Every Road Has its Roubaix
Every crack, every pothole, every rough patch and bit of chip seal—the off-limits boneshakers to the smoothest homestretches. This bike isn’t resigned to a single day in France; it’s made for here, there and everywhere. It’s made to make your daily rides smoother and faster.
Welcome to the new era of smooth.
Welcome to the brand new Roubaix.
From the outset of development, Specialized partnered with McLaren Applied Technologies to create the smoothest performance bicycles on the planet. Together, they didn’t just shatter the mold; really, their work together has been so revolutionary, it’s fair to say there’s been no mold to break.
Check out some of the technology behind the all new Roubaix:
The Future Shock is a revolution. It’s smooth, delivering 20mm of travel without degrading speed, handling or comfort. In fact, it does quite the opposite. Through a focus on axial compliance, it breaks the mold of what we thought was possible in bicycle design.
Not all compliance is created equal. When it comes to compliance, there are two competing schools of thought. In one corner, there’s splay. In the other, there’s axial compliance. Essentially, splay is the fore & aft movement of the front axle, relative to the frame, as a result of any bending of the frame and fork. Meanwhile, axial (or vertical compliance) can be characterized as the movement of the handlebars, relative to the front axle, as a result of fork, frame and stem compliance.
The Future Shock features up to 20mm of travel, and it’s positioned above the head tube in order to move in a vertical path. So when the front wheel encounters rough terrain, the bike moves up towards your hands and preserves your forward momentum without slowing you down.
Since the Future Shock is positioned above the head tube, the wheelbase isn’t changing throughout the suspension’s travel, so you get the added benefit of extremely predictable handling. Here, Specialized engineer Chris Yu explains:
This is the point: The built-in suspension in the steerer tube and seat tube reduces the cumulative effect of thousands of divots, rocks, and washboard ripples you encounter on a ride and leaves you feeling mostly the effects of your own exertion—which might even be more impressive than you thought you were capable of. – Bicycling
Smoother Is Faster
For many, “smoothness” is a term that’s replaceable with “comfort,” and likewise, it’s been historically treated as a variable that’s in the way of speed: you either have a fast bike or a comfortable bike. With the new Roubaix, however, Specialized set out to find just what happens when smoothness is treated as a component of speed. It was complicated, but testing clearly proves that “smoother” is indeed “faster.”
By creating greater vertical frame compliance, or smoothness, Specialized has been able to enhance the multiple facets of speed across all of the major touch points: fatigue reduction and power input.
Reducing fatigue is a pretty obvious factor in speed, given that the more comfortable you are, the less tired you’re bound to get—especially after a long day over rough terrain. Over the long haul, this also contributes to power, but Specialized has found that a smoother ride also increases your ability to apply constant power. So as smoothness increases, while power becomes less stochastic and more constant, time savings increase significantly.
Smoothness acts as the glue that brings all of this together, and it’s why Specialized can confidently proclaim that Smoother is Faster.
The Drop Clamp and CG-R
The rear end has a very different set of compliance requirements than the front. It needs to soften the resonant impact that travels from the rear wheel to the saddle and to keep the seat height consistent. To hit their performance targets, without decoupling the rear end of the bike, Specialized paired their CG-R seatpost with the new Drop Clamp to provide 20 degrees of rearward arc compliance.
The Rider-First Engineered philosophy is directly inspired by Specialized’s relationship with McLaren, meaning that it focuses heavily on data-driven design. After all, to understand the reality of a problem, you need sound data, and this can only be derived from hundreds of hours of testing. Of course, the question begs to be asked: What has Specialized been testing for?
Over the years, Specialized’s engineers found that riders on smaller frames were experiencing ride characteristics that were inverse to that of their larger counterparts—and vice-versa. For example, where a smaller frame is stiff on the flats, it might under-steer in the corners, while the opposite can be true for large frames. Correcting this required sophisticated instruments to quantify the forces being applied to the frame. In real-world testing, these measured the reactionary forces through the fork, stem, saddle—every conceivable input & output. With an immense supply of data in tow, Specialized’s engineers were able to create the remedy.
To equalize performance, they found that each size’s performance targets required direct specificity. This means that, for every frame size, each tube size & carbon layup is specifically selected with the collected data in mind. The result? The optimal balance of rigidity, weight and responsiveness across EVERY frame size.
First Look at the 2017 Roubaix
Specialized went back to the drawing board to rebuild the Roubaix, its flagship cobblestone bike, from the ground up, and the new iteration couldn’t look more different from previous models. – VeloNews
Specialized has produced a bike that suits its intended purpose exceptionally well. The technology and balance of the front and rear work in harmony on the rough stuff. – Cycling Tips
The newest iteration of the Specialized Roubaix is a game changer. – Road Bike Review
The all-new Roubaix is perhaps the most important bike Specialized has launched to date and is one of the most popular sportive bikes worldwide… This radical new departure could just be the future of endurance road bikes. – Bike Radar
Stop by Higher Gear today to ride away with the smoothest bike on the planet.