Specialized have launched a Team Edition of the new S-Works Roubaix, and it's a lot more than just a fancy paint scheme (although, that paint scheme - wow).
This is a bike with a tight focus, a true race bike that can handle the roughest of roads (and yes, cobbles), a real race replica built for speed. And for the target market, those who want to go fast on 'real world' surfaces, it's going to be an absolute godsend.
The Roubaix has nothing to prove in terms of performance - five of the top ten finishers in this year's Paris-Roubaix were riding this frame, including the winner, Philippe Gilbert.
As S-Works specialists we were all over the new bike as soon as it landed, and Barry has already been putting it through its paces (as you'll have seen if you're following us on Instagram!). Here's what he found:
above: Barry's own Roubaix Team built up and ready to go. Yes, the position really is that aggressive - this is a Pro replica right down to the geometry...
I am a sucker for team bikes; I had a Trek Koppenberg a couple of years ago (which is the Pro Geometry version of the Domane) and loved it. It's one of the bikes I most regret selling.
So, in that vein, I was super excited to see that Specialised were producing a Team version of the new Roubaix.
I had ridden the standard edition of the new bike at the Paris Roubaix sportive and really liked it; but I won't lie - I was very jealous when I saw that the Specialized engineers who were on hand to answer questions were all on the Team frames (which at that stage were not yet available for sale).
My appetite was further whetted when Philippe Gilbert won the Pro race the next day on this exact frame...
The standard Roubaix is marketed as a bike for the classics, for every day riding and for riders needing slightly more relaxed geometry. The Team Roubaix is an out and out race bike; its like a Tarmac for the cobbles.
The Tarmac comes in 7 sizes; the team Roubaix in only 3 (53, 57 and 59cm).
I looked at the stack and reach and thought that the 57 was best, as the 59 was slightly too long. As you can see, I made the 57 work - but its quite an aggressive fit!
The long seat post is actually clamped midway down in the seat tube; so you get a nice bit of deflection to take the edge off of hits. I am also loving the external BB; there is something very cool about the combination of modern aero tubes and disc brakes with an old school English threaded BB.
I love the finish; stealth but with enough detail to make it interesting. I also really like the geometry, with the almost level top tube. I always remember in past editions of the Roubaix they would market the bike with a picture of Tom Boonen's custom Roubaix which had a level top tube, small head tube and looked nothing like the Roubaix us mere mortals could buy! Even last year when Sagan won he was on a Roubaix with caliper brakes (when all the bikes available to the public are now disc only). So it's great that you can actually buy the same frame that the Pros really do ride.
Its hard to form concrete opinions in only a week's riding; but so far it has proven to be a great all rounder. You can do 5 hour rides on bad roads and it soaks it all up (and I am only on 25mm tyres at the moment; a move up to 28s is planned as well, for even more shock absorption). But when you want to smash it the bike instantly responds; there is none of that softness you sometimes get with 'endurance bikes'.
I've been searching for an analogy to capture the essence of this unusual bike. It's not really an endurance bike, despite its origins, it's a full-on race bike that's designed to cope with the roughest of conditions. True to the origins of its name.
right: If we had to sum up the Roubaix Team in a single image, this is it
I have been told the Future Shock 2.0 suspension is the same in the team bikes as it is on the normal Roubaix; to be honest I'm not so sure. On the normal bike I was constantly opening and closing it; on this one its open 95% of the time and feels very stiff indeed.
Specialized make huge claims for this bike:
I can't decide if that means you need all three, or if one bike will do it all! If it's the latter, I cant think of any current frame out there with as broad a range of skills as the Team Roubaix.
The Specialized S-Works Team Roubaix is available now, in 53, 57 and 59cm sizes as a frameset (including the S-Works Pavé seatpost) priced at £3400.
We can provide it as a frameset only, or build it into the complete bike of your dreams.
For more information, to arrange a bike fit, or to place your order, just get in touch.
The new Specialized Roubaix launched with the opportunity to get some real time in the saddle, and Barry was there to check it out in person. Here are some behind the scenes...Read more
Where better to test the new Specialized Roubaix than on the legendary pavé of Paris-Roubaix itself. Barry has been taking a first-hand look...Read more
5 of the top 10 riders at this year's Paris-Roubaix were on the new Specialized Roubaix, including the winner...Read more