I’ve ridden my Roubaix through the depths of winter, over every wet badly surfaced road in the area, and through beautiful countryside on hot sunny days on 100 mile+ rides. I’ve now got a good idea what this bike is really like and some good reference points for that view.
As background, the bike I typically ride in the hotter dry days is a Canyon Ultimate which weighs in at a mere 6.7kg. It’s incredibly snappy and none more so than when hitting undulations. It really is a joy to ride as it powers over the brow at a time when others might be dropping down a gear or getting out of the saddle. It could not be more different to the Roubaix.
The comfort on Roubaix bike is how most reviews will start and they are right to. Where the Canyon will twitch and bump its way to the front of the pack, the Specialized is quietly going about it’s business in the middle and not really making too much fuss. How much of this is the Future Shock suspension I have no idea for the simple reason I very quickly got used to it, but it would obviously make a positive difference. Perhaps the best measure of this is that my cycling friends point out that I ride over what they ride around, which doesn’t make me popular in a group ride.
The S-Works Pave seat post also plays a big part in this, as does the 28mm tyres, a step up from the 25mm I was used to on my Ultimate. The bike glides and rolls on most roads and soaks up the surface better than anything I have ever owned and really does put a smile on your face as you ride it.
On the descents it is confidence building and I haven’t found the need to change the spring from the medium setting down to a harder one as others have commented. Maybe I am a less aggressive descender, but I have taken this at high speeds down some long and winding hills and without a doubt I feel less intimidated by the road than I would on the Canyon. This could all be in my mind, but I happen to think the bike is just solid and smooth and therefore making me a bit more relaxed.
I understand why it is shipped with a 11-34 cassette but I would have preferred 32 and a little bit more flow through the middle. It’s not the end of the world, but I am tempted to use the lower gears more than I normally would and I’m aware it could make me a little ‘lazy’.
It’s not a beautiful bike compared to some. The chunkiness of the frame to accommodate the extended seat post support is a feature of the Roubaix that is physically necessary but I’m not sure it enhances the look for the bike. It’s not the end of the world. What is, is the spaghetti junction of cables at the front and it really does make you wish I bought it with Di2. It has a physical impact as I can’t even easily fit my GoPro under my Garmin mount as the cables are so thick and congested and I’m jealous when I see a bike that looks so much neater.
You will read many reviews wherel people will tell you their Roubaix is fast and a great allrounder. I wouldn’t go that far. If it were your only bike then it really is a great bike because it can hold its own in all areas. Would it be faster with some nice Roval wheels running tubeless? Of course, but I’m not sure I want to spend another £1,000 on that yet – especially when I really bought this bike to ride when I wasn’t wanting to ride the Canyon – such as on wet days or much longer and slightly slower rides. Without wanting to sound arrogant or spoilt, I think you would describe this bike as fast if you hadn’t ridden a fast bike, so bear that in mind if you are upgrading.
The Power saddle took a bit of getting used to. I love Specialized saddles and in particular I hated the Fizik saddle that came with my Canyon; that was until I rode it for three months and then I was used to it (and actually now like it). The Power saddle is really comfortable, but I do find myself feeling a slight pinch in my bib shorts when I am winding up the power and that is not something that I get in the same shorts on any other bike. Why? I have no idea, and it could even be the shorts which are Assos. However, that is all that I chose to ride in and it therefore surprised me that I would get this little niggle sometimes as it’s a little annoying – especially on a hot day when things are a bit sweaty!
My summary is that Specialized know how to make a great bike and this is very much one of them. A lot of what the new 2021 Tarmac features in terms of aero benefits has come from the work undertaken on this Roubaix. It is no longer the bike you dig out when you want to ride over cobbles – after all, how often do you really do that? If you want a bike that is super comfortable, easy to jump on and ride and one that just makes you smile the Roubaix is for you. If you want a bike that is going to smash your friends up a climb, get the new Tarmac.
I own the 2020 Specialized Roubaix Comp with stock DT Swiss wheels and tyres.
Find out about my current cycling activity on Instagram as DADONABIKE