take all the hits and bangs at bike racks. But if you are going to use for recreational riding, Centuries, racing, etc they are nice. The ride is very nice compared to Al frames. If you get a carbon frame, you really need to own a torque wrench. The torque specs on carbon frames are very important to avoid overtightening and causing stress cracks. I am thinking about building a steel single speed commuter to use on day to day riding just because my carbon bike is not "public" friendly. Any of those bikes are going to be nice. Ride them all and pick the one you like best.

DaveK
07-11-2012, 04:08 PM
Although the Litespeed looks aero, testing showed it to be less so than most other "aero bikes" when it comes to drag. Does that matter? Not a single bit. No one outside of a pro will ever notice.

I really like the Tarmac personally, the geometry is spot-on (for me, anyway) and it's a proven frame. You really can't go wrong with any of those frames. The recent Tarmac frames have a little higher head tube than the older ones so the difference to the Roubaix, especially in smaller frame sizes, isn't as noticeable.

Bottom like though, those are all great and you should ride them all and pick the one that speaks to you.

If you're on a budget, I promise you the bike manufacturers can buy components cheaper than you can. Just buy a complete bike.

Mark Blacknell
07-11-2012, 04:33 PM
Go local (http://www.novemberbicycles.com/wheelhouse-bike/)?

Greenbelt
07-11-2012, 04:54 PM
I'll throw in my two cents, which is just that -- not worth much! I like my aluminum frame with carbon fork and seat stays. Seems to have the combination of durability, power, and vibration/shock reduction without the price tag. Likewise some of the lightweight steel bikes have a very good ride and still pretty dang light without the carbon price. And as rough as I am on my bikes too..... anyways, something to consider.

Dirt
07-11-2012, 05:33 PM
You've mentioned a bunch of bikes that are completely different, have completely different uses, purposes and fit.

Start at the beginning.... before you ever look at different bikes.

1) What kind of riding do you do? Do you race? You doing centuries? Is climbing your thing? You prefer long, rolling centuries?

2) Geometry: How flexible are you? Take an HONEST look at your basic bike configuration right now. Where are the tops of the bars in relation to the saddle? Are they equal height? Are your bars lower than your saddle? 1" lower? 4"? 6"? In your current configuration, how often do you use the drops? Can you ride for 30 minutes in the drops comfortably? When you're in the drops, are your arms completely straight?

3) Fit: Get a professional fit, if you haven't already. It helps.

4) THEN start to pick a frame style. Lots of manufacturers have frames that have a hair more mellow config than their race bikes. The Geometry is roughly the same, but the head tube is a hair taller, making it easier to have the bars a little higher. Sometimes the chain stays are a hair longer to make the handling a tiny bit more mellow. They're similar in weight and have lots of the same characteristics and feel, but will fit you a little different. Specialized's race bike is the Tarmac series. Their slightly more relaxed is the Roubaix. (yes, there are other differences). Cervelo has the R3 and RS. Trek has the Madone and a slightly higher head-tube version of the Madone.

Okay... so you have the size and the general style of the frame. Do you want a bike that excels in climbing? Aerodynamics? There are compromises that give you some aero while maintaining low weight. Will you give up a bit of stiffness for comfort and shock absorption?

Do you plan to travel with the bike (Bikes with an integrated seat mast do not travel as well.)

5) TEST RIDE! Try a bunch of stuff. That will tell you amazing things. I strongly suggest working with a local shop that can help you with your choice.

My personal favorites for ride quality: Cervelo R3 -- Probably the most comfortable bike I've ever ridden. Moots Vamoots.... I'd really like an RSL. I haven't ridden an aero road bike that I really love.

Hope that helps.

Pete

Tim Kelley
07-11-2012, 05:36 PM
Your other option is to just buy the prettiest one.

