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Is a Roubaix a 'cop out'?

OK so its time to upgrade from my trusty hybrid which has served me well this year (dont laugh but it even has clips and aero bars so it doesn't feel too inferior amongst the road and tri bikes in transition!) So I have researched online, been to Evans cycles, Total Fitness, Rutland Water and my LBS looking at road bikes and have enough info to pass at least a GCSE on roadbikes. Anyway I know there are the 'go faster at all costs' bikes (aka race bikes) and the 'be kind to your body' bikes (aka sportives). I fell in love with the Willier Motirolo Mirage, until I rode it - OUCH!!! Then I tried the Scott CR1, not so much OUCH more of an OW. Then I tried the Specialized Roubaix and OOO BLISS! such comfort in comparison.

So here's my dilemma, having never ridden a road bike before is it ok to go by comfort? Is the Roubaix considered 'bike enough' to be in transition without being picked on by the 'go faster at all costs' bikes? I want to be able to enjoy long training rides as well as compete at an adequate level. The Roubaix is an expensive bike so it will be my only one (except for old trusty). Does anyone else have one they use in competition? All advice welcome.



  • just2trijust2tri Posts: 198
    The best bike is the one you will ride, rather than - ouch - the one that might ride you. Roubaix is actually a racing bike and you will be proud!
  • Agreed.

    The more you ride it the better you'll become. I would get what suits you best.
  • FlavadaveFlavadave Posts: 749
    Sounds like you've found the perfect match!
  • risris Posts: 1,002
    i'm going to be less enthusiastic - if you are stepping up to a road bike from a hybrid then then the geometry and rigidity will be a surprise, plenty of ouch to be had. this means that more relaxed geometries will be very appealing as they will feel comparitively more comfortable.

    as far as i know (am happy to be proved wrong!) the roubaix is a more relaxed frame geometry and the zertz inserts are there to reduce road buzz. it's on their website as an 'endurance road bike though, so designed for comfort on longer hours in the saddle.

    stepping up from a flar bar it will seem perfect in comparison with a super aggressive road bike with less of the comfort and more (painful!) responsiveness to power. it is more likely to get you out on the bike and there is less to get used to, but if the bug really bites and you are racing regularly then eventually the geometry will be holding you back.

    i went through this last year and after trying some road bikes i went for a specialized allez sport, for £600. it felt comfortable and less twitchy than other models i'd tried, and it helped me get used to drops again. after a year i've concluded that this leisure type frame isn't going to be right long term though, and will buy something more suited to racing in the spring.

    if the spesh is going to get you out on the bike and enjoy every minute of it then great, go for it! if you think your love affair with tri is going to last then perhaps be prepared to be back in the shop sooner than you think!
  • al_fordal_ford Posts: 119
    I rode my Robaix this year for all training and races ...
    Cowman HIM - bike split 2:40
    IMUK - bike split 6:15

    I love it! A pair of aerobars and getting the set up right makes all the difference. It never looks out of place.
  • sportevesporteve Posts: 141
    how about the madone doc sco, you were thinking of that one as an option too as far as i can recall, did u have a chance to try it? i havent started test-driving any myself yet so i cannot give you an opinion but apparently it is really good
  • Doc ScoDoc Sco Posts: 38
    Thanks for your comments guys- its really helpful, Ris I take your point but I really think I need to go along the 'comfort' line at this point and risk wanting a racier bike later, whilst I am loving competing I also enjoy the training and the sheer fun of being on the bike for long long rides, which I could not forsee doing on the 'ouch' and 'ow' bikes. Sporteve i haven't tried the Madone cos i can't find one in stock in my size!! There is a national shortage of roadbikes - apparently the economic downturn has been a boon for the bike shops as everyone is switching to this more economical mode of travel!

    So i am going to go back to try the Roubaix out in sizes 52 and 54 for the best fit and go for it - woohooo!! Soo excited!!!

    Will let you know....whatch this space

    dont you just love the forum!!
  • transittransit Posts: 163
    I have an old Roubaix 03/04 or something. A great bike, been competitive for me and certainly doesn't look out of place. Ride it with clip on aerobars - not very low at the front due to longish head tube, hence 'relaxed' geometry but that suits me. I'd say a good do it all bike, would recommend.....that said I'm just waiting for a Cannondale Slice to arrive (although that is bike no. 5). :roll:
  • Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    @docsco. The most important thing is to have a bike that you actually want to get on and ride.

    If it is your first road bike, then you are still very much on the learning curve - an upward trajectory!

    This means that you probably don't want to spend too much on it, because in a season or so you will have "out grown" it - and have a much better idea of what bike you want/need - usually one that costs a lot more. If it turns out your are interested in sportives, or time trials, or just touring, then you will need a bike that suits that.

    This is a normal progression. Your existing bike becomes your training bike, hack bike, road bike, or whatever.

    I would say if you like it, you can pay for it now (i.e. you don't want to be in debt for the next three years and unable to upgrade), then get it. The most important thing is that it encourages you to get out and do it. The worst thing is having a bike that you just do not like to ride.
  • Doc ScoDoc Sco Posts: 38
    So I did it - bought the Roubaix Expert yesterday and took it out for the first time today. I LOVE IT! Took to it much quicker than I thought although I hadn't anticipated the stress on my hands and wrists but guess I'll get used to it- either that or have to do some specific strengthening in the gym (handstands maybe?!) I really noticed how light and responsive the bike is compared to the hybrid and can't wait to get some miles on the clock - even thinking of joining the local cycle club to do some group rides. No more bike envy for me!!
  • risris Posts: 1,002
    excellent, glad you like the bike - if it get you out on the bike then it will be money well spent.

    don't spend effort trying to strenghten your hands and wrists too much - work on your 'core' instead - you should be resting lighting on your hands while riding and most of your weight should be back and holding you up in your torso.

    you want relaxed hands, wrists and elbows to absorb the road (acting like shock absorbers for your shoulders). your could almost take your hands off the bars and still sit up. (almost, but not quite - don't try it!)

    if you still find it uncomfortable the other thing you can do while you are getting used to the bike is rotate the bars toward you a bit, or 'flip' the stem so the handlebars are nearer you. i had my bike set up like this for about 6months last winter and have now returned it back after getting used to it.

    have some fun with the bike though, and enjoy every mile!
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