'The Hell of the North' features 29 infamous cobbled sections totalling 54.5 kilometres, with those pavé sectors dating back to Napoleonic times, and acting as some of the most brutal terrain in the sport. Riders make an array of changes when it comes to tech compared to normal road racing, offering a unique take on race tech at one of the hardest races on the calendar.
Wider tyres, double-wrapped handlebar tape, malleable bottle cages and additional brake levers or gear switches are common modifications to give riders the best chance possible of staying in the lead group to the finish line at the famous velodrome in Roubaix.
Alongside the traditional modifications, the week leading up to the race saw two full suspension road bikes released by Specialized and Pinarello in the Roubaix and Dogma FS, respectively. While the new Pinarello failed to crack the top 20, Specialized's new Roubaix made up a staggering five of the top ten.
The new Specialized Roubaix has a claimed tyre clearance of up to 33mm and the brand's sponsored teams – Deceuninck-QuickStep and Bora-Hansgrohe – raced on a range of 28 and 30mm Specialized Hell of the North tubular tyres.
Like Specialized, Deceuninck-QuickStep mechanics had another new idea by taping a hex key to every rider's seat post designed specifically for the thru-axles on the disc-brake-only bike. The idea is that while the rider waits for the mechanic to arrive with a new wheel, the rider can take the thru-axle out ready to switch in the new wheel and allow for the quickest possible wheel change.
Plenty of other teams opted for wide tyres, and AG2R La Mondiale's Oliver Naesen opted for a 30mm tubular on the front wheel and 28mm on the rear, as opposed to the 26mm front, 28mm rear setup the former Belgian champion used at last week's Tour of Flanders.
The rough roads also mean that regular carbon bottle cages often fail to the vibrations of the road and riders can lose bidons and valuable fuel while racing. Several teams combat this through the adoption of the old but reliable Elite Ciussi bottle cages, which can be bent closer to the frame and keep their bidons secure.
Trek-Segafredo and Katusha-Alpecin have been racing the 2019 season on the new SRAM RED eTap AXS 12-speed groupset. Trek-Segafredo have experimented with 1X drivetrain setups, which the new groupset accommodates, but, following a mechanical for John Degenkolb at Milan-San Remo, the team has overwhelmingly stuck with 2X.
For Paris-Roubaix, however, the team went all-in on 1X drivetrain setups on the Trek Domane framesets, with riders using a cocktail of SRAM's Blip satellite shifter buttons and adopting some of Shimano's satellite Di2 shifter buttons.
Click through the extensive gallery above for a closer look at the tech on show at the 117th edition of Paris-Roubaix.
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