â€‹Roubaix & Ruby, redux
The Roubaix road bike frame from Specialized has been a firm favourite with road cyclists in the UK for many, many years - ever since it launched in 2004. Part of what made this bike great was it came along at a time when roadies were looking for something a bitt different, namely a bike that was more comfortable to ride over mid- to long-distance than the out-and-out speedster top-end frames available. In fact, it's not too much of a stretch to say that the Roubaix was the original endurance road bike. The Ruby was created as a women's equivalent to the Roubaix a couple of years later, to match the demand from female riders everywhere.
In the 12 years since its creation the Roubaix has had the odd nip and tuck here and there, as part of Specialized's commitment to constant refinement and improvement, but there has certainly never been an update as drastic as this one before.
The future is now!
Future Shock is the name given to a new bit of amazing technology that's been added to both the Roubaix and Ruby for 2017. You'll find it on the stem of the new bikes and it's designed to smooth out the ride experience to give you a more efficient passage across bumpier surfaces. The 20mm travel of the suspension system may seem insignificant compared to the whopping amounts of give you can get on a modern mountain bike fork, but that 20mm actually ends up making a whole world of difference.
The positioning of the shock above the stem, rather than below it, allows your bike to keep rolling, while you're the one that's actually moving to compensate for the bumps. This is all about giving you a more consistent, predictable and smooth riding experience, by keeping the bike's wheelbase the same, regardless of the sort of terrain you tackle.
What Specialized also claims is that the improved smoothness of the ride also make the bike faster over the long distances it was designed for. The logic they use says the improved comfort factor of the Roubaix and Ruby means that you are fatigued less by riding, allowing you to ride with more energy for a longer time. That means no more stepping off the bike after a long day in the saddle feeling like you've been ten rounds with a heavyweight boxer!
Elsewhere on the bike you'll find the same amazingly light FACT carbon fibre that Specialized prides itself on, a sharper more efficient geometry and a punchy component package that's hard to beat at this price bracket.
Whether you're looking for a great value bike that'll handle a range of different surfaces, from pristine tarmac to hard-packed gravel aplomb, or a machine to carry you on longer-distance endurance rides that see you pushing the 150 or even 200km market - the Roubaix and Ruby could very well be the best bikes for your needs.
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