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Specialized Roubaix Expert review

17 Jan 2018
Verdict:

Game-changing Future Shock adds the wow factor to an already excellent bike

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£3,200
For 
Future Shock works beautifully; great Ultegra brakes; fast and reasonably light climbing and descending
Against 
High front end; complicated cockpit setup; reduced front end feel

The Roubaix has been part of the Specialized line up for many years, winning the event from which it takes its name no fewer than five times (2008-10, 2012, 2014).

But for 2017 it’s undergone a dramatic and fundamental design change. That change is the new ‘Future Shock’, a spring-based unit that allows 20mm of suspension at the front and is positioned just below the stem.

While the Future Shock will be what most people want to know about, the remainder of the bike has a great component specification.

The choice of the Hover handlebars, which have 15mm rise, won’t suit those who prefer a low position, but the Roubaix isn’t aimed at racers.

The DT wheels are a good match with the wide rims giving the 26mm Turbo tyres a nice, rounded shape.

A full Shimano Ultegra groupset is faultless and cable routing is neat and well thought out.

Storage box

The SWAT box, visible behind the front derailleur, is a storage box that will fit a tube and the majority of the tools you’re likely to need on a ride. Although it’s removable, it is neat and well designed.

From the first ride, the Future Shock is immediately noticeable. The smoothness and lack of friction is impressive, making it very responsive over smaller bumps.

Out of the saddle, for sprints or climbs, the suspension does react, but it doesn’t have a noticeable effect and certainly no detectable ‘bobbing’ while riding.

All Roubaix models come with three spring options. We went for the Medium for the majority of the test but also tried the Firm.

The softest spring may feel too soft for all but the lightest riders and while the choice of three should suit almost everyone, an even harder spring would be welcome.

Set-up is simple enough, but it’s a different process to the normal stem/steerer tube set-up, so you really need to read through the instructions.

The inclusion of two different height headset caps and the option of spacers mean the riding position can be made high, great if you’re after comfort.

It doesn’t take long after the first ride to completely forget that the Future Shock is there, but the difference in comfort is fantastic.

Rating - 4.7/5

Buy the Specialized Roubaix Expert from Evans Cycles here

Spec

Specialized Roubaix Expert
Frame FACT 10r Carbon, Roubaix Disc FACT 11r fork, 12mm thru-axle 
Groupset Shimano Ultegra
Brakes Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc
Chainset Shimano Ultegra Compact, 50/34
Cassette Shimano Ultegra, 11-32
Bars Specialized Hover Expert Alloy, 15mm rise
Stem Specialized Pro SL
Seatpost Specialized CG-R, FACT carbon
Wheels DT R470 Disc Pro
Saddle Specialized Phenom Expert GT
Weight 8.44kg (54cm)
Contact specialized.com

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