It carried Philippe Gilbert to victory at Paris-Roubaix this year, and now we’ve got our hands on his bike, well not his exact bike, but a Specialized S-Works Roubaix you can buy in the shops right now. It’s just arrived for review but before we hit the road here’s a quick first look at all the key details.
This is the all-singing-all-dancing top-end bike costing a cool £9,500 and dripping with the latest SRAM Red eTap AXS wireless groupset and Roval CLX 32 wheels. You can get a Dura-Ace Di2 version for the same money, or pay enough £500 for a Peter Sagan version which gets a snazzy paint job.
If that’s too rich for your tastes, the new Roubaix range starts at £4,400, or you can step down to the previous generation Roubaix frame starting from £2,100.
Back to our bling new test bike, and this model gets the brand new SRAM Red eTap AXS groupset. I rode this new groupset out in the Arizona desert earlier this year but this is my first chance to use it on UK roads.
It’s a 12-speed groupset with a 10-33t cassette and 46/33t chainset, the idea being to provide a more usable spread of gears with smaller steps at the business end of the cassette, and improved front shifting with a smaller step between the two chainrings.
The crankset fits the frame with a new DUB threaded bottom bracket and there’s a power meter neatly integrated into the spider for measuring the power.
Roval CLX 32 Disc wheels are the shallowest and therefore lightest rim the company offers and they’re mated to 26mm wide S-Works Turbo Cotton tyres. With clearance for up to 33mm tyres in the new Roubaix frame, we’ll definitely be trying some wider rubber.
Specialized duly decks out the bike with its own equipment. We’ve got an S-Works Power saddle, short and carbon of rails, fitted to the top of the new Pave carbon seatpost. A carbon S-Works Hover handlebar provides an additional 20mm of rise, though of course, you could easily swap this for a regular handlebar to tune your fit.
The new aluminium Future Stem has a neat integrated computer mount compatible with Garmin and Wahoo computers. The final detail is the Roubaix S-Wrap bar tape.
All the lot contributes to a 7.4kg (16.3lb) weight for the size 56cm pictured here.
And so to the frame which is all-new. It's made from FACT 11r carbon fibre and weighs a claimed 900g and features the upgraded Future Shock 2.0 suspension inside the head tube. It still provides 20mm of bump absorption but is now damped for a smoother feel with superior control, and a dial on the top of the stem lets you lock it out.
It’s better looking than the old bike, Specialized spending time on the aesthetic appearance with a new rubber boot, top cap and even designing the Future Stem to complement the overall package.
The frame is more aero than the old bike and even compared to the current Tarmac SL6. That shows how aero is becoming an important design consideration on bikes were aero was never previously a concern - the Roubaix was originally all about comfort both from the more relaxed fit and frame features designed to offer a smoother ride.
Once again it’s disc brakes only with the ubiquitous 12mm thru-axles, with flush fitting lever-less axles, and flat mount brake callipers. All cables and hoses are internally routed.
Also internal is the new seat clamp, which lives inside the space at the back of the seatpost that has been created to let the seatpost flex back and forth when encountering bumps. Like the old bike, it’s also dropped 65mm below the top tube to increase the amount of deflection.
Slotted into that wider opening seat tube is a brand new Pave seatpost. It replaces the old CG-R seatpost which most people will agree wasn’t much of a looker, and it offers the same level of compliance whilst also being lighter and more aerodynamic owing to the same D-shaped profile as found on the Tarmac seatpost.
Rider-First Engineering is a key design aspect for Specialized these days, and Specialized has scrapped the women-specific bikes for the new Roubaix. The new bike is gender neutral bikes, a decision born out of analysing the vast database of digital fit data acquired by Retul which helped it to put aside traditional assumptions about gender differences.
The new Roubaix then is available in 11 frame sizes but three of those sizes are the new S-Works Team Geo, distinguished by using the same geometry but with a shorter head tube length and reach. These frames were developed for the pros to be able to mirror their Tarmac/Venge fits, and Specialized is now offering these frames to customers for the first time.
The pictured bike is a 56cm and some important geometry numbers include a 605mm stack, 384mm reach, 143mm head tube, 995mm wheelbase, 415mm chainstays and a 73.5-degree head angle.
That's everything you need to know about this S-Works Roubaix test bike, and as luck would have it I got the short straw to review it! I've already ridden a Dura-Ace equipped bike over the cobbled roads of the race it is named after of course, and you can read my first ride impressions here, but not it's time to see what it's like on my familiar local roads. Full review soon.
More info at 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.