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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    124

    Specialized Ruby vs. BMC Road Racer?

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    I'm looking to upgrade my road bike from my aluminum 2001 Bianchi Giro to a carbon bike with Ultegra/Rival or better. There's been a fairly involved testing/measuring process, details of which I won't go into right now except to say that being 5'3 with a 30" inseam and a torso too short for the bike shops' initial-sizing charts means finding a bike that fits is a challenge.

    44 cm bikes have all proven too small (had to jack the seat up really high, head tube was consequently really low, center of gravity too high, bike flopped all over the place). The only plus was that the reach felt good.

    After testing a bunch of 47-48 cm bikes (Trek, Cannondale, Specialized, Jamis, Giant, Cervelo) the two that seemed the most promising were: (1) a BMC Road Racer. The only model in stock was the 51 cm, so the reach felt too long, but pedaling/handling were nice, and judging by the geometry charts the top tube on the next size down (51 cm ett) is almost perfect. (2) A Specialized Ruby with Ultegra. The reach felt pretty good -- perhaps even a tad too short/upright, but that could be adjusted. It was the only bike I rode that felt like it was actually made for someone my size.

    With my budget, I can buy either the Road Racer (in a 48cm) or the Ruby with Ultegra for roughly the same price (the Ruby is the one I test-rode at a LBS, the BMC would have to be ordered -- both are 2012 models on sale) and I'm trying to decide. I want to be comfortable for long road rides and to ride fast, and probably do a few races. I worry that the Ruby might be good for comfort but a bit pokey. (Comments here and elsewhere have also noted that it can be twitchy, something I didn't encounter, but I never got going very fast on a hill during the test ride.) It did seem a little more comfort-oriented than I had anticipated, and I'm not completely sold on the acceleration and climbing potential. The BMC has a reputation for being a stiff, responsive ride, which sounds good in the short term but may be less comfortable on an 80-mile day. (I do have a history of back issues.) I can return the BMC for a small fee if the geometry is less ideal in real life than on paper. Unfortunately, there's no way to test-ride in advance.

    I'm sorry if this is overly detailed. Either of these bikes will be a dramatic improvement over my current ride, but in the interests of consulting those who ride either or both: do you have any comments on the ride quality of either of these bikes?

    Many thanks in advance.
    2011 Scott CX Team/Koobi Xenon
    2005 Bike Friday NWT/Selle Royal Lookin
    2001 Bianchi Giro/Terry Butterfly Ti
    1970s Centurion Le Mans/Ancient waffle saddle

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    208
    I have a Specialized Ruby Elite - the model with SRAM components. I find the ride to be ever so smooth and have never noticed any twitchiness. If a bike is twitchy, either the geometry is pretty radical or there is a mismatch between the bike size and rider size/position.

    I think that those people who say the bike is "slow" may be mistaking smoothness for lack of speed.
    JEAN

    2011 Specialized Ruby Elite - carbon fiber go-fast bike
    DiamondBack Expert - steel road bike
    Klein Pinnacle - classic no-suspension aluminum MTB

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    4,632
    It depends on what you want. The Ruby I tested was post-geometry change (when Spesh introduced the Amira, they retooled the geometry of the Ruby into a "plush" road bike), 51cm (I'm somewhere between a 51 and 54). The shop I tested it in was located in a busy area and it was my first experience with SRAM, so it was really hard to judge the bike properly. Smooth ride, but not quite as much get-up-and-go as I want in a road bike right now.
    At least I don't leave slime trails.
    http://wholecog.wordpress.com/

    2009 Giant Avail 3 |Specialized Jett 143

    2013 Charge Filter Apex| Specialized Jett 143
    1996(?) Giant Iguana 630|Specialized Riva


    Saving for the next one...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    124
    Thanks for your responses. Nice to know that not everyone finds the Ruby twitchy. I searched the posts here pretty thoroughly before starting this thread, and that was the only complaint that kept coming up. That makes the "get-up-and-go" the big question, I guess. Hi Ho Silver, what year was your bike made? I'm curious if it's the same geometry as the one I rode.
    2011 Scott CX Team/Koobi Xenon
    2005 Bike Friday NWT/Selle Royal Lookin
    2001 Bianchi Giro/Terry Butterfly Ti
    1970s Centurion Le Mans/Ancient waffle saddle

