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Is the Specialized Roubaix elite the bike for me??

bikesaddlebikesaddle Posts: 5
edited September 2009 in Road beginners
I have started to commute to work by bike and have realised what I have missing all these years.
I have a 12 mile each way commute on some country roads with a couple of steep hills. Planning to do the trip at leasts twice a week. I have no plans to go off road. I am currently riding a Specialized Crossroads comp hybrid fitted with road tyres which seems to me to be trying to make the bike into something its not.
I would like to upgrade but I am confused by the advice I have been getting.
I am 6ft 4 and 17 stone and I don't intend to race. The various recommendations have included the Specialized Tricross and Sirrus plus various road bikes depending on what the shop has in stock. My budget is £1500.
A very helpful guy in the Specialized concept store in Ruislip suggested the Roubaix Elite as a more comfortable road bike.
Any advice would be really appreciated.


  • My personal opinion, after seeing a Spec Sirrus doing 320 miles in 4 days, is that you have been adviced to spend money by someone who has more money than sense.
    Your current hybrid is not only perfectly suitable, but will also be cheaper to maintain in the long term, a provide a better platform as a commuter.
    By all means, by what you like as long as you can afford it. But you must appreciate that commuting by bike is not about spending, but saving money. Economy is a top priority.
    A tricross could be a wise choice if you also happen to do touring. As you are not planning to, you could spend your money on holidays...
  • Thanks for the advice. It does make my 24 mile round trip seem like a trip round the block.
    I would like to go a bit faster but if the bike I have is good for the job then £1500 can stay in the bank.
  • I would agree with fnegroni. I have a similar distance commute and my road bike is far too nice to use. I take the Tricross to work and play on the fast bike on the weekends. I think if I did 100+ miles commuting on a good road bike I'd spend a fortune on tires, brake blocks, chains, cassetes, chain rings, bar tape, etc, etc , etc just to keep it in tip top condition. With the Tricross I'm happier to let things wear out as I don't need it to be fast (and pretty) on the weekend.

    I would recommend the Tricross as a commuter though. I got mine nearly 3 years ago and is very solid and dependable. You can make it faster by upgrading the wheels, the mudguards are a blessing, and you can take it touring if you want.
    '07 Specialized Tricross Sport

    Wilier Alpe D'Huez
  • Agreed. Why you would even consider buying a bike like that just for two 12-mile commutes a week is beyond me,
    Having said that, it IS a nice bike, someone had one on a recent clubrun, so if you were thinking of sportives or a bit of competition, it might be good to get used to riding the bike a bit more.

    If it's your first road bike some money and consider the Allez Elite. People ride aluminium bikes all year, I know of no one who rides carbon racers between October and March. Consider something like this, it's a saving of £700, and maybe you can get it on the Cycle to Work scheme! ... EZ%20ELITE

    Then you've got £700 left to spend on clothing, shoes and pedals (DON'T forget if you haven't already got these) and then about £400-500 will be left to pimp the bike with some super-quick Fulcrum wheels and tri bars when you're ready to race me on a time trial :wink:
  • Exactly what I needed a bit of sanity.
    I didn't realise the Roubaix was as impractical as it clearly is. I thought 12 miles each way was quite a trip ....obviously I have a long way to go.
    The Specialized guy reckoned that the gears on the Tricross were not set up for my type of commute. Clearly Liam has one and it's obviously fine for the job I need.

    My reasons for commuting by bike is not to necessarily save money but to get fit and lose some weight. I would like it to be fun though hence the thought that a bike designed for the road would be the option.
    Thanks for the advice about Carbon bikes in the Winter now i've thought about it it makes perfect sense.

    My bike now has road tyres on it and you feel every bump in the road, would carbon forks on alluminium bike help. I know the Tricross has them and I assume the Allez could have them fitted.
  • I have a Roubaix Comp, which is fantastic... for the long rides at the weekend. (However, I will be using it over the winter months as it is a case of looking after it - it's not going to dissolve at the sight of cold weather)

    Most (all?) of the Allez models come with carbon forks - some with carbon seat stays too - and they will help soften the bumps somewhat.

    I commute on a hybrid because it is more suitable for the road conditions and with heavy traffic. I do it because it is fun, not to save money either!
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    I don't understand why the gears would not be set up for your commute - that is dumb! Ignore it.

