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Roubaix bike advice pls

bgpkbgpk Posts: 5
edited December 2015 in Road buying advice
Folks, some advice please.

After several years absence I've returned to road from mtb riding, and spent most of the summer bouncing over the cobbles of N. France & Belgium. This has prompted me to take a punt on doing some of the rough roaded euro sportives incl the Paris-Roubaix Challenge.

Most of my past road riding was crit racing, & the geometry of my old bike is race focused and doesn't suit 150km+ distances; anything over 2 or 3 hours brings on fairly significant discomfort in neck and shoulders.

So I am looking a nice new bike more suited to mid to long distances on roads ranging from challenging to absolutely terrible.

Thusfar I have test ridden a BMC GF01 from BMC concept store in Ghent. This was awesome in terms of comfort and performance, and has convinced me to go for a disc equipped option after 2 days in the pouring rain. My main concern really is that 28mm is allegedly the fattest tyre that can be squeezed into the frame, and having ridden on the pavé I want flexibility for something a bit fatter if possible.

I subsequently tried to get a test ride of a Specialized Roubaix, however none of the nearby stores were interested in offering a test ride, so that is off the list.

This has led me to start considering some of the gravelly offerings such as GT Grade that seem to share much of the relaxed geometry characteristics of the sportive bikes, but give more clearance for bigger tyres, and I am now swamped by choice and am chasing my tail.

So I am therefore am looking for guidance please; any comments on "Sportive" vs 'Gravel Racer" bikes for 75-200km distances over crappy potholed roads and pavé would be greatly appreciated. Budget max GBP 2.5-3k.



  • robbo2011robbo2011 Posts: 1,017
    What about the Ridley X-trail disc?

    clearance for 40mm tyres and the right brand too.

    I am thinking of one myself to replace my ageing cross bike. Haven't ridden one yet so can't comment about the ride, but it seems to make a lot of sense to me.
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    I also came to road biking from mountain biking and my first Road bike was fast but a real boneshaker compared to my xc hardtail mountain bike on anything but smooth surfaces. I then bought a Diverge DSW comp and it has been really smooth on road and is fine off road until things get rougher. It is very good for long distance rides and is alot faster than my mountain bike on smoother off road trails like fire roads unless the trail becomes very twisty and technical . There are plenty of similar bikes available . The tyres are 25/28 mm which surprisingly handle rougher roads well enough.

    The compromise you have is to find a bike that has the speed and riding position of a road bike but takes enough of the sting out of rougher surfaces. Generally the wider the tyres the slower you will go and over long distances wider tyres can really take it out of you. I can only keep my road bike pace going for about 7 miles on my mountain bike due to the grippy knobbly tyres
  • 964cup964cup Posts: 1,362
    Spesh Roubaix Disc
    Trek Domane
    Cervelo R3 Disc

    I doubt you'll want bigger than 28mm tyres. Go tubeless if you can, means you can run lower pressures without pinch-flats.
  • Specialized Diverge. 30mm tyres, hydraulic discs, that shock absorber thing in the seat post and room for sleek mudguards if needed.

    Has the same geometry as a Roubaix, but can take bigger tyres. And looks so much better than the GT grade.
  • anjasolaanjasola Posts: 145
    Ritchey Swiss Cross Disc.
  • I have got a GT Grade Ultegra fantastic bike doesn't seem to compromise on the road. Less agile than my Supersix but it feels pretty lively to me. Wide rimmed ZTR Grail on 240S Hubs Tubeless ready full Ultegra with Hydro brakes. Jus add some 30mm and you are good to go.

    Downside the Grade took a few swipes from the ugly stick I shortened the stem and slammed it but not much difference between this and my Supersix evo on the road. Its definitely liver than the 2010 Roubaix Comp I had before. I a ma bit of brand snob, but it is the only bike I could find that fitted my criteria of decent tyre sizes, carbon and full mudguards that came in under 9kg

    BR liked it too.
  • Zak3737Zak3737 Posts: 368
    Bigger than 28c for long distance ?? Not sure that's wise ?
    I have a 2015 Roubaix Comp Disc, with Schwalbe One 28's on, and the CGR seatpost etc, and it's uber comfy,
    I'm sure you can get bikes with higher front ends perhaps, but doubt they'd be any comfier.
  • robbo2011robbo2011 Posts: 1,017
    But the OP only wants to use larger tyres for specific events such as riding the Pave in the Paris-Roubaix. I am sure for normal riding smaller tyres would be used.

