Roubaix vs R3

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by daveferrero

Hi all!

It seems at the moment they are the most comfortable machine on the market.

Anyone can tell me the dynamic difference beetween the two frames please?

Maybe roberto could help me... I made a research and I saw he own both.

Anyone alse?


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by jersievers

The R3 has more traditional race geometry, lighter and probably way more stiff too.

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by Stolichnaya

The most comfortable machines on the market?!?

I'll go with the Kuota Khan in that contest.

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by Danton

Whilst some frames are notionally more comfortable than others, don't forget a lot depends on other factors like bars and stem, the seatpost and saddle, the rims and tyres and tyre pressure. As does your position, you might be happy with one frame because the geometry suits you more, you're not bunched up or overstretched.

I ride an R3 and it's fine, no problems with comfort but for me comfort has more to do with the factors above, as well as clothing, shoes and of course, the effort! So if you want real comfort, buy an armchair.

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by daveferrero

Right danton, I probably need a chair :D

But I read the reviews on about Roubaix and R3 and I'd like to know more opinions...

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by BHobson

Well, I ride a Roubaix Elite. 2005 model. Even though its not a TOP of the Line Specialized and not top grade carbon, I love it. The ride quality is great, and the zertz do make a difference, and it is still very stiff. I like the geometry on the Roubaix because its a bit relaxed so it doesnt feel as twitchy in the corners (although i havent ridden too many other bikes so I cant really boast about it!). The head tube is pretty huge once you go past a size 56, and obnoxiously at 61+, and it looks a bit odd, unless youre riding on the headset with no spacers and steep angled stem. Thats just a personal observation though. Like Danton said, the accessories will honestly make or break your ride, so I dont think you could go wrong with either frame, really.

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by shabbasuraj

The new Roubaix with zertz has recieved some very nice reviews. I look forward to trying one out for myself.

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by bike bling

wow that's a huge headtube!
and they market it as a racebike :lol:

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by photograph

I have been riding both bikes and think that the Roubaix offers more comfort than the R3. On the other side I felt the R3 livelier. With the Roubaix I had a ride on gravel and was very impressed by the smooth ride. My ride with the R3 was on asphalt only with some moanhold covers during interbike in Vegas last month. Both are great bikes of course and I am very glad to sell both.

hope that could help you,

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by roberto

I'm no pro but I can tell you what I like and why.

I have had a '05 and '06 Roubaix Pro. Still have the '06 and a R3 now. I ride all kinds of stuff, lots of old rail road beds that most use Mtn bikes on. My tires are 23mm Pro IIs for fun and have some 25s and 28s for the same courses. One is up to 21 miles all down hill at 2 or 3%. R3 is just a tiny bit faster, a bit hairy/squirely because it is so stiff and short. Roubaix is more comfortable and almost as fast but always there and not squirely at 25+mph on skinny tires in loose gravel.

I also like to climb some pretty steep stuff...up into the low 30s on pavement, which is mtn bike steep for me.

The Roubaixs are slightly heavier except for the new '07 which has to come close to the R3 since my '06 is just a 1/2 off fully kitted out. But it is enough I noticed because of the balance that you really feel it going up hill when you stand up. The R3 will scoot out from under you. The Roubaix gets the job done but doesn't feel featherly light doing so. Not a bad thing but the R3 does. That said the geometry on the Roubaix is a lot easier for me to be comfortable on and I climb on it much faster. Bikes are kitted out as close as I can to being exactly the same. Had to change to a longer stem on the R3, move the seat up and still doesn't climb as well. But it is better. Just not the power for me of the Roubaix's position.

Love the Roubaix and if I could only have one, it is the bike. (preferably a new SL ) But the R3? Oh, my the frame is solid. Never felt so connected going down hill. Feels like a good super cross motor cycle on the down hill, it is that solid. Doesn't feel like a bicycle. Amazing a lwt climbing bike feels like this going down hill. Solid and fast...and secure. Light years better than the Roubaix on a steep paved decent. BB stiffness? The R3 is everything they say it is. Unbelievably stiff. You feel it in the first pedal strokes. No kidding. I knew the difference in two flat blocks in front of my house. It is that much stiffer than the Pro, which is a fairly stiff bike.

Comfort? Don't let Cervelo fool you. It is good but the Roubaix kicks the R3's arse on that issue. Done a couple of hard dbl centuries in a day on the Pro....not in a hurry to do one on the R3. But I could also see the R3 being faster if I could take the extra pain. (nothing as bad as my E5 Sworks for comfort although the frame specs are close I bet on the R3)

I haven't gotten rid of my R3 and may not. It climbs fine up to around 20% Not as fast but then I feel like I am much faster and more secure on the downhill side which is a good enough reason to keep it.

