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Specialized Roubaix Range Review

Specialized Roubaix Review

  • Price Range: £1,900 - £7,500
  • Discipline: Sportive & endurance racing
  • Usage: Taming rough roads
  • Compliant ride
  • Predictable handling
  • Lightweight frame
  • Cable discs only on Elite model
  • No aluminium framed model
  • SWAT box only on Expert and Pro

Updated: 20th October 2016

Overview

Named after the gruelling Paris-Roubaix road race, the Specialized Roubaix range is designed to offer a smooth, fast and efficient ride over over the roughest road surfaces. With numerous wins on the notorious cobbles of this iconic race, the Roubaix lives up to the mantra ‘smoother is faster’. A complete redesign for 2017 has seen this concept taken a stage further with the introduction of Future Shock technology. Developed in partnership with McLaren, Future Shock offers a smoother ride with improved efficiency and sharper handling characteristics.

With its tried-and-tested endurance road bike riding position, lightweight carbon fibre composite frame, Future Shock technology and disc brakes on all models, the Roubaix makes light work of challenging riding conditions. The Specialized Roubaix combines an incredibly smooth ride with efficient pedalling and predictable handling, so that you can ride further, faster and longer over any road surface.

Specialized Roubaix Lightweight FACT 10r carbon frame

Frame and Fork

Specialized’s lightest frame yet

What is surprising about the new Roubaix is that with a weight of around 700g this is the lightest frame that Specialized have ever built. Of course you need to add on 200g for the Future Shock and 300g for the fork but this is still a seriously lightweight chassis. The Roubaix is built from Specialized’s FACT 10r carbon fibre (11r on the S-Works model), which uses higher modulus fibres in high stress areas like the head tube and bottom bracket. This makes the frame stiff where it needs to be for improved power transfer and steering precision. The fork is made from FACT 11r carbon on all models and is incredibly stiff, strong and reactive.

The new Roubaix makes things easier - easier to maintain speed, pick a line, make choices, find better lines and even attack and pass those riding around you. Bike Radar

Specialized Roubaix Future Shock head tube suspension

Future Shock

Smoother is faster

A bike that tames the road, offers up grand control and will possibly give Specialized-sponsored riders another shot at glory while delivering a safer, more secure ride to consumers. bicycling.com

The concept of making a bike compliant, so that it rolls easier over rough surfaces and reduces rider fatigue is nothing new. However, what is new is the way that Specialized have achieved this. The Future Shock cartridge sits inside the head tube and offers 20mm of travel between the frame and stem. 

When riding over rough terrain, the bike moves towards your hands while preserving pedalling efficiency. This makes the ride very smooth and keeps both wheels stiffly connected to the frame so handling is far more predictable. It's rather reminiscent of Cannondale's Headshock suspension forks from a decade ago where the spring/dampening took place above the fork crown and not on the fork legs themselves. 

Rear compliance is enhanced by lowering the attachment point of the CG-R seatpost to below the top tube. This offers 20 degrees of rearward arc compliance to help soak up vibrations. 

Specialized Roubaix Shimano 105 Groupset

Groupset

Hydraulic discs and electronic shifting

Fitted with disc brakes, the Roubaix offers improved all-weather stopping control thanks to disc brakes on all models. 5 of the 6 models are specced with Shimano hydraulics which offer powerful control with a great feel. You get the very impressive SRAM Red at the top of the range, while the Elite uses Tektro Spyre mechanical discs that are more than capable but lack some of the feel of hydraulics.

Equipped to all models is an 11-speed drivetrain with a compact chainset, and all except the S-Works feature a wide range 11-32 cassette for taking on challenging terrain (11-28 cassette on the S-Works). The Roubaix has more models with electronic shifting than with mechanical. The top of the range S-Works features SRAM’s wireless ETap drivetrain with ultra crisp and precise shifting, while the Pro and Expert Udi2 models feature Shimano Ultegra Di2. The entry level Elite has the beloved workhorse Shimano 105 shifters and mechs. 

The Expert and Pro models come equipped with a SWAT box to store your ride essentials low down in the frame. With 3 bottle bosses on the down and seat tube, the Swat box clips at the bottom of the front triangle and sits clear of any water bottles. 

With SRAM ETap and Shimano Di2 the Roubaix is one of the few road bike ranges that has more models with electronic shifting than mechanical.

Specialized Roubaix Axis Elite Disc wheels and Turbo Pro tyres

Wheels

Take the rough with the smooth

When climbing, the Roubaix feels as balanced and capable as the Tarmac, helped in no doubt by the latest Roval wheels. Bike Radar

Built to take the rough with the smooth, the 2017 Roubaix features slightly wider 26mm tyres, with wheels that can take on rough terrain without slowing you down on the climbs. The S-Works features Roval CLX wheels, with carbon rims for the ultimate in robust, lightweight performance (with the Pro sporting Roval CL wheels). The Expert model rolls on high quality DT Swiss R460 disc wheels while you get the unflashy but functional Axis Elite Discs on the entry level Elite.

All of the wheels are shod with Specialized Turbo tyres that are fast, lightweight and tough. The 26mm width offers a little more cushioning while the Gripton compound combines low rolling resistance with excellent grip levels.

Specialized Roubaix Shimano 105 STI 11-speed Shifters

Best for

The ultimate Sportive bike

Great for sportives and endurance road bike races, Specialized's Roubaix isn’t restricted to gruelling rides over cobbled roads and offers benefits to all cyclists looking for a smoother ride without sacrificing speed. The Future Shock and drop clamp compliance systems smooth the road so well, without losing any pedalling efficiency. There aren't many riders that won’t appreciate the benefits that the Roubaix offers.

While the movement under the bars may seem a little odd at first, you'll soon realise there are great benefits. You get a bike which is stiff and efficient with predictably good handling, great traction and of course, a bit of added comfort.

Specialized Roubaix Fork Specialized Roubaix cockpit
Specialized Roubaix storage Specialized Roubaix saddle
Specialized Roubaix seat post Specialized Roubaix frame decal

Roubaix range models