    The point is about having the flexibility. Makes a lot of sense to me.

    PS. nobody has come up with a better all round recommendation than the Ridley so far ;-)
  • bgpkbgpk Posts: 5
    Thanks for your assorted replies, they're appreciated.

    For those who made comment about tubeless, I've actually been running Schwalbe One 28mm tubeless on my current (old) bike with wide Pacenti SL23's, and have been very impressed with the improved comfort over my former standard of 23mm rubber with inner tubes.

    From the comments from Zak3737 and 964Cup, it seems like 28mm is the current standard for long distance, so, I suppose i need to decide whether i want the flexibility of experimenting with some fatter rubber between now and the dread day which in turn will drive the selection of the new bike between Sportive and all road gravel thing.

    I suppose i was in the first instance leaning toward the BMC 'fondo simply because the Ghent store actually let you hire a current spec bike for a few days and thrash about on real roads rather than cutting laps of the carpark...

    Thanks all once again for comments, it has helped focus :)
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,132
    I did P-R on 28s, ran v low pressure (around 50PSI) and had no issues with comfort. Grip wasn't great in the wet, but not sure just going wider would resolve that issue.

    You could just put slicks on your mountain bike - plenty of people rode on mountain bikes and were a lot quicker over the cobbles. Personally I wanted to do it on something UCI legal as the whole point was getting to experience what the pros experience, but if you are looking at gravel bikes etc then you could save some money by just slicking up your MTB.
  • bgpkbgpk Posts: 5
    I have been riding the schwalbe One 28s at 60psi and they're surprisingly compliant; good to hear that i have the tyre setup in the right ballpark.

    Alas the mtb is overseas (i work rosters), and doesn't come back to Europe. it's an interesting suggestion though, since it's a lightweight XC bike (spesh epic) that's set up for african dirt roads that aren't that dissimilar in terms of maintenance to those of N France and Belgium.

    I started riding the road bike again after having time off in europe this summer. I need (want) to get a new road frame or bike due to i had accident that resulted in damage to neck disc. options according to the doc is to adopt a more upright riding position, or deal with the neck pain of riding a full on road race bike. That's what started me off on this quest; find a road bike with a more relaxed ride position, just like the Epic....
  • phy2sll2phy2sll2 Posts: 680
    Any idea when those Schwalbe S-Ones will be available? Can't find stock anywhere...
  • not currently in stock sadly at bike24 :(
  • oldbazzaoldbazza Posts: 646
    What about the Ridley X-trail disc?

    clearance for 40mm tyres and the right brand too.

    I am thinking of one myself to replace my ageing cross bike. Haven't ridden one yet so can't comment about the ride, but it seems to make a lot of sense to me.

    Or a Fenix disc?-disc version of what's used at the classics.
    Ridley Helium SL (Dura-Ace/Wheelsmith Aero-dimpled 45 wheels)

    Light Blue Robinson(105 +lots of Hope)

    Planet X XLS 1X10(105/XTR/Miche/TRP Spyre SLC brakes

    Graham Weigh 105/Ultegra
  • ic.ic. Posts: 769
    Have you considered a bike fit? 2-3 hours isn't long on a bit to be feeling that uncomfortable, race geo or not.

    2020 Reilly Spectre - raw titanium
    2020 Merida Reacto Disc Ltd - black on black
    2015 CAAD8 105 - very green - stripped to turbo bike
    2018 Planet X Exocet 2 - grey

    The departed:

    2017 Cervelo R3 DI2 - sold
    Boardman CX Team - sold
    Cannondale Synapse - broken
    Cube Streamer - stolen
    Boardman Road Comp - stolen
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