It’s a long story how I came to own a Roubaix Comp 2022 so soon after their release, and the short version is due to warranty issues I had with the previous 2020 Comp model. I had started early bike life on a Roubaix 2012 Comp so when that 2020 version came along after such a major overhaul full of all sorts of exciting features, none more so than those that made it faster, I was pretty excited. You can find out what I thought of that bike here.
Taking ownership of the new version, which I call Ruby after the beautiful red finish (more about that later) was an exciting step as the bike featured two significant upgrades over what I was used to. 1) Future Shock 2.0 and 2) SRAM AXS Rival eTap gears. One thing to also mention, is that due to having the previous model, I had already bought some Roval C38 carbon wheels and in the photos shown in this article these are included instead of the stock DT Swiss alloy wheel set (which really are ok despite the snobbery towards carbon wheels).
First though, let me focus on the overall experience of the bike. It’s a delight to ride because it’s so smooth and that’s a word you will hear lots the more research you do. Smooth means you don’t feel the buzz of the asphalt, it means you are thinking less about the surface and more about the ride experience and it also means you focus more on the road not the surface. And that’s the point, it’s not necessarily about getting you to where you want to with less bumps, although it will, but enabling you to focus all your energy and enthusiasm on the enjoyment of riding a bike.
Future Shock 2.0
The Future Shock 2 (FS2) is way better than the 1.5 I experienced before and not just because it’s adjustable on the fly. It works better and I admit I do find myself adjusting it more as I ride than I thought I would. It makes me wonder if I should have swapped over my springs a bit more often on the previous model – but what a faff that was!
If I am riding up hill and I know its a bit steep I will tend to wind it to the hardest setting in case I need to get out of the saddle. When I do, I don’t notice the Future Shock and that means its not getting in the way of my climb either. Likewise, come down the other side to a few drains, bumps and lumps and I will wind it round a few notches to soften it up. Again, I don’t notice it really, but I do notice if I leave it in the hard setting. Proof that it is doing its job.
What I would say, and I don’t know how to qualify this, is that if you have it say mid-setting and you hit a particularly large lump in the road, the Future Shock can jolt and feel a little like when a car shock observer slams in a similar situation. It’s not loud, but you do feel more of a jolt than you perhaps would normally. I don’t find it a problem, more something I have noticed when riding, although it doesn’t happen very often.
SRAM Axs Rival eTap Groupset
The SRAM is nice and not least because of the 12 gears and the whole synchro option selected via the handy App. It really does feel very 2022. I’ve not ridden long enough to test it fully over the previously experienced Shimano Ultegra mechanical but I am familiar with Di2 and I would say it’s just as enjoyable. One downside would be the weight of the group set and again there is lots of focus on that elsewhere in other reviews. It doesn’t bother me to be honest and I still gain satisfaction out of tapping the button and hearing the smooth transition below. It works really well, is really smooth and does bring that extra bit of satisfaction to riding that mechanical changes can’t.
It would be odd to make a big thing of the colour but I couldn’t let this review pass without mentioning just how good the red finish is. In many situations it can look almost black and a little ordinary. However, the moment the sun extends a glimmer in it’s direction the bike comes to life and I’ve heard it described as a bowling-ball finish and that’s the perfect description. I find myself wiping off the spillage of my drink from the frame as I ride in order to preserve the finish. It is that special. If I could change one thing about it I would have to focus on the white Specialized decals which are a little bold. There’s a Tarmac available in this finish and the decals are in silver and it looks so much better. Nothing I can do about that though so I don’t worry about it but it might not suit everyone.
Riding in the UK comes with all types of terrains and road types and probably like most people, I tend to try to keep to the ones least used by cars. Sometimes you are whizzing around a country lane and by default you have to hug the hedge a little as you can’t fully see what’s coming round the bend. With the Roubaix you worry less about looking down for road damage and instead focus on looking where your biggest threat comes which could be coming around the corner. If you are flying along down a busy road and keeping some good speed the last thing you want to do is keep veering too far away from the edge just to stay the right side of any niggly tarmac. Sure you will notice all those bumps coming through the bike as normal, but you won’t grab the handle bars really tight whilst clenching your jaw hoping you come through the other side ok.
None of this means the Roubaix is a go anywhere type of mountain bike. Far from it. You will find plenty of people online asking questions about its ability to ride off road and to put on wider tyres to turn it onto a gravel bike. Fine, if that really is your thing but lets face it, if that is the case buy a Diverge. The Roubaix is a road bike and that should be respected as a racer. You’ve heard the Specialized marketing bumf on its aero capabilities and the reality is none of us can test it. What I can tell you as an owner of a very light and stiff Canyon Ultimate is that this bike is fast, but not the fastest.
Don’t let that worry you as if you are reading this it is unlikely you want the bike for racing as that would be a Tarmac and rightly so. It won’t climb the quickest, sprint the quickest or even descend the quickest and all that means you would be right to look at other bikes that do one or all of these things better. Most cyclists get a little obsessed about their numbers and I’m no different. Measure the Roubaix against any numbers thrown out by other branded bikes of a similar price and it would be the bike that doesn’t really win many battles in Bicycle Top Trumps. However, give it a score for overall rating for its riding ability and I would personally score this bike top marks and in my case, it’s much more enjoyable to ride than my Canyon.
In conclusion, if you are thinking about buying the Specialized Roubaix Comp 2022 you need to be really clear on what it is that you most want to say about your bike and your rides. If you are chasing places on Strava charts this bike might not be for you. If you want to love your bike, to look forward to taking it out on a ride and also mix it up with your friends on a club/weekend ride, than not only will the Specialized Roubaix Comp help do a great job, it will look amazing too.