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Specialized Roubaix for lightweight touring

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Specialized Roubaix for lightweight touring

Old 10-04-11, 01:47 PM
  #1  
nun
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Specialized Roubaix for lightweight touring

I've only ever toured on a steel frame, but my set up doesn't need eyelets and weighs about $20lbs (25 with water and food) so I'm thinking of putting it on a Specialized Roubaix. The geometry is quite relaxed and it will take 28mm tires. I'd beef up the wheels, add a Brooks saddle and lower the gearing.....what do you think?

Here's my current set up and the Roubaix.
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Old 10-04-11, 02:25 PM
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I have a Roubaix and it really is a comfortable bike, but just doesn't seem like it would make a very good touring bike. No eyelets, super small carbon stays, gearing, etc.

Are you trying to find a nice sporty bike that can double as a part time touring bike?
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Old 10-04-11, 02:31 PM
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I think, why not? I do it myself - not on a Roubaix, but on a Giant SCR C4, the predecessor of the Defy Advanced, a carbon road bike with similar geometry to the Roubaix. I use two Carradice bags - a Nelson longflap and, if needed, a Barley as a bar bag. I don't bother lowering the gearing, but then again, I was already running a compact with a 12/27 on the back, so I can get up most things.

I'm not as lightweight a packer as you, so I keep this for credit card tours on which I don't need a tent. It's fun though, and means I have a pretty much full-on road bike to play with if I want to stay in one place for more than one night.
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Old 10-04-11, 02:57 PM
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I own a Cervelo RS, which is similar to the Roubaix in terms of geometry. I installed my handlebar bag and Carradice Nelson Longflap. Really didn't like the way the bike handled with the extra weight. Ended up building a dedicated touring bike based on Nashbar's frame. Haven't regretted that decision...
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Old 10-04-11, 03:12 PM
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Add a BoB trailer , and you won't have to change a thing,
other than lower gearing range.. on the bike.

several people passed thru here going down the coast with , basically Race bikes .
Towing a 1 wheel trailer..XtraWheel is another one ,
bigger, [2nd front?] wheel and 2 largish panniers ..
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Old 10-04-11, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Add a BoB trailer , and you won't have to change a thing,
other than lower gearing range.. on the bike.

several people passed thru here going down the coast with , basically Race bikes .
Towing a 1 wheel trailer..XtraWheel is another one ,
bigger, [2nd front?] wheel and 2 largish panniers ..
+1 on this.

I know a lady that has toured the world like this on her custom Calfee!
BTW; Toured this country 4 or 5 times, and the world twice. She is due back here soon and I look forward to hearing about this trip.
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Old 10-04-11, 03:49 PM
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emm are you lads sure on the trailer advice,will it not put a lot of strain on the carbon stays.( just asking ).
Nun why would you want to change your set up, i would have taught it was perfect for lightweight touring).
my road bike is the look kx light super bike but i would not put a trailer on it or bags of any kind.
i recently finished building up my Raleigh 753 road bike just to pull a bob trailer (copy) but i think the load would strain the frame ,hopefully someone thats knows will tell me different.
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Old 10-04-11, 05:09 PM
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My $0.02 - Get the Roubaix for regular road riding, don't eff it up with too-low gears and a heavy saddle and hanging junk all over it, keep the Rambouillet for touring. The Roubaix should be a sweet nimble light road bike.

You can have N+1, you know.
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Old 10-04-11, 05:57 PM
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I like the idea. Will it work out well? Only one way to find out.
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Old 10-04-11, 06:28 PM
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Trade in a Ram for Roubaix? Heresy!
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Old 10-04-11, 11:35 PM
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I was going to suggest a cross bike, for being more tough for all kinds of roads, dirt etc, but wouldnt any kind of cross bike not be that different than your other bikes (in terms of performance, weight etc)?
I am assuming you would like a Roubaix type bike for the fun factor of a fast, light road bike? A number of cross bikes would certainly be more flexible for going on rough stuff, wider wheel choices, but still be fairly light and sti equipped--but may not be t h a t different from your present bikes, especially when you factor in riding whatever you choose "unloaded".

That said, I would think that a cross bike would be a lot less to worry about being rough on. Plus you could put fenders on with 28s as well, perhaps not possible with the Roubaix (maybe not an issue for you).
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Old 10-05-11, 02:30 AM
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What you're proposing is like trading a '56 Coupe DeVille for a Saturn Sky.
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Old 10-05-11, 03:21 AM
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
My $0.02 - Get the Roubaix for regular road riding, don't eff it up with too-low gears and a heavy saddle and hanging junk all over it, keep the Rambouillet for touring. The Roubaix should be a sweet nimble light road bike.

