Specialized Roubaix SL8 Disc Road Bike
The original Roubaix was Specialized’s first carbon fibre road bike. It was born to marry efficiency with comfort. The original insight was that a fresh rider is a faster rider across the entirety of a ride or a race. The rougher the roads ridden the more true this becomes. If the roads are the cobbles and the race is Paris-Roubaix if the rider is not cushioned from the road, they won’t win.
The Specialized Roubaix SL8 is the result of twenty years of singular development. The fastest possible frame with a rider suspended above it. Hell below, heaven above.
What's new for the Specialized Roubaix SL8 Disc Road Bike?
1. FutureShock 3.0 Suspension System
At the front of the bike, we have the FutureShock suspension system. Situated between the stem and headtube, its 20mm of travel moves in the opposing direction of impact forces traveling up the fork. This dampens vibrations at the handlebar and takes most of the sting out of rougher roads. What makes this crucial is that instead of deflecting backwards like an MTB fork, FutureShock moves upwards minimising the deceleration you’d get from a deflecting fork. So smoother is faster!
New for FutureShock 3.0 is the ability to tune the shock depending on your riding style. Three springs are offered; firm, medium and soft and with each of these springs up to five preload washers can be used allowing the progression of the travel to be tuned. Want a soft set-up to tune out high-frequency vibration on rough roads? Or need a firm setup for an aggressive position like a pro? You can swap between the two in a matter of minutes.
Returning, with the S-Works and Pro models, is the ability to tune FutureShock mid-ride. Big climb coming up? Lock it out. Cobble section? Open it up and ride smooth and fast.
2. Introducing Specialized's AfterShock System
FutureShock has a partner in crime at the back of the bike. Specialized’s AfterShock system uses their Pavé seatpost and their Dropped Clamp design together. The Pavé Seatpost features a carbon layup designed to deflect in a path opposite the rear axle, reducing the vibrations and impacts to the saddle. The Dropped Clamp, positioned some 65mm lower than a traditional clamp allows this effect to be maximised.
The system has been tuned by the Specialized Ride Science team to allow maximum efficiency over rough terrain without creating so much movement that the movement would need to be dampened, like on the Specialized Diverge STR gravel bike. Crucially it allows movement between rider and frame, without compromising the racing qualities of the frame itself.
Why suspend the rider?
Traditional mountain bike suspension does not work on road bikes for two reasons. First, it's bulky. This means high weight, poor aerodynamics and for the amount of use it gets you pay far too big a penalty. Second, MTB suspension is designed to allow relatively huge MTB tires to move up and away from contact, by as much as 20cm. In an environment as potentially hostile as a modern MTB trail, this is what you need. On a road bike, that movement is wasted momentum and cannot possibly be housed in a rigid frame.
Good road bikes are defined by the snap of acceleration and unparalleled efficiency you can only get with a rigid frame. The answer then is to build suspension between rider and frame, separating the rider from horizontal impact, without losing that vital rigid frame.
3. Lighter than ever before
The learning processes that went into making the Specialized Aethos and Specialized Tarmac SL8, the world's lightest production bike and one of the out-and-out fastest bikes ever made, have been applied in full to the Roubaix SL8. The carbon layup technology developed for the Aethos has been used in the Roubaix shaving 50g from the frame weight. The result? An 825-gram frameset that challenges even the more performance-focused road bikes on the scales. To put it into perspective, nothing in the category is lighter than the S-Works model at 7.3kg for a 56cm size. Impressive figures indeed.
To cut through the air quicker, like the Tarmac, the Roubaix SL8 now features a longer headtube and more aggressively dropped seat stays. It’s also gained a deeper downtube for a four-watt drag reduction across the frame.
4. INCREASED TYRE CLEARANCE, ADDED VERSATILITY
The weight’s gone down but the tyre clearance has gone up. The Specialized Roubaix SL8 is more versatile than ever before, accommodating tyres up to 38c or 40mm in width.
For those looking for the perfect bikepacking bike or simply a companion for all-day adventures, the Specialized Roubaix SL8 is a fantastic choice. Equipped with mounting options for up to three bottle cages, a top tube bag and boasting mudguard eyelets, whatever the challenge, terrain or weather the Roubaix SL8 has you covered.
This year marks 20 years since the original Specialized Roubaix signaled the emergence of the Endurance Road Bike category. The Roubaix has been the centre of innovation in the category ever since. Perfect for crunching endless miles with a rider cushioned from the road and fresh to keep pedaling.
Capable of winning both Paris Roubaix and Unbound Gravel. Borrowing engineering and design from the Aethos and Tarmac SL8 it boasts a lighter, more aerodynamic frame, but brings massive versatility, with huge tyre clearance and mounts for bottles and luggage. The perfect balance between performance and comfort.