Specialized Roubaix Elite Review

29/08/2013 11:34

I have ridden: Trek 1.5(64cm) & 2.3(64cm), Wilier Mortirolo(61cm), Specialized Allez (61cm), and several others that were not memorable for various reasons. 

Stock Setup: full Shimano 105, though the Compact Double 50/34 crank is a "generic" Shimano identical to the 105. The bike itself is full carbon with zerts inserts and the newer s-shaped seat stays. The price I paid was 2000 $.


First, this review is for a 2009 Compact Double. 
Second, you should know that I am 6'7" and weigh in at about 230 pounds, age 33. I hadn't ridden a bike much at all for 15 years when I started biking, occasionally commuting, on my late 80s mountain bike last year. So, I was out to improve my efficiency and enjoyment of riding by upgrading to a road bike. 

This bike and the Wilier (also full carbon) both exhibited the fantastic road-smoothing feel of a full carbon bike, and I think I would have been happy with either one. I found the Wilier at the first bike shop I went to, and just wasn't ready to spend $2k+ on a bike yet. 

The Trek models, and the Allez all felt squishy when I stood up and started cranking to get up to speed. Virtually all of them felt twitchy, and I could even feel the wheels flexing under me on the Treks. 

The Trek 2.3 and Allez both would have been sufficient if I was more concerned about price and willing to feel every vibration in the road. However, the more I test rode these bikes (and others)...the more I realized a huge difference in power on the full carbon bikes. 

In the end, I chose to spend more for a setup that had sufficient components that I wasn't concerned about them and a frame that absorbed the constant bump and vibration of my 11 mile commute. 

A few specific choices involved: 
1) Components. I rode several bikes with Sora or Tiagra shifters, and the amount of play in the shifters before they engaged was just ridiculous. Once I test rode Sora, Tiagra and 105 back-to-back, I lost faith in the Sora and Tiagra components. 

2) Power transfer. I have a fair bit of leverage and weight to throw into some pedal-mashing, and when I threw it into the full carbon bikes...they flew. I could literally feel the bike leap with each pedal stroke. On the other bikes, I could feel the frame (or even wheels) flex and drain the power before it got turned into speed. 

3) Vibration damping. It's just no contest. Going to portions of carbon, and adding zerts (on the allez) definitely help. Going full carbon takes yet another leap in ride comfort. In this case, you absolutely get what you pay for. 

4) Fit. I was concerned about being able to fit on a 61cm bike. I searched for over a month to find 63cm+ bikes to ride, and had to "settle" for riding 61 and 62 sizes. 

Ultimately, I ended up on a 61, and it's just fine. I'm not past maximum extension for the seat or seat post, and the Roubaix just feels like a natural extension of me when I ride. 

If you're a larger rider like me, the absolute best advice I can give you is to deal with a local bike shop instead of a big chain. They'll spend more time helping you fit the bike for test rides and you'll then be able to truly judge the differences. The big chains will raise and lower the seat, but don't expect much more. 

One final note. I did pass up a previous-year closeout on a 64cm Roubaix Expert because I didn't like the service at the shop that had it, and the 61cm Elite was $500 less (even after the 64 was on closeout!) and the fit works.





- Road-noise eating full carbon 
- Long-ride comfortable geometry 
- Full Shimano 105


- I don't have enough experience to claim any.


Written by Scott