Skip to main content

Update on Boonen's winning machine and more bikes from Paris-Roubaix

Image 1 of 57

Quick Step's Tom Boonen

Quick Step's Tom Boonen
Image 2 of 57

We had previously reported Boonen's machine

We had previously reported Boonen's machine
Image 3 of 57

We can't say for sure

We can't say for sure
Image 4 of 57

Agritubel riders did, indeed, head out

Agritubel riders did, indeed, head out
Image 5 of 57

Saunier Duval-Scott riders

Saunier Duval-Scott riders
Image 6 of 57

Skil-Shimano riders were on their usual Koga frames…

Skil-Shimano riders were on their usual Koga frames…
Image 7 of 57

Silence-Lotto riders used road-'cross hybrid frames

Silence-Lotto riders used road-'cross hybrid frames
Image 8 of 57

Quick Step's Tom Boonen surged past Fabian Cancellara and Alessandro Ballan to claim his second Paris-Roubaix trophy.

Quick Step's Tom Boonen surged past Fabian Cancellara and Alessandro Ballan to claim his second Paris-Roubaix trophy. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 9 of 57

We had previously reported Boonen's machine to be a rather standard piece of kit, but at second glance it's anything but.

We had previously reported Boonen's machine to be a rather standard piece of kit, but at second glance it's anything but. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 10 of 57

We can't say for sure, but the badging certainly suggests that this will be introduced as the 2009 S-Works Roubaix SL2.

We can't say for sure, but the badging certainly suggests that this will be introduced as the 2009 S-Works Roubaix SL2. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 11 of 57

The frame is essentially a hybrid of Specialized's S-Works Tarmac SL2 and Roubaix SL frames.

The frame is essentially a hybrid of Specialized's S-Works Tarmac SL2 and Roubaix SL frames. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 12 of 57

The new seat stay assembly includes a slightly less radical shape and elongated Zertz inserts.

The new seat stay assembly includes a slightly less radical shape and elongated Zertz inserts. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 13 of 57

The new fork also includes vibration-absorbing Zertz inserts…

The new fork also includes vibration-absorbing Zertz inserts… (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 14 of 57

…and the steerer clearly incorporates the tapered-and-oversized 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" size format.

…and the steerer clearly incorporates the tapered-and-oversized 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" size format. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 15 of 57

Boonen's name is an even hotter commodity now that he's won his second Paris-Roubaix.

Boonen's name is an even hotter commodity now that he's won his second Paris-Roubaix. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 16 of 57

Agritubel riders did, indeed, head out on their ultra-lightweight Kuota KOM frames.

Agritubel riders did, indeed, head out on their ultra-lightweight Kuota KOM frames. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 17 of 57

Agritubel's Emilien-Benoit Berges is one of the bigger guys on the team and needed a second clamp to keep the seatpost from slipping.

Agritubel's Emilien-Benoit Berges is one of the bigger guys on the team and needed a second clamp to keep the seatpost from slipping. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 18 of 57

Berges managed to break his Kuota KOM frame somehow during a pre-ride but it looked like his replacement frame made it through on race day.

Berges managed to break his Kuota KOM frame somehow during a pre-ride but it looked like his replacement frame made it through on race day. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 19 of 57

Many SRAM Red-sponsored teams ran Force rear derailleurs for some reason.

Many SRAM Red-sponsored teams ran Force rear derailleurs for some reason. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 20 of 57

Agritubel's Geoffroy Lequatre fitted his machine with O.symetric chainrings.

Agritubel's Geoffroy Lequatre fitted his machine with O.symetric chainrings. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 21 of 57

Saunier Duval-Scott riders headed out on lightweight Scott Addict frames although they went with the non-integrated version with standard seatposts.

Saunier Duval-Scott riders headed out on lightweight Scott Addict frames although they went with the non-integrated version with standard seatposts. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 22 of 57

Team bikes were fitted with SRAM Red DoubleTap levers…

Team bikes were fitted with SRAM Red DoubleTap levers… (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 23 of 57

…Red crankset (although some of the bigger guys ran Rival)…

…Red crankset (although some of the bigger guys ran Rival)… (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 24 of 57

…but Force rear derailleurs.

