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Test Bike Review: Specialized Roubaix Expert SL3

The slogan for the Roubaix bike is short but sweet. “Nothing is smoother.” And that’s basically the gist of this bike in a nutshell…

Specialized Roubaix Expert SL3

Down Tube and Rear Cassette

…I took the ’11 Specialized Roubaix Expert SL3 model out for a test ride Monday on the Peak to Peak highway in gorgeous weather (50s and sunny). I knew this ride was going to be a tougher one with the elevation being the lowest at 7500 feet (at the start). However, I was very excited to ride on one of the prettiest highways in the nation. I have driven along the peak to peak highway before but never ridden. (The sights took my breath away the first time, and the second time the lack of oxygen did also)

Front/Rear View of Killer Ride

Elevation Killer!


So during this ride the goal was to get a workout, but just as equally important to test out the Roubaix to its full capacities. Having being named after the Paris-Roubaix race to where they ride miles and miles over cobbelstone, this bike certainly had a lot to live up to. And it did…


I was going out of my way to find larger cracks, road bumps, and even potholes to see how those felt. And to be impartially honest, it was amazing. Most times I would ride over larger voids in the road and look back to make sure I just road over it, I have never felt so comfortable and more importantly confident going over any type of road terrain. The reason for this is part geometry design of the bike with the “Zerts” inserts in the front and rear forks to absorb vibrations. These are basically voids so the shock has someplace to travel and not geometrically up and down, thus slowing down the force coming up to your handlebars and into our saddle (less fatigue in the long run). Another huge part of such a smooth ride is the wheel base, which is larger than your typical bike. This allows you to roll over rougher terrain much better than any other roadie would. (Same concept with a 29’er mountain bike gaining momentum faster and making mince meat of rocks, roots, and heck even logs)

The other advantages were my hands being able to rest in the drop bars, sit on the hoods, or else have them on top and I never felt too outstretched or confined in any position. I could have sat all day in the “aero” position without feeling like I was even getting too agressive – which is great if you are trying to cut wind on a solo effort. 

That being said, with every advantage there comes downfalls. There weren’t many with this ride, but it was a little “lethargic” around corners. Its going to be with a more relaxed head tupe and slack stem degree at 12 degrees. That being said if I had to knock out long rides or was looking to ride this one for centuries or longer group/comfort rides, this bike would be it. You can bet one of these will be in my bike arsenal by the time I leave the bike shop business! 🙂 

Leave any questions or comments below, I’d be happy to answer them for any out-of-staters. Those Coloradans out there come on into the “Taj Mahal” of bike shops (no joke, its massive and very legit) off of Harmony and Ziegler and ask for this guy! 

All in all, it was quite a rough day on the job! 😉

How could this ever get old?!

P.S. As the reviews accumulate, there will be two ways to find them after they are no longer in the recent posts. Either keyword search in box (upper right hand side of page) or click “Reviews” tab and find it there. Happy reading! 

Posted by ryanlevander on March 8, 2012
2 Comments Post a comment
  1. 04/2/2012

    Thanks for the positive review. I just bought a Roubaix to ride in my first Century.

    • 04/2/2012

      It is by far the most versatile road bike on the market. Nothing I’d rather own for long touring rides. Congratulations on the fantastic purchase!


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