Dirt
07-11-2012, 05:40 PM
Your other option is to just buy the prettiest one.
I already own it and it isn't for sale. Sorry.

americancyclo
07-12-2012, 08:51 AM
I've been riding a Specialized Roubaix for the past two years and have been quite happy with it. It's served me well on my commute (although I think it's a bit overkill, I don't often stop or lock it anywhere, and I have guarded underground parking. It's done well on a few centuries, and my only complaint would be that the ultegra wheels that came on it are more race-friendly than custis trail bumpy root section-friendly. I like that it's not as aggressive as a tarmac because I have really poor hamstring flexibility, and that affects my back flexibility. It doesn't have as much cache as a smaller company, but it makes me happy!

rcannon100
07-12-2012, 08:57 AM
There is a third way that is subscribed to by many of the participants here that they are not fessing up to.... just buy them ALL! ;)

GuyContinental
07-12-2012, 10:00 AM
I'm with Dirt- we don't know enough about your planned use or style or riding to make a great recommendation. Still, you have several great bikes picked out-
I like both of the Specialized but would go for the Roubaix hands-down for everyday everything riding. If you need a race-day beast then the Tarmac. If you want a Specialized and want to race, NCVC has some sort of reasonable Specialized pro-deal for members. Lot's of Tarmacs on that team.

Also, you seem to be vacillating between SRAM and Shimano on your groupo- IMO Rival doubletap wins if you live in your drops because of the floating shifter but I don't really like the way it downshifts- Shimano always feels crisper down to me. (I have Force/Rival on my CX and Ultegra on my roadie- switching between the two can be confusing).

Dirt
07-12-2012, 10:06 AM
Good points, Guy. It comes down to personal preference. I haven't raced in decades and I still prefer the ride and feel of a race bike. When shopping for my Cervelo, I rode the RS (taller head tube and a little longer chain stays) and hated it. I got on the R3 (full race geometry) and felt right at home. We're all different... It comes down to experience and flexibility and what we like.

elcee
07-12-2012, 10:25 AM
The more bike reviews I read, the less I trust them. Not because the reviewers are incompetent, but I've realized that the "feel" of a bike is so personal. Two people, riding the same frame in identical sizes, will perceive different stiffness and comfort if there's a 30 lb difference in body weights.

When I looked for my latest bike, aero just wasn't a factor - my rides aren't long or fast enough to make a difference.

I tried a Cannondale CAAD8: it's sportscar fast and very exciting, but ultimately I found it too bumpy on our typical roads.

Specialized Allez: comfortable, but there was something about upright position that I didn't like. Granted, the test bike had a lot of spacers, but its ride wasn't magical enough for me to invest more time in it.

I finally bought a used LeMond Victoire, as it felt good right away ... and more importantly, it brought a smile to my face.

Bottom line: try a lot of bikes, then work with the shop to make sure it fits.

P.S. I know none of these are carbon (!), but there here to illustrate my point.

I also forgot that I was intrigued by the Gunnar Roadie. It had all the specs, plus optional custom paint. Unfortunately, no one had a full bike to try, and I just didn't want to leave a $1000 purchase to chance.

Tim Kelley
07-12-2012, 11:00 AM
Also, you seem to be vacillating between SRAM and Shimano on your groupo- IMO Rival doubletap wins if you live in your drops because of the floating shifter but I don't really like the way it downshifts- Shimano always feels crisper down to me. (I have Force/Rival on my CX and Ultegra on my roadie- switching between the two can be confusing).

I personally prefer Shimano over SRAM, because they have larger hoods. The SRAM just feels small in my hands. Your results may vary--that's why it's so important to do test rides!

jabberwocky
07-12-2012, 11:05 AM
I built up an Ibis Silk SL last autumn as my first carbon road bike and couldn't be happier. I had a very good idea what geometry I wanted, but had no idea what the ride would be like. I got lucky, I suppose. Test riding is a good thing if you can manage it.


I personally prefer Shimano over SRAM, because they have larger hoods. The SRAM just feels small in my hands. Your results may vary--that's why it's so important to do test rides!And I'm the exact opposite, for the same reason. :) I have smaller hands, and the SRAM hoods work much better for me.

Dirt
07-12-2012, 11:21 AM
I personally prefer campy because the hoods can be small for people with small hands, or big for people with big hands. It is also cool that they're one of the few companies in the cycling business that makes parts that can be serviced and fixed rather than disposed of. They also continue to make parts for a lot of their old stuff even today.