You can have N+1, you know.
You don't eff up a bike by using saddlebags, they are detachable, remember? And a Brooks swift with Ti rails, such as I use, isn't a heavy saddle. Touring on road bikes is fun, it doesn't do them any harm or make them less like a road bike.

I use a full on expedition tourer when I need its load-carrying and other qualities. When I don't, I use whichever bike seems suitable to the conditions and will make the journey the most fun.
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Old 10-05-11, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Add a BoB trailer , and you won't have to change a thing,
other than lower gearing range.. on the bike.
It would seem to me that in a case where the rider has worked to get gear weight down to 20 pounds or so, adding a 13 pound trailer would be a strange thing to do.

It is certainly easy enough to give the roubaix a try with the loaded saddle bag and handlebar bag and see how it rides before changing anything else.

BTW I have been considering something somewhat similar to what the OP is suggesting. I am considering using two smallish front panniers instead of a saddle bag with the tent hung from the saddle. Since I have gear and pannier weight approaching 20 pounds a 29 pound bike seems less and less desirable. I would not be putting on a Brooks though. I find my road bikes supremely comfortable and strive to use the same riding posture on my touring bikes, so no adjustments are required for comfort.

I would be curious to hear what gearing options the OP is considering.
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Old 10-05-11, 07:08 AM
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OP, what problem are you trying to solve with the Roubaix?
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Old 10-05-11, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
OP, what problem are you trying to solve with the Roubaix?
Not sure about the OP, but I like the idea of a total weight of bike and gear of about 40 pounds while still maintaining cooking and camping capability. I also like the idea of having a road bike for tooling around or riding into town after camp is made.

My thinking is that if it makes sense to ride a 30 pound bike when carrying 50 pounds of gear, maybe it makes sense to go lighter and more sporty when carrying 20 pounds of gear. I know that unlike some others here I do not especially like riding a touring bike when it is not necessary for the load carried. I would pretty much not even think of taking the touring bike for riding near home or for an organized century or what ever.

I am thinking I may even go with 25mm tires, but may use a beefier front wheel since I plan to use front panniers.

My recent tour was my first attempt to get close to 20 pounds of gear weight and it got me thinking about what I really need. While it was a mild weather tour I think I can go as light or lighter even for 3 season flatland touring or summer touring in the mountains or maybe even three season touring in the mountains. At 22 pounds of gear weight I had luxury items like a bigger than necessary camera with two lenses, a tripod, and more tools than I probably needed. In addition I had some other items that were never used on the 25 day tour or were rarely used and could be done without. I had a bit more duplication of clothing than absolutely necessary as well. I also had a number of items that I could go to lighter options on.

I think I can get total bike and gear weight to 40 pounds if using a road bike. Somewhere around that weight point I have to think that a road bike makes sense.

What is there to lose? I doubt that I will irreparably damage the bike and if the experiment would fail I'd just not go that route again without some changes.
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Old 10-05-11, 08:36 AM
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Op, I have a Roubaix and here's some things to consider. I doubt that 28mm tires will fit. With a carbon seat post I wouldn't want to hang much extra weight from the saddle. Depending on your weight, lightweight racing wheels may not be the best with extra weight. I have a lightweight steel road bike that I would feel more comfortable with for your intended purpose.

BTW the Roubaix is a very comfortable bike. I love mine!

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Old 10-05-11, 10:10 AM
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are you lads sure on the trailer advice,will it not put a lot of strain on the carbon stays.( just asking )
then look at a 2 wheel trailer with, an elastomer or rubber hose interface .

Owning that Riv Ramb, if I were you, I'd just ride it,
Want to ride a composite race wonder bike ? have support van carry your gear.
Cycle Oregon Group trips offer that.

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Old 10-05-11, 12:40 PM
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Yesterday - took my Roubaix Elite to 2 bike shops and asked the same question

I have an '07 Specialized Roubaix Elite (triple) and I've been thinking of some credit card touring in the mountains and deserts of eastern SoCal. I'd planned on 20 - 25 pounds in two small panniers.

I took the bike to a Specialized dealer and to another shop that sells lots of other carbon fiber bikes. I know both shops fairly well and have done a lot of business with each. They have always been pretty straight and honest with me.

I asked them the the identical question you posed

Specialized dealer said NO - NO - NO
- rear triangle is too light for the weight of rack and 20 pounds
- do not attach any rack mount of any kind to the carbon fiber seat post
- they doubted the clearance of any 28mm tire UNLESS the wheel is in and stays in perfect trueness
- mounting a rack to the QR or rear axle hub would still put too much load on the rear triangle
- pulling a trailer would put too much load on the rear triangle and would probably be very detrimental to handling

PS - A Specialized corporate employee was in the store installing a new computer system. He was an experienced long distance tourer and knew the Roubaix bike - he was very skeptical of the idea of touring with panniers on the back. He thought it was a bad idea.

