When the 2017 Roubaix was launched with its pioneering new suspension technology, the cycling world went wild with excitement and anticipation for the spring classics. Road bikes have played with ideas of suspension in everything from tube shapes to the Specialized Zertz inserts before now. But with the Roubaix, named for the iconic one-day finale to the cobbled classics, Specialized relentlessly raise the bar where endurance and innovation are concerned.
Far from tailor-made for Paris-Roubaix, the Specialized Roubaix is an endurance road bike which is the perfect all-rounder, suited to long rides through British lanes and rough stretches of chip and seal just as well as the cobbles of Flanders. The 2018 range includes ten frame and component packages from the Specialized Roubaix at £1900 to the S-Works Roubaix McLaren Dura-Ace Di2 designed in tandem with McLaren Applied Technologies and retailing at a lofty £9995. Let’s take a look at the Roubaix’s key features:
Now standard across almost the whole Specialized fleet, is the Rider-First Engineered design process. Alive to the fact that every rider’s shape is different, Specialized makes sure that every frame has the same characteristics no matter the size. It is not uncommon for a small frame to carry greater stiffness by default than a larger geometry, even of the same model, so the big red S sought to address this. By focussing on carbon layup, tube profile and geometry, every Rider-First Engineered bike performs as specified.
This is where things get really interesting. As you’ll see when looking at a Roubaix in the flesh – or in the carbon – there’s a funny looking spring-like thing under the stem. That’s the Future Shock, Specialized’s unique suspension technology which is essentially a piston in the head tube with 20mm of travel. The tech was developed by the American bike brand in partnership with McLaren Applied Technologies with the primary aim of improving performance in the vertical compliance department. By focussing on vertical compliance (movement up and down) rather than fork splay (movement front to back, essentially lengthening the wheelbase), Specialized realised that smoothness, comfort and efficiency could be drastically improved all in one go. The result is a bike which promises to outperform any and all of its rivals.
The marriage of Rider-First Engineered geometry and Future Shock suspension makes the Roubaix frame one of the best and most exciting on the planet, but guess what? It doesn’t stop there. Specialized have wrapped their innovative 2018 Roubaix range with some spectacular componentry. The mid-range models come with Shimano groupsets and hassle-free disc brakes for all-round efficiency, and the higher you climb up the ladder, the more bells and whistles are added. Towards the top end, you start to see fast-rolling Roval carbon wheelsets, and the Specialized Expert is the first to benefit from Shimano electronic shifting. With the world-class S-Works Roubaix, you can choose from either Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 or SRAM eTap wireless shifting to go with the award-winning Roval CLX32 wheels.
With the Specialized Roubaix, a fun and fulfilling ride is guaranteed whatever the weather or terrain. If you’ve seen something you like here, which of course, you probably have, make sure you click through and check out the full specification. Remember, if you have any more questions, you can always ask one of us in store. Until then, happy riding!