2013 Specialized S-Works Roubaix endurance road bike

We’re at the 2013 Specialized Global Press Launch all week, with plenty of time for hands on photos, weighing and riding over the next couple days. For now, we’ve put together a quick overview of the highlights for new road, cyclocross, womens and commuter bikes.

The flagship new bike is the 2013 Roubaix SL4. The Roubaix has always been their top endurance bike, and with the recent interest in this market from folks like Trek and BMC, Specialized needed to keep attention on one of its best sellers.

The new Roubaix uses size-specific tapered steerer tubes, going from a straight 1-1/8″ up to tapered lower bearings of 1-1/4″ to 1-3/8″ as frames get larger. They say makes the forks 20% more compliant, particularly for smaller riders, and about 30g lighter. Frames also get size-specific tube sizes and layups to improve comfort and performance across their wide range of frame sizes. Spotted earlier this year, the Zertz inserts on the seatstays get a new shape, and the stays are straighter than in years past, which improves lateral rigidity while still letting them damp vibrations.

We’re not sure how we feel about the name, but the new COBL GOBL-R seatpost uses a bent section to provide vertical flex controlled by what looks like an elastomer.

2013 Specialized Roubaix COBL GOBL-R flex seatpost

Look for the COBL GOBL-R on the S-Works and Pro models. All models get full internal cable/wire routing for brakes and shifting. The post was tested under Tom Boonen, who was reportedly skeptical at first but quickly decided it would be part of his setup for 2012 Paris-Roubaix assault.

It’s designed to work in conjunction with the Roubaix frame and remove large vibrations and minor impacts. On the bike, total vertical deflection is 16.61mm/kn versus 13.56 for the 2013 Trek Domane and about 9.5 for the Roubaix SL3. That’s about .67 inches of total vertical flex.

2013 Specialized Roubaix COBL GOBL-R flex seatpost

They reiterated that the numbers don’t really tell the story…that it has to be ridden to be appreciated. That said, they still took it to McLaren for testing. Ideally, you have a bike that completely isolates the rider from road vibrations and bumps. Bikes were hooked up to measurement instruments at all contact points, then put a rider on and measured how much of the forces and which frequencies were transferred. With the rider on the saddle, vibrations were reduced by roughly 10% to 20% depending on frequency.

An interesting part of the discussion was that this post would allow Boonen to run higher tire pressure because the post let the bike move under the rider, but the rider wouldn’t move. It goes back to the whole suspend-the-bike-versus-suspend-the-rider argument from the Softride days. Yes, lower tire pressures are good in general, but you run the risk of pinch flats or rim damage if you overcompensate for rough roads. Since you can’t really suspend the bike for road, this post lets you suspend the rider and not have to run dangerously low tire pressures.

Claimed weight is around 200g, it’ll be available aftermarket for approximately $200 (not final) and has a 240lb rider weight limit. It’ll come with clamps for round alloy seat rails and oval carbon rails. Setback is 25mm.

2013 Specialized Roubaix SL4 Pro endurance road bike 2013 Specialized Roubaix SL4 Expert Di2 compact endurance road bike

A blacked out Roubaix SL4 Pro Compact model (left) will come with the new Shimano Dura-Ace 11-speed, and a Roubaix SL4 Expert Ultegra Di2 Compact leads the upper middle pack.

Mike Sinyard, Specialized’s founder and CEO, says this new Roubaix is on par with the Tarmac SL4 in terms of race performance, with no compromise because of the built in comfort. He said they tried all sorts of ideas, including suspension in the back, with five or six of them moving pretty far into development and testing. The result is “everything we know to date.”

The goal with the new model was to make the bike faster, so they looked at the best characteristics of the Tarmac to optimize the ride. Changes included making each frame size dialed for the intended rider, hence the different layups and tube shapes and steerer tube diameters. This includes top tube placement and the shape of the top- and downtubes. Where prior models had slightly flat or ovalized tubes there, the SL4 gets rounder, fatter tubes to keep the headtube area more laterally stiff. And the tubes get bigger as frames get bigger…basically each frame size has a specific tube shape and size. Lastly, optimized compliance built into the layup for each frame size. The result is an overall frame torsional stiffness of 102.3 Nm/degree, compared to 95.6 for the 2011 Roubaix SL3, and above bikes they tested from Giant, Trek, Cervelo, Pinarello and Cannondale.


The white color scheme for the 2013 Specialized Roubaix S-Works SRAM Red

The rear end gets laterally stiffer from wider set, straighter seatstays. They claim the rear end is about 18.5% stiffer than the SL3. The Zertz elastomer insert, which dampens high frequency road vibrations, gets a new “pocket” shape that makes layup easier and more consistent.



