What Are The Best Frame Materials For Road Bikes
A major difference between cheaper and more expensive bikes is their frame material. Bikes costing under £1000 are typically made of aluminium alloy, with the tubes welded together. Its a material used in more expensive bikes too and can result in a strong, lightweight machine.
But pricier bikes are usually made of carbon fibre. The fibres give the bike strength and are embedded in a synthetic resin to hold them together. The mix of fibres used and their lay-up determine the bikes ride feel and more expensive bikes will use more high modulus carbon fibre, which lowers the weight without reducing the bikes strength.
Titanium is another material used in some more expensive bikes. Its lightweight, strong and doesnt rust or fatigue. And you can still find bikes made of steel tubing, which was the traditional framebuilding material. Its not quite as light as other choices, but robust and gives a distinctive ride feel.
You should also look at what the bikes fork is made of. Many bikes will have an all-carbon fork or one with carbon fork blades and an alloy steerer. This tends to absorb road bumps well for a more comfortable ride, but you can find alloy or steel forks on some lower priced bikes.
Best Carbon Road Bikes: Our Pick Of The Best Racing And Endurance Road Bikes
Carbon road bikes combine meticulous weight saving, geometry tweaking and aerodynamic sculpting to rule the road
Carbon fibre is a bit of a wonder material because it can be moulded into just about any shape, and tuned to be stiff in one plane and flexible in another. With these properties, it’s heavily used throughout the bike industry and we see it in everything from frames down to brake levers. There are advocates of bikes made from steel, titanium and aluminium, but the best road bikes are most commonly made from carbon fibre. For evidence, look no further than the bikes ridden in the WorldTour.
There is no shortage of remarkable bikes made from aluminium, steel and titanium, but with its stiffness, strength and malleability, carbon fibre reigns supreme in road bike technology. Once a reserve for top tier racing bikes, advances in carbon production and technology has resulted in carbon being utilised across every cycling discipline from the best lightweight bikes to full suspension mountain bikes and surpassing the performance possible with metal tubes.
Scroll down for a pick of our favourite carbon road bikes that are available today and an overview of what to look for when choosing a carbon road bike.
Are Rim Or Disc Brakes Best For A Road Bike
Disc brakes are taking over on road bikes and many high end machines are now disc brake only, although other bikes offer you the option to choose disc or rim brakes. There arent many pricier models now that only offer rim brakes.
Thats because disc brakes give you more consistent stopping, whatever the weather conditions, better modulation and greater overall stopping power. On the flip side, theyre heavier than rim brakes.
Most disc brake bikes use hydraulic calipers, although you can find mechanical disc brakes, usually on cheaper machines. Discs are creeping down the price range, but several of the most affordable bikes still come with rim brakes.
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Find The Right Specialized Roubaix Carbon Bike
The Specialized Roubaix bicycle is available in several sizes, styles, and wheel options to meet different cycling needs. A Specialized Roubaix carbon bike should provide you with a frame that is both durable and lightweight. You can use eBay to explore other customization options for this type of bicycle and find the one that suits you.
Brake options for Specialized Roubaix carbon bikes
You can choose your Specialized Roubaix carbon bicycle based on the type of braking system it has. All brakes work to slow or stop your bike as necessary, but you may have a preferred style that you are used to already. There are some common braking systems you can choose for your bike:
- Caliper – A caliper brake will squeeze components against the brake rotor on your bike and cause it to slow or stop. You can find caliper braking systems in center and side varieties.
- Disc – The disc brakes on a Specialized Roubaix carbon bicycle will use mechanical components or hydraulic fluid to slow the bike.
What are some features of a Specialized Roubaix carbon bike?
The carbon fiber frames on these bikes have several distinct features that may provide you with some cycling benefits during your rides. Some common elements of Specialized Roubaix carbon bikes include:
Choosing gear ratios for your Specialized Roubaix carbon bikeContent provided for informational purposes only. eBay is not affiliated with or endorsed by Specialized.
Is Electronic Shifting Really Better
While the majority of road groupsets are mechanical, using cables from the shift levers to change gears, there are a growing number of road bikes that now come fitted with electronic shifting, where a motor shifts the derailleurs between ratios.
The main electronic systems are Shimano Di2, Campagnolo EPS and SRAM eTap AXS, which all offer 12 speeds.
There are benefits and drawbacks of both mechanical and electronic options.
Mechanical components, such as mechs and levers, are generally cheaper and lighter than their electronic counterparts. They are also, for the most part, easier to fix when something goes wrong.
Electronic gears benefit from reliable shifting. There’s no cable tension at play here. If you’ve suffered a hand injury, the ease of changing gear with the press of a button could be appealing. Electronic gearing can be personalised through an app, allowing you, for example, to shift multiple gears seamlessly. However, all this tech doesn’t come cheap and complete road bikes fitted with electronic gears will be more expensive.
