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Specialized Test The Best are rolling into Canberra 11th & 12th January 2014. Come down & test ride some sweet bikes!
Just come back from this. Got there just after 9am and they were super busy with people and bikes everywhere. I signed up to ride a Venge 54cm. I currently own a Tarmac SL3 (a couple actually) and I've never ridden a Venge so was keen to try one out. Wait was about 15mins which was ok, gave me chance to talk to a guy who owned a Venge but was test riding a Tarmac. He seemed to think the Tarmac was better on hills and perhaps the Venge was slightly better on the flats.
The Venge I rode had the new SRAM 22 which was interesting as I've never ridden a SRAM equipped bike before. Only took a minute to get used to it. Just rode a few laps of the crit circuit, I could of gone out ontop Uriarra or Cotter Rd but CBF.
Venge was nice but a bit meh. Just another bike really. Didn't really jump out and grab me. Interesting to ride the 54cm (my current bikes are 56cm), it does seem to fit me better, even though several LBS sales staff and 2 bike fitters think 56cm is ok for me. I'm around 5'11".
Went back and was keen to try a Tarmac in 54cm. They didn't have any. Or in 56cm. They offered me a ride of 54cm Roubaix but that's not the type of bike I want so didn't take them up on the offer.
Rode a 52 SL4. Nice. It was a nice bike for sure. Light and responsive and comfortable. Power transfer was better than the reacto, but that could have been the weight or more specifically the wheel set too. TT was longer than on the Reacto, too. It was running compact bars and a 90mm stem and the reach was notably less cramped than on mine with compact bars and a 100mm stem. More room for the knees out of the saddle, which suggests it has nothing to do with seat position. Will have to look at geo's, but the spesh felt bigger. It felt a better bike, but it was specced much higher with Roval carbon clinchers and DA for a start. Price is 9-10K vs 4K for the Reacto, but is it worth 5-6K more? i don't know. Diminishing returns, really. I can ride the Reacto fairly strongly and the advantage of the SL4 over the Reacto wouldn't be mind blowing. I would probably gain a small advantage.
What was impressive was mech DA 11spd. Sooooo light and precise. Like the diff between 10spd 105 and Ultegra compared to the teg on my Reacto. And apparently the Di2 DA is lighter than the mech DA and is just as precise with the advantages of electric. Nice. I would be happy with mech DA, but will aim for Di2.
Was unimpressed with braking on the Rovals. Not much bite. The TWE tubs and supplied pads have way more bite and a strong progressive feel. The Rovals just felt lame. Probably could use better pads and maybe they haven't been bedded in properly yet, but they felt underdone for the speed that bike can carry.
Still not sure it is 2K better than an Izalco SL with Di2 DA. A test ride will confirm yay or nay.
Going back tomorrow after a lengthy hilly ride to see how it climbs Mt Stromlo. Again, it will be difficult to tell what is the contribution of the frame geo, weight or wheel weight. Descending should give me an idea of how it handles, but Stromlo aint tight, steep or windy.
I'm waiting for Specialized to announce the next lot of venues for their "Test the Best" days. Hopefully they'll be coming back to Coffs Harbour in April again. I'm looking at a new Venge (or maybe an updated Tarmac if i don't take to the Venge). My LBS is also suggesting i try a 52 rather than the 54 Tarmac I currently ride. I'm 172cm so i'm sorta on the cusp of sizes.
4 posts • Page 1 of 1
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