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Tom Boonen's new Specialized Roubaix SL4

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Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) will race on Specialized's new S-Works Roubaix (SL4) at this Sunday's Paris-Roubaix.

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) will race on Specialized's new S-Works Roubaix (SL4) at this Sunday's Paris-Roubaix.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) was the first rider on the team to receive SRAM's revamped Red group but several other teammates are now also equipped.

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) was the first rider on the team to receive SRAM's revamped Red group but several other teammates are now also equipped.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) will race the hell of the north on 27mm-wide FMB Paris-Roubaix tubulars.

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) will race the hell of the north on 27mm-wide FMB Paris-Roubaix tubulars.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Riders going through the full Specialized BG fit process will now be receiving these headset top caps. Needless to say, Tom Boonen's (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) cap is a little more personalized.

Riders going through the full Specialized BG fit process will now be receiving these headset top caps. Needless to say, Tom Boonen's (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) cap is a little more personalized.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The top tube is again rather broad up front, partially wrapping the head tube to bolster front triangle torsional rigidity.

The top tube is again rather broad up front, partially wrapping the head tube to bolster front triangle torsional rigidity.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Spotted on Specialized director of advanced development Chris D'Aluisio was a new Quarq power meter option for Specialized's FACT carbon crankarms.

Spotted on Specialized director of advanced development Chris D'Aluisio was a new Quarq power meter option for Specialized's FACT carbon crankarms.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Omega Pharma-QuickStep had both 25mm and 27mm-wide FMB tubulars mounted atop the team car. Despite only 2mm in difference according to the label, they appeared very different in size.

Omega Pharma-QuickStep had both 25mm and 27mm-wide FMB tubulars mounted atop the team car. Despite only 2mm in difference according to the label, they appeared very different in size.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Omega Pharma-QuickStep riders get custom tweaked saddles from Specialized.

Omega Pharma-QuickStep riders get custom tweaked saddles from Specialized.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Specialized looks to be mounting Shimano's Di2 battery beneath the bottom bracket on the upcoming new Roubaix.

Specialized looks to be mounting Shimano's Di2 battery beneath the bottom bracket on the upcoming new Roubaix.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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A close-up look at the asymmetrical chain stays on Omega Pharma-QuickStep's new Specialized S-Works Roubaix (SL4).

A close-up look at the asymmetrical chain stays on Omega Pharma-QuickStep's new Specialized S-Works Roubaix (SL4).
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The upcoming new Specialized Roval all-carbon clincher road rim measures approximately 60mm deep and is "wider than usual".

The upcoming new Specialized Roval all-carbon clincher road rim measures approximately 60mm deep and is "wider than usual".
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Specialized director of advanced development Chris D'Aluisio rolled in with not only the new Roubaix but also a new set of Specialized Roval all-carbon road clinchers.

Specialized director of advanced development Chris D'Aluisio rolled in with not only the new Roubaix but also a new set of Specialized Roval all-carbon road clinchers.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Just in case there's a shot of a rider using a Specialized saddle, the company devised these little logos that clip on to the rails.

Just in case there's a shot of a rider using a Specialized saddle, the company devised these little logos that clip on to the rails.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Specialized says Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has already tested this novel suspension seatpost but decided to play it safe on race day. Specialized unofficially calls this the 'COBL GOBL-R'.

Specialized says Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has already tested this novel suspension seatpost but decided to play it safe on race day. Specialized unofficially calls this the 'COBL GOBL-R'.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The internally routed Gore Ride-On Professional System derailleur cables make a brief appearance at the bottom bracket shell.

The internally routed Gore Ride-On Professional System derailleur cables make a brief appearance at the bottom bracket shell.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) would once only race Paris-Roubaix on traditional aluminum box-section tubular wheels but Zipp's 303 rims have now proven themselves to be durable enough for the cobbles.

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) would once only race Paris-Roubaix on traditional aluminum box-section tubular wheels but Zipp's 303 rims have now proven themselves to be durable enough for the cobbles.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The seat stays switch to a new open-back shape that now houses bigger Zertz dampers.

The seat stays switch to a new open-back shape that now houses bigger Zertz dampers.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Omega Pharma-QuickStep continues to use SRAM's PG-1070 cassette.

Omega Pharma-QuickStep continues to use SRAM's PG-1070 cassette.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Tom Boonen's (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) new Specialized S-Works Roubaix (SL4) still uses the previous generation SRAM Red front derailleur (SRAM says the matching Specialized-specific chainrings aren't finished yet) but the new chain keeper has been added on.

Tom Boonen's (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) new Specialized S-Works Roubaix (SL4) still uses the previous generation SRAM Red front derailleur (SRAM says the matching Specialized-specific chainrings aren't finished yet) but the new chain keeper has been added on.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Flatlander 53/46T chainrings for Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) in preparation for Paris-Roubaix.

