Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Specialized Roubaix Expert 10,000 mile report

bike and rocks

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.

9,999 miles on the RoubaixThe 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.


  1. Thanks for the detailed review, Curtis. It's quite interesting to read a review of such a well-used bike by a veteran rider. I think 10k miles is long enough for firm conclusions, and I've got a lot more faith in your review than in a random review from the rest of the 'net ;-)

    Time to look into the saddle you speak of...

  2. Anonymous10:41 PM

    Hello, you look like a prime user study of a cycling product I am designing. I would really like your feedback. Please shoot me an e-mail at wkdesign.products(at)gmail(dot)com.

  3. That is one sweet ride. Indeed, the colour is nice. Congratulations on owning and riding such a beauty.

  4. Anonymous9:12 PM

    I have the 2012 model Specialized Roubaix Expert with about 3,000 miles on it. Love the bike, but hate the wheels.

    They are DT Swiss wheels that flex too much. My LBS originally took the stand that nobody else is having the problem, and that it must be something about the way I ride. (blame it on the customer) They tightened up spokes on the rear wheel which took the flex out, but eventually one of the rear spokes broke.

    My LBS attitude is now that manufacturers just assume that someone who buys a bike of this caliber will upgrade the wheels, and therefore they put cheap wheels on the bike. Funny how they neglected to tell me that when I bought the bike. Again, love the bike but hate the wheels.

  5. Anonymous7:06 AM

    I also own a Roubaix Expert that I purchased 4 years ago. It is my first road bike and I average 1,500-2,000 miles per year. I love the bike but I am 6'6" 220 lbs and I experienced spoke breakage as well. Specialized replaced under warranty however I sold the replacements on Craig' List and purchased Mavic Ksryium Elite which are great. I highly recommend this bike as well.

  6. Anonymous9:51 AM

    I am close to purchasing a 2015 Specialized Roubaix. I will ride about 1500 miles a year here in hilly NH. Weather conditions "fair weather" riders to April though October ( at a push), and I have to keep room in my schedule for golf addiction. I'm 65, 5'10" and weigh 215 ( 14 percent body fat to start the riding season). I look to ride at 15 mph on the hilly rides, but usually cruise at between 18 and 20 mph on the flatter sections. Ride 30 miles as the normal ride, and extend on a weekend jaunt. Current bike is a Lemond Victoire (7 years old) with a triple. Upgraded wheels last year and noticed an easier ride. Any advice as I seek to decide? Advice here would work as in bargaining with bike shop about "upgrades" on the front end. This is the bike they are suggesting for me. What do you think?


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