I know... it is insanely expensive. For a geek like me it is worth it. :D

That said, I have shimano and SRAM equipped bikes that function quite nicely.

DaveK
07-12-2012, 12:13 PM
And I'm the exact opposite, for the same reason. :) I have smaller hands, and the SRAM hoods work much better for me.

Ditto. I'm much more comfortable in the drops with SRAM. They also have independent reach adjustment on the shift and brake levers. I've grown to really prefer the shift action to Shimano as well - there's something more secure to me about a brake lever that only moves the one way.

GuyContinental
07-12-2012, 12:31 PM
Ditto. I'm much more comfortable in the drops with SRAM. They also have independent reach adjustment on the shift and brake levers. I've grown to really prefer the shift action to Shimano as well - there's something more secure to me about a brake lever that only moves the one way.

Bit of irony here for me- on the CX off-road I totally agree with the "lever only moving one way" thing but the hoods are a bit small and I tend to bounce off in technical terrain (which often ends poorly). I need the bigger Shimano hoods and the SRAM doubletap/mono directional brake on the CX and the SRAM reach adjustment on the road bike. I also need to stop trying to break off my SRAM lever trying to shift Shimano-style ;-)

Dirt
07-12-2012, 12:40 PM
I love the ultegra STi levers on my fixie. Gives me something to play with while pedaling away the miles.
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8166/7542818022_f47c898cef_b.jpg

vvill
07-12-2012, 12:43 PM
I was flabbergasted when I first learned that you couldn't adjust the reach on Shimano levers. That said I'm happy with mine, although I have next-to-no experience with SRAM. The one time I test rode a SRAM equipped bike I could not get used to the double-tap mechanism. I might make my next bike SRAM just for variety.

vvill
07-12-2012, 12:58 PM
I always forget to reply to the actual thread topic by the time I read all the pages.

I haven't jumped on board carbon yet because I don't really want an expensive bike I have to baby too much. I don't have a ton of space at home, I do occasionally knock my bikes over, I have a cheap bike rack on my car, and I do have to lock my bike up to a shoddy rack at work. I don't think I could resist commuting on a carbon bike if I had one. Based almost wholly on looks/brand I'd pick the Cannondale of those 5 you posted, but I don't have much experience riding different road bikes.

KS1G
07-12-2012, 01:20 PM
Chiming in a wee late but whatever. Second what Mark B suggested in #5 (http://www.novemberbicycles.com/wheelhouse-bike/). I've had mine for over a year (March 2011). 50 cm, sizing/fit very similar to Trek's, at least IMO. I bought the built-up bike, deciding it's about time I deserve a complete bike properly assembled (at least when new) vs. my DIY ebay, et.al, project bikes. I didn't think I could come close to the delivered price scrounging each part at a time. Bike frame is well made, *I* at least like the flat black finish, and the owners are very reachable by email and easy to deal with if you have questions, need something different (had to change the seatpost to get it low enough for me), etc. Downside was the wait from November to March, although they may have some inventory on-hand for a little more $. Also harder to find one your size to test ride - I was able to meet someone who rode a 50cm before a group ride and "test sit"; after that, it was extrapolate/compare from bikes I had ridden. Worked out for me. They also have a nice line of carbon wheels, no 1st-hand experience other than what came with the bike (basic aluminum rims).

Bike rides and handles crisply but remains stable, I can ride it no-hands (usually don't). Bike is race-oriented - no rack mounts (and p-clips would just be wrong), and 25mm is as wide a tire as it will take (tried 28s for a pavement + gravel ride, the rear wouldn't fit, which the boys at November told me would happen. They were right). It "feels" like it just wants to go, and is reasonably light for the price. Drivetrain on mine is SRAM, 50x34 compact cranks, and I like that I can easily swap in an Apex derailluer and 32t cassette for really hilly rides. It has been a great long ride and century bike. I do use it commuting with a backpack (~12 mi 1-way) and installed a tri-style dual water bottle holder for long summer rides and a Topeak adjustable bottle cage to transport my morning coffee thermos safe/secure/hot.

SteveTheTech
07-12-2012, 01:39 PM
As always folks your incite is greatly appreciated and exactly what I was hoping for, thank you kindly.

