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How should I upgrade a new Roubaix?

rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
edited August 2013 in Road buying advice
I may be able to acquire a brand new Roubaix at a substantial discount. As I'm happy with 105 and you need to get all the way up to £3k before you get 10k carbon instead of 8k carbon I should have a fair bit of spare cash left over if I go for the Roubaix Elite.

My main interest is long-distance solo/audax rides. I'm not looking to race or time trial so my main concern is comfort over long period of time in the saddle.

There's plenty of similarity between the £1800 Elite and the £3000 Expert so I'm happy to go with the "lesser" variant. Overall I'm happy with the following -

Frameset (Elite gets the 8k, Expert the 10k but I can live with that)
Forks
Headset (Expert gets carbon spacers but I'm hardly going to lose sleep over that)
Bars
Tape
Groupset - its 105 so not much to say there (the cassette and chain are Tiagra but these are going to be replaced eventually so I'm ok with them for now)
Tyres - they'll be dead after a year so I'll cross this upgrading bridge when I come to it

This leaves the following areas -

Wheels - DT Axis 2.0 seem to get a poor review everywhere I look. I'm going to look into some handbuilts from a local place I've had recommended.
Saddle - this is always going to be bit of a lottery depending on what suits my shape. So, this may or may not have to be changed
Seatpost - both Elite/Expert come with a Spesh Comp FACT carbon post. I'm wondering about a change to a COBL-GOBL-R but have no idea if this is a genuine upgrade or not!

I'm scratching my head a little as to what else I might change though, probably because this would be my first genuinely good bike purchase. Any thoughts on what else might need sorting so I can get my head round where my budget should be??
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  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    I'd ride it first. Then think about what you need to upgrade

    Ok - wheels and saddle are a given - as will the tyres in time.

    Id Probably put some quick links in the chain. Plus add the bottle cages & GPS mount. Not sure what else there is that would make a noticeable difference!
  • If comfort is what you're after spend upgrade cash on a professional bike fit and really good shorts.
  • +1 what Duncan said, and I think 'Specialized Concept Stores' make a big deal about saddle science and customer service, measuring your sit bones and such. If you take the brand new saddle in they might even swap it for a more suitable one. Probably worth a call/visit if there's one local to you
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    Yep, nearest one is Harrogate about 3 hours away on the bike.

    Any comments on seat post?
  • mikeneticmikenetic Posts: 486
    Unless you're actually going to be smashing your Roubaix over the cobbles of Flanders then I wouldn't bother upgrading the post.

    The Roubaix frame design normally means you have a lot of post sticking out anyway, and the FACT post does have some flex so it's pretty plush as is.

    Not sure about the stock tyres. I run 25mm Continental GP 4 Seasons at around 90-95 PSI on my Roubaix and to be honest they are the things that make the most noticeable improvement in comfort over rough roads.
  • gabriel959gabriel959 Posts: 4,227
    Tyres and wheels sound like day one upgrades, same for the saddle if it does not suit your bum. Everything else I will leave as it is.
    x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x
    Commuting / Winter rides - Jamis Renegade Expert
    Pootling / Offroad - All-City Macho Man Disc
    Fast rides Cannondale SuperSix Ultegra
  • samsbikesamsbike Posts: 942
    I have heard good things about the GOBL seatpost so if you can get it at a good discount I would. Its supposed to help comfort over the kind of rides you are comtemplating.
  • Personally I regard tyres as a safety thing, you want as much grip as you can, same with brakes. So these are something you'd want to swap immediately.
  • KubotaiKubotai Posts: 20
    rodgers73 wrote:
    Wheels - DT Axis 2.0 seem to get a poor review everywhere I look. I'm going to look into some handbuilts from a local place I've had recommended.

    I have those as well and they aren't very nice. I find them flimsy and they look like the 1.0 wheelset that has had the front hub milled a bit to reduce weight. Also be sure to check the tires. The Espoir Sport tires that came with my bike (Allez Expert) weigh a ton (340g in 23c!). I haven't changed mine yet because I will do that as soon as I get new wheels. But a lot can be gained there.
    rodgers73 wrote:
    Saddle - this is always going to be bit of a lottery depending on what suits my shape. So, this may or may not have to be changed

    I changed mine before ever riding the bike as I have bad experiences with stock seats. Got the Romin Evo Expert. A very nice seat for my needs, but that's also very personal.
  • styxdstyxd Posts: 3,234
    I'd say a 10k frameset for 3k is definitely worth it, I'd go with that. You'll notice the difference.
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    mikenetic wrote:
    Unless you're actually going to be smashing your Roubaix over the cobbles of Flanders then I wouldn't bother upgrading the post.

    The Roubaix frame design normally means you have a lot of post sticking out anyway, and the FACT post does have some flex so it's pretty plush as is.

    Not sure about the stock tyres. I run 25mm Continental GP 4 Seasons at around 90-95 PSI on my Roubaix and to be honest they are the things that make the most noticeable improvement in comfort over rough roads.

