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Redesigned Roubaix loses Zertz frame inserts, gains Future Shock front suspension

One of the most highly anticipated new bike releases for the 2017 model year is the Specialized Roubaix.

Specialized Roubaix Expert.jpg

The pictured bike is the Roubaix Expert. It costs £3,200 and comes with a full Shimano Ultegra groupset, with mechanical gears and hydraulic disc brakes. Its DT R470 tubeless-ready wheels are shod with Specialized Turbo 26mm tyres, and it has a full suite of the company’s own finishing kit, including the distinctive Hover riser handlebar.

Specialized Roubaix Expert - head tube.jpg

It’s a radically new bike, with the most interesting change being the switch from Zertz elsatomer frame inserts to the Future Shock, a spring inside a cartridge in the head tube.The idea is to better isolate the rider from the bumps, cracks and cobbles in the road and provide improved traction. Specialized tells us the result is a 5% improvement in vertical compliance over the previous Roubaix.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of changes; the frame is lighter, the geometry is more aggressive, it’s disc-only and it now accepts 32mm tyres.

Specialized Roubaix Expert - saddle.jpg

You can read all about the new tech on the redesigned Roubaix right here, and of how the company worked with McLaren to develop a rolling efficiency simulator to test the FutureShock.

The new Roubaix is also lighter than the old model. Even though the cartridge weighs 200g on its own, it’s managed to shed weight from the frame so that it now comes in at a claimed 700g with the fork adding 300g. Abike close to the 6.8kg UCI weight limited should be easily possible. 

One very interesting change is the switch to a traditional external threaded bottom bracket. Press-fit has lost a lot of fans over the years with customers and are manufacturers now listening? Could this be the start of the end for press-fit?

Specialized Roubaix Expert - seat tube junction.jpg

The new Roubaix has a lot going for it then, and we’re certainly very interested to see if it delivers a benchmark ride. It faces some stiff competition though, the endurance bike category is ram-packed with high-quality options. Also new this year is the Focus Paralane, Cervelo C3/C5, Trek Domane SLR and Canyon Endurace CF SLX, quite some list of bikes. I’ve ridden them all and will certainly be seeing how the Roubaix compares.

- Buyer's guide to sportive and endurance bikes 

Like what you see? Want to find out how it rides? You'll have the chance to bag a demo ride on the new bike at the inaugural road.cc LIVE event next February. 

www.specialized.com

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.