I thought about this posting after I published it and realized I did not mention my intentions and price point.
My primary point of focus is acceleration and handling, I don't mind if the ride is modestly harsh but I still want something I can do the Garret County Diabolical Double next year and an increasing number of similar events. While not technically racing (serious point of contention at home, and a topic for another day) I would like to be equipped for the time when the A group ride turns into a last man standing event, while having room to grow as my needs and skill level change.I keep working on my engine but I feel the frame is no longer doing its' part. My 58 aluminum did well at almost everything, I subbed in an extra frame I had and everything went to hell. The handling and control I have over a 56 fit like a glove but I cannot climb with it. I never thought frame torsion would be so evident but when trying to catch some buddies going up a hill you usually hang with them on it is maddening. I was ready to take my tires and saddle and leave the rest of that in someones recycling bin, while it was a decent frame when just starting out, it will not work for the future.

While I consider myself technically inclined and wanted to build something myself bundling in this case really does seem to be the way to go.I have a few torque wrenches forfixing cars but my bike tool box will be getting a dedicated inch pounds guage. My budget hovering somewhere in the general vecinity of $2k (ideally) leaves me almost completely out of anything wearing a Dura-Ace or Campy badge on this setup. While I would love to have a mid to upper end groupset this kit will be more likely than not a Apex or Rival and to a lesser degree maybe a 105. Unless I find something perfect on Ebay.

I am not planning on flying with my bike yet...:) maybe in the future. At this point I have ruled out the Ridley Noah and its' oh so pretty mast setup. I do travel several times a year for cycling related events and would love something I could clip some aero bars to and do a half iron someday.

Too address some of Petes' questions.

I'm looking at a race geometry over a more comfortable setup. I am modelstly flexible. I would say I am about a chameleon on work days and more so on the snake side on a weekend (http://www.fizik.it/spineconcept/#). My bars are about 2.5" below my saddle on a 58 and about 3" on the 56. I strive to keep some flex in my elbows and have little problem staying in the drops. One primary concern I had with the 58 was my fingers would lock up while braking down hill, and there is a noticeable lack of stability decending in the drops. On a flat road the larger frame is less of an issues andaffords the extra space to stretch out slightly on longer rides over flatter surfaces. A couple or stem changes helped but the reach is wrong.

I plan to do everything with this bike except lock it up at the store. I fail at biking to be green.

I'm very intrigued by the November Bicycles, I buy most of my food local...more investigation will be required.

Getting fit to my current road bike isn't really high on my priority list, I have it dialed in to a point where I can comfortably ride it all day and do it again the next day without raising any real discomfort. The next one will get a 2D fitting most likely.

I am planning to go kick some tires and stalk some deals over the next month or few, this isn't something I need today so I plan on doing an obsessive amount of research (as with most of my hobbies). I managed to find a British site that has nasty reviews of everything and that managed to enlighten me to the downsides of the Tarmac...so now I am back to the Canondale this time eyeing the SuperSix, I'm on the fence equippment wise, I'd like the Rival but the Apex is more budget friendly. I feel like for what you get the Rival or 105 offer more than the Apex though, a standard crank and better wheel options to start with, since it will be some time before items start "wearing out".

Tim Kelley
07-12-2012, 01:59 PM
Chiming in a wee late but whatever. Second what Mark B suggested in #5 (http://www.novemberbicycles.com/wheelhouse-bike/). I've had mine for over a year (March 2011).

+1 for November. I have a set of their wheels on my TT bike (http://www.flickr.com/photos/timkelley/sets/72157628801086311/) and really had a good experience working with those guys.

txgoonie
07-12-2012, 04:27 PM
I was flabbergasted when I first learned that you couldn't adjust the reach on Shimano levers.

After struggling with the reach on my 105s and getting to feel Jabber's SRAM Reds, I suddenly was, too! I've swapped out half a dozen handlebars trying to get the setup to work, and it just doesn't. I'll be in the same boat as the OP in a few months, looking to upgrade. Almost entirely sure I won't be buying carbon -- I feel I still have a lot of room to grow. But whatever I do get will have SRAM.

brendan
07-13-2012, 02:04 PM
After struggling with the reach on my 105s and getting to feel Jabber's SRAM Reds, I suddenly was, too! I've swapped out half a dozen handlebars trying to get the setup to work, and it just doesn't. I'll be in the same boat as the OP in a few months, looking to upgrade. Almost entirely sure I won't be buying carbon -- I feel I still have a lot of room to grow. But whatever I do get will have SRAM.