    I use a carbon bike all year round - it doesn't dissolve in the winter, though I do use a different bike for commuting and touring duties.

    The Tricross would be my weapon of choice for your needs. An Allez would do as well but is less suited to commuting. The Roubaix is nice, but I would save that for best.
  • The Spec Secteur has Roubaix geometry for much less cash (and a lot less carbon).
  • Can I offer an alternative view :wink:

    I commute for 1 hour 40 minutes a day by car. That equates to almost 10 hours per week, which is like adding another working day to the week. When I started my current job I looked to save every penny I had and considered a SMART car, Aygo, Corsa and Fiesta but I couldn't do it so bought something light and sporty, something that would give me a buzz every day as I love driving. To me the extra cost is well worth it given the time spent on the road.

    Given my current level of fitness it would take about 40 minutes to ride 12 miles and personally I wouldn't do it on anything other than something that would give me pleasure every time I clipped into the pedals. Maybe I'm in the minority but I see my commute as an opportunity to enjoy my time on the road.

    Re: the bike, maybe a Roubiax is not the best option but as PianoMan suggested, an aluminium frame would be good all year round alternative. Personally I wouldn't go for the Allez as I think you could do better than Shimano Sora but visit a few different LBS's and I'm sure you'll find something that takes your fancy (and especially given the current sales).

    Best of luck :D
  • I love my carbon road bike, and its Campag Record kit so much that I use it whenever I can, be it for a commute or to go further - don't be put off by people saying don't use your best stuff for a commute, it adds to the fun and means I am more likely to use the bike rather than drive.

    I use my aluminium hybrid when the roads are wet, but apart from that it's road bike.

    Try the best bike you can afford and see how much you like it. Only then can you make a decision.
    Over 50mph on Malaucene descent
  • Thanks again for all the great advice.

    I suppose what I have to decided is how much more I will enjoy riding a proper road bike compared to my Hybrid. If I enjoy it I will probably end up riding to work every day, which in health terms would be priceless. Doing 100 miles a week might even get me out on a Sunday with the experts.

    My route is not particularly busy and I can avoid all major roads so a bike that will get me cruising at 20 miles an hour would be ideal.

    The Alluminium frame option seems sensible to start with so I guess I need to try out the Tricross, Allez and the Sectaur and see how I get on.

    Thanks agin
  • Hey Bikesaddle,
    You scenario is very similar to mine. I bought a Crossroads about 6 years ago. Got a bit mroe serious about cycling and took the plunge with a tricross and found it delightful. A great transition from occasional cycling to more serious stuff. My rides extended to four hour rides (over a two year period) and found it very comfortable - which i believe is due to the geomoetry of the tricross and roubaix - and the gears meant that climbing hills was not difficult. I soon put road tyres on, but reverted to the tyres that were supplied for winter riding. Two years on I bought a Roubaix, and the difference is big. I still use the tricross in the winter though. Worth pointing out that the gears on the Roubaix are more in line with what you'd expect for road cycling. In other words, if you are un-used to road cycling and hill climbing, stick with the Tri-cross. I haven't checked out the Secteur bikes, other than they are triples, which I tend to avoid.

    One thing worth considering is what gears you'd get for your money, if you can go for 105.

    Looking at prices between the secteur and tric-cross, i'd go for the tricross sport at £850. For me it was and is still a great bike. I did the London to Brighton on this twice, and it was great.
    The ultimate cruelty of love's pinions
  • Apologies for the double entry - had to break off and do some work!!

    I only briefly mentioned the geometry, but for me, it is a crucial issue and I'm 2 inches shorter than you!!!

    I was impressed with the geometry of the tricross, which is more relaxed than traditional road bikes. In my terms this meant that I found the reach to the handlebars on road bikes too extreme - not just in terms of how I felt stretched out, but how secure I felt in the riding position. Having said that, i did buy a different stem which brought the handlebars a bit closer to me, but after some months I changed the position of the stem to a more typical position.

    Also, around this time of year 2010 bikes are coming in, thus last year's bikes are being discounted. The problem for you, like me, is finding a bike in the right size at a discount, but you should look around. BUT, don't buy a bike for the discount, buy a bike for your size.
    The ultimate cruelty of love's pinions
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