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2017 Specialized Roubaix review

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

2017 Specialized Roubaix review

Old 09-17-16, 12:28 PM
  #126  
gsa103
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I wonder if Specialized (and Trek) have potentially taken the whole suspension thing a bit too far. If I was riding the cobbles in Europe I can see where this would be phenomenol. At least in my area, the roads are quite smooth, thanks to 4 years of drought and no winter.

I wonder if designs like the Domane SLR and FutureShock are a bit too optimized for European cobbles and beyond what the average American rider needs or wants. Ultimately, the sales numbers will likely tell if this is the new approach or a nice product.

I can definitely see the FutureShock moving into the gravel/adventure/touring market though.

And for what it's worth, the Cannondale HeadShok is technically superior because it isolates the frame (and hence the BB) not just the handlebars.

I don't see the need for a lock-out, especially with only having 20mm of travel. If you really stand on it, it'll just bottom out and become effectively locked. Lock-outs are really more of a crutch than an effective thing. The lock-out compensates for a fork running too soft or soft low speed compression (since lower end forks don't have separate high/low compression).
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Old 09-17-16, 01:10 PM
  #127  
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
I didn't mean in depth, but in width yeah, at least 10 inches across. That's why I was so impressed. Probably 3 or 4 inches deep. It was a pothole not a sinkhole lol.
I think you need to take a ruler next time. 3-4 inch depth is intense on a fs mountainbike. Doubt you're hitting something that deep.
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Old 09-17-16, 02:47 PM
  #128  
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Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post
I wonder if Specialized (and Trek) have potentially taken the whole suspension thing a bit too far. If I was riding the cobbles in Europe I can see where this would be phenomenol. At least in my area, the roads are quite smooth, thanks to 4 years of drought and no winter.

I wonder if designs like the Domane SLR and FutureShock are a bit too optimized for European cobbles and beyond what the average American rider needs or wants. Ultimately, the sales numbers will likely tell if this is the new approach or a nice product.

I can definitely see the FutureShock moving into the gravel/adventure/touring market though.

And for what it's worth, the Cannondale HeadShok is technically superior because it isolates the frame (and hence the BB) not just the handlebars.

I don't see the need for a lock-out, especially with only having 20mm of travel. If you really stand on it, it'll just bottom out and become effectively locked. Lock-outs are really more of a crutch than an effective thing. The lock-out compensates for a fork running too soft or soft low speed compression (since lower end forks don't have separate high/low compression).
Being over-engineered isn't always a bad thing, so long as it doesn't detract from something else at least. I just hope that it's as adept at removing road buzz as the Zerts were (assuming they were actually what was responsible and not just a well designed carbon layup by Specialized). I don't care about small bumps, I care about vibration. I'm looking forward to comparing my Diverge to the new Robuaix once my LBS gets some in stock to trial.
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Old 09-18-16, 12:06 AM
  #129  
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Originally Posted by Maconi View Post
Being over-engineered isn't always a bad thing, so long as it doesn't detract from something else at least. I just hope that it's as adept at removing road buzz as the Zerts were (assuming they were actually what was responsible and not just a well designed carbon layup by Specialized). I don't care about small bumps, I care about vibration. I'm looking forward to comparing my Diverge to the new Robuaix once my LBS gets some in stock to trial.
I agree theoretically, but I think the drawback is the loss of road feel. A lot of these bikes designed for cobbles seem to ride pretty dead feeling.
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Old 09-18-16, 02:11 PM
  #130  
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Originally Posted by redfooj View Post
Chris D’Aluisio continues: “As we were gathering the data, taking the bike and rider as one system, we started to see that a benefit of compliance was also traction. If you can keep in contact with the ground more of the time then you’ll have more control and be able to go faster. A McLaren F1 car has suspension but it’s about traction, not comfort.”


wow, somebody award that man an honorary PhD.
He hasn't been paying attention. McLaren isn't exactly a benchmark these days.
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Old 09-18-16, 02:14 PM
  #131  
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Originally Posted by Chandne View Post
Is the new Roubaix SCS-spaced?

It is NOT. That was my big takeaway. I can get a disc roubaix and still build clyde-friendly wheels!

They also say that the bike geometry is more aggressive, but your seating position is NOT. Supposedly the rise on the bars and whatnot gets you to the same body position as the SL4 Roubaix.

This bike may be the death of me. I'll go ride one, but I'm fantasizing about a S-Works build with hydraulic DA (including integrated power meter, natch)...it's only money, right?
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Old 09-18-16, 02:20 PM
  #132  
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I think it is going to be a great bike. If I didn't have to drop $60K on...anyway, it looks good and glad they did away with SCS. The only knock is that it seems that you get disc-only with the new design...no rim brakes. I am a disc fan but I like my options, as do many. That is surprising. At least 1-2 rim-brake models should have bee planned for.

Originally Posted by JakiChan View Post
It is NOT. That was my big takeaway. I can get a disc roubaix and still build clyde-friendly wheels!

They also say that the bike geometry is more aggressive, but your seating position is NOT. Supposedly the rise on the bars and whatnot gets you to the same body position as the SL4 Roubaix.