I'm fairly certain the index pull distance is different for shimano vs. sram rear shifting systems (though I think SRAM makes a small subset of shimano compatible parts). Also with some shimano components, the index to index distance changes over the range of index points...

Brendan

jabberwocky
07-13-2012, 02:35 PM
Sram shifters require a Sram rear derailleur. I believe the fronts are compatible.

The Sram stuff definitely works better for smaller hands. I still have ultegra on my CX bike; the levers are almost unusable in the drops for me because I just can't reach them. The Sram levers can be pulled in nice and close, which I prefer anyway.

DaveK
07-13-2012, 03:46 PM
After struggling with the reach on my 105s and getting to feel Jabber's SRAM Reds, I suddenly was, too! I've swapped out half a dozen handlebars trying to get the setup to work, and it just doesn't. I'll be in the same boat as the OP in a few months, looking to upgrade. Almost entirely sure I won't be buying carbon -- I feel I still have a lot of room to grow. But whatever I do get will have SRAM.

You can put shims into some Shimano levers to adjust the reach. Check with your friendly neighborhood bike shop, they'll usually just give them to you. They ship with new bikes if I recall correctly.

SteveTheTech
07-13-2012, 10:12 PM
+1 for November. I have a set of their wheels on my TT bike (http://www.flickr.com/photos/timkelley/sets/72157628801086311/) and really had a good experience working with those guys.

Thats an awesome rig there. I bet that thing is a rocket.
Excellent camera choice too.

I've done a little reading on the November line. (There really isn't a whole lot out there) It sounds almost too good to be true. I like the concept of a local startup. I don't like the Chinese frame of questionable quality. I do like the matte black no name brand...(exactly what I have now), if it is as light and fast as claimed than it would be a strong contender. I am not so keen on the warranty only being two years ( which seems to be on par with Chinese frames or questionable quality), one of the things you get with a name brand frame is typically a longer warranty. I've read that is a benefit especially with the Tarmac.

The $800 frame allows for a much nicer groupset than many other full bikes in my range...point November...I do not know if there is enough merit in that to overtake the SuperSix that is so far leading. There really is something to be said for a truly proven base.

I have the largest spacing shims in my Shimano shifters. I wear large/xl gloves I like the control it provides and a short firm brake pull. That really seems like a personal preference thing though.

off2ride
07-14-2012, 08:37 PM
Shimano levers have shims for reach adjustment. LBS have a bunch of these shims because they're included in the build kit. The 7900 Dura Ace has a screw for reach adjustment on the L & R lever. Personally, if I was to buy a frame and built it slowly, I would choose Shimano first but Campy comes in not far behind. The Record 11 is just as shweet as Dura Ace although Shimano will be coming out with their 11 version this year. Not so impressed with Sram Red though. Not a natural feeling shift if you ask me plus it sounds clunky and cheap. So component selection is a preference. That's just my opinion on those gruppo's.


I was flabbergasted when I first learned that you couldn't adjust the reach on Shimano levers. That said I'm happy with mine, although I have next-to-no experience with SRAM. The one time I test rode a SRAM equipped bike I could not get used to the double-tap mechanism. I might make my next bike SRAM just for variety.

vvill
07-14-2012, 11:22 PM
Good to know about the shims. Seems weird that there's no adjustment screw for anything under Dura Ace 7900 though... it's not as if Ultegra is cheap.

But I still like Shimano a lot, and didn't particularly enjoy the one SRAM test ride I had (although I would happily try SRAM again). I have one bike with Tiagra, one with Ultegra and two others with low-end Shimano, while my MTB back in Australia is LX/XT from the early 2000s.

