Outside Magazine contributor Aaron Gulley used to suffer on the bike, and not just the anguish of another interval. He suffered searing neck pain, aching back, and numb hands, all from bending onto a “race bike” in the name of going faster.
Then Gulley worked with a bike fitter who showed him quantitatively that comfort can translate to speed. After that, Gulley was introduced to the 2013 endurance road bikes, bike with taller headtubes and more upright, easygoing geometries. He found that now – thanks to more relaxed frame geometries, wider rim profiles, and vibration-dampening carbon components – even race bikes are more comfortable.
If you’re riding in the Wrigley Field Road Tour or another century ride or you just plan to put lots of time out on the roads this year, could a road endurance bike be the right bike for you?
Here is Gulley’s review of the Specialized Roubaix SL4.
Specialized Roubaix SL4 Expert Compact
The Test: This fourth generation of Specialized’s endurance bike still has the road-muting cushiness of past iterations, thanks to a new, larger elastomer-insert design in the seatstays and fork. But where past Roubaix could feel a bit soggy, the SL4 is lively, courtesy of the rigid Coke-can-size down tube and bottom bracket mated to snappy, pencil-thick rear stays. The long wheelbase and taller headtube were notably stable on rough roads and techy descents. “Reminds me of a Caddy with a V-8,” said one rider. Shimano Ultegra components are great value for the money.
The Verdict: Don’t call it a comfort bike—it’s a fast roadie that’s comfortable. 17.3 lbs
To read Aaron Gulley’s original article about his favorite road bikes for 2013, see Outside Magazine.
Smoother is faster. Read more about the 2013 Specialized Roubaix.
As Gulley points out in his article, nothing but your legs and lungs should be hurting on the bike.Forget the bells and whistles, the Right Bike for You is about fit.
Come in to Higher Gear to see if the Roubaix SL4 fits you.
Ladies, check out the 2013 Specialized Ruby, the women’s specific endurance road bike.