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Specialized Roubaix SL8 Review

Specialized Roubaix SL8 Review

What is the new Endurance bike really capable of?

The latest endurance bike from Specialized has made waves in recent weeks... The release of the new Roubaix was long awaited and is now celebrated even longer. But what is the new Roubaix SL8 really capable of and how does it differ from the famous Specialized Diverge? Nic has taken a closer look at the Endurance model in his latest YouTube video and we will do so too in this blog post.

Anyone looking at the new Roubaix SL8 for the first time will definitely catch themselves thinking that it looks... well, very very very similar to the old Roubaix. Or rather that it looks exactly the same. Specialized swears, however, that it is the best, lightest, fastest and smoothest Roubaix and road bike ever.

1. The Future-Shock damper

Bold statement. So how does Specialized want to have achieve that? First and foremost, they have revised the infamous Future damper, which provides the riders with 20mm of suspension travel between the stem and the head tube. Version 3.0 is now much more tunable to the needs of the riders, after all, you can choose between a soft, medium-firm or firm internal spring. Do not worry, according to Specialized , the selected spring can be replaced within a few minutes. You also get five preload washers included, which you can use to individually adjust the preload of the suspension again.

Short suspension travel 1x1:
More preload washers -> more preload -> stiffer spring -> more force/weight required to compress it.

Compared to the previous model, which had only one spring rate, the new Roubaix thus offers much more freedom and possibilities to adjust the Future Shock suspension to your own weight, training,  individual needs and riding styles.

Important to know is that there are three different versions of the Future Shock 3.0: The low-end version 3.1, which is not equipped with a hydraulic damper, 3.2 and the high-end version 3.3.

As with the previous model, only the 3.3 version has a knob on the stem with which the compression of the spring can be further adjusted while riding. It has been ergonomically improved by Specialized , so that in-saddle compression adjustments are possible easily and safely. What is also new is that the rebound damping has been decoupled from the compression damping. Means specifically that, completely independent of the selected compression, you always have the full 20 mm of travel available, unlike on the previous model, where an increase in compression resulted in a higher rebound.

Another little spring travel 1x1:
"Compression Damping" influences how well the spring reacts to bumps and shocks, while "Rebound Damping" controls how quickly the spring returns to its starting position after compression.

If rebound and compression are coupled, a higher compression (a stiffer spring) leads to a higher rebound (you have to wait longer for the spring to return to its starting position).

In addition, Specialized has also improved overall durability by making the sleeve around the Future Shock thicker and adding more seals to keep dirt and water away, which is great. What's also very interesting is that the new Future Shock is backwards compatible: So you can also equip older models of the Roubaix with the new version of the spring system, which could save you some serious money.

To further increase the compliance and overall comfort, the seatpost clamp was placed 65 mm lower than a conventional seatpost clamp. This allows more of the Carbon-Pavé seatpost to be revealed and it can be bent better, so that shocks and vibrations are better absorbed. This has a similar effect on ride comfort as the rear suspension of the Diverge STRGravelbikes does, but in the end only offers 18 mm of travel.

2. Aerodynamics and weight

Specialized has taken some inspo from Tarmac SL8 in this respect and lowered the seat stays, deepened the down tube and improved the shape of the head tube for better aerodynamics. According to Specialized , this has resulted in the new Roubaix being eleven seconds faster over 100km with an average power output of 3 watts/kg. It is a pity, however, that there is no fully integrated cable routing, the Future Shock suspension prevents this.

By saving material in areas where stiffness is not required, the new Roubaix is quite a bit lighter. The S-Works frame in size 56 weighs only 825 grams - 50 grams less than the previous model.

This weight reduction in the S-Works model is also owed to the use of Specialized's Premium Fact 12r Carbon compound. Fully assembled, the S-Works model in size 56 then only weighs impressively low 7.29 kg.

3. Tire clearance and mounting options

In the new Roubaix you get a whole 40 mm tire clearance and thus the full freedom, even Gravel tires to mount and so comfortable and safe to be able to explore even more versatile terrain. The designated Diverge STR Gravel bike from Specialized has just 7 mm more...

If the endurance Roubaix does not already have some Gravel character because of its tire clearance, then it sure does so with its versatile mounting options. You get top tube mounts, a third bottle cage and mudguard mounts.

4. geometry

The Roubaix has a classic endurance geometry: comfort and speed are in perfect symbiosis here. This means that you get a longer wheelbase, which is still shorter than that of the Diverge, a shorter reach and higher stack, so you in a more upright position and sit comfortably also on longer tours.

5. price

In contrast to the Tarmac SL8, the Roubaix is available in 7 different versions, ranging from € 2,800 to € 14,000 for the S-Works model. So for just about every budget there is a suitable Roubaix... Our buycycle favorite is definitely the Roubaix SL8 Sport Apex, which is equipped with the rather gravel-specific Sram Apex group and 11-44 cassette and gives you the best of both the gravel and endurance worlds.

So all in all, the new Specialized Roubaix SL8 is definitely a very capable, comfortable, lightweight, versatile and fast endurance bike. If you are looking for a very versatile bike that can be used both on and off road, and you're sure you want to venture onto gravel, then the Roubaix is a perfect bike for you. But if you're more of a road racerand want to stay on tarmac, then the Tarmac SL8 (which has even become a bit more comfortable) may be the better choice.

Who eh already owns the previous Roubaix, we would not recommend upgrading .... buys you then rather buy the new Future damper and builds her into your old bike . Or else you get the previous model at a lower price on buycycle and install the Future Shock... A look at buycycle.com and our more than 15,000 road, gravel and mountain bikes is always worthwhile. If you still have questions about the new Roubaix, our team team is always there for you and for more information about bicycles it is best to stay a little longer on the blog. Until then we wish you, as always: Happy browsing, happy cycling!