Smooth Like Butter
Specialized’s New Bike Aims to Be Fast and Cushy
Availability: Available Now
Unique Features: Future Shock 2.0 suspension, Pavé shock absorbing seatpost, gender neutral geometry
Upshot: If you aren’t comfortable, you can’t go fast. Specialized learned on the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix that even the best bike racers in the world need a little cushion sometimes. The company took the experience of riding cobbles at 28mph and used it to create a bike that’s comfortable enough for even the most poorly maintained roads, but stiff and aerodynamic enough to compete with the best in the world.
Who It’s For: The Roubaix is for riders who want to ride further, or in more comfort. It’s not quite as light as the brand’s mountain-climbing Tarmac or as aero as the Venge, but it is more comfortable than either.
Insight: What sets the Roubaix apart from other bikes is Future Shock, a technology that Specialized introduced in previous model years to provide a smoother ride over varied terrain. Original Future Shock bikes used the rider as damping, but the updated 2.0 model allows riders to adjust the damping and stiffness of the shock, making the bike feel more rigid and responsive when desired. More value-focused bikes won’t feature this tech, but the so-called Future Shock 1.5 still uses a new booster spring to allow riders more adjustability than previous models. Combined with a Pavé seatpost that is aero-shaped but designed to deflect to increase rider comfort, this should make for a sofa-soft ride when you need it, and razor-sharp precision at the pointy end of a race.
Specialized worked with its bike fitting technology, Retül, to look at the positions of 84,000 riders and determined that gender-specific geometries are a thing of the past. This slims down the line and makes bike selection that much easier (as well as giving women the option to ride a bike that isn’t pink or purple).