…but Force rear derailleurs. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 25 of 57

Saunier Duval-Scott drew the lucky number one in the support caravan.

Saunier Duval-Scott drew the lucky number one in the support caravan. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 26 of 57

Skil-Shimano riders were on their usual Koga frames…

Skil-Shimano riders were on their usual Koga frames… (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 27 of 57

…although a couple were also found running prototypes of Shimano's electronic Dura-Ace group.

…although a couple were also found running prototypes of Shimano's electronic Dura-Ace group. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 28 of 57

Shimano engineers were hoping for nasty conditions to provide a harsh real world test, but all they got was sunshine.

Shimano engineers were hoping for nasty conditions to provide a harsh real world test, but all they got was sunshine. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 29 of 57

We missed this detail before but the bottom of this prototype Dura-Ace 7900 brake caliper arm is milled out to shave a few grams.

We missed this detail before but the bottom of this prototype Dura-Ace 7900 brake caliper arm is milled out to shave a few grams. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 30 of 57

Silence-Lotto riders used road-'cross hybrid frames for their attack on Paris-Roubaix.

Silence-Lotto riders used road-'cross hybrid frames for their attack on Paris-Roubaix. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 31 of 57

The Silence-Lotto bikes were based around a Ridley X-Fire 'cross frame.

The Silence-Lotto bikes were based around a Ridley X-Fire 'cross frame. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 32 of 57

The 'cross-specific rear end and cantilever rear brakes provide plenty of clearance out back…

The 'cross-specific rear end and cantilever rear brakes provide plenty of clearance out back… (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 33 of 57

…but there was little up front. Thankfully, the Silence-Lotto riders didn't need it on Sunday.

…but there was little up front. Thankfully, the Silence-Lotto riders didn't need it on Sunday. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 34 of 57

We're typically only used to seeing Dugast tires on the 'cross circuit but they were fairly common at Paris-Roubaix.

We're typically only used to seeing Dugast tires on the 'cross circuit but they were fairly common at Paris-Roubaix. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 35 of 57

Oval Concepts bars and stems were fitted with the team-only 'red' version of Campagnolo's Record Ergopower levers.

Oval Concepts bars and stems were fitted with the team-only 'red' version of Campagnolo's Record Ergopower levers. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 36 of 57

Record front derailleurs were supplemented with plastic chain watchers.

Record front derailleurs were supplemented with plastic chain watchers. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 37 of 57

Carbon seatposts seem scary on the cobbles but these seemed to have held up fine when we found them again at the finish.

Carbon seatposts seem scary on the cobbles but these seemed to have held up fine when we found them again at the finish. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 38 of 57

Cateye offers its sponsored teams custom colors for its computers.

Cateye offers its sponsored teams custom colors for its computers. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 39 of 57

AG2R riders headed out on bikes from BH ; some rode aluminum-carbon mixes while others opted for the full carbon treatment.

AG2R riders headed out on bikes from BH ; some rode aluminum-carbon mixes while others opted for the full carbon treatment. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 40 of 57

Ceramic-coated rims were at the ready for when and if the mud and rain started coming.

Ceramic-coated rims were at the ready for when and if the mud and rain started coming. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 41 of 57

Amazingly, AG2R ran clincher tires at Paris-Roubaix, although they were at least upsized to 25mm instead of the usual 23mm casings.

Amazingly, AG2R ran clincher tires at Paris-Roubaix, although they were at least upsized to 25mm instead of the usual 23mm casings. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 42 of 57

Aluminum steerers were fitted on the AG2R bikes.

Aluminum steerers were fitted on the AG2R bikes. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 43 of 57

AG2R's FSA dual-pivot calipers were fitted with Mavic carbon-specific pads made by SwissStop.

AG2R's FSA dual-pivot calipers were fitted with Mavic carbon-specific pads made by SwissStop. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 44 of 57

The FSA label could also be found on the crankset and front derailleur.

The FSA label could also be found on the crankset and front derailleur. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 45 of 57

Cycle Collstrop's Stefan Wesemann set out on this distinctive black-and-white Canyon.

Cycle Collstrop's Stefan Wesemann set out on this distinctive black-and-white Canyon. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 46 of 57

Carbonsports is now offering consumers the option of custom paint… for a price, of course.

