Test Lab Specialized Roubaix Comp
The Roubaix is a model that has stood the test of time. It has been and continues to be used by the world’s best road riders. In 2009 Tom Boonen rode a Roubaix to victory in the race from which the bike takes its name. Specialized bikes continue to be used by some of the world’s biggest pro road teams including Astana, Team Saxobank Sunguard, and HTC Highroad this past season. With the name attached to this bike, you are guaranteed to be using a product that has tons of technology and huge amounts of testing put into it during its development and production.
The Roubaix range has eight different models to choose from, varying mainly between component spec and the type of carbon weave used in the frame. The Roubaix Comp sits somewhere toward the middle, although this is a bit blurred due to the inclusion of the compact crank models. The Roubaix comp frame uses FACT 8 carbon and therefore has the same advanced technology and construction as the Specialized S-Works SL2 of 2009 and 2010. It has been designed as an endurance road bike, to handle the roughest of surfaces that you may come across on any long distance ride.
With the thought of ride quality and comfort in mind, the frame has been designed to flex vertically, while still remaining torsionally strong. Zertz inserts, a mainstay of the Roubaix range, have been added to both the fork and the rear stays to add to the comfort level of the bike. Specialized claim the inserts absorb some of the roughness from the road, reducing vibration and making this frame ideal for the cobblestone roads of the race it is named after. The Zertz inserts in no way take away from the strength or stiffness of the frame. They are simply inserted into gaps in the forks and rear stays.
The comfort level of this bike is outstanding. It has been the only bike I have ridden since my fall and I have appreciated the added plushness of the frame and the benefits of the heavier rubber Specialized have added to the package. After spending more than four hours on the bike during one ride, I was more than happy with the result. The comfortable saddle and extended carbon seatpost combined with the frame’s ability to flex vertically made for a good, comfortable ride for the duration of the test. The Toupe saddles that Specialized fits to some of their bikes have a reputation for a high level of comfort due to the huge number of sit bones measurements in the Specialized Body Geometry database.
Considering the larger tyres, which I won’t bang on about, the bike was very good to climb and sprint on. The lateral strength of the frame was very telling in both of these cases. The longer wheelbase and slacker head angle was a little noticeable during high-speed cornering and descending. It made the front of the bike feel a little light but was still able to be easily controlled once a little more weight was placed forward. The Roubaix cruised along very nicely over any kind of surface and as you’d expect, it was really at home on the dead and rough roads that you often find on longer training rides.