Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Upgrading the Tarmac

I did a 2-hr ride on the Tarmac yesterday and was pleased with it. My first impressions compared with the Orca:

  • Tarmac has slightly more responsive steering, which means slightly less stable (a little more twitchy), and seemed to be a little more responsive to accelerations.
  • Tarmac is about 1.5 lbs lighter than the Orbea (around 15.3 with pedals) and I think I did notice some difference.
  • Tarmac seems to dampen road vibration a little bit more, but it might be the Roval Fusee wheels as much as the frame.
  • The S-Works Toupe saddle is nice and very light, but I like my slightly heavier and more boring Fizik Arione better.
  • I don't care for the S-Works stem, so I'll replace it with a Thomson X2.
  • The reach was about a centimeter too long, so I'll install a shorter stem.
  • I like the Roval Fusee wheels very much. They are very light (1500g/pair), stiff, and more aero than my Ksyrium SLs that I have been using for training.
  • 2008 Dura-Ace shifting was smooth for the most part. I'd say rear derailleur works as well or a little better than my 4-year-old Campagnolo Record, but the front derailleur is slightly inferior to Record (not quite as smooth when upshifting under power).
  • I don't the like Dura-Ace hood shape, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. The cockpit isn't as clean looking due to the Dura Ace non-internal cables, but I'll get used to that, too. The Campy hoods provide a much flatter top-of-bars platform, which I like. I think the 2009 Dura Ace has copied Campy (and SRAM) and have a flatter top and routed cables.
  • The only component that I really did not like was the S-Works carbon bars. First, they have the flattened, ergo oval shape to the top horizontals - I don't care for those. But the biggist issue is the vertical slant to the bars as you move from the top horizontals and begin to curve around to the hoods. I like bars that stay horizontal in that top curve before turning down to the hood locations.

I could have roatated the S-Works bars clockwise and moved the brake hoods downward on the bars, but then the oval top tube would be sloping back at a weird angle and the drops would have been sloping toward the ground more than I like.

So last night I gave the Tarmac a litte makeover. I made (or will make) the following changes:

  • Swapped the stock 100mm stem for a 90mm Thompson X2.
  • Swapped the white and blue S-Works Toupe saddle for a black Fizik Arione.
  • Swapped the S-Works carbon seatpost with a Thompson Masterpiece seatpost.
  • Swapped the Michelin Pro Race 3 tires for Maxxis Cormets.
  • Swapped the threaded-stem tubes with smooth-stemmed Specialized tubes (easier on the pump gasket).
  • Swapped the heavy, bulky-looking Profile design bottle cages with carbon Bontragers.
  • Swapped the carbon ergo bars for FSA Energy aluminum bars (which are lighter, by the way - which surprised me).
  • Will remove the blue bar tape and replace with black for winter. I'll likely go to white in April.

Now I'm good to go. Anybody want to buy a bunch of Campy shop tools?

1 Comment:

Colin Griffiths said...

Interesting post. I intend to get an S-Works Tarmac next season. I don't care for carbon bars either, I'd be worried about them if ever I fell off.