Review: Specialized Roubaix SL8 Expert, built for long, epic days in the saddle

We put the latest version of Specialized's enduring pothole tamer through its paces

Specialized Roubaix SL8 Expert
(Image credit: Future)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

This bike may have been forged on the pavé of northern Europe, but it is ideally suited to Brits and anyone else whose local roads seem determined to revert to gravel as fast as possible. Its ability to iron out rough surfaces makes it perfect for long distances, reducing fatigue thanks to its suspension and super-useable SRAM eTap gearing. It has been made even more capable for 2024, with big clearances that make the odd dabble with gravel a realistic option for the first time.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Game-changing ride over rough roads

  • +

    Confidence inspiring cornering

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Suspension bob on hills

  • -

    Finicky seatpost adjustment

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

The Specialized Roubaix has a lengthy heritage stretching back to 2003 and its first launch. 'Endurance road' is how Spesh describes the bike, and even back then it featured elastomer damping in the seat stays for added compliance. But this latest bike is a far cry from that original model in nearly every way bar the idea behind it.

Launched September 2023, the bike tested here is the 2024 machine, which features some subtle – and not-so-subtle – tweaks over the outgoing model. They all point in the direction of more versatility, more capability. 

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After cutting his teeth on local and national newspapers, James began at Cycling Weekly as a sub-editor in 2000 when the current office was literally all fields. 

Eventually becoming chief sub-editor, in 2016 he switched to the job of full-time writer, and covers news, racing and features.

A lifelong cyclist and cycling fan, James's racing days (and most of his fitness) are now behind him. But he still rides regularly, both on the road and on the gravelly stuff.