Popular all-rounder with added bounce
The Roubaix has a lot to live up to, with the 2017 Roubaix Expert winning our coveted Bike of the Year award. Can the 2018 models live up to such high praise?
The frame, fork and Future Shock (headset suspension system) remain unaltered but one area that has changed is the price, up by £500 compared to last year’s model – although some component upgrades account for at least a portion of the increase.
The drivetrain mixes Shimano Ultegra mechs, hydraulic disc brakes and shifters, 105 cassette and a Praxis Works Zayante chainset. It offers good performance and you would be hard pushed to notice a difference against a full Ultegra groupset, though it does have a wider stance and some riders will rub their feet on the crank arms.
The new Shimano Ultegra 8000 groupset improves on what was already a fantastic drivetrain with smooth shifts, excellent braking and a sleeker look. The Roval wheels are decent performers, although with more basic hubs fitted than higher models, and the weight was not outstanding. Fitted with 28mm Turbo Pro tyres they will aid comfort.
The Future Shock is without a doubt the standout feature, a self-contained unit bolted into the head tube that offers 20mm of vertical travel to the handlebars. While 20mm does not sound like much, it does a fantastic job of improving comfort and smoothing rougher roads. Combined with the bike’s long wheelbase it makes for a very stable and confidence-inspiring ride. On the roughest paved roads in Calderdale, however, even the Future Shock couldn’t keep up and the suspension was bottoming out regularly.
Surprisingly, the Future Shock doesn’t increase the head-tube height noticeably and with two top-cap options and the ability to ftt spacers, the riding position can easily be altered to suit the rider’s needs.
While front-end comfort was expected, what really surprised us was how plush the rear of the bike felt. The CG-R seat-post, with a kinked design offers up to i8mm of vertical compliance for a very smooth ride.
Weight: 8.64kg (size 54cm)
Frame: Specialized FACT 10r Carbon frame and fork
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra 8050
Brakes: Shimano Ultegra, 8020hydraulicdisc
Chainset: Praxis Works Zayante, 50/34
Cassette: Shimano 105,11-32 BARS: Specialized Comp Hover
Stem: Specialized alloy
Seatpost: Specialized CG-R FACT Carbon
Wheels: Roval SLX24 TYRES: Specialized Turbo Pro, 28mm
Downhill Confidence – Future Shock makes it feel incredible downhill.
Comfort – Exceptionally smooth both front and rear.
Headset – Provides plenty of scope for adjustment.
Could be better
Handlebar shape – Tight bend and short drop may not suit all riders.
Proprietary parts – Some non-standard bearing sizes.
No mudguard fittings – Limits the scope of the bike.
The Roubaix continues to make us smile. It offers a smooth and comfortable ride, without feeling floppy or slow as we initially feared. It might not be an out-and-out racer, or able to truly tame the worst of the cobbles, but on tarmac roads for everyday riding it’s a bike that’s full of delights.