Specialized Roubaix Expert SL3 Road Bike Review
The Specialized Roubaix Expert SL3 sits comfortably in the market between the entry level version and the more expensive Pro edition. This is a convenient image, as this endurance road bike is all about providing superior comfort for the rider over long distances without having to make compromises on flat-out performance. Riders have sashayed their way to improbably comprehensive victories in professional races aboard siblings of this model, which should be enough of an endorsement to get you interested.
The Specialized Roubaix Expert SL3 is a carbon road bike with a full complement of Shimano Ultegra components and a focus on smooth riding and deft handling while still preserving lateral stiffness to aid with power transfer. The FACT 10r carbon frame is matched with carbon forks and a carbon seatpost. Each of these elements has been kitted out with the latest generation of Zerts inserts, allowing for vertical flex while eliminating sideways movement which might otherwise make the bike feel unstable and vague in the turns. Eminent lightness is ensured thanks to the array of carbon components, although sadly on this model the handlebars and stem are alloy. Whether spending the extra cash on the all-carbon model is worth it can be debated, but it would be difficult to claim that the Specialized Roubaix Expert SL3 suffers drastically as a result of the exclusions.
Specialized Roubaix Expert SL3 Specifications
The softening of the vibrations kicked up by the road’s surface does not leave you feeling out of touch with what is beneath you as can be the bane of more basic carbon bikes. You can sense the tarmac and put down serious power to tackle climbs, which can be very important on long distance races. Of course the descents are made even easier to tackle at high speed thanks to its comfort features. The Specialized Roubaix Expert SL3 will glide smoothly and swiftly downhill, egging you on to faster speeds while never feeling like it is wallowing or lumbering you with vague handling.
Shimano Ultegra gears and brakes join the party, providing smooth, precise operation just like the rest of the bike. Internal routing of cables is a pleasing design choice which is both functional and visually attractive. Roubaix Pro II tyres sit on Fulcrum Racing rims, pairing a hard-wearing, fast rolling feature with a light, durable companion.
The Specialized Roubaix Expert SL3 looks the part thanks to its blue and white frame. Specialized has outdone itself in terms of aesthetic designs in 2011. Consequently, there is barely a dud across all of its ranges, with this model being no exception. The gently curved top tube and beefy down tube perform their functions and look great as they go about it, while the ergonomic nature of the handlebars means you can grip them comfortably for long periods and shift around them naturally.
The Specialized Roubaix Expert SL3 is part of a range of road bikes which share the common goal of bringing the rider both comfort and powerful performance in a single package.