Weight, aerodynamics, and comfort, the US giant Specialized has chosen all three for its latest Roubaix instalment.
After 15 years, six Paris-Roubaix victories and one legal battle, Specialized believe it has hit a new benchmark for the all-new Roubaix. The goal remains as it did all those years ago with compliance at the forefront of design but this one has gone above simply smoothing out the bumps. While the Roubaix’s earlier origins focussed on its composite constructive, those unmistakeable Zertz designs and more recently, a SWAT storage box, the latest incarnation is all about Future Shock 2.0.
Shock of the new
The previous Roubaix featured the first FutureShock while, as one could expect, 2.0 has received a complete overhaul. FutureShock is a suspension-like system sitting within the steerer but it’s moved on from a simple spring system. Now, 2.0 utilises a coil spring with hydraulic damper and oil port, which controls compression and rebound to provide 20mm of compliance when the road turns nasty. There’s even a lockout dial on top. Following the trend of groomed frame designs, Specialized has managed to tuck everything away into a refined package that only the keenest of eyes could spot.
Future Shock 2.0 allows for up to 30mm of headset spacers to sit below the custom stem whilst still being able to accomodate the weight of a handlebar bag. The 2.0 is only available on the S-Works and Expert models with the remaining models utilising Future Shock 1.5 – which is coil spring only.
On the Pavé
For comfort at the rear, the Pave seatpost has been introduced. Those weird and wonderful Roubaix Zertz and CG-R posts being superseded by this contemporary design. The new Pave has a D-shaped cross-section like that on the Tarmac but with added flex along the post and a drop-clamp design. The seatpost is designed to ‘float’ a little inside the frame, allowing for more movement. This is best experienced with the 20mm offset post. Seatpost suspension systems have been around since the 1800’s but this is Specialized’s most minimalist design yet, possibly proving simple is better.
The rest of the frame is designed around Specialized’s FreeFoil tubing and coupled with the D-shaped seat-post and internal cabling, the Rouabix is claimed to be even more aerodynamic than the previous Tarmac. Retail selections are as expected with the S-Works models using Fact 11r carbon for the frame and a claimed frame weight below 900 grams. A full build with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 will reportedly tip the scales at 7.2kg. The remaining models use the 10r carbon layup and as we’ve come to expect, discs are now compulsory. No rim brake options are currently available.
Getting longer and lower
If you’re feeling extra professional, the Team models come with custom geometry. To get as long and low as Sagan, they feature very low stack heights, short head-tubes, longer reaches and even longer top tubes. All other models are designed as unisex geometry, and have the PowerSaddle as standard.
Roubaix models start from $6,500 with the S-Works eTap AXS retailing at $17,000. The S-Works frameset with standard or Team geometry will set you back $6,000 which is around the mark for any S-Works frame module. For full specifications visit the Specialized site here, and we’re sure it’ll get plenty of coverage on its namesake race.
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