Now for the real showstopper: The Roubaix SL4 Disc Expert will come this fall, with an S-Works version in development (frame and fork is done, it was actually developed first but components weren’t ready, so they’re launching with the Expert…we’re betting on a SRAM Red hydraulic build).


The Expert gets mechanical disc brakes, but the frame is hydraulic ready. It has 135mm rear spacing and is totally disc specific.


“We’ve known disc brakes were coming to road for a while,” said Chris Riekert, one of Specialized’s PR folks. “We believe in it and we’re committed to it, and this is the first iteration.”




The Venge aero road bike gets a new Campagnolo EPS model with silver/black color scheme.

There’s also a Boonen LTD signature series Venge with Palmares sketched into the gloss local on the downtube, with his 2012 wins (so far) listed on the bottom of the saddle. There’ll be a matching S-Works Prevail helmet, too. There will be a limited run of 200 frames.



The S-Works moniker only goes on the top products, so for an alloy bike to get it is a big deal for the brand. Before carbon, Specialized was known for their ceramic alloy matrix frames, and they wanted to showcase what they can do with the material.


The Allez S-Works is an E5 Smartweld frame that’s made as light as they could with incredible ride quality. Frame is 200g lighter than the prior model. It has thin wall tubing, thin seatstays and minimal dropouts. The Smartweld process uses a hydroformed head-, down- and top tube that are mitered into a “valley” and welded such that the weld fills the valley for a strong, lightweight joint.


The complete bike is 14.5lbs with a sub-1200g frameset. Only about 50 of these will be made, so hit your shop up now if you want one. Note the new S-Works carbon crankarms for Red, which Riekert says fixes any shifting issues they’ve had the past when running their components with Red.


2013 Specialized Crux Expert Carbon Disc brake cyclocross bike

As anyone could have guessed, the Crux gets a carbon fiber disc brake version. We reviewed the alloy disc Crux earlier this year and really enjoyed it, so chances are this one will be a winner.

There will be a total of 42 frames, two carbon versions and an alloy one, each with options for disc or cantilever brakes. The S-Works top of the line (below) is designed to be a “Tarmac for the Dirt” after feedback from Todd Wells, Ned Overend and Zdenek Stybar. Regardless of brake choice, you’ll get many of the same features on both: One-piece carbon BB/chainstay, tapered headtube and carbon fork, internal cable routing and triangulated seatstays. The Crux Expert Carbon Disc has a FACT 10r frame with size specific tapered headtube like the Roubaix and an Ultegra Di2 group with “Ultegra” listed as the brake. Shimano did introduce some new mechanical discs this year, but we didn’t see any labeled at the Ultegra level, so this could be an early PR typo or a taste of things to come. It’s rolling on DT Swiss Axis wheels and a Specialized cockpit.

2013 Specialized S-Works Crux cyclocross bike

The S-Works carbon frame is lighter, just 990g for a 56 with paint and hardware for either disc or canti, by using tube shaping and molding lessons learned from the Tarmac. You’ll see similar tube shapes on the Crux and Tarmac. The new S-Works carbon fork uses a tapered to 1.3/8″ fork (versus 1-1/4″ on the original Crux) and comes in around 500g, which is 25g lighter than before. Seatstays are quite different between the two brake versions, but both are set wide for better lateral stability. The disc brake version gets a much thicker section at the bottom to handle the stresses, where the canti version gets flattened out to keep the tubes from twisting under braking. All models get recessed bottle bosses -remove the bolts and you’ll hardly see them- and the downtube has a flattened concave section called the Love Handle, which provides a nice hand grab when shouldering the bike. The internal cable runs go under the bottom bracket and come with a cover to make the bike easier to wash in the pits without contaminating the lines.

I asked why no Zertz on the Crux like they had on the Tricross and they said they’re researching it, but that the vibration frequency is so varied in ‘cross, so it’s not as simple as reducing the high frequency road vibrations like on the Roubaix.


2013 Specialized S-Works Ruby Di2 womens race road bike

The women’s Ruby gets a new S-Works Di2 Compact model with a new FACT 11r carbon frame using triple monocoque construction that moves joints away from high stress areas. This puts continuous fibers through the usual junction areas (where tubes meet) for better strength with minimal reinforcement needed. That equals less weight, as does the one-piece full carbon fork that’s molded in a full length EPS mandrel, including dropouts.


2013 Specialized cross trail fitness mountain bike with 700c wheels

The 700c Crosstrail gets new A1 and M4 alloy frames with larger headtube that visually integrates into the custom (and proprietary) fork crowns for a much higher-end appearance. Full internal cable routing on the M4 frames completes the look. They also get 2×10 SRAM WiFli wide range gearing, putting them more in the performance segment of casual off roading and a more aggressive commuter option than their Sirrus.

