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Roubaix meaning

I have a “Roubaix” style road bike. I’ve ridden it on three RAGBRAI’s. Is this the style bike I should be riding or is there something better for long, multiday rides? I also own a commuter bike that I love riding but not sure I want to push 40#’s of commuter bike that far and long when I can push 17#’s. What are some of the differences between a “Roubaix” and a standard frame road bike?

4 Replies

igor, January 19, 2016 at 9:27 am

The Roubaix is an endurance road bike. That means it is made for long days in the saddle. I think it’s perfect for RAGBRAI. The Roubaix also has the Zertz inserts in the fork and rear chain stays that help with road vibration giving it a more comfortable ride. On endurance style road bikes the headtube is a little bit taller compared to a race road bike. The taller head tube should make for a more comfortable ride as you don’t have to go as low on the handlebars. The two most popular endurance road bikes are the Specialized Roubaix and the Trek Domane.

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KenH, January 19, 2016 at 9:35 am

I don’t know that there is a Roubaix style of bicycle. The name is popular for bicycle models because of this historic race:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris%E2%80%93Roubaix

In a completely logical world the name Roubaix would be applied to models designed to handle the difficult conditions seen in the race of the same name which runs on cobbled roads for significant distances. But I don’t think you can necessarily count on that being true, I think it is just a popular name. To the extent that it is true then a Roubaix would be a good choice for RAGBRAI. The current Specialized model that bears that name is described as having equal parts performance and all day riding comfort.

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/road/roubaix#browse-models

Not a bad choice for RAGBRAI. A bike built for cobbles might be built to handle wider tires, perhaps even as wide as, oh my gosh, 28s. When it comes down to dealing with cobbled roads or the cracks and holes and rumbles and gravel and … of rural Iowa roads as well as the body mass of a lot of us RAGBRAI riders I would personally consider 28s to be a minimum but obviously most road bikers disagree.

I ride a 27 pound Fuji “road hybrid” which easily takes the 38mm tires I’ve used on every RAGBRAI I have ridden. I may be slower than a whole lot of you but friends, it isn’t the bike that is holding me back! So, if your Roubaix bike is comfortable to ride for the full week then it is a perfectly fine RAGBRAI ride. If I ever need to replace my faithful old Fuji I would look at a touring bike because RAGBRAI and all my other riding is more like a tour than a race. The relaxed geometry and more predictable handling of a touring bike would be an asset in a long ride at a modest pace, but not enough of an asset to force me to change right now. You shouldn’t feel like you need to change either.

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jeffreydennis, January 19, 2016 at 2:23 pm

The fact that you’ve used it three times then allows this question….how did you like it? If you liked it then there is no reason why you shouldn’t use it again. The examples of the kind of bike the Roubaix is are accurate. You see a lot of them, I have a friend who runs a Specialized bike shop. Longer days and rougher roads are what it is designed for. Ride what makes you happy.

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GetAClue Blue, January 27, 2016 at 7:05 am

I don’t see me getting a new bike. I’ve become emotionally attached to this one. There have also been those times when I was physically attached too if you know what I mean. It rides good and its paid for.

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