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2020 Roubaix Comp: 100-mile review

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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

2020 Roubaix Comp: 100-mile review

Old 04-24-19, 01:08 PM
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ridethetown
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2020 Roubaix Comp: 100-mile review

I know some hate these, others like them, but I find consumer reviews helpful when in the market so here-goes. I'll update as I continue to make more observations as the miles pile on.

Last Friday I took delivery of my '20 Roubaix Comp in the Sagan "chasing rainbows" paint and have had the opportunity to put about 100 miles on it - enough for a first impression and initial review.

I was on a 58 cm Tarmac Pro Race before this bike and sized up in the Roubaix to a 61 cm. I'd always preferred a smaller frame and more aggressive riding position, but obviously times have changed, as reflected in my bike choice. While my setup gained probably 2+ lbs, much of it in the wheels, I'm pretty sure the helium-feel of the Tarmac when climbing will be more than offset in efficiency gained by the superior fit and endurance riding position on the Roubaix. Anyways...on with it.

The Ride:
Smooth, smooth, smooth. High-end carbon, high-bars, high-volume tires, future-shock 1.5, and the new seat post integration really make for a compliant ride. Same 10r carbon that was on my Tarmac, but the larger frame and all the gizmos really do make a bigger difference in ride comfort than I was expecting. I'm sure a lot of this is attributed to running 28's instead of 23's but I'm running 90/100 psi in both so there's no doubt some of the new tech is in play here.

I like the "hover bar" or whatever Spesh is calling their 25 mm riser bars, and I really, REALLY like the improved future-shock. The bike climbs and accelerates very well, with gearing that will confidently get you over any paved surface. It doesn't leap out from under you like my Tarmac did but I attribute that 100% to the Roval C40 wheels that were on the Tarmac. Descending has never been my strong point, but this bike feels so planted on the road that I'm descending with more confidence already. Even on really tough surfaces, over potholes, cobbled cracked roads, etc., the wheels stay on the ground, where on so many bikes I've been bounced all over the place. It's ingrained in me to bob around potholes, manhole covers, and to hop the big cracks we get in our roads after winter. Not only did I stop caring to bother, I stopped even noticing them. The 28's are nice in that regard and I'm fairly certain the suspension system is helping also.

I've heard some people refer to bikes that ride this way as "sleepy" but really would be surprised if that's the feedback coming in on this Roubaix. No, it's not as racy or twitchy handling like I'm used to and has been an adjustment for me. It's unlikely to be the bike of choice for a CAT 1 criterium racer. Having said that, the confidence that it inspires by knowing you can carry more speed into turns and hammer on descents without consequence is not only reassuring, but exhilarating. The Roubaix's ability to carry speed over rough surfaces without beating you up and allowing you to stay in the saddle all day is very obviously what this bike is all about. Again, I'm taking mountain descents faster than I was on a bike I'd been comfortably riding for 3 years. Specialized is all about the "smooth is fast" philosophy indeed.

The Build:
The frame is pretty sweet looking, non-traditional as it may be. The sparkle paint is incredible, and there's a few cool touches: The "Sagan" insignias on the top tube and there's a really subtle hologram "We'll see" under the bottom bracket (not sure what that's about) and "Chasing Rainbows" on the chainstay. They're very very subtle. Someone said the frames were numbered out of 200 total, but I haven't found anything like that. Maybe only the S-Works?

The riding position, geometry and cockpit all feel very comfortable, allowing me to ride with about a 2cm drop (6'1", 35 inseam on a 61 cm). The riser bars and tall head tube lend to a comfortable but not overly relaxed position; the reach is perfect with the stock stem. The gearing range is good, going as low as 34x32. If you like to really spin out your downhills, you'll get there pretty quickly on the 50x12 so it does lack some high-end gearing. This is my first true compact gearing in a few years and it takes getting used to. I actually do quite despise the big jump the compact necessitates, but it's a necessary trade off to get the low gears I want.

The Ultegra group works nicely and the stopping power of the hydraulics is very good. It's not the DA 9000 I had on my Tarmac but after a few hundred more miles think it will be close to as fast. I really am in love with the Ultegra crankset. Compared with the 105 hydraulic group on my Diverge paired with the Praxis cranks, this is the most noticeable single upgrade. Other than quicker shifting up front, I can't much tell the 105 and Ultegra hydro groups apart and I'm very pleased with both.

Two areas where the jury is still out are with the saddle and the wheels. I realized that during my fit, my saddle was set up with more positive tilt than normal, which resulted in me standing the last 3 miles of my first ride in extreme discomfort. I leveled my seat and no further issues. Still, I'm not in love with the stubby Body Geo saddle but will give it a couple hundred more miles. It just seems like a weird choice for an endurance bike. The wheels - they're fine but I guess I'd gotten used to the Rovals and these feel (are) quite a bit heavier. While not slow, they are more sluggish than some rim brake wheels I've ridden including the Roval C40's and Rol Volants. The DT R470's are the same wheel spec'd on my 2019 Diverge Sport and Specialized is now using this wheel on their higher-end bikes (while I think using lower end wheels now on their Sport lines). Don't get me wrong, this is a fine wheelset and seems durable; I just think they could have gone sexier and/or lighter given the rest of the build. Admittedly, I'm not used to the feel of disc brake wheels yet so maybe it's just the added weight of the rotor more than the wheels. I may look at a wheel upgrade in a few months and set these up as a second tubeless setup for my Diverge.

