Bike of the week: Specialized Roubaix Pro Force eTap

Specialized’s cobble crushing race bike with new age gearing

Bike of the week Specialized Roubaix Pr

Though the eponymous race remains wonderfully anachronistic to this day, Specialized’s Roubaix can perhaps count itself among the most technologically advanced road bikes on the market in 2020, especially in this premium build.

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Purists may scoff at the modern conveniences, such as suspension, wireless derailleurs, hydraulic disc brakes, aerodynamically optimised tube shaping and carbon wheels with fast, chunky tyres, but, like Specialized, we’re convinced most of these things are genuine advances.

Seat tube junction and front derailleur
Aerodynamic tube shaping and wireless gearing make for a very modern aesthetic.
Robert Smith

Okay, so they won’t turn us in to Peter Sagan, but even our most discerning writers have been converted to the ‘smoother is faster’ mantra recently.

The geometry of this non-S-Works version is taller and shorter than that of the Tarmac, Specialized’s all-round road bike, but it’s no dutch-style town bike either. It’s plenty racy enough for the unmalleable majority of us who spend most of our days hunched over at a desk rather than honing our flexibility in the gym.

Specialized Roubaix Force eTap AXS
The Roubaix is the kind of race bike many of us should probably be riding.
Robert Smith / Immediate Media

Shocking looks

Future Shock system cut away
The handlebar suspension system is hidden inside the steerer tube.
Specialized

The Future Shock suspension system is one feature that divides opinion.

Those that haven’t used it tend to decry its somewhat ungainly appearance. A #slamthatstem bike this will never be.

But those that have used it tend to almost universally praise the system for its effectiveness at reducing the kind vibrations that cause morale-sapping hand and shoulder fatigue, especially over the course of long rides on rubbish roads.

Future Shock suspension system
The Future Shock suspension system means you can’t achieve a ‘slammed’ look, but it’s almost universally liked here at BikeRadar.
Robert Smith

What is Bike of the Week?

Every Tuesday, we bring you a detailed first look at one of the latest bikes (or framesets) to arrive at BikeRadar HQ – from road to commuting, gravel to enduro, and anything in between.

This is our chance to introduce the bike and everything that makes it unique before hitting the road or trails.

Head to our Bike of the Week hub for previous editions.

New age gearing

On the face of it, a road bike with racy aspirations that comes with 46/33-tooth chainrings seems something of an oxymoron. These were the kind of ratios traditionally reserved for cyclocross.

However, the addition of a 10-tooth cog to the cassette has enabled SRAM to be more progressive with its drivetrain offerings, and it’s hard to deny that most people likely stand to benefit from it.

After all, as noted when we reviewed SRAM Force AXS, the 46×10 top gear is slightly bigger than the 50×11 you’d get with a standard compact chainset, but you also get an easier gear at the other end and a smaller jump in teeth between the two chainrings.

Specialized Roubaix Force eTap AXS drivetrain
The front chainrings might look small, but there are plenty of gears for going fast thanks to the 10t sprocket on the cassette.
Robert Smith

Whatever you think about the implications for drivetrain friction, the benefits of the increased range probably outweigh the negatives for most riders.

Premium build, premium price

So, the price. At £6,400 / $7,000 / AU$10,000, it’s not cheap. But, it does come with a selection of high quality parts, including Roval CL 32 Disc carbon wheels, Specialized’s own Turbo Pro 28mm clincher tyres and its ever popular Power saddle.

There’s not much you could wish to upgrade.

Specialized Power saddle
Even five years after its initial release, Specialized’s Power saddle is still a relatively progressive design.
Robert Smith

What’s more, the gloss teal, charcoal and blue paint job is very elegant. Kudos to Specialized for offering more choice than simply black on carbon on its recently released bikes.

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Yes, it adds a little weight (because paint weighs more than a simple clear coat), but when you spend this much money on a bike you should expect it to look as good as it rides.

Specialized Roubaix Pro Force eTAP AXS specification

  • Frame: Specialized Roubaix Pro
  • Fork: Specialized Roubaix Pro, Future Shock 2.0
  • Bottom bracket: SRAM DUB BSA 68 (English threaded)
  • Groupset: SRAM Force eTap AXS
  • Cransket: SRAM FC Force DUB, 12-speed, 46/33t
  • Cassette: SRAM CS XG 1270, 12-speed, 10-33t
  • Wheels: Roval CL 32 Disc
  • Tyres: Specialized Turbo Pro 700 x 28mm
  • Handlebar: S-Works carbon hover
  • Stem: Future Pro stem,
  • Seatpost: S-Works Pavé
  • Saddle: Specialized Power Pro
  • Price: £6,400 / $7,000 / AU$10,000