Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Specialized Roubaix Expert 10,000 mile report
I've ridden my Specialized Roubaix Expert 10,000 miles since getting it, and writing about it in this post. I'm still very happy with it. I've made a few changes, and had a few things have happened since I bought it.
I hated the saddle it came with and replaced it with Specialized Toupe immediately. That saddle was OK, but I didn't love it, and it's important to love you saddle. I replaced it with a Selle Italia SLK that I do love. I've done double centuries on it and my buns feel fine at the end.
The bars that came on this 52 cm frame were 42 cm, a bit wide for me. The shop swapped them for the 40 cm model, which is a better fit for my size.
The wheels it came with were a model of Roval Fusée. I broke a spoke on the rear wheel during the Davis Double. I'd read online that several people had problems with spoke breakage, and that Specialized was aware that some wheels had been built in such a way (something to do with incorrect spoke prep fluid or something) that they knew they were breaking. I contacted the shop that sold me the bike, who contacted Specialized.
I expected a wait of forever, and needing wheels for upcoming rides I ordered a set of Williams System 19s, a great, lightweight wheel set that arrived almost immediately. Much to my surprise, Specialized responded very quickly to my bike shop, and not only replaced the wheels, but upgraded them to Roval Fusée SL 25. So now I have two nice sets of wheels! I use the Williams a lot, but now have them set aside with latex tubes and lightweight tires for double centuries. I have Rovals for daily use. They are near the same weight, with the Roval front being just a tad more heavy.
The bike came as a triple with 52-39-30 and an 11-28 cassette. God only knows why they think an 52-11 gear is necessary on a bike with a triple. I'd have speced it differently, but perhaps Shimano gave them no choice.
I tossed a 12-30 cassette on the Williams wheels for super steep climbing rides. Read about my choice here.
Other than that, the bike is pretty much stock, with full Ultegra components. I added water bottle cages, a bag, Shimano pedals, a Sigma computer and Garmin 305, a road morph pump, and that's it.
In a nut shell, I love this bike. It handles well, and is comfortable as all get out. Sometimes when I'm riding with others who complain about the rough road, I realize I'm not bothered at all. I don't so much notice a smooth ride as much as I don't notice a rough ride. I've done a good fist-full of centuries and double centuries and I've noticed I don't finish all beat up. I'm worn out, but not rattled to pieces. Is it the Zertz inserts, or just the overall design? I don't know, but it seems to be working. I also used to get a worn out, sore neck. I don't think I'm sitting more upright on this bike, but my neck is much more happy at the end of a long ride.
I also think this bike looks sharp. I like the somewhat subtle graphics, and I like the color. I even like the graceful bow of the top tube, though I realize that's a personal preference. I feel lucky I got it the year I did as Specialized stopped making a Roubaix Triple at this component level and I don't like the new color schemes as well. I'm happy with the triple, and find the 39 tooth freewheel is often just the right size for a lot of my riding.
I highly recommend this bike.