Which bike for you?
We know that making a selection from the abundance of bikes on the market can be daunting, to say the least. Even if you’ve decided on your favourite manufacturer (why thank you!) the job is not quite done yet. You’ve still got to choose between bikes of different designs, disciplines, purpose. Two of our most popular machines are the Tarmac and Roubaix, two bikes which seem to have a similar purpose at first glance: to ride fast. However, there is a lot to distinguish between them. Read on for a helping hand in deciding which is for you.
Things to consider
As with any bike purchase, you need to start by asking yourself what sort of rider you are. Are you a hungry athlete always in search of up? Or are you an endurance rider on the hunt for adventure? If you are the former, the short answer is going to be, Tarmac; just as an endurance rider is probably better suited to the Roubaix. However, there is always more to consider. After all, how many cyclists do you know who stick religiously to one riding style and terrain, and is not occasionally tempted to stray from the beaten track?
To paint a clearer picture of our two contenders, let’s examine each a little more closely.
On the first weekend of April every year, all the most daring and courageous professional bike riders from around the world converge on Compiègne (near Paris) for a bike race that has a richer mythology than many countries. Paris-Roubaix, also known as “The Hell of the North”, is the bombastic finale of the fabled Spring Classics and the third Monument of the season.
The Specialized Roubaix is a bike which recognises the prestige of the historic race, designed with the cobbles of northern France in mind. All the stories of races past and present have been poured into each and every iteration of the Roubaix making it one of the best-loved and recognisable bikes in our stable.
Equipped with the best components, proprietary finishing kit and future-proof disc brakes, the new Roubaix and Ruby ranges benefit from the contribution of McLaren Applied Technologies to create a bike which is unbeatable on broken terrain. In the last couple of years, this partnership has raised the bar of combined efficiency, comfort and uncompromised speed through the introduction of Future Shock suspension.
This technology takes the conventional wisdom of suspension and transplants it from the forks and stays into the head tube, which puts the focus on vertical compliance, avoiding the unwanted frame flex which makes for sluggish handling. Future Shock enables our engineers to build a frame which meets the expectations of a professional classics specialist and their demands for a ferocious turn of speed, while also protecting their hands and arms from the battering inflicted by the cobbles.
The Roubaix may have been designed with its namesake in mind, but that’s not to say that it can’t find a home outside of northern France and Belgium. In fact, given the sorry state of many of our home roads, it could be the perfect companion for British riders everywhere. The geometry is slightly more relaxed than its more road race-oriented cousins and its disc brake optimised frame accommodates wider tyres to maximise comfort. The Roubaix would be the perfect bike for you if you’re the sort of rider who values comfort and efficiency, but who also has an appreciation for speed. What’s more, the Roubaix is a bike for all seasons, so if you’re looking for a single do-it-all companion, look no further.
The symbolic significance of the Specialized Roubaix needs no explanation, but the Tarmac, as trivial as the name sounds, has its own star-studded story to tell. At Specialized, we are proud to consistently come top of the ‘winningest bikes’ leader board with our pro-level bikes, and that’s thanks largely to the formidable versatility of the Tarmac.
The Tarmac has always been lightweight, stiff and ready to win races, but the quest for innovation and competitive advantage never ends. With the reimagined Tarmac, our designers have presented the world with the lightest and fastest road race bike it has ever seen.
But how can you improve on the most successful bicycle in the world? The key changes made to the Tarmac are in the frame and layup process. The frame’s tubular profile has undergone a structural overhaul to improve stiffness but without compromising its feather-weight attributes, also giving the aesthetic an overdue refresh. With the help of a new purpose-developed super lightweight FACT 12r carbon fibre layup and Ultralight paint, the top-of-the-line S-Works model weighs in under the 800g mark, making it phenomenally light.
Granted, the geometry forces a more aggressive position on the bike, but that’s all in the name of efficiency. For racers, weight-weenies and data crunchers, it ticks all the boxes. If the mountains are calling your name, the Tarmac is the bike that will get you to the summit fitter, faster and happier.
For the 2018 model year, the Tarmac makes history by providing a range of bikes that are unisex. Ultimately, no two humans are the same shape, so rather than trying to separate the two genders, the broader range of sizes in the new Tarmac range cater to everyone thanks to Rider-First Engineered design. The geometry, care and attention are all the same; the only difference between the men’s and women’s categories are in the bar width, stem length and saddles.
Hopefully, your questions will have been answered in the article above, but if you’ve still got any queries or concerns, don’t hesitate to pop into one of our stores and ask one of our many wonderful members of staff. They’ll be able to help you pick what’s right for you and perhaps book you in for an all-important Body Geometry bike fit while you’re there. Happy shopping!
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