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What Are The Best Gear Options For A Road Bike
When choosing a new road bike it’s important that you think about the gears it comes equipped with. Fortunately if you’ve already matched your potential bike to the kind of riding you plan on doing, there’s a good chance that the gear choice will also be well-suited.
An out-and-out race bike may come with a more traditional gearing set-up, for example 53/39 tooth chainset paired with an 11-28 tooth cassette.
However road bikes that fall into the endurance or sportive categories are likely to have a compact chainset, most likely a 50/34, and a cassette that will have 30, 32, 34 or even 36 teeth as the largest option. The lower gears will help you to both tackle steep hills with more ease and generally pedal with a higher cadence. However, this can mean larger gaps between gear ratios.
There are other options out there too. SRAM, for example, now offers its eTap AXS groupsets with 48/35, 46/33 and 43/30t chainsets. Paired with its cassettes starting at 10 teeth, these give similar highest gear ratios to traditional gearing starting at 11 teeth, but greater low-end gear range for easier climbing and less need to shift between chainrings on undulating roads.
How Do I Choose The Right Size Road Bike For Me
Its important to get the right size bike. Most bikes come in a range of sizes to fit your stature and bike makers will usually publish a riders height range which a bike of a specific size will fit.
You should feel comfortable seated on your bike and be able to put both feet flat on the ground when standing over the crossbar, without it touching you.
Youll usually find more detailed frame dimensions listed too, which give you more details of how your bike will fit you. The most important are reach and stack, although theyre a bit complex to interpret.
In general, the higher the stack number the more upright your riding position will be. If you enjoy a ‘taller’ riding position then look for a more generous stack height. Equally, a shorter reach will put you closer to the bars, thus in a more upright position. For the most part, race bikes will feature a lower stack height than endurance models.
To make sure that your bike is set up correctly and to avoid the risk of injury from incorrect fit, its well worth getting a professional bike fit. A bike fit will cost some money, although sometimes a bike shop will offer one at a discount or free when you buy a bike, but will ensure that your saddle and bars are optimally placed for efficient riding. Consider a good fit an investment.
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The Latest From The Brand
Today, Specialized has a hand in every aspect of the two-wheeled world, from commuter e-bikes to aerodynamic road bikes, and theres no sign that the companys devotion to innovation is slowing down. Its recently updated headtube shock, the FutureShock, is being placed on more road and adventure models. Meanwhile, it purchased fit system Retül that uses infrared mapping to help its retailers put you on the perfect saddle and frame. On some bikes, the integrated SWAT storage system lets you store ride essentials without wearing a backpack or filling pockets. And its road bikes continue to be lighter, stronger, and more aerodynamic.
The brands size, domination of some specialty retailer’s floor space, and its aggressive defense of patents has cost it some fans. But its hard to argue with the quality and performance of its top bikes.
Why Did I Choose This Bike
Im a big fan of the racier Specialized Tarmac but, as a 30-year-old with a moderately dodgy back and minimal competitive ambitions, I think Im ready to sample a comfier approach to riding.
The latest Roubaix is, in my opinion, a much better looking bike than previous generations, wearing its towering stack height well.
Ive long been intrigued by its unique suspension system, sceptical that it could really be justified on a bike thats meant only for the road.
I want to find out how well it works in the real world, and see how the bike compares to dedicated all-road designs.
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Is The Future Shock A Panacea
Ive been thinking hard about whether a Future Shock style design is a solution for all road bikes.
Ive been hugely impressed with the system on the Roubaix, but there are some caveats to my praise.
For general riding, Ive been very happy to leave the shocks adjuster in the fully open position, which gives me the most squish.
Riding along bumpy surfaces, the constant flexing of the shocks cover lets you know its doing its job.
There is significant movement in the bars when youre out of the saddle but Ive found that, in the course of normal climbing and quite spirited descending, this doesnt bother me, the bike still feels accurate and predictable.
The one time the movement is perhaps counterproductive is when youre really pushing hard, for example sprinting out of the saddle with your hands on the drops.
In this scenario, youre cranking hard from side to side, and the extra movement of the shock can make the front of the bike feel slightly more wayward.
You can lock out most of the movement by cranking the adjuster right down, which noticeably sharpens up the front end. Of course, you have to remember do to this in advance of launching your sprint.
For this reason, Id say that if you have any intention of riding competitively on a Roubaix, youre going to want one of the models with an adjustable Future Shock.
Previous updates continue below.
Specialized Roubaix Expert Highs
The Roubaix Expert has opened my eyes to the possibilities suspension on road bikes offers, and also helped evolve my attitude to endurance, all-road and gravel bikes.
Im a fan of gravel bikes in general, however for the riding I do, I feel like many of them lean too heavily towards trying to be a mountain bike with drop bars and, as a result, theyre just too compromised for the road.
