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Paris–Roubaix is not just one of the most hotly-anticipated races of the year because of the racing; it has a long tradition of being a pretty big deal tech-wise as well. Over the years, the race has showcased some of the most interesting and occasionally downright weird tech innovations to hit pro cycling.
The demands of the course and the toll they exact on bike and rider is so great that, for this one day only, conventional choices can go out the window.
On the weekend, we took a walk through the pits of Paris–Roubaix, checking out the equipment that would bear its riders over the cobbles. Along with plenty of Defys, Synapses and the like replacing the racier steeds of the rest of the year, there was some stranger stuff too. On the whole however, our survey of the tech of the race this year demonstrated a broader evolution in thinking.
Wider tyres are in, but then, they’re increasingly there the rest of the season anyway. Comfort and isolation from road-shock is of greater importance at Roubaix, but what has been learnt here in the past has arguably informed the evolution of road bikes to this point where – among the suspension and the double-taped bars and the grippy bottle cages – there are also now a lot of bikes that just look like road bikes.
Join Dave Everett and Caley Fretz as they take a deeper look at the bikes of Paris–Roubaix in the video up top.