A fantastically well-rounded seatpost - superbly crafted with added comfort to boot
The Specialized Pavé SL seatpost was launched alongside the 2020 Specialized Roubaix, back in April ahead of Paris-Roubaix 2019. The punishing terrain found at the Hell of the North is enough to put the very best cycling components through their paces, so the Pavé SL had to be up to the task.
The S-Works Pavé SL has been engineered to have the saddle move back and downward in a perfect arc in order to offer greater compliance over the rough ground of Roubaix's cobbles, while retaining the aerodynamic properties of the S-Works Carbon seatpost. It features the same single-bolt saddle clamp to offer simple and fast adjustment.
Weighing in at 209g, The Pavé SL is a mere three grams heavier than the S-Works Carbon post, and it comes as standard on all 2020 Roubaix models, although it will cost £185 (US$200, AU$280) for those looking to upgrade their Tarmac - but is it worth it?
Design and aesthetics
The aesthetics of the seatpost are largely similar to the Specialized S-Works Carbon seatpost that comes as standard on a Tarmac SL6, however, there are a couple of subtle differences. The 'Pavé' model name adorns the front, but in a minimalist way that is largely hidden beneath the saddle. The numbered measurements found on the Carbon are present on the Pavé SL, and the rear graphics have been updated.
Compared to the previous comfort-enhancing seatpost from Specialized - the CG-R, the Pavé SL is a vast improvement in terms of its design treatment.
You can pair this seatpost with any typical road bike saddle, whether it comes with carbon, steel, titanium or aluminium rails.
The S-Works Pavé is only compatible with the 2020 Roubaix and the Tarmac SL6. Gone are the days where any 27.2mm round post would fit any bike, instead, manufacturers commonly create their own proprietary seatpost standards, and Specialized is no different.
It is available in a choice of two lengths (380mm or 450mm) and two setback options (0mm and 20mm). You will also get both saddle clamp options, for compatibility with 7 x 9 carbon or 7 x 7 metal-railed saddles.
As far as seatposts go, the Pavé SL hasn't failed. At no point have we experienced unexpected saddle or seatpost slippage, there have been no unwanted noises, and the post doesn't provide anything like a harsh or chattery ride.
Swapping seatposts was a simple process thanks to the subtle saddle height measurements on the rear of both seatposts.
The big question is whether the S-Works Pavé SL is worthy of the £185 (US$200, AU$280) upgrade from your S-Works Carbon seatpost? In short, no. While the collective backsides of Cyclingnews don't constitute scientific proof, there just wasn't a noticeable difference between the two.
That's not to say it's a bad seatpost, however. If you're buying a new 2020 Roubaix, then you're in luck. It's a fantastically well-rounded seatpost that provides a smooth, comfortable ride that would befit any premium road bike.
The Pavé SL's problem is that the S-Works Carbon is also very very good, and it's cheaper at £142. We just didn't experience enough of a difference to warrant even the £43 premium, let alone the full upgrade price.
Perhaps, in the event of an ultra-distance event where those minute, unnoticeable changes add up to make all the difference between grin and grind, the Pavé SL might be a worthy addition to your ride but, for the average rider, the cheaper, S-Works Carbon would be our recommendation.
- Bike used: S-Works Tarmac SL6 Disc
- Saddle used: S-Works Romin / Repente Latus CL
- Distance covered: ~1000km
- Terrain: Grippy British roads, cobbles, even a bit of singletrack
- Ride types: Commutes, four-hour endurance rides, town-centre criteriums
- Price: £185
- Length: 380mm
- Set back: 0-degrees
- Weight: 209g
- Compatibility: Tarmac SL6, 2020 Roubaix