    I'm running those tyres on my Secteur now so I'll stick with a winning combination!

    Seatpost can wait then I reckon.
  • Jim CJim C Posts: 333
    If your serious that U want this bike for audax, then a roubaix frame may not be the best place to start. Keeping dry- feet and backside- means full length mudguards, properly fitted. Also some means of carrying a small amount of luggage needs consideration.
    It might be that even for long distance, U could have something much more racy. Only a bike fit will tell U. I recommend Brian Rourke
    jc
  • Undo the stem topcap and fit a new frame. Something titanium.
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    Undo the stem topcap and fit a new frame. Something titanium.

    Ha ha! Brilliant :)

    I would echo the advice though about considering more about matching a bike to your needs. I had a Secteur, which has the same geo as a Roubaix, and I could only just squeeze on some Cruds, and that was with 23mm tyres. 25mm tyres or anything more would have been a real pain. Decent mudguards and lights are a must, and some 25 or 28mm tyres will help comfort more than a fancy seatpost (although the Spesh one really is great).

    Also, are you thinking of touring? If so, adding panniers can add to the weight and some disk brakes will suddenly seem like a good idea (as well as a triple, etc.).

    Finally, long distances mean more risk (and wear/tear) so 32 spoke handbuilt wheels would also be near the top of the list for me.
  • Jim CJim C Posts: 333
    Agree the advice on wheels. Bust a spoke on a 20 or 24 spoke set and your ride might well be over. I was that mechanic on LEL :-(
    jc
  • IrishMacIrishMac Posts: 328
    Hi,

    If you want to spend and don't know what to buy, bling the hell out of it! :D I did it to mine and it looks brilliant! :D

    This includes:
    -Colour matched valve caps.
    -Colour matched handlebar plugs.
    -Colour matched bottle cages.
    -Good quick releases with internal cams, (for safety.)
    -Handlebar tape, depending the on the quality of the tape that comes on it.
    -Maybe even a Garmin to aid your riding.
    -You could even buy carbon headset spacers ;)

    Hope this helps :D
    Cormac
    Member of Cuchulainn C.C. @badcyclist

    Raleigh SP Race
    Trek 1.2
  • carrockcarrock Posts: 1,103
    [quote="

    There's plenty of similarity between the £1800 Elite and the £3000 expert

    No there isn't.

    The frame, wheels, groupset and saddle are different.

    I have owned a roubaix elite, a pro, and an s works.

    There is a BIG difference between the elite and expert/pro- mainly due to the frame and wheels.

    Elite roubaix is heavy and flexy.

    Better wheels and tyres will help, and possibly lose up to a kilo, I did this on my elite, but you are still stuck with a poor frame.

    Can you get an expert at a discount?
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    carrock wrote:
    [quote="

    Elite roubaix is heavy and flexy.

    Better wheels and tyres will help, and possibly lose up to a kilo, I did this on my elite, but you are still stuck with a poor frame.

    Can you get an expert at a discount?

    If its the same geometry as my Secteur I'll be happy. Expert discounted is still out of my league.

    You rate the frame as poor? Seriously?
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    Bobbinogs wrote:
    Undo the stem topcap and fit a new frame. Something titanium.

    Ha ha! Brilliant :)

    I would echo the advice though about considering more about matching a bike to your needs. I had a Secteur, which has the same geo as a Roubaix, and I could only just squeeze on some Cruds, and that was with 23mm tyres. 25mm tyres or anything more would have been a real pain. Decent mudguards and lights are a must, and some 25 or 28mm tyres will help comfort more than a fancy seatpost (although the Spesh one really is great).

    Also, are you thinking of touring? If so, adding panniers can add to the weight and some disk brakes will suddenly seem like a good idea (as well as a triple, etc.).

    Finally, long distances mean more risk (and wear/tear) so 32 spoke handbuilt wheels would also be near the top of the list for me.

    The wheels would be changed straight off so no issues there.

    My Secteur came with 25mm tyres and I've used nothing else since. I use a clip on rear mudguard (SKS) that works fine. I don't use the front one as I couldn't be bothered to fiddle with the fitting initially, although its still in the garage in case I change my mind. I've always used overshoes instead and they've been fine.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    rodgers73 wrote:
    carrock wrote:
    [quote="

    Elite roubaix is heavy and flexy.

    Better wheels and tyres will help, and possibly lose up to a kilo, I did this on my elite, but you are still stuck with a poor frame.

    Can you get an expert at a discount?

    If its the same geometry as my Secteur I'll be happy. Expert discounted is still out of my league.

    You rate the frame as poor? Seriously?

    You said ...
    My main interest is long-distance solo/audax rides. I'm not looking to race or time trial so my main concern is comfort over long period of time in the saddle.

    The Roubaix is designed for long distance/endurance riding - heavy? yup, the Elite will be heavier than the Expert or the S-Works - but you're paying far less for it ... and how heavy is "heavy" ...
    My Tricross comes in sub 10Kg with a rack on the back. Weight isn't everything - although you do need to keep an eye on it. With a new/better wheelset the Elite will be more responsive.

