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Tarmac or Amira?

I’m ordering a 2011 Specialized from Nicollete South Bike Shop and I am having trouble deciding between the Tarmac Comp or the Amira Comp.  I have come up with a list of pros and cons of each bike, and I would like some input.

Availability: Specialized makes a limited number of 49cm Tarmac frames, so I wouldn’t get my new bike until April.

Components:  The Tarmac comes with Rival, which I like slightly better than 105 because it seems to be narrower and easier to grip with small hands.  Unfortunately with the Amira, there is no option for Rival.

Gears: The Tarmac Comp Rival does not come with a compact gear ratio, but if I go with 105 I can get compact.  But do I really need to have compact?  I’m not a strong climber so I think I should.

Geometry: I have short legs and a long torso.  The Amira in a 51 cm has a seat tube length of 450 cm and a top tube length of 518 cm.  For a 49 cm Tarmac the seat tube length is 460 cm and the top tube is 518 cm.

Is there anything else that I should be thinking about?  Do you all have any advice for me?  It’s always so hard to make a decision on a long term commitment.

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1 Melanie { 02.12.11 at 4:31 pm }

Erin, most importantly…what color would you get?

I have a Tarmac 49 cm, which I absolutely love. My previous bike was a Ruby 48 cm (what later turned into the Amira), and while it was a great bike, I just feel somewhat more satisfied with the performance of the Tarmac. The Tarmac is a very aggressive bike, don’t get me wrong, but it rides really well for me. I have really long legs (relative to the rest of me, at least) and a short torso, and the geometry is good for me. When I had a Ruby it was a 48 cm, which maybe was too small? Honestly though, the bikes are probably pretty similar overall, as I think the Amira is supposed to perform more like the Tarmac than the Ruby did, and if the components suit you better on the Tarmac, that’s probably your bike!

Assuming you like the color that is. :)

2 Anna { 02.22.11 at 9:39 am }

Erin, I vote for the Amira & the compact! I have a Tarmac and I adore it but I have heard that the Amira is the Tarmac’s equal in performance and its equal in weight. I have flip flopped from compact to standard and now I am going back to compact but changing it from the usual 50-34 to 52-38, which is almost a standard 53-39 — so you can get a nice range of gearing on the compact. Maybe you have already made your choice!

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