This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
Paris-Roubaix rookie Ruben Zepuntke will tackle his first professional Hell of the North Sunday aboard a Cannondale Synapse with fat, 30mm FMB tubulars on team-only, heavily spoked Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40 wheels.
The Mavic wheels feature 24 spokes front and rear, compared to the consumer 16 and 20 spokes, respectively. Still, the stones of Paris-Roubaix are brutal.
"We go into Paris-Roubaix each year expecting to break four or five or six wheels," said Cannondale-Garmin mechanic Geoff Brown. "We send them back to Mavic and they rebuilt them for next year."
To accommodate the massive 30mm FMB tubs, Brown installed low-end, long-reach Shimano calipers on the rears of the team Synapse frames.
"We have had those sitting around in a drawer since 2010 or so, and when we started to do Paris-Roubaix gear testing a while ago, they did the trick," Brown said.
As for the 30mm FMBs, Brown said that as racers and the industry continue to push for stiffer bikes and more aero wheels, "you have to find your cushion somewhere," and thus the big tubulars have replaced what used to be the standard 28mm Paris-Roubaix width for the team. Cannondale-Garmin will likely use sealant in the tires, though Brown declined to name what brand or brands he was considering.
As with many companies' endurance bikes, the Synapse features a taller head tube than straight-ahead race bikes. Brown says that -17 stems do the trick for his riders, without them having to go down a size to get their desired, low position.
Click through the gallery above for a close look at Zepuntke's bike.