Each year the cycling world sees a host of innovative new technology at Paris-Roubaix. Entirely new bikes have been created for the race in the past, such as the Specialized Roubaix and Trek Domane. The cobbled classics are races that put unique requirements on rider’s equipment: bikes need to remain aerodynamic and race-focussed but also help to reduce discomfort and vibrations when travelling over heavy pavé. Kit that can help avoid punctures, dropped chains or gear slips is crucial too. In turn, Roubaix has become the perfect opportunity for brands to show their newest inventions to the mass market.
At Paris-Roubaix this year, we saw some interesting new releases, most notably a brand new Trek Domane model, debuted by Trek-Segafredo in Paris-Roubaix Femmes and then ridden by the men's team the next day.
While this was the only entirely new bike launched at the race this year, some interesting tech still caught our eye.
The Domane has always been an ideal for whip cobbles thanks to its IsoSpeed system which isolates the rider from the vibration of the cobbles. The new iteration of the bike, however, sees the front IsoSpeed suspension system removed and the rear IsoSpeed is no longer adjustable. The seatpost is also now a more conventional system. The new Domane also looks more aerodynamic, featuring a bulkier downtube.
The team also stuck to single front chainring on the front, paired with SRAM's anodized wide-ratio cassette which still offers a the same range of gear options as a two chainring set-up. A K-Edge chain retainer also watches over the front of the drivetrain to avoid any risk of the chain dropping as the bike judders over the cobbles.
Despite Mohorič's innovative dropper post system which he debuted at Milan San Remo, his Paris-Roubaix Merida had an utter lack of modifications made to it for the Hell of the North. The Slovenian champion stuck to his usual Reacto aero frame which has an integrated bar and stem. No bar tape, no problem for Matej Mohorič, he opted to keep the tops of his handlebars bare despite the race being known for its harshness on the hands, often causing rider's palms to blister.
He also had a zero stack headset cap to ensure the most aerodynamic possible.
The Bahrain-Victorious rider also used Continental GP 5000 tyres in what looked to be 30mm in width.
Mohoric's bike had a small piece of cut-up inner tube around the rear derailleur to stop the Di2 cable getting caught up or cut off by the chain.
Team Jumbo Visma kept things classic with tubular tan cotton-wall Dugast tyres in 30mm. Dugast is a brand which used to be a staple for most riders at Paris-Roubaix but with tubeless technology now on offer, times have changed.
The Valcar Travel and Service women's team bikes had sandpaper inside the bottle cages to keep things secure as the bikes hurtle over the cobbles. In this year's 20 degree heat on race day, it was essential that riders were taking on enough fluids in the dusty sun.
Before the bike got battered through the Arenberg Forest and covered in the dust of Northern France in Michał Kwiatkowski's pre-race recon, we got a closer look at the Amstel Gold Race winner's trusty steed. Kwiatkowski had a new Shimano 54t chainring on his bike, a relatively common size in the WorldTour. This lowers the risk of any chain drops that we've seen in some teams running older chainring iterations with the new groupset.
The Polish rider was also using 28mm Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR tubeless tyres which are said to have improved durability and puncture protection due to better sidewall protection – much needed on the cobbles.
28mm GP5000 tyres on Connor Swift's Canyon Aeroad.
As the UCI bans aero tucks such as ‘puppy paws’ Victor Campenaerts and his mechanics have adjusted his bike as much as possible to aid the Belgian in getting as low and narrow as possible on the road. The Lotto-Soudal rider also had a huge 58T chainring on his bike.
There was a Campy chain catcher on the Movistar women's team bikes to stop chain drops on the inner ring.
Home-made stem notes in a race where positioning is absolutely crucial. The amount of notes on this bike signifies just how difficult Paris-Roubaix is, riders are never able to relax, constantly fighting to be at the front during the lead in to crucial sectors.
"Through grit and grace we break the ceilings that hold us back" read the note on the top tube of Team SD Worx's Specialized S-Works team bikes. The fact the women's peloton now have the opportunity for Paris-Roubaix is a monumental shift in attitudes towards women's cycling, and a crucial step towards equality.
The Movistar team bikes also featured a Quarq TyreWiz pressure sensor. It's a device which monitors air pressure in real time and relays this information back to a connected smartphone or cycling computer. If connected to a SRAM AXS app, it will give tyre recommendations and alerts.
TyreWiz also claim to report data with +/-2% accuracy at a resolution of .1 PSI, more accurate than any other pump on the market.