    Flexy? I've never ridden one, but flexy? possibly - but don't forget, flex will help comfort - you don't want the road buzz transmitted to your hands/censored all day ... obviously you can go too flexy - ie, if you stomp on the pedals you don't want the back wheel to hit the stays ... but come on - this is Specialized, not some cheapo knock off - it's designed for a purpose. If you wanted to road race/sprint then don't got for a Roubaix, if you want to go for long rides then thats what it's designed for ...
    Would an Expert be better? Probably ... There are always better bikes/bits out there - but us mere mortals have to draw the line somewhere!
  • Camcycle1974Camcycle1974 Posts: 1,356
    carrock wrote:
    [quote="

    There's plenty of similarity between the £1800 Elite and the £3000 expert

    No there isn't.

    The frame, wheels, groupset and saddle are different.

    I have owned a roubaix elite, a pro, and an s works.

    There is a BIG difference between the elite and expert/pro- mainly due to the frame and wheels.

    Elite roubaix is heavy and flexy.

    Better wheels and tyres will help, and possibly lose up to a kilo, I did this on my elite, but you are still stuck with a poor frame.

    Can you get an expert at a discount?

    Seriously. You have to spend 3k to get a decent frame? Personally I would be looking at buying a different bike rather than upgrading a poor one. If you are spending £1800 you should not be considering immediate upgrades. It should come with decent kit to begin with! Specialized are notoriously poor value for the spec they provide. For £1800 you could get a top spec Giant Defy Composite with Ultegra and decent wheels. It also has mounts for mudguards and a rack if that is what you need? I would have a serious think before splashing out £1800 for an "average" bike.
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    Yes, that Giant was on my list of alternatives. I do feel quite wedded to the Specialized though, regardless of the poor value...
  • carrockcarrock Posts: 1,103
    The base model specialized roubaix/tarmac are poor value. Ditto the high end s works for £6500 when you could build one up for £4000.

    They have to recoup the cost of all their race team sponsorship and marketing somewhere

    The expert level are better value though- the roubaix is a brilliant bike for long rides and sportives if you can get one at the right price., however don't discount something like a Cannondale Synapse or Trek Domane if you can pick one up. There are other sportive type bikes besides a Roubaix.
  • carrockcarrock Posts: 1,103
    rodgers73 wrote:
    carrock wrote:
    [quote="

    Elite roubaix is heavy and flexy.

    Better wheels and tyres will help, and possibly lose up to a kilo, I did this on my elite, but you are still stuck with a poor frame.

    Can you get an expert at a discount?

    If its the same geometry as my Secteur I'll be happy. Expert discounted is still out of my league.

    You rate the frame as poor? Seriously?

    For the price yes.

    I sold my old Roubaix Pro for £1300 on eBay. It may be you need to look second hand to get the best value. That said, a Roubaix Elite will be better than a secteur. But not massively better in the way that an Expert or Pro roubaix would be
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    carrock wrote:
    rodgers73 wrote:
    carrock wrote:
    [quote="

    Elite roubaix is heavy and flexy.

    Better wheels and tyres will help, and possibly lose up to a kilo, I did this on my elite, but you are still stuck with a poor frame.

    Can you get an expert at a discount?

    If its the same geometry as my Secteur I'll be happy. Expert discounted is still out of my league.

    You rate the frame as poor? Seriously?

    For the price yes.

    I sold my old Roubaix Pro for £1300 on eBay. It may be you need to look second hand to get the best value. That said, a Roubaix Elite will be better than a secteur. But not massively better in the way that an Expert or Pro roubaix would be

    Ah - so Poor as in value for money ... frames are ok though?
  • carrockcarrock Posts: 1,103
    Base frames are OK. But combined with heavy wheels and average finishing kit it gives you a lovely looking bike that is depressingly average to poor for the price.

    Especially when trek and giant in the same price band are better. I bought an elite roubaix, and despite upgrading the wheels it was still comparatively heavy and unresponsive. Then bought a roubaix pro which was far far better due to dura ace groupset, great frame and super wheels. It also weighed 2kg less than the elite.

    To be honest, the base models sell on the reputation of the high end bikes. Marketing is what specialized are fantastic at. Not giving great value for money.
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    The value for money increases though when you knock 30% off the price tag, which is about what I'm looking at saving.
  • carrockcarrock Posts: 1,103
    Agreed. Although for £2000 you can get a good carbon bike with 11 speed ultegra.

    If you can get a Roubaix Expert for 30% off that would be a great deal.

    A roubaix elite for 30% off is good value, although that is what it should cost to begin with.

    But will look nice and have a better resale value than a ribble
  • But can't you get Ribbles made to order with exactly the parts you want? Cheaper than buying a full bike with wheels you're going to bin immediately.
  • rodgers73rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    I wouldn't want to deal with Ribble really. Not after everything I've heard.
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