Another Bike

Another bike. A black one. Specialized Roubaix Comp Disc 2016

Whilst I became familiar with Rule #5 early in my cycling career I have also followed Rule #12.

Rule #12

The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner.

I have 3 bikes. A road bike, a touring bike and a mountain bike. My road bike is a Specialized Roubaix Elite SL2 2011 road bike.

The 2011 Roubaix

The 2011 Roubaix in ironman action.

This is the bike I have used for everything except touring and most Audax It has done the best part of 20,000 miles over the last 4 years and I felt it was time for an upgrade.

The one thing that bugs me about my bike is that the drive-train does not always run smoothly and the gears do not like changing under pressure. So an upgrade in components from 105 to Ultegra seemed like a good idea. I also knew that a couple of extra climbing gears would come in handy! So an 11 speed compact cassette was on the desirable list.

The other upgrade I decided I ‘needed’ was disc brakes. Everybody who has disc brakes on their road bike swears by them and ‘will never go back’. I am quite timid on descents especially when its wet so having brakes that I know are definitely going to work will give me confidence.

I looked at lots of bikes but in the end I decided to go with what I know. So I’ve bought another Specialized, but with upgrades to address the things that bug me about the 2011 model.

At the Bike Shed with the new Roubaix

At the Bike Shed with the new SL4 Roubaix

I went to the Bike Shed in Exeter to try out bikes. I’ve always had excellent service from the Bike Shed. Most notably, one day in 2012 I was on one of my epic rides form home to Bude. I got close to Crediton and my front shifter stopped working I dropped into the Bike Shed at Credition and they were brilliant. Fixed it – no charge and I was able to continue.

The Roubaix SL4 Comp Disc is marketed as an all-day endurance beast with a FACT 8r carbon frame and fork that feature their vibration damping Zertz inserts, along with the reliable performance of Shimano Ultegra components and disc brakes, The frame geometry is a bit more aggressive than the 2011 Roubaix and Specialized have upgraded and tweaked the frame and fork.

The new Roubaix

The new 2016 Roubaix SL4  Comp Disc

I took the SL4 out for a spin from the Exeter shop and I could tell immediately that this bike had a much better steering response and just handled nicely. The drive train was silent. The gears all changed beautifully and immediately, even under pressure going uphill. The 54cm frame felt pretty comfortable even with the slightly more aggressive geometry but the handling was much improved.

The bike is black – satin . I think it is understated and cool. Some might think it’s a bit boring. (on a practical note it won’t show up oil like my white bike does).

The new Roubaix

The new  2016 Roubaix SL4 Comp Disc

I’ve been riding around on my new bike for a week now. I like it. It seems to go a bit faster – marginal gains. I’m not sure if it climbs hills any better – they are still tough!

On the new Roubaix having just climbed Eggardon Hill

On the new Roubaix having just climbed Eggardon Hill

I do like the brakes – I have confidence in them. They will work when I need them too. But the best thing is the handling. I found myself whooping and laughing out loud on familiar bends which I would have braked into and wobbled round on the 2011 version and now I can just lean into them.

Strava knows I am cornering quicker!

I’m off to Bike Science for a 3D Dynamic fit using Retul motion tracking system.  I’ll let you know how I get on – and if it’s worth £150!


9 thoughts on “Another Bike

  1. Stuart Ritchie

    Very swish! Be careful not to pull too hard on those brake levers as the discs can “bite” quite suddenly, especially on rain sodden lanes (save the touring bike for those rides!).

    1. Barbara

      Thanks. I’ll bear that in mind. It will be a while before I get this new one wet. My Thorn Audax feels so comfy and ‘welcoming’ after the carbon bikes.

  2. Steve Ralphs

    New bike looks fantastic. I bought two second hand Roubaix Elites in the last year, slightly older than your old one and am really pleased with them. One is set up for audax and the other left as a road bike. I hardly ever ride my steel bikes now.

  3. Barbara

    Ooh thats interesting. I hadnt considered using the older Roubaix as an Audax bike. I do like my Thorn Audax for those long slower rides. It’s so comfortable.

  4. JW

    Thanks for this , its a good read and handy. Trying to choose from this or the Synapse. Leaning towards Roubaix as I have a Tarmac and think Specialized makes the best bike overall.

    1. Barbara

      I’ve had the bike a few months now and I’m very pleased with it. It handles really well and is very comfortable. The disc brakes are excellent. I am changing the tyres as the Specialised tyres supplied are not robust enough for the Dorset winter roads. I shredded one yesterday and had a blow out on the front. I’m putting Conti Gatorskins on.The drive train is great. I have no problems with the shifters and I seem to have enough gears to climb all the hills I encounter.


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