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The Specialized Roubaix Pro is a very good all-weather training and commuting tyre. With a slick central tread and heavily siped shoulders, it balances smooth, easy rolling with predictable handling on loose and wet surfaces. If you stick to the minimum inflation pressures you do get to feel every bump in the road, but if you're looking for the best road bike tyres you can get for this kind of money, they're well worth considering.
The Roubaix Pro is marketed by Specialized as an endurance road tyre, so you'd expect it to be long lasting and hardwearing. It's also, as the name suggests, ideal for mixed surfaces.
This model has been around for a few years now, and appears to have a cult following; and if the reviews on the Specialized website are anything to go by, it'll be sticking around for years to come. On my first ride on the Roubaix Pros, I was straight out onto damp roads for a spin around Manchester, and I found it hard to disagree with the reviews I'd read.
They offer plenty of grip on damp and loose surfaces, yet are sprightly and responsive off the mark, and once they were spinning along, I didn't feel like I was working any harder than usual. What was immediately noticeable, however, was how unforgiving the Roubaix Pros are if you stick to the high minimum pressure of 115-125psi; that, and a fairly narrow width, mean they do little to absorb hard surfaces.
The tyres feature a 120tpi casing and Specialized's Gripton compound. With a slick central tread, they not only roll smoothly and efficiently, but have stable high speed characteristics – no wobbles or loss of traction when cornering on descents above 30mph, while the shoulders offer assured handling on loose and damp surfaces.
The Roubaix Pros are 120tpi (threads per inch) and include Specialized's Endurant bead-to-bead casing and BlackBelt technology (a layer of aramid fibres under the tread).
Unlike Shaun's issues when reviewing the Specialized Roadsport tyres, I didn't experience any problems during my rides – whether I was trundling through Cheshire lanes, down loose surfaces or around Manchester. Of course, this could be down to sheer luck, or it could be the additional BlackBelt technology the Roubaix Pros feature.
You can read about these different technologies on Specialized's website, but briefly: the Endurant casing is wrapped around the tyre and doubled back on itself, which Specialized claims results in the tyre offering puncture resistance and defence against sidewall/shoulder tears, while the BlackBelt tech is tightly woven aramid fibres placed directly under the tread to provide protection against sharp debris.
Specialized offers the Roubaix Pro tyres in three width 'ranges': 23/25mm, 25/28mm and 30/32mm, the sizes depending on the wheel you mount them on and their internal rim width.
When mounting them on my 35mm-deep BMC CRD-351 wheels with a 17mm internal width and 25mm outer, the Roubaix Pros did require tyre levers for the last 20 per cent – much like my experience with Continental GP5000s and Pirelli Velos.
The Roubaix Pros are a decent price for a tyre of their quality. The CST Czar Dual Compound tyres Shaun tested recently are slightly cheaper at £29.15, and he rated them for their wet weather handling and decent puncture protection. They're also lighter, although they don't feature a 120tpi casing, so you might find them slightly harder work once you're going.
The Vittoria Rubino Pro G2.0s (as tested by Stu in 2020) that came standard on my BMC are more expensive at £44.99, and I wasn't particularly impressed by their ride quality or their rolling resistance, though they were equally impressive on loose and wet surfaces.
The Specialized Roubaix Pro tyres are a great option if you're looking for a dependable winter, training or commuting tyre. With their 120tpi casing and mixed tread design, they offer a responsive ride with assured handling in wet and loose conditions. Specialized hasn't compromised on the Roubaix Pro's durability either, with the inclusion of its Endurant casing and BlackBelt technology ensuring you can experience miles of worry-free cycling. If you run them at their recommended minimum pressure, though, it does result in an uncompromising ride quality that ensures you feel every bump.
Grippy tyre offering excellent performance in all weather conditions
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Specialized Roubaix Pro
Size tested: 700x23/25
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Specialized says: 'The Roubaix Pro is an endurance road tire that's well suited for smooth and rough roads alike.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Bead-to-bead Endurant casing
BlackBelt puncture protection technology
Recommended Pressure: 115-125psi
Approximate Weight: 260g
Its 120tpi construction ensures smooth rolling and low resistance thanks to the central tread, and the shoulder sipes provide good traction on wet and loose surfaces.
Comparable to similar tyres, such as the CST Czar.
Compared with the Vittoria Corsa G2.0s that came fitted as standard with my BMC, the Specialized Roubaix Pro offers a more comfortable and refined ride. My only gripe is that if you stick to the recommended high pressure the Roubaix Pros mean you can feel every bump in the road.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Smooth-riding characteristics and assured handling matched with all-weather grip. If you stick to the high minimum pressures, though, there's a distinct lack of comfort.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
All-weather grip. They felt secure on the road, providing increased confidence and allowing for tighter cornering and later braking.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
If you stick to the high minimum pressure then comfort is reduced.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're slightly more expensive than Pirelli's P7 Sports but those are heavier and more sluggish, and slightly more than CST's Czars – but those have a lower tpi. They're a tenner less than Vittoria's Rubino Pros and offer a better ride quality.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes – a great training tyre, especially for the winter.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
They're very good road tyres offering excellent grip in all weather conditions. They wouldn't be my choice of tyre during the summer, unless solely used for commuting, but really do come into their own in winter. They're also good value at £35 each.
About the tester
I usually ride: BMC Teammachine SLR ONE My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding,