Strengths: - Hugely compliant. Bumps and cracks that make my joints ache on alum bikes seem to disappear.
- Great Power transfer: reponds immediately with no flex or lag. Goes when you put the power down.
- Light. Like, sick light.
- Solid stable ride. Not twichy, tracks straight as an arrow.
- Stock Carbon DA tubeless wheels are great. They spin up fast, and I can ride a more comfortable tire pressure (85 psi).
Weaknesses: - Not razor sharp handling, but it's not a slouch.
- Wheel base can feel long if used to more race oriented bikes.
A few years ago, I purchased my first full carbon road bike from a LBS (Trek Madone 5.1), and for the most part was happy with it. I like the lightness, stiffness, and the compliance of the ride after riding two alumminum framed bikes before. However, after many months of uncomfortable riding, it turned out that the LBS that gave me a good deal on my new bike, also SIZED the bike for me incorrectly (too long). After a year of riding in discomfort, I finally got fed up with the ride (I liked the bike, not the fit), sold it, and set out to purchase "the last road bike that I would ever buy." I opted for a new, PROPERLY FIT, 2010 Specialized S-Works Roubaix SL2. I even popped for the upgrade to have Di2 installed ($2K). And in case you were wondering, yes I purchased it from a different LBS. Much happier this go around.
After a little research, I had narrowed my choices down to either of the Specialized road bikes, the Tarmac or the Roubaix.
In test riding, I really liked the Tarmac's liveliness and hill climbing. In the end, it was the handling of the Tarmac that did it in. It was RAZOR sharp, which would be nice when racing in a large tight group. However, it was too much for me, since a) I don't ride in groups and b) If my mind wandered a little bit...so did my bike.
The Roubaix SL2 is a WONDERFUL bike. While not as agile as the Tarmac, it is HUGELY comfortable. The zertz inserts really do their thing, taking the edge of off bumps and vibrations. However, don't think that the Roubaix is a wet noodle. When I jump on the bike, it responds immediately, and never flexs or twists whatsoever. You can still put the power down when you want, and at the same time, not get catapulted off of the saddle going over bumps and cracks (which happened to me on the Tarmac, but not the Roubaix). It climbs hills hills very well (bested only by the Tarmac, but just slightly), the cranks are nice and stiff, and the DA carbon tubeless wheels spin up fast and are comfortable. And I love the Di2 upgrade.
One more thing, the LBS (Crank Daddys) is a BG 3D-Fit certified location, and they did a great job on the fit. They worked with me on every aspect of the fit and ride (like switching from the Romin SL saddle from the Toupe), and I've never been more comfortable.
Bike Setup: I got the 2009 S-Works SL2 Roubaix frame, fork and seatpost plus:
- Mavic R-SYS Premium wheels
- Ultegra 6700 group
- Specialized Romin SL saddle
- Deda Elementi Zero100 bars
- Deda Deda Elementi Zero100 Servizio Corse stem
- Speedplay Zero pedals
- Continental Grand Prix 4000s tires
a Road Racer
Date Reviewed: May 26, 2009
Strengths: It is the smoothest of smooth!
I must say that this is "the ultimate" bike for comfort. I tried the Cervelo "plush" version and was not as impressed with it as the Specialized Roubaix SL2 Sworks. This bike is truly a piece of art that is just phenomally smooth and yet very snappy! You owe it to yourself to try this bike out! You will be able to see what all the hype is about.