Compared to the prior generation Roubaix that launched in 2019 with Future Shock 2.0, the new Roubaix SL8 looks similar but upgrades to Future Shock 3.0 and is lighter and smoother overall. And they say it’s more aero than anything in its class, so it’s faster, too. Here’s how:
Future Shock 3.0 & AfterShock
The latest Future Shock still has 20mm of travel, but allows it to be tuned for any rider weight. Three springs -firm, medium, and soft- are available, and up to five preload spacers can be used to tune it even more. And they say it’s easy to do in just a few minutes, no more complicated than removing your stem.
This means lighter riders will get more benefit, and heavier riders won’t have to crank up the preload. They say it reduces impact forces reaching the bar by up to 53%, but there’s more…three different versions are offered:
- The base model 3.1 allows the internal tuning and is undamped (Sport & Base models)
- 3.2 adds damping, but maintains internal tuning only (Expert & Comp models)
- Future Shock 3.3 adds external compression damping adjustment so you can tweak it while riding (S-Works & Pro models)
The 3.2 and 3.3 Future Shocks will be available aftermarket for those who want to upgrade later. It’s tougher, too, with a thicker boot and more seals to keep water and dust out.
For the rear, they went with a simpler solution than the (very effective) suspension system employed by the Diverge. The AfterShock design uses their flexible Pavé seatpost to delivery plenty of rearward flex, aided by a dropped clamping mechanism that allows the post to be a longer lever.
The upper part of the seat tube is deeper than the rest, making room for a recessed wedge to clamp the post 65mm lower than normal. That means 65mm more post to flex, which means more travel at the saddle. Here’s a video showing it in action:
Lighter & more aero frame
The frame looks similar, but the seatstays sit a bit lower, the downtube is a bit deeper, and the head tube gets a slimmer hourglass figure.
The front end’s updates continue with a new fork shape, too, and combined it adds up to a 4w drag savings. They say that’s good for 17.7 seconds saved over 100 miles, assuming you can pump out 3 watts per kilogram.
The carbon layup borrows from the Aethos and, on higher end models, gets 12r carbon to achieve a 50g lighter frame, even with wider tire clearance and more mounts. They claim a painted 56cm frame without hardware is 828g, and complete bike weights are:
- S-Works = 7.3kg (FACT 12r)
- Pro = 8.1kg (FACT 10r)
- Expert = 8.6kg (FACT 10r)
- Comp = 8.9kg (FACT 10r)
- Sport = 8.9kg (FACT 10r)
- Base = 9.46kg (FACT 10r)
All models get three bottle cage mounts (one under the downtube), top tube bag mounts, and fender mounts.
Tire clearance & geometry changes
Tire clearance bumps up to 38-40mm tires, depending on tread pattern. It’s still not a gravel bike, but for cobbles and “fast gravel” races like SBT GRVL, it might be enough. It’s spec’d with their 32mm S-Works Mondo tires, but easily fits their 38mm Pathfinder tires, too…or a 28mm road tire, which is the smallest they recommend on this bike.
The geometry only sees one tweak – a bit longer reach, averaging 10mm across the size range. This pushes the front tire out more for better toe clearance when running larger tires, and the fit is easily maintained by running a slightly shorter stem.
Pricing and Specs
Complete bikes range from $2,800 up to $14,000 for the S-Works model, with seven total builds available. Framesets use the top level FACT 12r carbon and come in at 5,500.