Skip to main content

Boonen's goodbye bike: Pro-only front suspension for Paris-Roubaix

Image 1 of 27

Tom Boonen's new Specialized Roubaix race bike with a pro-only frameset and spring

Tom Boonen's new Specialized Roubaix race bike with a pro-only frameset and spring (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 2 of 27

Will Tom Boonen make it five Paris-Roubaix victories on Sunday?

Will Tom Boonen make it five Paris-Roubaix victories on Sunday? (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 3 of 27

Who doesn't love a custom bike?

Who doesn't love a custom bike? (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 4 of 27

Specialized will be selling a limited edition Tom Boonen bike with this paint scheme, but in a disc brake version

Specialized will be selling a limited edition Tom Boonen bike with this paint scheme, but in a disc brake version (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 5 of 27

Shrink wrap keeps things tidy

Shrink wrap keeps things tidy (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 6 of 27

The choice to use rim brakes at Roubaix is so riders can get a quick wheel change from anyone, if needed, several team members said

The choice to use rim brakes at Roubaix is so riders can get a quick wheel change from anyone, if needed, several team members said (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 7 of 27

Boonen runs very narrow handlebars, considering his height

Boonen runs very narrow handlebars, considering his height (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 8 of 27

Do any of your friends ride long cranks *and* narrow bars? Probably not

Do any of your friends ride long cranks *and* narrow bars? Probably not (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 9 of 27

Boonen is long and low on his machine, which has a lower front end than the consumer model

Boonen is long and low on his machine, which has a lower front end than the consumer model (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 10 of 27

This is Boonen's reach from the tip of the saddle

This is Boonen's reach from the tip of the saddle (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 11 of 27

And this is his saddle height from the center of the bottom bracket

And this is his saddle height from the center of the bottom bracket (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 12 of 27

The bars are wider at the ends of the drops than at the hoods

The bars are wider at the ends of the drops than at the hoods (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 13 of 27

Specialized said the UCI is okay with them making a different version of the Roubaix for team riders

Specialized said the UCI is okay with them making a different version of the Roubaix for team riders (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 14 of 27

The Hell of the North is new for Specialized

The Hell of the North is new for Specialized (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 15 of 27

Direct-mount brakes are a pro-only option on the new Roubaix. All the consumer bikes have discs

Direct-mount brakes are a pro-only option on the new Roubaix. All the consumer bikes have discs (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 16 of 27

The chain won't be this clean at the end of Sunday's race

The chain won't be this clean at the end of Sunday's race (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 17 of 27

The Future Shock suspension cartridge sits atop the head tube, and the springs can be changed to tune the ride

The Future Shock suspension cartridge sits atop the head tube, and the springs can be changed to tune the ride (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 18 of 27

Ceramic Speed make Boonen custom jockey pulleys

Ceramic Speed make Boonen custom jockey pulleys (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 19 of 27

Tommeke is a fan favourite in Belgium and in France

Tommeke is a fan favourite in Belgium and in France (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 20 of 27

The Sprint shifter protrudes slightly from the thick tape

The Sprint shifter protrudes slightly from the thick tape (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 21 of 27

Di2 was initially scoffed at as unworkable on cobbles

Di2 was initially scoffed at as unworkable on cobbles (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 22 of 27

Roval is Specialized's wheel brand

Roval is Specialized's wheel brand (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 23 of 27

53/44t for the win, Boonen hopes

53/44t for the win, Boonen hopes (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 24 of 27

Boonen dropped his chain at with it his chances of a good finish at last week's Tour of Flanders

Boonen dropped his chain at with it his chances of a good finish at last week's Tour of Flanders (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 25 of 27

The Roubaix's seatpost is clamped beneath the top tube for a little extra flex

The Roubaix's seatpost is clamped beneath the top tube for a little extra flex (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 26 of 27

Specialized has notched six victories at Paris-Roubaix with the Roubaix bike — including four with Boonen

Specialized has notched six victories at Paris-Roubaix with the Roubaix bike — including four with Boonen (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
Image 27 of 27

With 20mm of travel, the Future Shock adds stack height

With 20mm of travel, the Future Shock adds stack height (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

Tom Boonen's name and photos have been plastered on the roads, stores, restaurants and hand-held signs across Belgium and into northern France all week, as the cobble-racing legend prepares to retire after his final Paris-Roubaix Sunday. Here is a look at the bike he will race from Compiegne north to the aging outdoor velodrome of Roubaix.

On Monday, BikeRadar reported on the pro-only edition of the new Specialized Roubaix that Boonen raced at the Tour of Flanders, and which world champion Peter Sagan raced Wedesday at Scheldeprijs. The immediately obvious differences to the consumer bike are the long-and-low geometry, the direct-mount brakes and — if you put a hand on it — the stiffer spring in the Future Shock suspension cartridge underneath the stem.

At closer inspection, Boonen's extreme geometry is also noteworthy, too. For instance, 38mm center-to-center handlebars for a 192cm / 6'3" man?

Specialized Racing's Chris D'Alusio explained to BikeRadar today that Quick Step and Specialized worked together to test a variety of different springs for racing on the cobbles. The final product was a stiff, progressive spring that ramps at both ends of the travel; it's harder to initially engage and harder to bottom out than any of the three stock springs, but relatively softer in the middle of the 20mm of travel, like a parabola.

The hits from the cobbles are so jarring that the stiffest of the stock springs bottomed out too quickly, D'Alusio said.

The Future Shock suspension cartridge sits atop the head tube, and the springs can be changed to tune the ride

Boonen has Specialized's new Hell of the North tubulars in both 28mm and 30mm, but it is not yet certain which width he will race.

The Shimano Dura-Ace direct-mount brake calipers on the Roubaix offer plenty of clearance for the fat tubulars.

The consumer models of the new Roubaix are all disc brake bikes. Normal UCI rules state that bikes must be approved by the UCI and available for sale to the public in order to be sold. Specialized representatives said that since this new pro-version bike is only a change in brake type (and geometry), that the UCI was okay with it.

Specialized said the UCI is okay with them making a different version of the Roubaix for team riders

Team members also said that the primary driver for using rim brakes for Paris-Roubaix is so riders can get a quick wheel change anywhere on the course — from team cars, neutral support, roadside mechanics or even fans. Punctures are common at the rough cobbled race, and the top riders don't want to chance getting caught out with a potentially hard-to-change disc wheel.

Check out the gallery above for a closer look.

Do any of your friends ride long cranks *and* narrow bars? Probably not