Specialized has unveiled the Roubaix SL8 with an all-new Future Shock 3.0 and improved aerodynamics.
The brand claims that the new Roubaix SL8 “is lighter, faster, and smoother than any road bike ever made”.
Future Shock 3.0, when combined with AfterShock technology, is designed to reduce impacts by 53% when compared to other endurance models, according to Specialized.
The technology debuted in 2016 and proved its effectiveness by featuring on both Peter Sagan’s and Philippe Gilbert’s Paris-Roubaix winning bikes in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Sitting between the stem and head tube, it travels in the opposite direction of bump forces hitting the wheel and travelling up the fork legs.
It reduces impact and vibration at the bars but keeps the front of the bike rigid. The result is a smoother ride with more control to stay fast, safe, and confident.
For the first time, Future Shock can be tuned so every rider – regardless of position on the bike – can get 20mm of stiction-free travel.
Instead of deflecting backward on impact like traditional forks, Future Shock moves upward – axial compliance – to absorb impact, reducing the deceleration of a deflecting fork.
Three different springs are offered – firm, medium, and soft – and with each of those springs, up to five preload washers can be used.
The latest iteration of Future Shock is the most durable yet with increased boot’s thickness and more seals to keep water and contamination out of the system.
Specialized says that Future Shock needs a partner to handle the rear, and that job goes to a Paveì seatpost and Dropped Clamp design—together, they create AfterShock technology.
The Paveì seatpost features a carbon layup that ensures rearward deflection moves in a path opposite the rear axle as it impacts a bump to reduce how much impact or vibration reaches the rider in the saddle.
To increase compliance, the Dropped Clamp design sits 65mm lower than a traditional seatpost clamp—creating a longer lever.
A spokesperson for Specialized said: “Through years of working with the best riders in the world and our Ride Science team’s research, we’ve given the new Roubaix SL8 the maximum amount of rear deflection for a smooth and efficient ride.
“Any more, and it needs to be controlled by a damper, like our Diverge STR, to reduce getting ‘bucked’. Any less, and you’re missing out on efficiency over rough terrain.”
Aside from significant improvements to ride quality, Specialized has also upgraded aerodynamics on the Roubaix, shaving four watts of drag by attacking the bike’s leading edge, ensuring it’s optimised where it sees clean air.
The brand has also created a new fork shape, reimagined the downtube shape, and dropped the seat stays even lower to hide them from the wind.
Utilising learnings from the Aethos, Specialized has optimised the layup of the new Roubaix SL8 to remove more than 50 grams from the frame weight.
As the brand better understands how shapes carry load, many stiffness layers become redundant and significant material is removed.
This can be seen in the shape of the down tube and how it interfaces with the head tube and seat tube.
Specialized also attacked weight at the seat cluster and around the bottom bracket and stepped Roubaix SL8 up to 12r carbon to save additional weight and amplify ride quality further.
The result is a complete 56cm S-Works Roubaix SL8 out of the box at a claimed 7.3kg.
Roubaix SL8 offers tyre clearance up to 38c/40mm and comes in seven different spec levels, starting with Base at £2,500 and topping out with an S-Works model retailing at £12,000.
Specialized is also offering an S-Works frameset at £4,750
- S-Works £12,000
- Pro £8,000
- Expert £6,000
- Comp £5,000
- Sport Apex £3,250
- Sport 105 £3,000
- Base £2,500
- SW Frameset £4,750