The Roubaix pulls off the neat trick of being a road bike that can do so much more than just ride on tarmac.
With squishy tubeless tyres and that Future Shock, its one of the most versatile bikes Ive ridden in years and, critically, its loads of fun.
The Expert spec leaves very little to be desired. I noted in a previous update that the things that make the bike expensive are nice to have, but theyre not the reason the Roubaix is so good thats down to the underlying frameset.
The current Roubaix Expert is £400 cheaper than my version at £5,000, but it drops the carbon wheels in favour of alloy ones.
When you consider how expensive carbon rims are, the new bike is arguably worse value despite being cheaper, but I wouldnt let that put you off.
In any case, were seeing significant price rises above inflation across the industry, so the latest pricing is hardly a surprise.
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Specialized Roubaix Expert Long
Its time to wrap up my long-term review and, if you havent already worked this out, I love this bike.
Recent rides have been back on the feathery DT Swiss Mon Chasseral wheelset and Ive fitted an old set of clip-on SKS mudguards to keep the filth under control, but otherwise Ive not made any significant spec changes.
Specialized Road Bikes For Sale
In addition to their sophisticated range of road bikes, Specialized additionally offers an expansive range of cycling products, including shoes, helmets, apparel, components, accessories and other bikes! As highlighted by the S-Works initiative, many of these products are designed to be combined for optimal performance, so make sure you check out the Specialized collection after youve had a look at the range of Specialized road bikes for sale here on BikeExchange!
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Specialized Roubaix Expert Geometry
The Roubaix is classed as an endurance bike and as youd expect that means its both shorter in reach and taller in stack than the Tarmac race machine, a matter of 8mm and 41mm respectively for a size 54.
Dont be fooled by the head tube length, incidentally. While the Roubaixs 125mm figure is shorter than the Tarmacs 143mm, this doesnt include the extra 45mm of stack added by the Future Shock 2.0 front suspension, and the riser drop bars Specialized fits as standard raise the front end even further.
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media
The Roubaixs relatively short seat tube means theres lots of seatpost on display. In other respects, theres nothing terribly notable about the bikes geometry, although its worth pointing out that, because the Future Shock suspends the bars rather than the whole front end of the bike , the overall geometry remains the same regardless of how high you are in the shocks travel.
- Head angle: 72.75 degrees
Cannondale Supersix Evo Hi
Launched just ahead of the 2019 Tour de France, Cannondale‘s latest SuperSix Evo comes complete with a first for the frame â a sloping top tube. But it’s not just the death of the flat top tube, Cannondale has swapped to Kammtail tube shapes for a claimed 30 watt saving over its predecessor and the brand says the new SuperSix is between nine and 40 watts faster than a range of its competitors. The frame also gets a flat-backed seat post and seat tube, and the dropped chainstays which are becoming increasingly common among carbon race bikes.
Capable of taking 30mm tyres , the new frame is claimed to weigh 886g in a size 56, painted. The rim version of the bike uses the standard open quick release dropout, however, the disc version is shod with Mavic’s speed release thru-axle system which pairs an open dropout with a threaded counterpart to speed up wheel changes.
Cannondale has also opted for an integrated bar and stem and sees the brands in-house KNOT components providing the seat post and wheelset. As you’d expect for a bike in this price bracket, the 45mm deep road wheels are carbon fibre and tubeless-ready, and a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset provides the gearing. The new SuperSix EVO also comes with a Power2Max NG Eco power meter installed in the HologramSiSL2 cranks, though you’ll have to pay a fee on top of the retail price to activate it.
Raced by: EF Pro Cycling
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New Wheels And Resquishification
Ive had no issues whatsoever with the Roval C 38 wheels the Roubaix comes with. Theyre light enough , stiff enough and not too deep section, which suits me because I tend to get blown around like the plastic bag in that scene in American Beauty riding proper aero wheels.
Also, the 21mm internal width is a great match for the 28 and 32mm tyres Ive been running, giving a really nice round profile and, with the smaller size, a pretty smooth rim-to-tyre transition.
A post shared by Matthew Loveridge on Jun 21, 2020 at 10:41am PDT
The Mon Chasserals are roughly 300g lighter than the Rovals at an actual 1,262g, but theyre also quite a bit shallower at just 24mm deep , and narrower at 18mm internal.
The latter dimension matters because it makes them less well suited to wider tyres than the Rovals. In fact, DT Swiss designed these wheels with 25mm tyres in mind, although theyll work just fine with significantly fatter rubber.
The 32mm Contis take on a fairly pronounced lightbulb profile on these rims, but thats hardly the end of the world.
So are these wheels an upgrade or a downgrade? I guess its a bit of both. They do look cool, in an understated sort of a way. Theyre also almost criminally expensive at £2,649.99 / 2,948 / $3,734. Look out for a separate review soon.