Flatlander 53/46T chainrings for Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) in preparation for Paris-Roubaix.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Even with huge 27mm-wide FMB Paris-Roubaix tubulars fitted, there's plenty of clearance.

Even with huge 27mm-wide FMB Paris-Roubaix tubulars fitted, there's plenty of clearance.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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SRAM's stiffer TT-specific chainrings are installed on Tom Boonen's (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) new Specialized S-Works Roubaix (SL4).

SRAM's stiffer TT-specific chainrings are installed on Tom Boonen's (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) new Specialized S-Works Roubaix (SL4).
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The new fork retains the current 1 1/8-to-1 3/8" tapered steerer diameter.

The new fork retains the current 1 1/8-to-1 3/8" tapered steerer diameter.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Safety tabs are filed off of the fork tips on Tom Boonen's (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) new Specialized S-Works Roubaix (SL4).

Safety tabs are filed off of the fork tips on Tom Boonen's (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) new Specialized S-Works Roubaix (SL4).
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The new fork features bigger and now open-back cutouts for the giant Zertz dampers.

The new fork features bigger and now open-back cutouts for the giant Zertz dampers.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The head tube sports a suble hourglass profile.

The head tube sports a suble hourglass profile.
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Look KéO Blade pedals for Tom Boonen's (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) new Specialized S-Works Roubaix (SL4).

Look KéO Blade pedals for Tom Boonen's (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) new Specialized S-Works Roubaix (SL4).
(Image credit: James Huang)
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The now even more curvaceous stays of the new Specialized S-Works Roubaix (SL4).

The now even more curvaceous stays of the new Specialized S-Works Roubaix (SL4).
(Image credit: James Huang)
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Specialized cleverly tucked in an additional label on top of the seatpost that can only be seen with a cutout saddle.

Specialized cleverly tucked in an additional label on top of the seatpost that can only be seen with a cutout saddle.
(Image credit: James Huang)

Tom Boonen, Sylvain Chavanel, and other members of Omega Pharma-QuickStep will tackle the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix aboard a new bike from team sponsor Specialized. It doesn't officially have a name yet but past convention tells us this will be the next-generation S-Works Roubaix SL4.

Specialized wouldn't divulge details of the new bike, as it's still in the final stages of development. Per UCI rules, bikes not only have to meet the governing body's testing process but it also "has to be presented to the media" so we were shown the new bike, but were not given any details.

Still, visual inspection shows several key changes, most notably yet another evolution of the company's distinctive Zertz viscoelastic dampers inserted into the fork blades and seat stays. They're not only bigger than ever but also plug into new pockets in the frame that maximize surface area contact to more effectively damp vibration. Specialized wouldn't disclose the reasoning behind the new shape but we presume it lends more comfort than the current Roubaix SL3.

Specifics regarding tested frame stiffness figures and claimed frame and fork weights were also unavailable at press time, but the tapered steerer retains the current 1 1/8in -to-1 3/8in diameters. Tom Boonen’s personal Roubaix SL4 prototype weighed 7.53kg (16.6lbs) on our scale.

More information is expected later this summer, but Specialized brand communications manager Ben Delaney told BikeRadar that the new bike will be, "available in very limited quantities in the fall."

Specialized say Boonen — as well as new teammate Zdenek Stybar — began testing the new bike on the cobbles late February in Mol, Belgium.

Along with the new chassis, Specialized have a new complementary seat post concept. Currently referred to as the COBL GOBL-R, Specialized director of advanced development Chris D'Aluisio says it "doubles the compliance" of the Roubaix on its own, but is still stiff enough that it doesn't actually feel like it's moving under normal riding conditions.

Moreover, D'Aluisio says most of the motion of the Roubaix frame itself is fore-aft and Specialized are reaching the limit of how much movement is available. On the other hand, the COBL GOBL-R's motion is mostly up and down and since it only moves on bigger hits, riders apparently aren't bothered by the subtle (and momentary) change in saddle height. Claimed weight for the carbon fiber COBL GOBL-R is 230g.

This season Boonen debuted some significant changes to his personal position for this season after a fit session with Specialized SBCU director Scott Holz. His saddle height is now up a full centimeter, and they decreased his bar width from 46cm to 44cm, and finally they made tweaks to his shoe insoles, which have, supposedly, improved his pedal stroke.

Overall, Specialized claim the modifications (especially the change in bar width) save Boonen 20 watts of energy at cruising speed and his sprinting style is now significantly more stable and lower up front. It obviously worked in Flanders, and this weekend will likely be total proof of concept for the new Roubaix, and Boonen’s new position.