Hey everyone! Quick post this morning about the new Future Shock from Specialized that is going on their Roubaix lineup and likely several other models (i.e. Diverge, maybe Crux) that I got a chance to build and ride the other day. At first I was pretty skeptical about it and thought it was a lot like the proprietary suspension on a K8S Pinarello. Obviously different components and placement, but the nagging concern that parts for this might not be available in a few years. However, other than one particular part, I find that the shock will likely last as long as the bike and does comes with 2 additional springs (of different gauge) that could be used down the road. The springs are really well built and the cartridge everything fits into is very well made and contained in a single unit. Possibly this tech will evolve into something like a BRAIN shock.
Riding it felt great and I observed that the suspension accurately stayed in the middle of the travel while riding, so forces from the ground were smoothed out as well as pulling on the bar. Even with this ‘smoothness,’ the bike felt agile and quick. The disc brakes continued from the prior model were quick to stop and powerful (thanks Shimano). Overall, my impressions are good on this. The bike was really thought out and they redesigned enough features to make it a very noticeable performance improvement.
Now, the main thing that I question somewhat is the headset bearings for this bike. Because of the Future Shock cartridge sits in a reinforced carbon steerer tube that is not 1-1/8″ or tapered, it requires special headset bearings. I checked with pretty much all of our distributors and none of them have this bearing (not even close). Thus, I hope Specialized has a great backstock of these and as a shop, you should definitely have some ready to go yourselves. Other than that, I can see this technology making its way to other models and staying a features of the gravel grinder and cross category. Here are some photos of the headset assembly. Enjoy!