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    208
    Quote Originally Posted by Ered_Lithui View Post
    Thanks for your responses. Nice to know that not everyone finds the Ruby twitchy. I searched the posts here pretty thoroughly before starting this thread, and that was the only complaint that kept coming up. That makes the "get-up-and-go" the big question, I guess. Hi Ho Silver, what year was your bike made? I'm curious if it's the same geometry as the one I rode.
    My bike is the 2011 model. As a side note, I found that changing the stock tires to some Continental Gran Prix 4000S tires not only improved the ride quality, it also made the bike "feel" somewhat faster ...but that may be the "halo effect".
    JEAN

    2011 Specialized Ruby Elite - carbon fiber go-fast bike
    DiamondBack Expert - steel road bike
    Klein Pinnacle - classic no-suspension aluminum MTB

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,043
    Per Hi Ho's signature line, her Ruby is a 2011.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
    Posts
    564
    Another owner of a recent Ruby, and I *loooove* her for long road rides.

    I like to think of it like the different kinds of sports cars: some are speedy and quick and handle well, but aren't actually very comfortable. I rode in my friend's Lotus once, and found it loud, jostling, and not much for frills except the seat belt (but oh that acceleration!). Compare that to a modern BMW that is still zippy and grips the corners, but is so plush and cozy that sometimes you don't realize how fast you're really going, and it's the sports car you'd rather take on a long roadtrip. I'd put the Ruby in the latter category.

    -- gnat! (food for thought, and hey! breakfast!)
    Windsor: 2010 S-Works Ruby
    Pantysgawn: 2011 S-Works Stumpjumper 29er
    Whiz!: 2013 S-Works Crux (Singlespeed)
    Boucheron: 2009 S-Works Tricross
    Haloumi: 2013 Tern P7i
    Kraft: 2009 Singlecross
    Gouda: 2005 Electra Betty
    Roquefort: 1974 Stella SX-73

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Rowland Hts, CA
    Posts
    461
    A 44cm Ruby would definitely be too small for you. I am 5ft 1in short legs with long torso and I totally felt scrunched on the 44cm Ruby. I am currently on a 48cm Amira....which you might want to try out also while you are in the Specialized shop.

    For me, the Ruby seemed to have a more awkward handling than the Amira....but everyone rides differently. As for the "uprightness" of the Ruby, you can always lower the stem and flip the stem also if you want a more race position. The Ruby is better than the Amira for someone with a short torso because the top tube is a little shorter.

    As for the "twitchiness" factor of the BMC road bike. I road my friend's BMC bike (which is a 52 cm and was way too big for me) while standing up so I can't give a fair comparison.... but, the BMC seemed twitchier because the stiffness of the bike translated into more of my power into the bike speed.

    So, maybe you've heard that the BMC racers are more twitchy because they are stiff and responsive, which translates more pedal power into speed??

    As always, choosing a bike is a personal preference/personal budget. If you have back pain issues, maybe the Ruby would be best for you?

    Oops, I misread your post about the Ruby rather than the BMC being twitchy. The Ruby did not seem twitchy to me but did seem to have a more ackward handling for me than the Amira. Maybe because of my long torso, the Amira had better handling for my body type than the Ruby.
    ______________________________________________________
    2012 Specialized Amira Elite, upgraded carbon handle bars, Jett saddle 143mm switched to 145mm 2012 Selle Italia Max SLR Gel Flow saddle
    2010 Santa Cruz Juliana with R kit and Crampon pedals
    2011 Specialized Ariel Sport,suspension post,Serfas Rx Women's Microfiber saddle (sold)
    Last edited by TigerMom; 02-21-2013 at 10:17 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Denver Metro
    Posts
    834
    BMC for sure. I loved mine that I had previously(it was just a size too small- would of been perfect for you but I sold it last year!).

    IMHO a much better bike then the Specialized..

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Pac. NW
    Posts
    350
    I love my Ruby. Not a bit twitchy, very comfortable. I think it would be faster if it had a bigger engine!
    2011 Specialized Ruby Comp
    2015 Giant Liv Tempt 3

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    124
    Thanks for all the input! Guess I need to read signatures more carefully, too. :P TigerMom, I did try the Amira and was indeed a little too stretched out on it. (Which was a bummer, because it was on my short list prior to the test ride.) The Ruby and Amira rode like completely different animals.

    Emily, I would really love to hear anything you can tell me about your BMC and how it handled, and why you think it's better than the Specialized. (Not trying to start a fight here, I promise!)
    2011 Scott CX Team/Koobi Xenon
    2005 Bike Friday NWT/Selle Royal Lookin
    2001 Bianchi Giro/Terry Butterfly Ti
    1970s Centurion Le Mans/Ancient waffle saddle

 

 

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