Specialized launch new Roubaix

Specialized have launch a new Roubaix frameset system, featuring suspension at the front and rear of the bike through Future Shock 2.0 and the all-new, flexible  S-Works Pavé seat post.

The American brand say the new frameset is more aerodynamic than the Specialized Tarmac SL6, lighter than the latest Specialized Venge and is "the most technically advanced machine" the company has ever made.

Eleven different framesets or full-build options are available from stores as of today, including a new Sagan Collection range.

The original Specialized Roubaix was launched 15 years ago as a race-level endurance frameset and adopted the brand's strapline of 'smoother is faster' when Specialized first offered full suspension mountain bikes.

Since the original Specialized Roubaix was launched, the frameset has been ridden to victory six times in Paris-Roubaix, more than any other brand, and will be used by all riders from Deceuninck-QuickStep and Bora-hansgrohe at Paris-Roubaix this Sunday.

More aero than a Tarmac

Since the turn of the millennium, Paris-Roubaix average speeds have been above, or very close to, 40km/h over the 250-kilometre course. Greg Van Avermaet's victory for BMC Racing in 2017 was the fastest ever with an average speed of more than 45km/h.

These higher speeds have created a resistance to ride a non-aero frameset at the race from some of Specialized's sponsored riders and so aerodynamic performance is a key feature on the new Specialized Roubaix.

New tube profiles, lowered seat stays and a Kamm-tail seat post all contribute to the aero performance of the Roubaix 'system', which includes the frame, fork, seat post and stem.

The overall aero performance of the new bike is claimed to be better than the Specialized Tarmac SL6 and on par with the first Specialized Venge model, which the company says gives them the right to claim the new Roubaix falls into the aero category.

Lighter than a Venge

Despite retaining the Future Shock front suspension system - more on that below - the new Roubaix frame weighs 900g for a size 56 in black, lighter than the aero-focused Venge model, which was launched last year.

Paris-Roubaix is a notoriously flat course and so bike weight will have less of an impact than in hillier races with more climbing. Pro riders and consumers alike however, will always demand a lighter bike but a full Deceuninck-QuickStep build running a Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 groupsets and Roval CLX 50 wheels weighed 7.48kg for a size 57, although pedals and cages were not yet fitted.

Suspending the rider

The previous iteration of the Roubaix featured a Future Shock front suspension system, which offered 20mm of travel above the head tube so the handlebars and stem offered comfort to the rider without losing efficiency or speed.

The new Roubaix features the Future Shock 2.0, which retains the 20mm of travel alongside a single-circuit hydraulic damper and an adjustability knob. This combination reduces rebound on the system and the knob can be turned easily while riding to adapt the road surface or to switch off when climbing out of the saddle.

The Future Shock 2.0 aesthetic has also had an update, losing the ribbed rubber sheath for a smooth rubber component and integrating a Future Shock-specific stem from the brand to create a cleaner aesthetic as the unit has a wider diameter than a normal steerer tube.

Specialized say the Future Shock 2.0 is recommended for servicing after every 500 hours of riding.

Specialized offer a number of stem lengths from 70-130mm in 10mm increments and at a 6-degree angle but for riders with more extreme preferences, the Future Shock 2.0 is compatible with standard stems but may not offer the same clean finish.

New rear suspension

The previous Roubaix was fitted with lower seat stays for improved rear compliance alongside the Specialized CG-R seat post, which offered a degree of flex at the top of the seat post at the expense of a bulky-looking and heavier component.

The new Roubaix retains the 65mm lowered - and now more aerodynamic - seat stays but instead of the seat clamp utilising two bolts on the inside of the seat tube, a wedge system has been adopted and accessed via a long bolt to the rear of the seat post.

The longer bolt integrates neatly into the truncated, aero seat tube and is concealed by a rubber cover to match the aesthetic at the front end of the bike.

Utilising this seat post clamp mechanism enables the Roubaix to adopt the brand new, carbon S-Works Pavé seat post, which offers a huge amount of flex and improved comfort when riding over rough surfaces while keeping pedalling efficient and the rear wheel planted.

The S-Works Pavé will be used on all model levels of the new bike and is the same D-profile shape and size as a Tarmac seat post, enabling the two to be used interchangeably for those who want a less compliant Roubaix or a more compliant Tarmac.

The seat post is sold on all bikes in a 20mm rear offset and a 0mm offset S-Works Pavé seat post is available as a separate component.

Tyre clearances, bottom bracket, disc brakes

All of the full bike builds of the Specialized Roubaix are specced with 28mm Specialized tyres but the new fork and rear end design allows room for (at least) 33mm tyres dependent on rim width, opening the opportunities to use the bike on an array of surfaces or different tyre options.

Welcome news for many home mechanics and professional mechanics alike is that the new Roubaix adopts a threaded bottom bracket in all frame options.

Like the last iteration of the Roubaix - and perhaps unsurprisingly - the new Specialized Roubaix is available with disc brakes only and Specialized assured Cyclingnews that all of the riders from Deceuninck-QuickStep and Bora-hansgrohe will race with discs at Paris-Roubaix as they have done for every race so far in 2019.

While the previous Roubaix was also disc-only, Specialized produced pro-only versions of the bikes with direct mount rim brakes used by Peter Sagan to victory in 2018.

Beyond gender

Specialized has now joined a number of other bike manufacturers in choosing to offer one model for both male and female riders and there will be no offering of the Specialized Ruby - the female-specific Roubaix - seen in the past.

Specialized say the decision is down to analysing data from their Retul bike fitting program and establishing that there is more likelihood of two male riders having a different leg to torso ratios than a male and a female.

The company claim their Retul data is the largest of its type in the world and have optimised geometry through 11 different frame sizes from 44-64cm (in two centre increments).

For those looking for a more aggressive fit, three 'Team Geo' frame sizes are also available in 53, 57 and 59cm models, which match the geometry of the Specialized Tarmac SL6 in 54, 56 and 58cm, respectively. This more aggressive geometry is the same as will be used by pro riders at Paris-Roubaix.

Each different frame size has a specific layup to ensure the stiffness and compliance properties of the frame are consistent between sizes, unlike some other brands who simply reduce the amount of carbon used in a linear fashion as the size decreases, Specialized say.

Pricing, models and availability

  • Specialized Roubaix S-Works Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 Sagan: US$12,000 / GB£10,000 
  • Specialized Roubaix S-Works SRAM RED eTap AXS: US$11,500 / GB£9,500 / AU$17,000
  • Specialized Roubaix S-Works Shimano Dura-Ace Di2: US$11,000 / GB£9,500 / AU$16,200
  • Specialized Roubaix Pro SRAM Force eTap AXS: US$7,000 / GB£6,400 
  • Specialized Roubaix Expert Shimano Ultegra Di2: US$6,000 / GB£5,400 / AU$8,500
  • Specialized Roubaix Comp Shimano Ultegra Di2: US$4,400 / GB£4,400 / AU$6,500
  • Specialized Roubaix Comp Shimano Ultegra: US$3,600 / GB£3,400
  • Specialized Roubaix Sport Shimano 105: US$2,900 / GB£2,600 / AU$4,000
  • Specialized Roubaix S-Works Team frameset: US$4,500 / GB£TBC / AU$6,000
  • Specialized Roubaix Sagan frameset: US$5,000 / £3,500 / AU$6,000
  • Specialized Roubaix S-Works frameset: US$4,500 / GB£3,500

The Specialized Roubaix is available in retailers now.

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