SMOOTHER IS FASTER
To some, smoothness is merely concept. But for the all-new Ruby and Roubaix, it's the driving force behind every design decision we make, and the result are a pair of bikes like no others before them. Find out how we did it.
A Partnership Born of Speed
SHATTERING MOLDS: OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH MCLAREN
From the outset of development, we partnered with McLaren Applied Technologies to create the smoothest performance bicycles on the planet. We'd like to say that, together, we shattered the mold, but really, our work together has been so revolutionary that it's fair to say there's been no mold to break.
NOT ALL COMPLIANCE IS CREATED EQUAL
When it comes to compliance, there are two competing schools of thought. In one corner, there's splay. In the other, there's axial compliance. Essentially, splay is the fore & aft movement of the front axle, relative to the frame, as a result of any bending of the frame and fork. Meanwhile, axial (or vertical compliance) can be characterized as the movement of the handlebars, relative to the front axle, as a result of fork, frame, and stem compliance.
The Future Shock features up to 20mm of travel, and it's positioned above the head tube in order to move in a vertical path. So when the front wheel encounters rough terrain, the bike moves up towards your hands and preserves your forward momentum without slowing you down.
Since the Future Shock is positioned above the head tube, the wheelbase isn't changing throughout the suspension's travel, so you get the added benefit of extremely predictable handling.
The Science of Smooth
SMOOTHER IS FASTER
For many, "smoothness" is a term that's replaceable with "comfort," and likewise, it's been historically treated as a variable that's in the way of speed—you either have a fast bike or a comfortable bike. With the Ruby and Roubaix, however, we set out to find just what happens when smoothness is treated as a component of speed. It was complicated, but our testing clearly proves that "smoother" is indeed "faster."
By creating greater vertical frame compliance, or smoothness, we've been able to enhance the multiple facets of speed across all of the major touch points—fatigue reduction and power input. But instead of just saying that we did it, let's address them individually.
Reducing fatigue is a pretty obvious factor in speed, given that the more comfortable you are, the less tired you're bound to get—especially after a long day over rough terrain. Over the long haul, this also contributes to power, but we've found that a smoother ride also increases your ability to apply constant power. So as smoothness increases, while power becomes less stochastic and more constant, time savings increase significantly.
Smoothness acts as the glue that brings all of this together, and it's why we can confidently proclaim that Smoother is Faster.
A Bike Tailored to You
The Rider-First Engineered™ philosophy is directly inspired by our relationship with McLaren, meaning that it focuses heavily on data-driven design. After all, to understand the reality of a problem, you need sound data, and this can only be derived from hundreds of hours of testing. Of course, the question begs to be asked: What have we been testing for?
Over the years, our engineers found that riders on smaller frames were experiencing ride characteristics that were inverse to that of their larger counterparts—and vice-versa. For example, where a smaller frame is stiff on the flats, it might under-steer in the corners, while the opposite can be true for large frames. Correcting this required sophisticated instruments to quantify the forces being applied to the frame. In real-world testing, these measured the reactionary forces through the fork, stem, saddle—every conceivable input & output. With an immense supply of data in tow, our engineers were able to create the remedy.
To equalize performance, they found that each size's performance targets required direct specificity. This means that, for every frame size, each tube size & carbon layup is specifically selected with the collected data in mind. The result? The optimal balance of rigidity, weight, and responsiveness across every frame size.
It's been tested by the cream of the road cycling press, and now, you can read all of their reviews, all from one centralized place.
First Ride: 2017 Specialized Roubaix
"...it was clear: Specialized had met its goal of crafting a bike that tames the road, offers up grand control and will possibly give Specialized-sponsored riders another shot at glory while delivering a safer, more secure ride to consumers."
Specialized Roubaix 2017 Review
"...Specialized has changed the game, just as it did a decade or so ago with the first Roubaix. The new iteration is perhaps the most impressive endurance bike yet."
2017 Specialized Roubaix First Ride Review
"With the new Roubaix, Specialized has taken the mantra, “smoother is faster” to a new level."