In conclusion, I'm feeling very validated in my bike selection and purchase. It's exactly as advertised and designed for exactly what I need (long days over rough roads in mountains). I'd give it a solid 8.5/10 with the deductions being (for me) the saddle and wheels. I haven't weighed the bike yet, but imagine I'm around 19-20 lbs with pedals and bottle cages. I'd say my only regret is waiting as long as I did to make the move to a more comfortable bike. Having said that, my patience paid off in this year's tech and paint:
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Old 04-24-19, 03:13 PM
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Good review, thanks
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Old 04-24-19, 03:19 PM
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Enjoy it !
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Old 04-24-19, 03:23 PM
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Whenever a journalist asks Sagan how he thinks he'll fare in (insert name of upcoming race here) his standard response is a sly grin & "We'll see!".
West.
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Old 04-24-19, 03:45 PM
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As a '19 Comp Di2 owner, I agree that the bike feels fantastic, very planted on descents. Not a fan on the hover bars, just got mine swapped out for some narrower Zipp Service Course 80 Ergos. The Power is their most popular saddle, although they're meant for more aggressive riding position and my fitter said they typically are angled down. I prefer them for comfort over long rides because they do a much better job of supporting the sit bones than traditional shapes. Your cassette should be 11-34t unless you changed it.

I don't like the DT R470 wheels. I have Hunt Aero Light Disc wheels on my Al bike and they are way more nimble and aero, plus the low pawl engagement on the rear hub is a noticeable downgrade. I plan to get some Light Bicycle deep section wheels later, just living with the stock wheels so I can fully appreciate the upgrade.
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Old 04-24-19, 05:31 PM
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Nice review.

One suggestion?

Lower your tire pressure by 10-15 PSI. Running same PSI in 28’s as you do in 23’s is too much.
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Old 04-24-19, 05:52 PM
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You must of changed your saddle/bar drop a huge amount going from the Tarmac to a larger size Roubaix + hover bars.
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Old 04-25-19, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by surak View Post
As a '19 Comp Di2 owner, I agree that the bike feels fantastic, very planted on descents. Not a fan on the hover bars, just got mine swapped out for some narrower Zipp Service Course 80 Ergos. The Power is their most popular saddle, although they're meant for more aggressive riding position and my fitter said they typically are angled down. I prefer them for comfort over long rides because they do a much better job of supporting the sit bones than traditional shapes. Your cassette should be 11-34t unless you changed it.

I don't like the DT R470 wheels. I have Hunt Aero Light Disc wheels on my Al bike and they are way more nimble and aero, plus the low pawl engagement on the rear hub is a noticeable downgrade. I plan to get some Light Bicycle deep section wheels later, just living with the stock wheels so I can fully appreciate the upgrade.
You're right - it is 11-34. It just felt low still so I assumed it was 12, further driving home the notion that the adjustment back to compact gearing will take some getting used to. Looking at the claimed weight of the wheelset, it's around 1650 grams. I'd have guessed closer to 1900, but I guess it's the weight of the discs I'm not used to. I'll definitely give these wheels a pounding but might look for an upgrade this summer.

Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Nice review.

One suggestion?

Lower your tire pressure by 10-15 PSI. Running same PSI in 28s as you do in 23s is too much.
Good suggestion - I think I could probably go 80/90 and even further improve the already luxurious ride.

Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
You must of changed your saddle/bar drop a huge amount going from the Tarmac to a larger size Roubaix + hover bars.
From 9.5 cm to 2 cm!
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Old 04-25-19, 11:34 AM
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Nice review. Has the geometry changed much from the previous iteration? I'll be looking for a second ride and want to find something as close to my current (2017 Roubaix) as possible.
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Old 04-25-19, 11:47 AM
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The geometry has changed, but subtly. The angles and chainstay length remained constant, while the reach increased slightly, the stack a bit more, and the wheelbase lengthened slightly.
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Old 09-18-19, 10:43 PM
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Roubaix Comp

Nice review. I'm considering buying one myself. Just curious though, how did you get the Sagan paint? The options I show only have the Sagan available in the S-Works bikes.
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Old 09-19-19, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Mars304 View Post
Nice review. I'm considering buying one myself. Just curious though, how did you get the Sagan paint? The options I show only have the Sagan available in the S-Works bikes.
You need to know the secret handshake to find this webpage ;-)

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/ro...ction/p/171047
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Old 09-19-19, 08:44 AM
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Max Tire Size

Specialized claims the 2020 Roubaix can handle 700x33c tires. Has anyone out there successfully fitted larger tires, like 35's? If so, how was it?
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Old 09-26-19, 08:12 PM
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Great looking bike!
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Old 10-01-19, 03:50 PM
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I’m actually looking at the same bike. Are the Sagan editions worth anything more? From what I can tell, they’re limited editions with different paint schemes, at least for the Roubaix Sagan model. Either way, I love the color and it’s the same price as the Ultegra Roubaix.
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Old 10-01-19, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ridethetown View Post

Good suggestion - I think I could probably go 80/90 and even further improve the already luxurious ride.
Depending on your weight, it may be even less than that. I run 25's on my HED Ardennes Black wheels and the suggested pressure for my 164 lb self is 67 (!) psi. If I was running 28's, it'd be 62 psi.
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Old 10-01-19, 04:39 PM
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Old 10-02-19, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ridethetown View Post
Looking at the claimed weight of the wheelset, it's around 1650 grams. I'd have guessed closer to 1900, but I guess it's the weight of the discs I'm not used to. I'll definitely give these wheels a pounding but might look for an upgrade this summer.



!
The discs may not be what you are noticing. The wider tires add weight where you would feel it most. Before you buy new wheels, try narrower, lighter tires to see if they make a difference, particularly since you seem reluctant to relinquish higher tire pressure

Last edited by alcjphil; 10-02-19 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 10-02-19, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 2seven0 View Post
Whenever a journalist asks Sagan how he thinks he'll fare in (insert name of upcoming race here) his standard response is a sly grin & "We'll see!".
West.
exactly! Gotta love him.
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