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Specialized Tarmac v. Trek Emonda v. Cannondale Super Six

HightopsHightops Posts: 4
edited March 2016 in Road buying advice
Hey guys, I need your help to pull the trigger on a shiny new road bike (as early as this weekend)...

About me: 30 yrs old, San Francisco, 6'2", 175-180lbs depending on last time I ate a burrito, have proven to myself over 3 years that I am "in" to cycling. I do 2-3 20 mile rides/week in Marin Headlands north of Golden Gate Bridge, the occasional 50-70 miler up and back to Mt. Tam, and have a few centuries under my belt. I am going to do some mass start races this year that I signed up for on USA Cycling website, easing my way into competitive riding. I like to push myself to go fast and enjoy racing my buddies up Hawk Hill.

First bike: Cannonade CAAD 10 105 (Aluminum frame) -- love this bike. Light weight, super fast, yadda yadda, but believe it or not I weighed 210lbs in July and dropped 30 lbs by October just by not eating censored anymore (a story for another post)... then I found a new energy, a new speed within myself, and the need to "treat" myself with a new ride (I told myself initially I'd get a new bike if I got to 195, but kept dropping weight and feel great).

New Bikes Considered:
Specialized S-Works Tarmac Dura Ace $7999
Specialized Tarmac Pro Race (Dura Ace) $5500
Trek Emonda SLR 8 (Dura Ace) $7499
Cannondale Super-Six Evo Hi-Mod Dura Ace 1 $7990
Cervelo R5 (Dura Ace) $7500
**Any others I should consider?**

I've ridden all of these except for the R5 and the S-Works (will ride S-Works this weekend) and narrowed down my preferred attributes: Fit (no major complaints on any of these, and nothing a pro fit won't be able to dial-in for me based on my rides thus far), Dura Ace (or equivalent), mechanical groupset (I've ridden and love the electronic shifting but still prefer Dura Ace, a lightweight wheelset -- preferably carbon -- that I won't feel the urge to upgrade, solid reliable crank, not too worried about aero (could lose 5 more lbs to improve there) at this point, lightweight carbon frame that is super stiff yet smoother than my current aluminum frame (low bar!).

Please give me your suggestions upon evaluation of my situation.

If it helps, a few observations:
Really like the S-Works, maybe the most; it's at the high end of the range, but the geometry is fine even if slightly more aggressive than the Emonda. I just don't know if the S-Works upgrades from the Pro Race version are worth all that money (Roval CLX40 / Carbon Crank / Carbon handlebars / Fact 11r Frame in the S-Works vs. CL40s, Alu crank and handys, Fact 10r carbon in the Pro Race). Also, the S-Works color way in blue and white looks incredible (yes, look is a factor for me), thought the Pro Race black looks sweet too.

The Emonda I rode today is INCREDIBLY lightweight, and sits up taller than the Specialized frames, though the slight improvement in comfort didn't reveal any game-changing epiphany (still leaning toward Specialized geo) and it has alloy wheels rather than carbon. The reviews I read / watched pointed to that being the first upgrade on this bike. Also noteworthy it has a Dura Ace crank rather than the Specialized in-house crank -- not sure this matters too much, but maybe one of you knows.

The Cannondale is a great bike and a great value (I can get 10-15% off MSRP above from LBS) but feels too much like my current bike, and I liked the Trek and Specialized bikes on the ride more. It feels like more of the same (a complement to my aluminum CAAD 10 -- the BEST beginner bike I can recommend).

I also really like the Bianchi brand, but don't think they have a bike that fits in this price range this year, and they certainly don't have one in this price range with Dura Ace components and the celeste color (weird, but I am a fan of that color).

This is a huge purchase and I've saved up a while for it, so I know what I'm getting in to. I have done a lot of research (could write a few more pages here), and asked tons of people (friends and shop employees) about this, and I've gotten a lot of good advice from reading previous form posts, so thought I might as well launch a thread of my own. Thanks again in advance.


  • nicklongnicklong Posts: 231
    That's a big sum of money. No doubt they will all be excellent bikes, though I would go for the SuperSix for the classic frame shape.

    However, in your shoes I would be looking at something a bit rarer or more 'boutique'. What about a LOOK 695/795, a Parlee, Felt F FRD, Ceelo, Factor? For $8000 you could probably fly over to Germany and pick up a Canyon Aeroad 9.0 and still have a bit left - I would think that they are extremely rare stateside.
  • The S Works carbon cranks are excellent and really match the bike well.

    They are very light and stiff, and super easy to remove for cleaning and regreasing.

    They also strike me as quite aero, being smooth and rounded.

    (I have a Sworks Tarmac 2013 and 2015, ie. SL4 and SL'5')
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 12,015
    It's impossible to buy a bad bike at those price points - the minutiae of geometry and finishing kit is largely irrelevant really, so I would just go with the one that floats your boat the most.
  • mamil314mamil314 Posts: 1,103
    Might also consider Fuji SL and Scott Addict; they are not necessarily better than your list, but the more you try, the better, you never know which one might 'click' with you and truly stand out.
  • The S Works carbon cranks are excellent and really match the bike well.

    They are very light and stiff, and super easy to remove for cleaning and regreasing.

    They also strike me as quite aero, being smooth and rounded.

    (I have a Sworks Tarmac 2013 and 2015, ie. SL4 and SL'5')

    Thanks for this! I had heard good things, so nice to get another supporting viewpoint.
  • HightopsHightops Posts: 4
    Thanks everyone. I went with the 2015 Cannondale Supersix Evo Hi-Mod. The local bike shop I went to had a great price as it was a close-out and knocked even more off when I got it, so was able to get out the door for ~$3k. That was a lot of money for me, but far less than some of the other bikes I was recommended to consider (per my original post). The best thing about it is that I really like it and find myself waking up before the alarm to go for rides. The wheels just roll faster, very happy I chose it.
  • JesseDJesseD Posts: 1,961
    That is a huge discount off RRP!!

    With the cash left over you can get a set of deep section carbon wheels, a set of lighter climbing wheels, and new kit for you as well!
    Obsessed is a word used by the lazy to describe the dedicated!
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