This bike may be the death of me. I'll go ride one, but I'm fantasizing about a S-Works build with hydraulic DA (including integrated power meter, natch)...it's only money, right?
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Old 09-18-16, 04:48 PM
  #133  
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Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post
I wonder if Specialized (and Trek) have potentially taken the whole suspension thing a bit too far.
The Domane SLR decoupler is adjustable to be softer than the Domane SL to as stiff as the Emonda. The Futureshock on the Roubaix is also adjustable and comes with 3 different springs. The CG-R seat post on the Roubaix can also be swapped out if you want more rear stiffness. The key difference between mountain and road bike is how the suspension is tuned. The ability of the rider to adjust the stiffness to their preference is important IMO. It means you won't get stuck with an overly soft riding road bike.
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Old 09-18-16, 05:10 PM
  #134  
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Sadly (for me) with the Specialized's new direction the Roubaix has become a race bike with suspension instead of an endurance bike with vibration damping. There are still those of us who want a relaxed geometry road bike without disc brakes. That's getting harder and harder to find. The Domane didn't exist when I got my Roubaix but when my Roubaix dies I'd be looking at it. Luckily it's first death was a cracked frame replaced under warranty...
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Old 09-18-16, 06:59 PM
  #135  
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Originally Posted by digibud View Post
Sadly (for me) with the Specialized's new direction the Roubaix has become a race bike with suspension instead of an endurance bike with vibration damping. There are still those of us who want a relaxed geometry road bike without disc brakes. That's getting harder and harder to find. The Domane didn't exist when I got my Roubaix but when my Roubaix dies I'd be looking at it. Luckily it's first death was a cracked frame replaced under warranty...
Again, I've been told - the bike geometry may be different, but the 3 points in space that you care about (saddle, pedals, bars) are the same as the SL4. So the bike will be just as comfortable in terms of seating position as ever. the CG-R is still there. (And since my SL4 didn't come with it and I added later then I could tell it made a difference.) So I'd say ride one before you make any decisions.
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Old 09-18-16, 08:53 PM
  #136  
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Originally Posted by gsa103 View Post
I wonder if Specialized (and Trek) have potentially taken the whole suspension thing a bit too far. If I was riding the cobbles in Europe I can see where this would be phenomenal. At least in my area, the roads are quite smooth, thanks to 4 years of drought and no winter.
I suppose it's personal view, but while the SF bay area has decent roads, it certainly has its share of crappy ones as well! I happen to ride on some of the latter ones from time to time For example, like the back side of Mt Hamilton (i.e. east side), and especially because it comes at around mile 70 of my 110-mile loop, the bumpiness can be felt in the hands and arms a fair bit even on my SL4 Roubaix. Another crappy road is the one leading to Dumbarton Bridge on the east bay side.

Of course there are many more, but my point is that even with my SL4 Roubaix I often wish for further muting of road noise. So I assume the new Roubaix is for people like me Of course probably not for everyone, but I am quite surprised to see how many people here are discounting it before even giving it a test ride!

It is what it is, I guess...

Geoff
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Old 09-19-16, 09:51 AM
  #137  
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Sorry, I don't get it. To me, this new Roubaix looks like a Tarmac with a suspension seatpost and a suspension stem. Not a bad idea per se, but if you can suspend the chassis and not just the rider (as the Domane does) you would think this would be a better approach. The car suspension equivalent of the new Roubaix would be to put a big bouncy seat in the car and mount the wheels rigidly.

- Mark
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Old 09-19-16, 10:34 AM
  #138  
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Originally Posted by markjenn View Post
Sorry, I don't get it. To me, this new Roubaix looks like a Tarmac with a suspension seatpost and a suspension stem. Not a bad idea per se, but if you can suspend the chassis and not just the rider (as the Domane does) you would think this would be a better approach. The car suspension equivalent of the new Roubaix would be to put a big bouncy seat in the car and mount the wheels rigidly.

- Mark
the difference is that the car has substantially more mass than you do compared to the bike. Change is momentum is very different between the two cases
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Old 09-19-16, 11:07 AM
  #139  
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
the difference is that the car has substantially more mass than you do compared to the bike. Change is momentum is very different between the two cases
Good point, but I think the principle is unchanged. With a car, the drivers weight is a much smaller proportion of the overall vehicle weight compared to a bicycle, but I still think you'd like to get as much weight above the suspension as possible and reduce unsprung weight as much as possible. The Domane puts the chassis and rider above the suspension; the Roubaix just the rider.

- Mark
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Old 09-19-16, 12:02 PM
  #140  
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Originally Posted by markjenn View Post
Good point, but I think the principle is unchanged. With a car, the drivers weight is a much smaller proportion of the overall vehicle weight compared to a bicycle, but I still think you'd like to get as much weight above the suspension as possible and reduce unsprung weight as much as possible. The Domane puts the chassis and rider above the suspension; the Roubaix just the rider.

