Specialized Roubaix Review

Specialized is not messing around when it comes to the Roubaix Comp or the Roubaix Compact for the 2012 season. These bikes have earned their name thanks to the gruelling stage of a cycling competition that professionals have won while sat astride them at least three times in recent memory. While they are ostensibly similar, each offers something a bit different to tempt cycling enthusiasts to part with their cash.

Specialized Roubaix Compact

The cheaper of the two is the Specialized Roubaix Compact, which features the FACT 8r carbon frame with a compact design which is intended to give you the upper hand in competitive situations. Zerts inserts are included to maintain lateral stiffness while still giving you some shock-absorbing capabilities within the frame. This means the Roubaix Compact will not shake you into submission if you take to the road with it for extended training sessions or serious racing.

Shimano Tiagra drivetrain and brake components work well to give you great control over the Roubaix Compact, while the DT Axis 2.0 rims and Espoir Sport tyres are a good combination, letting you roll smoothly and quickly across the tarmac. It is tough to find a road bike with a carbon frame which has so many solid features and is also priced this competitively, so the Roubaix Compact is definitely deserving of your attention in 2012.

Specialized Roubaix Comp

If you want to spend a little more money then the Specialized Roubaix Comp might pique your interest. It shares the same FACT 8r carbon frame and forks with Zerts inserts as its more affordable sibling, but the components which come together on the rest of the bike are picked from slightly higher up the pecking order. You get Shimano Ultegra shifters and chainset and Shimano 105 brakes, which may come from the same manufacturer as those found on the Compact but offer lower weight and slicker operating across the board.

The DT Axis 3.0 rims are another cut above, giving you the same solid, durable construction but at a slightly lighter weight. Add to that the Specialized Espoir Elite tyres with double BlackBelt protection to keep you rolling for longer and this package looks particularly attractive.

The two bikes share largely identical race-ready geometry, although the fact that the Comp has an integrated rear brake cable is just one more way in which Specialized is able to justify charging a bit more for this bike. The Comp is decked out in an all-business black finish with grey detailing which hints at its carbon construction. On the other hand the Compact is a more playful red and white colour.

Either one of these road bikes will be a welcome addition to your cycling collection in 2012 and if you simply have to have a hard-wearing carbon framed cycle then these might be high on your list of desirable models. There are more expensive options on the market which have deeper carbon integration, but you could not argue that these are not a step in the right direction for budding riders.