We take a look at the radically redesigned Specialized Roubaix

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 10

Specialized Roubaix Expert Shimano Ultegra Di2

Pros:

  • Comfortable front end
  • Suspension has no negative effect on ride
  • Excellent handling
  • Lightweight frame

Cons:

  • None

Product:

Specialized Roubaix Expert

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£3,800.00

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Front suspension on a road bike might sound like something straight out of the 1990s, but the concept has been revived with the new Specialized Roubaix, and to great effect.

Frame

The big talking point on the new Specialized Roubaix is the spring-based suspension unit built into the steerer tube that offers up to 20mm of travel.

Although this may sound like a gimmick, it does, in fact, make for a significantly smoother and more comfortable front end, gliding over rough terrain.

But this is still a race bike, with a lightweight frame and the same fork as the Tarmac.

Specification

This mid-range Expert model is equipped with Shimano’s faultless Ultegra groupset, with the neat addition of a 32t sprocket at the rear.

The bike is only available with disc brakes, a decision I’m perfectly happy with considering the target market.

The wheels are DT Swiss R470 Discs which could be lighter, but still do a good job, and complement the wider tyres well.

Ride

Jumping on board the Specialized Roubaix Expert Shimano Ultegra Di2 for the first time is an unnerving feeling, with the front suspension giving the impression that you’ve got a puncture.

However, get five minutes down the road and you completely forget about it, feeling no loss of efficiency even when wrenching the bars up and down in a full gas sprint.

Going fast around a bumpy curve is a complete revelation, with the front tyre staying glued to the ground rather than juddering.

Value

A price knocking at the door of four grand might seem a bit much for a bike without a top-level frame (if you want that then there’s an S-Works model with SRAM eTap available for £7,500), but considering the revolutionary experience of the front suspension system, it’s a fair price to pay, even with the middle-of-the-road aluminium wheels.

Verdict

The Specialized Roubaix Expert ticks every box we'd hope and endurance bike to tick. Most importantly the suspension in the front end makes it incredibly easy to ride over rough surfaces, but it also offers excellent handling and a lightweight frame that can be ridden fast.

Details

Miles ridden:381
Weight:7.2kg / 15.8lb
Size tested:56cm
Sizes available:49-64cm
Frame:Fact 10r, Endurance Geometry
Fork:Roubaix disc, FACT 11r carbon
Groupset:Shimano Ultegra Di2
Wheels:DT Swiss R470 Disc
Tyres:Specialized Turbo
Bar:Specialized Hover Expert Alloy
Stem:Specialized Pro SL
Saddle:Phenom Expert GT
Seatpost:Specialized CG-R
Contact:www.specialized.com