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Specialized Roubaix riding position

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Specialized Roubaix riding position

Old 09-07-09, 05:39 PM
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Specialized Roubaix riding position

I've recently joined the forum after getting back into cycling after a 25 year hiatus. I'm currently riding "old school' on a machine that was state of the art in 1980. Man how things have changed for the better!


So I'm in the market for a new bicycle and from reading this forum, I think what I need is more relaxed geometry frame such as a Specialized Roubaix. As you can see from the above pix, I currently ride with the seat approx level with the handlebars. My 45 year old neck and back can't handle a more aggressive position.

As I'm narrowing down to possibly a slightly used Roubaix (probably 2007-2009), it seems the pixs I see (Ebay and other locations) have the seats cranked up significantly higher than the bars. I'm around 6'-0" with a 34" inseam (measured) and pretty average build (no ape arms, etc.)

My city only has one Specialized dealer and they don't carry any bikes (order only). So I need to travel 2-3 hrs to the nearest city that has a dealer with a stock I can look at.

Question #1 - For a 58cm Roubaix, can I expect to be able to set this up in a seat/bar level position? I'm hoping a Roubaix owner or someone of knowledge can help me out.

Question #2 - More general in nature, how does a ride of a carbon frame, compare to the ride of a steel frame, (and for that matter compare to an aluminum frame) of similar geometries?

Thanks,
Tom
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Old 09-07-09, 05:48 PM
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#1 - you can set up seat/bar drop to whatever you want - if you do get a used Roubaix, be sure that someone didn't cut the steerer lower than you'd want it, but in general by using spacers and stem angle you should be able to raise the bars to the height you need. Also, it's worth noting that the Roubaix has a compact frame geometry with a sloping top tube (unlike your bike above) - which can give the impression of a higher saddle.

#2 It's been almost 20yrs since I rode steel, but I think you'll enjoy it. Why not go to your LBS and test ride one, you don't *have* to buy it, but it's probably useful to compare/contrast.
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Old 09-07-09, 05:54 PM
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I currently own a 2008 Roubaix. You will have no problem setting up the bike with the specs you are looking for. The bike comes stock with a lot of spacers and other adjustability, like many other bikes.

I've actually gone in the opposite direction from you in terms of geometry. Now that I've gone racing - still a Cat 5 - I've tested the adjustability and the bike is able to be fit for a very aggressive setup. There is a wide degree of flexibility built in from the factory.
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Old 09-07-09, 05:58 PM
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FWIW, My wife has the Roubaix, and she needs a relaxed riding position due to a bad back. With a proper fit set up from a guy who really knew what he was doing, she has achieved a very comfortable ride. I think they may have traded out the handle bar stem, though, when she bought the bike. The carbon fiber frame has a gentler ride than my aluminum frame, as well.
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Old 09-07-09, 06:00 PM
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Don't assume that you want a 58cm Roubaix because your current bike is a 58cm. Compact geometry really messes up frame sizing..

And you can get a little bit of bar height tweaking out of the stems used on ahead stem bikes. Most are around 5 degrees but you can find 10s. And you can flip them so that they go up or down.

I'd also ask what bikes are consider good alternatives to the Roubiax, especially if you have to travel to look at bikes. Any city with a Spec dealer will probably have dealers for Trek and Giant as well, and probably Cannondale.

My other suggestion for the position you want would be to look at cyclocross bikes. You could add , say, a Kona Jake and a Tricross to your test ride day. If you're going to travel try a good range of bikes - and have fun!
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Old 09-07-09, 06:21 PM
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You can move the stem some on threadless headset bikes. But there is a limit to how high you can put the bars... usually 4cm of spacers.

Dont' assume that you need a 58cm bike because your current bike is a 58. Sizes vary between manufacturers, "compact" frame or not. In any case, top tube length is more important than seat tube length.

Specialized makes good bikes but if your local dealer can't stock one of their most popular models, they aren't going to be very useful. If you have LBSs in town that handle other brands, check them out. Most companies make bikes with taller head tubes now, which is the one fit feature from the Roubaix that you may need.


BTW, 45 isn't very old, and age alone doesn't require riding an upright "plush" bike. Consider doing some gym work to fix the back and neck problems.
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Old 09-07-09, 06:52 PM
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I went from a 1979 58 cm (steel) Motobecane to a 2008 56 cm (carbon fiber) Roubaix. Im 510.5 with a 34 inseam (to the ground), so I have the same legs but a shorter torso than you. My 58 cm Motobecane was perfect for the legs, but the 58 top tube had me too stretched out. To make the 56 Roubaix work we had to jack the seat up and raise the bars. As the steerer tube comes precut, the only option lies in the stem angle. We used one that was adjustable between (about) 22 and 28 degrees to get the bars about 1 cm lower than the seat.

My first guess is that a 58 Roubaix would work fine for you. That way you wont have to angle the stem so severely. I bet the reach is fine, but you could always try a 90 or 100 stem if it wasnt. The dealer should make all this stem swapping part of the (free) delivery. But then, too, he should make measuring you up part of the pre-purchase so you're sure to get the right size.

My carbon Roubaix with 25 cm tires is every bit as smooth as my steel Motobecane was with 32 cm tires, and much smoother than a comparable aluminum frame.
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Old 09-07-09, 06:59 PM
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The Roubaix would be a good choice for you the way it sounds. I have a steel Jamis and it's comfortable, but not near as comfortable as the Roubaix. I ride the Roubaix about 500 miles a month and the Jamis about 100. Guess which one rides more comfortable. I had some Continental 4 Season 28mm tires stored in the closet and Just for the heck of it I tried them on the Roubaix and they fit. Now the ride is even better than before. I have a 34" inseam and I ride a 58 cm. Anyhow good luck, I think you'll really enjoy it.
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Old 09-07-09, 09:12 PM
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The 58 cm Roubaix would work well for you, I think. At 6'2"/36" I could get the bars close to saddle height; you should manage it no problem. As mentioned above, just make sure there is still enough steerer tube left on the fork if buying used.
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Old 09-07-09, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by meanwhile
Don't assume that you want a 58cm Roubaix because your current bike is a 58cm. Compact geometry really messes up frame sizing..

And you can get a little bit of bar height tweaking out of the stems used on ahead stem bikes. Most are around 5 degrees but you can find 10s. And you can flip them so that they go up or down.

I'd also ask what bikes are consider good alternatives to the Roubiax, especially if you have to travel to look at bikes. Any city with a Spec dealer will probably have dealers for Trek and Giant as well, and probably Cannondale.

My other suggestion for the position you want would be to look at cyclocross bikes. You could add , say, a Kona Jake and a Tricross to your test ride day. If you're going to travel try a good range of bikes - and have fun!
I recently bought a CX bike and compared to my race bike, the geo is on the CX is VERY comfortable for me. You may like it. Also, Specialized have just launched the Secteur which has the same geometry as a Roubaix so you might be able to pick up a new Secteur instead of a used Roubaix. I'm not sure if it comes with all the stem-angle adjuster like a Roubaix does though. Secteur is marketed as a lower end model, made of aluminium.
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Old 09-08-09, 05:12 AM
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Thank you all for the responses. This is all very helpful. I've been on other forums for other hobbies I have and none are near as active as this. Probably a testament to the popularity of cycling!

Tom
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