The Specialized Roubaix has been around for twenty years now and over those two decades the Roubaix platform, has like pretty much everything else in the bike industry, changed, grown and seen a lot of refinement. We’ve seen it ridden by the likes of Tom Boonen in the monuments and spring classics when the bike featured the vibration-damping Zerts inserts, and by Peter Sagan when he claimed victory in Paris Roubaix in 2018 after the introduction of the Future Shock suspension system back in 2016.
We covered the last update the Roubaix received back in 2019, and fellow Tech Writer Will Jones covered the outgoing Roubaix Expert in his own review. The time is now right for Specialized to announce the arrival of the Roubaix SL8. If you’re already wondering, yes the Roubaix has now received the ‘SL8’ model name as well. Linking it with the Tarmac SL8 as the brand’s top-end race bikes.
The Roubaix SL8 is categorised as an endurance road bike, though it is certainly capable of tackling some gravel terrain. Yes, it’s still a performance road bike, but it’s going to be more comfortable with more relaxed geometry and specific complaince-boosting features to aid rider comfort but more on this further in.
You can read about our news piece on the launch of the new Roubaix SL8 for lots of the specifics on the bike, This piece will focus on my first ride impressions. So summed up, what’s changed with the new Roubaix SL8? Well, straight off the bat there is a brand new Future Shock suspension system termed Future Shock 3.0. This is actually subdivided into Future Shock 3.3, 3.2 and 3.1 units depending on bike spec. The frame has also been lightened by around 50 grams, and the silhouette has changed slightly with a new fork and down tube shape in particular aiding aerodynamics.
There is boosted tyre clearance, up to 38c (or 40mm in real terms accounting for the extra plumping that wider rims provide) front and rear. Depending on where you live in the world or the type of riding you do you may be rejoicing at this so get ready; The bike is now capable of accommodating full-length fenders or mudguards. This was something that wasn’t possible with the old frame. Yes, you could fit clip-on guards, but they don’t offer the same coverage and fit as a set of full-length bolt-on fenders do.