The Specialized Roubaix is, of course, named for the pavé-encrusted Northern flatlands, one of the ultimate tests and most impressive spectacles of the Pro race season.
But there's a good reason that our photoshoot for this build was interrupted by a feathered intruder... A Roubaisien isn't just the name for a native of the Roubaix region, it's also a breed of pigeon unique to the area. The mining communities of the Nord bred some tough men, and some impressive cyclists, and many of them channelled their limited free time into the breeding and racing of homing pigeons.
So Specialized may have had the terrain in mind when they chose the name for their endurance race bike, but it also subtly pays homage to the sleek, long-distance champions of the air.
This particular build is the Ultegra 8050 Di2 equipped Roubaix Expert, complete with hydraulic discs. The Roval wheelset is equipped with DT Swiss hubs and alloy rims with a generous 20mm internal width, tough enough and generously sized for rougher surfaces but with a sub-1600g weight.
Future Shock suspension both front and rear provides the oft-mentioned "vertical compliance and lateral stiffness", but this isn't just a shallow marketing term, however overused it might be. The built in dampers at the seat stays and stem (and even in the seatpost) all work brilliantly to take the buzz and harshness out of rough terrain whilst retaining the precise handling that a race bike deserves.
photos by Bence Bujaki