When called to arms, the multi-tasking, multi-classic winning Specialized Roubaix reacts as though it’s simply an extension of mind and body.
Pros like Tom Boonen — who rode his Roubaix to a record-tying 4th Paris-Roubaix victory in 2012 — count on its smooth ride and responsive handling to get the job done.
With size-specific engineering and a frame that delivers the best balance of vertical compliance, low weight, and torsional stiffness, riders of all sizes can experience the same ride quality and performance as Boonen.
The Specialized Roubaix has always been a favorite choice – and a Higher Gear recommendation – for cyclists looking for a balance between an aggressive road bike and a more comfortable ride. The Roubaix really shines for longer distances like century rides.
Its namesake, the famed Spring Classic race, the Paris-Roubaix, is one of the oldest races in professional cycling. Taking place in April each year, the Paris-Roubaix is a one-day stage race in northern France. It has earned the nickname “l’enfer du Nord,” which translates into “The Hell of the North,” due to its rough terrain. Those famous European cobblestoned streets are a notable feature of this race. Punctures and other mechanical problems are common and have often played a part in the results. This has led cycling companies to develop specialized frames, wheels and tires capable of enduring the rough terrain. Specialized’s Roubaix is one such technological feat that grew out of the need to merge speed and comfort.
The Specialized Roubaix falls into the category of “endurance road bike” or “comfort road bike.” Perhaps that sounds like an oxymoron. “Comfort” isn’t the first word that comes to mind when considering a road bike. Road bikes are for speed! But for a racer who is setting out for a day race over cobblestones or a rider who is putting in long hours in the saddle to train for a century, comfort comes from the not-so-small details.
Endurance road bike frames tend to be vertically tighter while featuring a headset that is higher than in a traditional road racing bike. This allows for a more comfortable, yet still efficient position. Endurance road bikes utilize frame materials, like specially designed carbon layup and Specialized Zertz inserts, that dampen road “noise” or vibration. The frame design also helps to dampen vibration before it can reach the body – most notably at the seatstays and chainstays, where it leads to the rider’s seat, and at the fork, which leads directly to the rider’s hands.
Specialized maximized these “comfort” features in the Roubaix. From the FACT IS carbon construction to the strategically placed Zertz inserts. From the dog-legged seatstays to the redesigned lighter fork for 2013. As Boonen’s success at the Paris-Roubaix proves, increased comfort on a road bike means more efficient cycling and that translates into faster speeds.
With its 2013 Roubaix, Specialized once again redefines the endurance road bike category and again proves: Smoother is Faster.
For 2013, Specialized revised its category-defining Roubaix endurance road bike. The new S-Works model bears the same SL4 designation as the company’s Tour de France-proven Tarmac, and Specialized focused on making the bike faster, without sacrificing its comfortable ride. Changes to the frame include a stiffer front end, and different sizes frames get different size headset bearings and steerer tubes to tune the bike’s ride for the cyclists likely to be on the bike.
Features of the 2013 Roubaix include:
- Performance-optimized FACT-IS construction. Innovative structures like proprietary one-piece OSBB/chainstay, internal ribbing and hollow carbon dropouts and headset cups. These features optimize weight and stiffness in every part of the frame for greater acceleration, efficiency, and handling. The one-piece OSBB/chainstay design resists deflection under extreme pedal loads for improved power transfer. Internally raised ribs at the BB and head tube use optimized fiber alignment to increase stiffness. Hollow dropouts and headset cups cut weight to a minimum.
- Engineered seatstays – through their shape and molded Zertz inserts – work to sharpen handling and dampen road vibration by increasing rear-end compliance and muting vibration. Redesigned, more triangulated seatstays have straighter lines from seat tube to dropout. This better engineered structure increases lateral stiffness while maintaining vertical compliance.
- Strategic surface shaping of the head tube/top tube/down tube junction is designed to optimize torsional stiffness by creating a more direct connection to the front wheel through the steer tube, while maintaining compliance. By manipulating the geometry of this junction, Specialized improved stiffness without the use of overly stiff fiber that would sacrifice vertical compliance. Widening the top tube and down tube eliminates flat spots behind the head tube for greater frame stiffness.
- A more compliant and lighter fork creates a more balanced and stable ride for riders of different sizes. Better layup and size-specific bearings means the fork is 20% more compliant and 30g lighter overall.
- Size-specific tube diameters, seatstay angles, and carbon fiber layup change as you go up in frame size. Size-optimized frame engineering ensures riders of all sizes experience the same sharp, smooth handling attributes and enjoy the ride quality and performance Roubaix is known for.
Are you as excited about the 2013 Specialized Roubaix as Bicycling.com? Could the Roubaix be the right bike for your next (or first) century ride? Will you, like Higher Gear customer Harry Grace, choose the Specialized Roubaix as part of your resolution to upgrade your commitment to cycling? Will you, like customer Gabi Greenberg, discover that your Specialized Roubaix is the perfect bike to take on a cross-country road trip?
Come in to Higher Gear for a test ride and find out for yourself: Smoother is Faster.
Ladies, check out the 2013 Specialized Ruby, the women’s specific endurance road bike.