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Geometry/Handling: 54 vs 56 Roubaix?

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Geometry/Handling: 54 vs 56 Roubaix?

Old 09-21-22, 11:53 AM
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Geometry/Handling: 54 vs 56 Roubaix?

I'm 5'10 and I can usually ride a 54 or 56. I'm looking at buying a 2020+ Roubaix. I prefer a quicker handling frame but not too twitchy. My current bike is a 2011 54cm Scott CR1 (73° head angle). I'm 53 now so I'm looking for more comfortable ride. I realize I'll probably have to sacrifice some nimbleness to get a smoother ride... thus the search for a Roubaix. Looking at geometrygeek.bike website, the 54 vs 56 numbers are a little puzzling to me (head angle, trail). What are your thoughts on how the handling compares between these two? -Appreciate it
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Old 09-21-22, 12:15 PM
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Depends on how low you want to go. I'm 5'9" and chose the 2019 54cm Roubaix over the 56cm after testing riding both because I wanted a more aggressive fit and it definitely felt nimbler. I don't regret it, but taking the smaller size does have some compromises, like needing a longer stem, more weight distributed over the front, and more toe overlap. The 2019 geo is only slightly different from the 2020+ generation's.
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Old 09-21-22, 04:32 PM
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Handling and anything most people call "twitchy" are usually something you can easily get use to and it'll no longer seem twitchy. Between a 54 and a 56 probably not much difference at all for handling. Between a 54 and a 60cm, then probably noticeable. The 60cm being the ride of a luxury sedan vs the ride of a sports car for the 54. Whether you can fit on a 60 is a different matter altogether. However I'm only 5' 11" and I use to ride a 64 cm (25") bike comfortably for many years.

Your 54 cm Roubaix will have a lower stack, but still not as low as my 56 cm Tarmac. Whether that will directly translate into a more aggressive position might depend on how you hold your arms, very bent elbows or almost straight.

Instead of wondering, you really ought to just try them out. Even if they don't have the exact bike you want to ride, a 54 cm Roubaix and 56cm Roubaix in any tier level available will be pretty much the same fit. Though maybe the S-Works version might be newer frame design, but I haven't seen if they've changed that on the Roubaix if they even make an S-works model anymore.
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Old 09-22-22, 08:25 AM
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Bike Insights makes it a lot easier to visualize the difference.

Basically, the Roubaix 54 and 56 have the same wheelbase and BB height. 56 puts the saddle a little bit further back, and the head tube a little bit further forward. I.e. it puts the rider up slightly higher. The head tube angle is a little different to keep the wheelbase and, I assume, keep the handling consistent between sizes. Differences in trail are probably neutered by the required changes in stem size, etc. In other words: Since the bikes share the same design goals, I doubt you'd notice a huge difference in handling between sizes. If you do, that's probably much more your mind than anything about bike geometry.

I.e. you should focus on what fits you better, rather than how it handles.

I'd add that you don't really need a huge sacrifice in responsiveness in order to increase comfort. While endurance bike geometry is a bit more slack, it's not like you're switching to a touring bike; they're still racing bikes. The relevant buzzwords for most endurance bike designs are "laterally stiff and vertically compliant." Much of the comfort difference will be in tube construction, the amount of exposed seat post, and wider tire clearance. The Roubaix also adds its suspension stem ("Future Shock"), which doesn't change the handling.
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Old 09-22-22, 11:54 AM
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There is a Roubaix Facebook group and people posted their height and what frame they have. It is all over the map, I was surprised the degree of difference. I am 5'11" and am on a 58 myself, probably a bit larger than the average there. 5'10"-ers are almost evenly split between 54 and 56, with a couple bigger or smaller than that. If you join and search for frame size you will find hundreds of comments.

If you can't get a fit I would take the 54, for most people a bit small is better. I probably would have been better off on a 56, my previous bike was a 54 but in the shop they thought 58 looked best on the Roubaix (2020). My bike fitter thought either 56 or 58 would work for me; with a shorter stem the 58 is doing great now.
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Old 09-22-22, 06:31 PM
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agree with @Bacciagalupe, position setup is gonna make the key difference.
maybe compare to what you currently are riding, the Scott Cr1 and the ROubaix in same sizing, using Bike Insights and/or Geometry geeks. And then compare to the 56 Roubaix.
If you compare on Bike Insights, you'll get a visual comparo - which can point out similarities and diff. in geometry.
The 2 big diffs which stand out are Stack and BB height. BB Height of the CR1 is on the high end, typical for real race bikes which might be used for circuits with lots of turns/corners - Crits. The High BB allows a bit more lean angle clearance before possible pedal strikes (if one needs to pedal through corners...) But Higher BB also moves the CoG/CoM higher, which feels a little less stable at speed.
Maybe consider how you're currently positioned on your CR1, and what you want to change and what to keep. Once you get your saddle positioned, then its Stack and Reach. Ultimately the Roubaix in 54 starts out at 20mm higher stack than the CR1, How much further you got then depends on the stem angle and length (and spacers...)
The ROubaix will 'feel' different on the road, compared to the Scott, but that will shake out after a ride or 2. Or maybe not... You'll only be able to know, once you get some time on whatever you choose.
If you are in analysis and decision paralysis, and 'stack seems to loom large on the decision - you could buy an adjustable stem (at least 1, maybe 2 cm longer than current stem) and just try different angles which will give an effective 'stack' to compare to your current setup. - There are reasons why the adjustable stem should be longer,,, for testing...
I have Roubaixs and Tarmacs, but what and why I have, size-wise shouldn't be a consideration for anyone else. Most everyone considerations might be quite different.
Ultimately, getting on a bike, even for a short ride around a block, helps... If you do get to ride a Roubaix, bring your Scott along and ride it on the same section - compare...
And if you're buying a complete bike, as opposed to frame and parts, then what is hung onto the bike may have as large an impact.
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Old 09-22-22, 09:22 PM
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Great input all! I appreciate it. I've been shopping and reading reviews for months. I am looking for a 54 for sure. In fact I will be checking out one this Saturday. I'm pumped!

I was curious as to why the head angles were different between the 54 and 56 but I just watched a video that stated Specialized massaged the frames on every size to give them a similar ride.

bikeinsights.com and geometrygeek.bike are great sites!

Last edited by garagedog; 09-23-22 at 03:10 PM.
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