2013 Specialized Sirrus road commuter urban bicycle

Speaking of the Sirrus, it gets a new lightweight frame that’s much straighter tubed than its curvy predecessor. It’s a fast commuter that double as an almost race-able fitness bike. It gets a new carbon fork with Zertz inserts, and the frame has smoothed welds with internal cable routing for a svelte look. It has double eyelet dropouts to accommodate racks and fenders and clearance for up to 35c tires. Geometry is refreshed a bit, designed around road bike performance but flat bar comfort and positioning, all based on their Body Geometry research. Upper models get SRAM 2×10 drivetrains, and some models get new flat pedals and Sirrus 460 wheels.



  1. Louis on

    That S-Works Allez. Wow. I hope that a super-aluminum race bike is something they continue to consider going forward. Check your local crit for the number of riders sporting CAAD 10s.

  2. Whatever on

    135 spacing. Nice move Spec. And I loathe this company. But the right call.

    Hey Louis, check you local crit for the number of riders on Allez 1- and 2- year old frames.

  3. Hungry4Shht on

    For shits and giggles, Volagi should counter sue now.

    Also, GMKY – get it!? GET IT!?!>!>!>!>!>DM<VALJDF:LJSV J

  4. Theo Schmid on

    I adore Specialized, S-Works and particularly the Roubaix. Nice stuff. What I really liked was if they could come up with minor details, nice 2 have’s such as an integrated ANT+ cadence sensor or an intelligent solution to fix my Garmin 800 (see Trek or 3T etc.). Specialized rocks!

  5. Cash on

    Meh, glad I didn’t wait for the 2013, and pulled the trigger on my 2012 Crosstrail Sport Disc. Prefer the blue frame, and the gearing is closer to a true hybrid than this 2×10 commuter-centric setup.

  6. Mo on

    “The Smartweld process uses a hydroformed head-, down- and top tube that are mitered into a “valley” and welded such that the weld fills the valley for a strong, lightweight joint.”

    Tell me this is a joke, please, because it sounds like either the journos at BR or the marketing department at Specialized are trying to fool the public by making it seem that they have invented a new way to “fillet weld mitered tubing.” And just so I’m clear: Specialized is having these bikes welded, just like other bike companies (large and small) do everyday . . . nothing out of the ordinary going on here, not even the hydroforming. . .

  7. Hank on

    Under Crux:
    “The S-Works top of the line (below) is designed…” Not positive but the chainstay in the picture says PRO and it looks like the down tube says Specialized not S-Works…

  8. Chis on

    The Roubaix disc looks interesting though there isn’t a whole lot of clearance on the front end. Forget about running fatter tires and taking this on dirt roads. Too bad.

  9. Chris on

    Any information on what looks like a carbon clincher from Roval? Are these new cranks which are designed to work with sram replacing the old S-Works crank? Images and specifications on the Tarmac would also be appreciated…

  10. Richard on

    Kudos to the people who actually say something good about Specialized. I know a LOT of the company and they are the most passionate bunch of BIKE people you will ever meet. WTF makes the jackasses who are saying the crap they are (while hiding behind their computer) about a brand who makes the BEST stuff available should go and kick them selves as hard as they can. Just for being negative. If it wasn’t for this company, none of us would be riding as good a bike as we are…

  11. greg on

    sworks crank with Red rings looks like it has broader arms than the original. it doesnt neck down near the pedal threads like the other sworks arms pictured here.
    and as said before, whats up with the wheels?
    allez sworks looks like the head tube forms the first part of the top and down tubes, then the weld appears. if it’s 1200g, and 200g lighter than the old one, the old one was kinda turdy.

  12. Ryan on

    They don’t just get that “big” for nothing. I love my Tarmac…don’t think I’ll ever buy a different bike – other than a new Tarmac eventually.

  13. Robo on

    Since a new tarmac was introduced last year, I think it’s safe to assume the 2013 model will, for the most part, be a carry-over bike.

  14. -T- on

    Yes, Specialized has a new Roval carbon clincher. Prototypes have been floating around for awhile in the range of 45mm deep with a wider profile. From my what I’ve heard they’re not as wide as Zipp 303’s so you won’t run into clearance issues like you have with the Tarmac/303 setup.

  15. Tyler (Editor) on

    Mo – actually, it is a pretty interesting welding technique, but it’s also more the overall frame design and where they put the welds that they claim makes the difference. I spoke with the guy behind it’s design over dinner, and he worked for Easton for about 27 years developing their tubing before coming to Specialized. We’ll do a followup ride report with more detail. It may not be an entirely new way of welding, but we’ve never heard of or seen this combination before.

  16. Rodox on

    Interesting to note that the Ultegra Di2 Roubaix has no visible battery on the frame… maybe it is hidden on the non-driveside chainstay or maybe is it using the new internal battery that Shimano has released with DuraAce Di2 9xxx?