The other bike shop looked closely at the rear triangle and seat post on the Roubaix. They (mechanic and store manager) felt there was not enough structure back there to support 20 or 25 pounds no matter how it was mounted. They recommendation was go with traditional steel frame and a purpose build touring bike. They do NOT sell any such bike so had nothing to gain from such a recommendation.

Another consideration - new lower gearing would be at least $100 for the chain rings and another $80 for cassette. The rack and mounts would be at least $50. That is $230 to convert my Roubaix endurance bike to a not so good touring bike - see the next paragraph.

I did find several very nice use touring bikes with full luggage setups for less than $1,000 here in the Pacific NW - I think I will purchase a used - medium quality touring bike and try that for a year or so.

OR - convert my 2000 Stumpjumper MX MTB to a touring bike. I already have good street tires and racks/panniers for it since it is my grocery hauler when I am out cruising on my sailboat.
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Old 10-05-11, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
I asked them the the identical question you posed
It doesn't sound like it was exactly the same question.

The OP was asking about 20 pounds split between a saddle mounted bag and a large handlebar bag. So probably 12-15 pounds in the back and maybe less depending on how much is in the handlebar bag. That is much less than your proposed 20-25 pounds in 2 panniers.

He made no mention of using a rack or panniers on the back, or the front for that matter.

As far as the trailer goes... Not what the OP was asking about, but lots of folks have done long tours with trailers on similar CF bikes without incident.

I do agree that it is probably a bad idea to add stress to a carbon seat post and would probably use a aluminum one.
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Old 10-05-11, 01:54 PM
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I see the logic of spreading out the weight over various areas. One factor I imagine would be something to take into account is rider weight. For instance, I weigh 140, so adding 10-15lbs at rear, 10lbs up front or ish, I would think would be no different (or even less) than the load the bike would get from a very typical 180lb rider who would be riding the same frame size as me.

dont know Nuns weight, but you can see what I mean, given the discussion here of what a given weight is doing on certain parts of the bike (hanging stuff off a carbon seat post notwithstanding, but thats an issue easily solved with a diff post)
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Old 10-05-11, 02:05 PM
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I'm gratified by the number of responses to my question.

1) I'm not trying to solve any problem with the Roubaix, just thinking aloud. I'd like to get a light carbon bike, something like a Roubaix, Synapse etc. and I like to tinker.

2) I won't be using panniers and don't want the weight and pain of a trailer. I'll use a saddlebag and a handlebar bag. I'd probably leave my cooking gear out when using the Roubaix so that would be 13lbs total hanging on the saddle and around 6lbs on the handlebars

3) If 28mm tyres don't fit 25mm will be fine.

4) The carbon seatpost is a legitimate worry.......I may have to replace it with a Nitto and the saddle will be a Brooks Swift....maybe Ti.

5) I wouldn't change the gearing much, maybe go to 48/34 or 46/34 to make the big ring more sensible for all day riding.
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Old 10-05-11, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I see the logic of spreading out the weight over various areas. One factor I imagine would be something to take into account is rider weight. For instance, I weigh 140, so adding 10-15lbs at rear, 10lbs up front or ish, I would think would be no different (or even less) than the load the bike would get from a very typical 180lb rider who would be riding the same frame size as me.

dont know Nuns weight, but you can see what I mean, given the discussion here of what a given weight is doing on certain parts of the bike (hanging stuff off a carbon seat post notwithstanding, but thats an issue easily solved with a diff post)
Yes this is the nitty gritty. I'm not light, being 5"10 and 190lbs which is part of the reason I've never gone with carbon; why save 5lbs on the bike when I need to drop 20lbs. So I've set myself a goal of getting down to 170lbs at which point I reward myself with a fancy carbon road bike. So is 170+13lbs ok on the Roubaix seat and back triangle?
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Old 10-05-11, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by nun View Post
Yes this is the nitty gritty. I'm not light, being 5"10 and 190lbs which is part of the reason I've never gone with carbon; why save 5lbs on the bike when I need to drop 20lbs. So I've set myself a goal of getting down to 170lbs at which point I reward myself with a fancy carbon road bike. So is 170+13lbs ok on the Roubaix seat and back triangle?
Yes it's fine. I'm 6'3" and 205lbs and there's no problem with me plus a >10lb saddlebag on the carbon SCR. The Roubaix is no less robust. And I use a carbon seat post, as it happens...
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Old 10-05-11, 02:23 PM
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I've never ridden with that much weight above the top tube - what is it like to carry 25 pounds (spread front and rear) above the top tube?

Maybe we are thinking about different kinds of roads - but I'm not sure I'd want that much weight up that high while descending 8%/3 mile grades at 30 mph.

Is it common in touring, even lightweight touring, to carry weight that high?

Just asking 'cause I've never used anything but panniers.
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