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With the advent of Specialized’s new Future Shock, the way the Morgan Hill, Ca. brand creates compliance has changed radically and the new Specialized Ruby reflects this shift in the women’s line, as the Roubaix does in the men’s line.
Up front, engineers can create compliance in a number of ways, and traditionally it has been created with fork splay – carefully controlled front-to-back flex in the fork. While it may create some comfort, it does so by changing the bike’s wheelbase, not always a great thing for handling. Fork splay must also take vertical impacts and redirect that energy forwards or backwards, which is not the most efficient way to handle it.
The Specialized Ruby’s Future Shock is 20mm of travel just above the head tube with a 25lb spring installed. Specialized found that by allowing the bike to move upwards after impact, while your hands on the bars stay still, preserves forward momentum that fork splay dissipates. Specialized also includes 14lb and 40lb springs with each Ruby, for different conditions and weight riders. Unlike Specialized MTB suspension, the Future Shock cannot be adjusted on the road.
Compliance at the rear end of the Ruby is handled in a more traditional manner, seat post deflection, but a very simple and smart solution has enabled the Specialized to ramp up comfort considerably. The seat tube flares as it passes the seat stays, where the seat post is anchored, then continues up to the top tube. The flared portion significantly increases the effective exposed post, allowing more deflection out of the svelte 27.2 carbon post.
Specialized claims the new technology not only increases comfort, but makes the bike faster and handle better over rough terrain. All of this comes in one of the lightest and stiffest frames Specialized has ever made. Of course, as a women’s specific bike, the Ruby’s design has been informed by extensive anthropometric testing at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. The Ruby has six unique sizes that it does not share with the men’s Roubaix – each has less reach and slightly more stack than a comparable men’s size – and components have been selected for more appropriate touch points.
Check out our video of the Specialized Roubaix here.
The 54cm Specialized Ruby Pro Ultegra Di2 PELOTON has in for long term test weighs 8kg/17.6lbs and is built with Roval CL 32 carbon clinchers with Turbo Pro 26mm tires and an FSA K-Force Light crank mated to the Ultegra Di2 drivetrain and disc brakes. Specialized carbon bars and an alloy stem along with a Ruby Expert saddle a top a CG-R seat post wrap up the build. The weight includes a fully stocked SWAT kit and the color is perhaps the most beautiful we have yet seen from Specialized – a blue and purple shifting color it calls Chameleon.
The Specialized Ruby Pro Ultegra Di2 costs $6500; specialized.com. Look for the full review with detailed ride impressions in the pages of PELOTON’s upcoming Travel issue.