  17. Mo on

    Tyler – To my eye, it looks like maybe, just maybe, in the only real close-up shot of a weldment, you can discern the head/downtube/toptube junction is one piece, which then moves the weld/junction area back, shortening the tubes involved, and removing further the weld area from the stressed zones ( in this case, the HT). If that is the case, then I could see Specialized saying that they “miter [a tube and consequently weld the tube] into a valley”, especially if the ends involved are beveled to any degree (google “pipe welding prep diagram” for images). BUT I still do not see this as anything new, just perhaps new to the bicycle industry, and in my estimation, unnecessary. I see it as definitely costing more, but with a company as big as specialized, this could drastically improve their profits since the weldment is that much removed from a high- stress area. That said, I look forward to your follow-up report on this process, but I’m still not swayed from my opinion that its more “marketing job” than “amazing discovery in the field(s) of metallurgy/welding.” Thanks.

  18. Steve on

    The front brake cable routing on the disc Roubaix looks horrible. There has to be a better way to route that cable than have it hanging out in front waiting to catch on something.

    That S-Works Allez makes my pants tight. About time they gave some love to the aluminum.

  19. Robo on

    I like it from a purely asthetic point. it smooths out the joints even more and makes it look closer to a nice flowy carbon bike. either way (and price not being taken into consideration) kudos to specialized for continuing to tinker with alloy bikes. as a (terrible) crit racer, i’m hesitant to spring for a carbon bike just yet.

  20. ervgopwr on

    That seat post looks horrible. That will not last two seasons. And do you guys question their assesment that “Boonen rode it” cause pictures and video dispute that. So gimicky.

    But I do like what I see otherwise.

  21. Mike C on

    Welding flanged, thin parts is hardly new, but hydroforming the flanges as part of the tube manufacturing process is interesting. While marketing is touting “New! Revolutionary!”, the bean counters and production people are thinking, “Sweet! One less manufacturing step — no mitering!”

    Total win-win if you can spin cheaper manufacturing into positive marketing blather. Yes, hydroforming is more expensive than mitering straight tubing, but since they are hydroforming the tubes anyway, why not save the additional expense of mitering if you can hydroform flanges and complex joints at the same time.

  22. Mo on

    Mr. P – It is as I suspected (see above). Thanks for the link. It looks very cool, but my point is that the “welding technique,” to borrow your terminology, is nothing new. A new way to manfucature the bicycle? Certainly, but welding is welding, nothing new going on there. And to correct you, it would be “miter/weld,” it just seems that, as MIke C points out, the metering/fitment process is taken care of in the hydro forming of the tube, and that would speed things up tremendously.

  23. Josh on

    Any information on the aluminum CruX? BR says two models are being carried over, with one pic of a shimano setup + cantis. I’m really hoping there’s a replacement or at least carry-over of the comp apex disc.

  24. Doug on

    @ Wigs- Specialized has had elastomers in the seat post for quite a while. My 2011 Roubaix Pro / Sram Red has it. If you think it’s a gimmick, you are mistaken. I’ve ridden and raced bikes since the 1970’s and I’ve owned bikes that cost 3X that of my Roubaix. But, I’ve never been on a bike with a better ride.

  25. DJ Riddle on

    I notice the mention of internal cables as if it was a selling point or improvement; it’s not. Some day people will realize that a hole in a frame is cheaper than adding cable guides so the cables can be where your mechanic can get to them and easily inspect/adjust/replace them and that is why it’s being done. No bicycle mechanic I know likes internally routed cables or feels that they are needed. I just have to make this point someplace besides the shop.

  26. CJ on

    I would be more into their bikes if they put a lot less of their own crap on their top of the line bikes. It is one thing on a mid level bike but, but on the top of the line stuff does anyone really want Specialized wheels, cranks, bars, stem, post and seat? Well maybe the seat, but that is it. If people wanted this crap on their bikes you would see people actually buying it on their own and putting in on non-Specialized bikes. I would also hope with all the house brand gear their bikes would be better priced.

    In their defense they are not the only company who does this, but it drives me nuts.

  27. Riri on

    @Richard – great shilling for Specialized. “they are the most passionate bunch of BIKE people you will ever meet”. That’s a very-qualified statement. Of course, nobody else is as passionate in the bike business or as lovers of the sport. Give us a break. It’s ok if you want to support them and defend them but that your statements are just a bit too dumb. “If it wasn’t for this company, none of us would be riding as good a bike as we are…” OK. Another gem. Keep buying their stuff if you want. There are a lot of choices in the bicycle world. For me, I prefer to have a shoe company make my shoes, a wheel company make my wheels, a component company do their thing, and an actual framebuilder make my frame. It’s part passion, part common sense, part validation of craftsmanship and those making the product, and partly that I would never choose to spend so much retail $ for some items that cost so little to make in the mass-produced conditions as Merida-run factories in China.


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