One classic Roubaix hack that has all but died out with the introduction of disc brakes is the cross top brake lever. Marta Bastianelli was the only rider in either race to opt for the secondary brake lever option, and used it to good effect, placing fifth in the first Paris-Roubaix Femme.

2021 Paris-Roubaix tech gallery part one: Bars, gears, and notes

by Ronan Mc Laughlin

photography by Ronan Mc Laughlin

“The Hell of the North”: never has a nickname been so apt. Paris-Roubaix truly is like hell for the riders and the bikes. So demanding are the cobbled sectors of Paris-Roubaix, it is one of the only “road” races to continually inspire new dedicated bikes, hacked equipment, and even push some teams to go rogue on sponsor correct equipment choices.

In years gone by, the tech scene at the Hell of the North was often as exciting as the racing, but the heady days of dual-suspension Bianchis and ultra long-wheelbase Eddy Merckx frames seem to be behind us. That said, Paris-Roubaix still keeps team mechanics busy, even if the equipment modifications are much more subtle now. Wider tyre choices are still universally accepted across all teams, but double wrap bar tape, cross top brake levers, and whacky one-off frame modifications are almost a thing of the past.

We scoured the paddock of Paris-Roubaix in search of all this year’s modifications to bring you this gallery of Paris-Roubaix tech.

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