As everyone has said both are great bikes...but my hat is off to Specialized, the Roubaix is a great frame. When Boonen wins a bunch of classics on his Roubaiz this spring we'll all hear just how good it really is :)

To sum it up I wish I had not sold my '05 Pro. It fit me better than the R3 does. I am looking for a S works Roubaix (for the extra stiffness in frame and BB) to replace it after tasting the obvious pleasures of the R3.

I was hoping the R3 would be my last bike for some time. But I'd like the best of both worlds.

Forgot..R3 is $2800 for the frame. The Sworks is $3500. Nice frame but $700 more is really pushing it.
Last edited by roberto on Fri Oct 20, 2006 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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by daveferrero

Thank you guys!
That's just what I wanted to hear!

@BHodgson: very nice bike! I like your compact frame. Is it a 56? What about the stem lenght?

@roberto: thanx for the long reply. I didn't understand what bike are You looking for: the S Works Tarmac SL or the new Roubaix? Does the 07 Roubaix cost 3400$$??? :shock:

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by ironman1

I'm looking also at new frames . Considering the Roubaix sl , kuota KOM, and R3. Great review Roberto, but was wondering , you said the r3 descended much better wihich is what I'm after. I'm a fair climber but poor descender after 2 bad high speed crashes, I'm looking for stability on steep desecnts... 40 mph plus. I've talked to several people and heard 1 extreme or the other on r3's . Either it descends like its on rails or else rather twitchey , much like my current Dragonfly. I would have the thought the Rouboix would have been the better descender with the relaxed head tube angle. Does the r3 track great but you have be on top of it or can you just let it roll ? Any elaboration would be benefitial.

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by roberto

Dave..S works Roubaix sl:) $3500 frame/fork/seat tube @ retail for '07.


The Roubair Pros I have been riding are good decenders. Solid and not twitchy in comparison to most bikes. (S Works E5 comes to mind as twitchy) But the R3 is a big step above that. (this might also be some what rider weight/size dependant. I have a long torso, shorter 32 inseam, 6'1" @ 178#)

As an example I did one of our local rides last week, 9 miles up, 3000 vert. Nothing really steep and decent pavement. Coming down at 30+ (looked after I did this) I had the confidence to sit up, pull my camera out and take several pictures then put it away, most of it no hands. Pretty comfortable at 45+ using both hands :) Impressive for me. On the lower end of the ride where you get lots of tight banked S turns. I got faster and faster with more and more confidence. Been on the Roubaixs for well over a year and it has never inspired my confidence or enhanced my decending abilities. (yes, I could have done this on the Roubaix but just not as comfortably so most likely would not have) The R3 does/has inspired my confidence on pavement with just a few rides!

That is comparing both frames with like wheels. A pair Mavics Sls and a pair of 303s. The R3 is good with the Mavics and crazy solid with the 303s.

Nothing technical obviously on this section of the ride down but you might get the idea of how stable the bike is by the quality of the pic. Take a look at the big picture in properties.


These are the kinds of twisties at the end of the ride doing 30+mph and where the R3 really started inspiring more and more confidence. In similar circumstances/speed my Roubaix seems to just run out of road.

Last edited by roberto on Fri Oct 20, 2006 9:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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by wogamax

I think a lot of the stability issues come down to "trail". AFAIK, its the relative distance between a line drawn straight to the ground from the head tube's angle and the contact patch of the tire. The roubaix probably has more of it, which leads to a more stable feeling. Less trail is characterized by twitchier handling, which racers like because they adapt to the precise steering it affords them. I hope I got this right. Another way to think of it is which bike you can achieve a tighter figure 8 with. Probably the R3. Yet, another consideration is wheelbase...

To further understand trail, think of a push cart whose casters are mounted such that the wheel axle is behind the mount point of the cart above them. The same tendency those wheels have to self-center is that which keeps the steering wheel straight on a bicycle when you use no hands. The more this distance is lost, the floppier/twitchier the steering wheel becomes. There was a link to this stuff somewhere.

The head tube choice is a big deal, IMO. The more adapted one is to a racing position, the less stack they seek until there is no more to give and the afforementioned steep negative stem angles become necessary. I'm not convinced it would feel the same to have the hands in the same position on two bikes, one with a steep negative stem/long HT and one with a normal stem and a couple spacers over a shorter HT.

Best thing to do is ride them.

Gosh, I'm starting to sound like me know's geometry.

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by wogamax

I should probably describe trail as preference more than good vs. bad. Some folks may find it more comfortable to steer into a turn on a bike that features more centering resistence. Anyway, it's something that can be changed with the fork.

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