Five. That’s how many S-Works Roubaix bikes finished in the top 10 during Sunday’s Hell of the North, a whopping 50%. If that wasn’t testament to the Roubaix’s new and improved, cobble-crunching features then we don’t know what is.
Last week we told you that since its launch 15 years ago, the Roubaix has conquered the cobblestones of Northern France and won Paris-Roubaix no less than six times. Well, we now need to make a correction. It’s seven.
How it happened
The 2019 edition of Paris-Roubaix, in many ways, was no different from the numerous editions that have gone before – the favourites traded blows throughout a tortuous and completely breathless day of racing.
What set it apart from previous editions, however, were the number of S-Works Roubaix bikes that made the winning move. Of the sextet that went clear on the five-star rated cobblestones sector of Mons-en-Pévèle, three were riding our brand new Roubaix.
The odds have never been so stacked in our favour, and for a long time it looked as though all three would snatch a place atop the final podium. With Philippe Gilbert and Yves Lampaert of Deceuninck-Quick Step, and Peter Sagan of BORA-Hansgrohe all aboard the new Roubaix, we had every race situation covered – sprint or late attack, there was going to be a Roubaix bike somewhere in the mix.
On one of the final sectors of cobblestones, Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) attacked and quickly built up a small lead. Alive to the danger, Gilbert thundered across the gap and quickly caught his wheel. The pair worked well together and by the 5km to go banner the win, for one of them, was never in doubt.
With close to two decades experience racing at the uppermost echelon of professional cycling, Gilbert was the hot favourite as the pair entered the velodrome for the final sprint. He duly delivered, tactfully forcing Politt to lead out the sprint before surging past him with just 100m to go. With enough time to sit up before the line, Gilbert threw up his arms, celebrating his first win – of hopefully many more –aboard the new S-Works Roubaix.
Yves Lampaert soloed the final few kilometres to finish in third and put yet another Roubaix bike onto the podium, just before his two teammates, Florian Sénéchal and Zdenek Štybar, flew home in the group behind to take sixth and eighth respectively. Sagan held on for fifth, just ahead of that group, making it an impressive five Roubaix bikes in the top 10.
The Roubaix’s race-dominating features
Specifically designed to crush the cobblestones of Northern France, it was no surprise to see the brand new Roubaix constantly at the head of affairs during Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix. But what is it, exactly, that sets this new Roubaix apart from its previous editions?
First of all, the new 2020 Roubaix is the most versatile, balanced and responsive road bike we’ve ever made, and that’s even before we have a look at all the cobble-crushing features. That’s because we took years of feedback from both professional and amateur riders to perfect the frameset – the integral part to any great bike.
The Roubaix’s new frameset design is not only lighter, stiffer and more aero than ever before, it’s also a whole lot more comfortable. Increasing the comfort means that you’re able to ride harder, faster and for longer than you normally would, giving you the power to conquer just about any ride you want to throw yourself into.
The frameset isn’t the only thing that saw a massive overhaul on the new Roubaix, the Future Shock also received a much-needed update. The Future Shock 2.0 sits in the front end where it soaks up and absorbs a lot of the bumps and chatter from the road below, bouncing up and down to take the sting out of your ride and make it that little bit more comfortable.
You might be thinking, ‘hang on, the first Future Shock did that too,’ and you’d be right. However, it’s the new on-the-fly adjustment feature that sets the 2.0 apart, a simple dial on the top capable to adjust and fine-tune the 20mm of front-end flex to the specific terrain that you’re riding over.
We saw both Gilbert and Lampaert using the feature to great effect during Sunday’s race, turning the dial to fully open over the roughest cobblestones, before locking it out as they hit the smooth tarmac sectors.
The Future Shock 2.0 feature is available on the S-Works, Expert and Pro Roubaix models. The rest of the range has the Future Shock 1.5 that comes without the adjustment dial but offers a choice of three spring weights, so you can dial in your bike for the perfect ride.
It’s not only the front-end of the Roubaix that offers a small amount of comfortable flex, the rear does too. With the new and flexible all-carbon Pavé seatpost, your rear end is treated to one hell of a smooth ride, even when thundering over cobblestones.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a do anything, go anywhere kind of bike without that all-important, super-wide tyre clearance. The range comes equipped with 28mm tyres, which is more than enough for racing across the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix, but if you want to push the bike into more gravel-riding territory then there’s room to fit up to a 33mm-wide tyre.
If you want to learn a little more about this magnificent machine, then click here to read a full description of all the neat features and updated designs. Fancy a spin on the new Roubaix? Then head down to your local Specialized Concept Store for a test ride. Once you’ve tried it, you won’t be able to let it go.
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