- Mark
we can agree to disagree but the chassis weight is negligible compared to the rider weight IMO. The differences in implementation of the suspension and the additional fore/aft movement are larger contributors.
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Old 09-19-16, 12:19 PM
  #141  
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Originally Posted by digibud View Post
Sadly (for me) with the Specialized's new direction the Roubaix has become a race bike with suspension instead of an endurance bike with vibration damping. There are still those of us who want a relaxed geometry road bike without disc brakes. That's getting harder and harder to find. The Domane didn't exist when I got my Roubaix but when my Roubaix dies I'd be looking at it. Luckily it's first death was a cracked frame replaced under warranty...
My feelings exactly. I got a new Roubaix because of the relaxed comfortable fit in a road bike. Like most I ride almost always on streets or mups and 99% of the time it's flat good to great condition pavement. Who cares if you can ride over cobbles and bad roads with a shock if your position on the bike is "too racey" and you end up in pain after 20 miles.
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Old 09-19-16, 12:31 PM
  #142  
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Originally Posted by LGHT View Post
My feelings exactly. I got a new Roubaix because of the relaxed comfortable fit in a road bike. Like most I ride almost always on streets or mups and 99% of the time it's flat good to great condition pavement. Who cares if you can ride over cobbles and bad roads with a shock if your position on the bike is "too racey" and you end up in pain after 20 miles.
there are lots of relaxed fit caliper brake bikes that will easily handle these conditions
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Old 09-19-16, 12:42 PM
  #143  
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
there are lots of relaxed fit caliper brake bikes that will easily handle these conditions
Sadly the new Roubaix isn't one of them.
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Old 10-03-16, 05:31 AM
  #144  
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Bought a new Roubaix Expert Friday evening and did two gravel races over the weekend. Saturday was a 18 mile race (50% gravel / 50% paved). Sunday was a 45 mile race (90% gravel / 10% bad pavement). It was a very incredible weekend!

I've have been using a 2015 Diverge Carbon Comp for gravel races with a set of 33 Triggers. The Triggers did not fit on the new Roubaix but a set of Clement X'plor MSO 32s did. I can tell you the new Roubaix lived up to all of the marketing hype. I am truly impressed with it's performance and how well the Roubaix performed! After spending the weekend on the Roubaix, I have no regrets switching from the Diverge.
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Old 10-03-16, 08:16 AM
  #145  
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Originally Posted by scrming View Post
Bought a new Roubaix Expert Friday evening and did two gravel races over the weekend. Saturday was a 18 mile race (50% gravel / 50% paved). Sunday was a 45 mile race (90% gravel / 10% bad pavement). It was a very incredible weekend!

I've have been using a 2015 Diverge Carbon Comp for gravel races with a set of 33 Triggers. The Triggers did not fit on the new Roubaix but a set of Clement X'plor MSO 32s did. I can tell you the new Roubaix lived up to all of the marketing hype. I am truly impressed with it's performance and how well the Roubaix performed! After spending the weekend on the Roubaix, I have no regrets switching from the Diverge.
Could you give some details on how the riding dynamics compare to the Diverge?
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Old 10-03-16, 09:51 AM
  #146  
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Originally Posted by vinuneuro View Post
Could you give some details on how the riding dynamics compare to the Diverge?
Sure... as best I can anyways...

I see a some comments about tweaks to the Roubaix geometry making it less comfortable. I would say the new Roubaix is just as comfortable as my Diverge. Yesterday 45 mile race was a 3 hour 45 minute slog through some tough roads (heavy rains made the road the consistency of peanut butter). But after almost 4 hours on the bike with no stops the bike was still comfortable.

On gravel, I found that I wasn't tensing up my arms and shoulders as much as i would on the Diverge. I just naturally had a less tense grip on the bars... I didn't have to keep reminding myself to loosen up! This was really apparent on bumpy gravel descents. The new Roubaix felt incredibly stable. No more death grip! LOL

I did do one big descent with some cornering on pavement this weekend. WOW! The Roubaix just felt like it was glued to the road! It was a blast! It felt more like I was on an all out race bike!

I guess my summary would be, the Roubaix is very comfortable, incredibly smooth, but yet is still very nimble! I have no regrets replacing my Diverge with the Roubaix.
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Old 10-03-16, 11:11 AM
  #147  
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So the Roubaix is a gravel bike now?
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Old 10-03-16, 11:13 AM
  #148  
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Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
So the Roubaix is a gravel bike now?
Mine is!
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Old 10-03-16, 12:49 PM
  #149  
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My Diverge is currently almost purely a gravel bike. Though I had planned on keeping it a while, if they put this on the next gen Diverge, I may succumb. I imagine it'll eventually show up on the Crux too.
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Old 10-03-16, 01:32 PM
  #150  
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Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
So the Roubaix is a gravel bike now?
I would imagine it depends on how loose the gravel is... There is plenty of loose gravel trails where the 26mm (yes, 26) tires on my SL4 Roubaix won't do, but my 33mm Trigger tires on my Diverge are fine. In those cases, it's traction that's the problem, not comfort! If the trail is mostly a bumpy beaten path, then yeah I could totally see the new Roubaix being lovely on that.


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