Specialized Roubaix Sport review

Equipped with Future Shock for class-leading comfort

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £2,600
Specialized Roubaix Sport road bike

Our review

The incredibly accomplished chassis comes at a price
Pros: Class-leading compliance and superb handling
Cons: Pricey compared to its rivals

The Future Shock-equipped Roubaix is held in high regard among our test team. It was our Bike of the Year in 2017 and we’ve had one or more in our long-term test fleet ever since.

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This latest 2019 Sport model is pricey compared to similar bikes, but it is also one of the lightest, and while the components are pretty much on a par with its rivals, it’s the chassis that gives the Roubaix its class.

The frame is made from Fact 9r carbon, that’s two tiers below Specialized’s S-Works, but it’s still a superb lightweight base for a bike.

On the road, the Roubaix feels incredibly smooth, which is thanks to its Future Shock. Most front ends on endurance bikes rely on ‘splay’ movement: the fork moving fore-and-aft for comfort. Future Shock works on an axial path: up and down like a telescopic mountain bike fork.

Head tube and Future Shock system
The Future Shock suspension system sits above the head tube
David Caudery/Immediate Media

A pure mountain bike system (where the telescopic action is below the fork crown) means diving and bobbing when riding normally. Mountain bike forks get over this by having a lock-out, but that would negate the benefits for road riders.

Specialized cleverly moved the suspension parts above the head tube, which means rather than suspending the whole front of the bike it just suspends you and the cockpit.

The technology hasn’t been trouble-free, though. Specialized announced a voluntary safety recall in January for many bikes fitted with Future Shock. Owners of affected models were invited to return their bikes to a Specialized dealer for a free replacement collar and torque adjustment to reduce the risk of stress corrosion cracking. The problem has now been resolved.

low seatstays
The lower seatstays give you more comfort through the saddle
David Caudery/Immediate Media

I didn’t expect the back end to feel as smooth as pricier models I’ve tested, but it was just as polished as I remembered, partly due to the frame design.

The seatstays have been dropped approximately 3.5cm below the top tube and the carbon seatpost. The seat clamp has been incorporated into the ends of the seatstays via twin bolts and the tube is significantly bigger than the slender post, allowing for plenty of room to move.

Male cyclist riding road bike in countryside
The Roubaix rolls well over rougher surfaces
Robert Smith

The ride position is designed for endurance, with my 58cm test bike having a 629mm stack and 392mm reach – though like any suspension system it has sag once you’re on the bike so the stack is more like 624mm.

The 1,011mm wheelbase feels right (and gives the chassis ample tyre clearance) and the parallel steep 73.5-degree seat and head tube angles give the Roubaix a racier edge than some of its rivals.

Three-quarter view of road bike Specialized Roubaix Sport
Fact 9r carbon is two tiers below the S-Works but it’s still a superb lightweight base for a bike
David Caudery/Immediate Media

The 50/34 chainset and 11-34 cassette give a really wide spread that means you’ll never be searching for a bailout gear, even on the steepest inclines.

Specialized uses a Praxis Alba chainset in place of 105, which may seem like cost cutting but it’s stiff, light and hard wearing. The stability and grip combine with the 105 hydraulic brakes to provide all the control and stopping power you need.

Overall, the Roubaix is one of the best ever endurance bikes, and though this Sport model is on the expensive side for the level of equipment, it does deliver the full-fat full-flavour Roubaix experience.

If comfort, closely followed by exciting handling, are at the top of your wishlist, then the Roubaix could be the bike for you.

Specialized Roubaix Sport specifications

  • Sizes (*tested): 49, 52, 54, 56, 58*, 61cm
  • Weight: 9.08kg
  • Frame: FACT 9r carbon
  • Fork: FACT carbon
  • Chainset: Praxis Alba M30
  • Bottom bracket: Praxis
  • Cassette: Shimano 105 11-34
  • Chain: KMC X10
  • Derailleurs: Shimano 105
  • Shifters: Shimano 105 R7020
  • Wheelset: DT R470 Disc
  • Tyres: Turbo Pro 28mm
  • Wheel weight: F 1.37kg R 1.96kg
  • Stem: Specialized 3D-forged alloy
  • Bar: Specialized Comp Hover Bar 6061 alloy
  • Headset: Future Shock
  • Saddle: Body Geometry Phenom Comp
  • Seatpost: Carbon, single-bolt
  • Brakes: Shimano 105 hydraulic disc
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Specialized Roubaix Sport geometry

  • Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
  • Head angle: 73.5 degrees
  • Chainstay: 42cm
  • Seat tube: 52cm
  • Top tube: 57.5cm
  • Head tube: 18.5cm
  • Fork offset: 4.5cm
  • Trail: 5.5cm
  • Bottom bracket drop: 7.45cm
  • Bottom bracket height: 26.5cm
  • Wheelbase: 1,010mm
  • Stack: 64.4cm
  • Reach: 38.6cm
  • Price: £2,600 / $2,700 / AU$3,500