Fierce and fast is the name of the game with the Specialized Roubaix bike series. This series is made for professional riders who cycle on a variety of road surfaces. But, with similar geometries and very different price points, it might be difficult for you to determine what Roubaix is a good option for you. Our review looks at five of the most popular bikes in the Roubaix series to help you compare what your money will buy.
Series Bike Overviews
The Specialized Roubaix series is for serious racers who enjoy riding on any road surface, from bumpy gravel to cobblestone, and want a bike that can prevent fatigue from riding an uncomfortable road for an extended period. The following five bikes are the most popular models in the Specialized Roubaix series, ranging in price from $1900 to $10500.
The Specialized Roubaix is the budget-friendly base model of the series that doesn’t skimp on quality and power. It’s the only bike out of those we compare to use the Specialized FACT (Functional Advanced Composite Technology) 9r Carbon frame. This construction may make it a bit less stiff than those at the higher price points, but it also lends to its affordability and is still an excellent, well-performing construction with Specialized’s popular Future Shock technology.
The Roubaix has quality components that are merely more mid-range than high-tier parts to make the bike more affordable. The Shimano Tiagra is Shimano’s highest level of mid-range professional groupsets, offering ten speeds and a variety of gears in a compact double crankset. And, with the Axis Sport Disc wheelset, you'll have a bit less responsiveness than the other models, but plenty of durability and stability.
Specialized Roubaix Elite
The Specialized Roubaix Elite is a step up from the Roubaix, but with an extra $900 price tag. As with all the Roubaix bikes, the Elite utilizes FACT Carbon for its frame, but with 10r construction instead of 9r, with Future Shock design. This gives the bike a lighter weight, but with more carbon fiber to create a stiffer and more responsive frame, making the Elite an even better choice for rough roads.
This bike uses Shimano 105 components for much of its stop-and-go parts. The 11-speed cassette can give you a little more variety for hills than the Roubaix. Other than that, and the frame, the most significant difference between this and the base model is the wheelset, the DT R470. The stiff, strong rims can handle potholes and other obstacles better than the Roubaix's Axis Sport Disc.
Specialized Roubaix Comp
The Specialized Roubaix Comp sits at $3200, which is $400 more than the Elite. This bike is typically for those who love everything about the Roubaix Elite but would prefer a hydraulic braking system, which can prove to be a quicker, more reliable system for fast stopping in various weather conditions.
The brake system is the most noticeable upgrade, but there are some other subtle upgrades too, like the use of Shimano Ultegra shifters and brakes and Roval SLX 24 Disc wheelset. But, the cassette is the same as the Elite so that you won't get any additional speeds or gears from this bike.
Specialized Roubaix Expert Ultegra Di2
The Roubaix Expert Ultegra Di2 comes at a significantly higher price than the previously mentioned bikes in the series, but you’ll also get some pricey upgrades that bring you some of the best technology on the market. This bike is for serious road cycling enthusiasts who want smooth shifting and braking technology with the same trustworthy frame, wheelset, and other components as the Roubaix Comp.
This bike also uses the Ultegra groupset, but the Di2 version, which is Shimano's electronic variation that offers smoother transitions between gears and smooth braking. You'll even get an Ultegra crankset, similar to the performance of the Praxis Zayante that the Comp uses, but with the benefit of matching parts designed to work together.
Specialized S-Works Roubaix Dura-Ace Di2
On the highest end of the budget is the S-Works Roubaix Dura-Ace Di2, which is double the price of the Expert Ultegra Di2. This is the only bike of the group that uses an 11r Carbon frame construction, making it the lightest, yet stiffest, frame of the bunch.
This bike also gives you the highest tier of Shimano’s groupsets, the Dura-Ace Di2 Disc. The 11-speed cassette with a double compact crankset gives you plenty of gears for hill ascents and descents, with the additional benefit of smooth shifting from Di2 technology. And, the super lightweight Roval CLX 32 wheelset and Turbo Cotton wheels keep the bike ultralight, nimble, and responsive while lending perfectly to the bike’s aerodynamics.
Specialized Roubaix Series Bike Comparisons
The geometry of the bikes in the Specialized Roubaix series is relatively the same. The Specialized Roubaix series is, undoubtedly, meant for racing on a wide variety of road types and conditions. You'll notice the most significant differences in components and frame construction, rather than in geometry, to meet your needs for the roads on which you ride. For accurate comparisons, we are using the geometry of the 54cm bikes of each model.
Stack / Reach
The stack (585mm) and reach (375mm) of all five bikes are the same, and their measurements are within a similar range of many other road bikes. The stack is fairly long, which puts you in a bent-over position that’s ideal for racing, as it can lead to better aerodynamics and stability while cornering.
The reach on the bikes, though, is slightly shorter than some similar road bikes, which can accommodate riders who prefer a less stretched-out and more comfortable position. A more concise reach can also give these bikes better maneuverability at slow speeds than comparable bikes with a more extended measurement.
Most road bikes tend to have a chainstay length that ranges from 405mm to 415mm. The 415mm chainstay length of the Specialized Roubaix 54cm bikes is on the higher end of the spectrum, which makes sense for these bikes, which is to let you ride more comfortably on any road. The long chainstay allows for a more comfortable ride, giving you better climbing traction by using every bit of your leg power to move the bike more comfortably.
Effective Top Tube Length
The Specialized Roubaix series is all about blending comfort with endurance road riding. The five bikes in our comparison all have the same effective top tube length of 545mm for their 54cm bikes. This length is slightly shorter than any of the lower-budget Specialized Allez bikes, which are built as entry-level road bikes and may not provide as much comfort as the Roubaix series. The shorter top tube length can give riders a comfortable advantage on the Roubaix bikes.
Although weight information isn’t available for the Specialized Roubaix or S-Works Roubaix Dura-Ace Di2, we feel it’s important to note the difference in weight of the other three bikes. As the price increases with the quality of components, the weight decreases in each bike.
It’s safe to assume that the Roubaix, with weightier parts, is somewhere near 20 lbs., while the Di2, having one of Specialized’s lightest frames, likely is less than 17 lbs. The lighter Roubaix models may have easier uphill climbs and more responsive handling than the heavier bikes.
With the Specialized Roubaix series, you’ll typically get more comfort, power, and less fatigue with the more money you spend. The series uses Shimano parts for much of its stop-and-go components to make each ride smooth. But, upgraded tire and wheelsets give each bike a bit more comfort and shock absorption over its previous model. And, innovative frame construction in the higher-end Roubaix bikes can give your Roubaix the ability to glide over just about any road surface.
The Roubaix bikes use Shimano groupsets that range from the entry-level Tiagra to the highest-tier of Dura-Ace. Although the components all offer smooth and reliable shifting with a healthy range of gears, the higher-level Shimano components can reduce the weight of the bikes for more responsive handling.
The wheelsets and tires make a notable difference in the Roubaix bikes, too. The base model Roubaix uses the Axis Sport Disc wheelset with Espoir Sport tires, which can log thousands of miles and respond well to road bumps. But, the S-Works Roubaix Dura-Ace Di2’s Roval CLX 32 with Turbo Cotton tires is one of the highest-rated pairings, helping your bike grip the road and accelerate with unmatched ease from the other models.