SteveTheTech
07-17-2012, 11:23 AM
Shimano levers have shims for reach adjustment. LBS have a bunch of these shims because they're included in the build kit. The 7900 Dura Ace has a screw for reach adjustment on the L & R lever. Personally, if I was to buy a frame and built it slowly, I would choose Shimano first but Campy comes in not far behind. The Record 11 is just as shweet as Dura Ace although Shimano will be coming out with their 11 version this year. Not so impressed with Sram Red though. Not a natural feeling shift if you ask me plus it sounds clunky and cheap. So component selection is a preference. That's just my opinion on those gruppo's.

I like the low end Shimano shims, but they have their downsides. After half way through a 60 mile trip I peeled one off and dropped it somewhere. I had an extra at home but had to stop on the side of the road to adjust my brakes. The Adjustment on the Srams is also very simple and seems to have almost no way to fail. I like that the shifter and the brakes adjust differently to really dial it in to your preferences.

The Srams do seem to clunk more. I ride with a guy whos got a set of Profile Design carbon wheels and Reds on what looks like a $10k setup and it sounds like crap while shifting and stopping. I guess the sound of quality sounds rickity.

consularrider
07-17-2012, 11:29 AM
...But I still like Shimano a lot, and didn't particularly enjoy the one SRAM test ride I had (although I would happily try SRAM again). I have one bike with Tiagra, one with Ultegra and two others with low-end Shimano, while my MTB back in Australia is LX/XT from the early 2000s.
When I was test riding road bikes, I tried several Shimano 105 and Ultegras and then a SRAM Rival and never could get the hang of it during a 45 minute ride. Then the next day I was testing another bike with the SRAM and it finally clicked with me, and that's what I bought. Still took a little getting used to.

jabberwocky
07-17-2012, 11:30 AM
The Srams do seem to clunk more. I ride with a guy whos got a set of Profile Design carbon wheels and Reds on what looks like a $10k setup and it sounds like crap while shifting and stopping. I guess the sound of quality sounds rickity.Srams road stuff does have a very definite mechanical clunk when shifting. Shimanos is smoother sounding. I don't really care either way; my Red setup shifts accurately and quickly, but I can't say I've ever had any issues with my Ultegra setup either. I just vastly prefer the Sram lever ergonomics, and having dealt with both companies on warranty issues, I would much prefer to buy from Sram anyway.

DaveK
07-17-2012, 02:06 PM
Srams road stuff does have a very definite mechanical clunk when shifting. Shimanos is smoother sounding. I don't really care either way; my Red setup shifts accurately and quickly, but I can't say I've ever had any issues with my Ultegra setup either. I just vastly prefer the Sram lever ergonomics, and having dealt with both companies on warranty issues, I would much prefer to buy from Sram anyway.

Ditto for the above, completely. I even prefer the sound and feel of SRAM. Reminds me of a rifle bolt. If you have deep enough carbon wheels, even Shimano will give a mighty clunk when you shift.

pfunkallstar
07-17-2012, 02:47 PM
Although the Litespeed looks aero, testing showed it to be less so than most other "aero bikes" when it comes to drag. Does that matter? Not a single bit. No one outside of a pro will ever notice.

I really like the Tarmac personally, the geometry is spot-on (for me, anyway) and it's a proven frame. You really can't go wrong with any of those frames. The recent Tarmac frames have a little higher head tube than the older ones so the difference to the Roubaix, especially in smaller frame sizes, isn't as noticeable.

Bottom like though, those are all great and you should ride them all and pick the one that speaks to you.

If you're on a budget, I promise you the bike manufacturers can buy components cheaper than you can. Just buy a complete bike.

If you are confident in your ability to build up a bike and get the fit right from afar - GEOMETRY SKILLS! Then I would add another option, direct-order frame build. I bought a carbon frame and fork combo off of http://www.e-hongfu-bikes.com/ and built it up with SRAM Rival, threw on some Rolf Vector Pros (yep they are still rocking it 10 years on) and have been loving it. It isn't for the faint of heart, but I was able to get a beast of a bike for right around $1,300. Something to think about.

jabberwocky
07-17-2012, 03:17 PM
I even prefer the sound and feel of SRAM. Reminds me of a rifle bolt.Oh, I agree. Shimano feels mushy to me. I like that definite mechanical thunk. :)