Could this be an All-New Specialized Gravel Grinder Road Bike? *Updated with New Close Up*
In the first pic we spotted, there simply wasn’t much to go on, leading to an assumption the Roubaix was getting a refresh. Now, however, it appears the bike being pinned across Northern California’s dirt backroads may be something else entirely (we’re, um, hearing rumors from others to corroborate, too).
While Instagram’s lovely image sizing is keeping the details hidden behind pixelation, there are a few things worth pointing out (links in captions in case you want to follow the riders along). We already noted the thru axles, revised Zertz location on the fork and slightly angular tube profiles on the beefy front end. But as things move back, the frame gets thinner and sleeker, likely to eat up ruts, washboards and rocks as you pound the non-pavement. It even looks like there’s some manner of suspension or road dropper post stuck in there…
*Update* Head to the bottom of the post for a close up of the new bike and possibly wheels!
Note the Zertz inserts as more of a tacked on item rather than fully integrated into the lines of the frame and fork, very different from the Roubaix. And take a look at that seatpost. Short travel dropper? Suspension post? What’s interesting is the moving parts look like they’re contained in a bulge above the seat collar, suggesting whatever it is, it’s not moving very far, and it could also likely mean a 27.2 post diameter…so lower end models that won’t see the dropper/susp post spec will still get a thinner post for better compliance.
Since the Roubaix received a complete redo in 2012 (as a 2013 model), we’re inclined to believe this is a dedicated gravel road bike. That’s not to say it couldn’t be a new Roubaix, but one particular frame detail suggests this is a more race-oriented design: The seat tube gets cut out to allow the rear wheel to tuck in tighter. That’s contrary to most gravel bike’s (and the Roubaix’s) slightly longer stays to improve stability.
See anything we missed? Leave it in the comments!
Photo Credit: Grasshopper Adventure Series
This is the first clear image of the new bike and it’s revealing. While this is all conjecture at this point, it does appear that there is some sort of suspension. What is interesting, is that this is not the first we’ve heard of this concept. Manufacturer Thomson, who has admitted they were beat badly to the Mtn bike dropper post market, is currently in the finishing stages of developing a road dropper poster.
According to an interview last year with Spokesperson Dave Parrett, the Thomson post will have a “Pavé” feature, that drops the saddle by 5mm and ads a bit of suspension to take the edge of off rough roads. Based off that line of reasoning and the lever which is clearly visible by the stem, and would provide easy access when riding on the tops of the bar, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Specialized launch something along similar lines.
Of additional interested to the gravel/adventure rider, is the inclusion of fender/rack mounts above the rear axle, and some new wide carbon rims.