Sun. May 26th, 2019

Roubaix road bike: What’s new with suspension safety

Roubaix brings suspension technology to road cycling.

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The American premium cycling brand, Specialized,
has launched the latest version its renowned Roubaix road bike and the changes
are significant.

Named after the legendary Paris-Roubaix race, this new road bike has been positioned as the most capable in Specialized’s tarmac riding product portfolio.

Engineers have focussed on improving the traditional metrics of road cycling performance, by reducing frame weight and improving aerodynamics.

What’s new with Roubaix’s latest bike

The anchor feature of this new Roubaix also
has significance for South African road cyclists, who must often judge the risk
of their riding routes on haphazardly potholed roads. Specialized engineers
have added a future-shock system to the Roubaix, which offers 20mm of front suspension
– a very unusual feature for any tarmac bike.

Road cyclists have traditionally been resistant
of adopting the advantages provided by suspension, believing that the
efficiency losses were too great. The way around this issue, is to suspend the
rider, instead of the bike. Specialized achieved this by mounting a small shock
absorber in the Roubaix’s headset, which supports the handlebar.

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Photo: Specialized Media

A primary advantage of this system is that there are minimal pedalling energy losses, as would be the case with a conventional front suspension fork, yet riders remain shielded from the impact of a pothole strike at speed, with the ‘handlebar’ damper absorbing that shock and preventing a loss of control and potential crash.

How much Roubaix’s new bike will cost in South Africa

South African road riders who wish to have the safety of some front suspension to cushion a road surface imperfection or debris encounter at speed, have option on three Roubaix models. The most affordable of these is the Roubaix Sport (R46 000), with the Comp version retailing at R62 000.

For those who desire the ultimate Roubaix, that would be the S-Works version, positioned at R68 000 – and that is for the frame only. Proving the new bike’s competence was a dominant debut performance at this year’s Paris-Roubaix race, where the winner and half of the top ten riders, were all on new Specialized Roubaix S-Works models.

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