Carbonsports is now offering consumers the option of custom paint… for a price, of course. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 47 of 57

We won't speculate how these wheels rode on the cobbles but given our experience, we'd guess that it was a bit of a rough ride.

We won't speculate how these wheels rode on the cobbles but given our experience, we'd guess that it was a bit of a rough ride. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 48 of 57

Wesemann is apparently a Hell's Bells fan.

Wesemann is apparently a Hell's Bells fan. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 49 of 57

Wesemann's Lightweight wheels were wrapped with 25mm-wide Dugast rubber.

Wesemann's Lightweight wheels were wrapped with 25mm-wide Dugast rubber. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 50 of 57

The Bouygues Telecom boys went with standard seatposts on their Time bikes.

The Bouygues Telecom boys went with standard seatposts on their Time bikes. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 51 of 57

Bouygues Telecom ran a mix of both shallow- and deep-section rims, both of which were wrapped in 'Michelin' tubulars… only problem is that Michelin doesn't make tubulars.

Bouygues Telecom ran a mix of both shallow- and deep-section rims, both of which were wrapped in 'Michelin' tubulars… only problem is that Michelin doesn't make tubulars. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 52 of 57

Euskaltel-Euskadi rode their usual Orbea Orcas at Paris-Roubaix.

Euskaltel-Euskadi rode their usual Orbea Orcas at Paris-Roubaix. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 53 of 57

Euskaltel-Euskadi's Orbea Orca offered plenty of clearance between the chain stays.

Euskaltel-Euskadi's Orbea Orca offered plenty of clearance between the chain stays. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 54 of 57

Like most teams, Euskaltel-Euskadi ran aluminum box-section tubular rims.

Like most teams, Euskaltel-Euskadi ran aluminum box-section tubular rims. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 55 of 57

A little bit of electrical tape apparently provided a little more grip on the bottles.

A little bit of electrical tape apparently provided a little more grip on the bottles. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 56 of 57

Local Belgian team Topsport Vlaanderen rode suitably local Merckx machines.

Local Belgian team Topsport Vlaanderen rode suitably local Merckx machines. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)
Image 57 of 57

There's no fancy carbon fiber to be found here ; Topsport Vlaanderen's Merckx Premium frames were built from Easton Scandium tubing.

There's no fancy carbon fiber to be found here ; Topsport Vlaanderen's Merckx Premium frames were built from Easton Scandium tubing. (Image credit: James Huang/Cyclingnews.com)

Race Tech: Paris-Roubaix, April 17, 2008

Whoops! Boonen's machine anything but standard

We had previously reported Tom Boonen's (Quick Step) Paris-Roubaix-winning bike as a "surprisingly standard machine" but, as it turns out, it was anything but. After finally catching up on some long overdue sleep and taking a closer look at our images (not to mention getting a flood of reader mail!) we have some more additional information on the bike that won this year's queen of the classics.

Boonen's Specialized S-Works may have been unlike any bike currently in the company catalog but it does blend aspects from production models. The front end bears strong resemblance to his usual custom Tarmac SL2 with its giant-sized down tube and chain stays, slightly curved top tube and the tapered and oversized 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" front end. To soften the blows of the cobbles, though, the Roubaix SL-like seat stays include the now-proven Zertz elastomeric inserts which are also found in the fork.

The frame was also likely reinforced with additional carbon plies as is usual for Boonen and the frame geometry appears to reflect the longer and lower front end that Specialized made just for the Belgian superstar last season to accommodate his sensitive back and longer physique.

"As we did last year for the Tour we worked with Boonen to get him the bike that he wanted for Roubaix and it clearly worked," said Specialized PR man Nic Sims. "It is good when we can work together and get it right: last year [with] the [Tarmac] SL2 and the green jersey at the Tour, now work on Roubaix technology and win [Paris-]Roubaix.

"He had previous ridden the old [Roubaix SL] but there were issues with fit for him. He liked the slightly forgiving ride it gave him but he wanted the usual stiffer frame so we went with him in the off-season to develop the best of both worlds and that is the bike that he rode at the weekend."

While it would easy to dismiss Boonen's machine as merely an amalgamation of existing frame parts (an idea also supported by the 'Roubaix SL2' badging on the chain stay), the Zertz-equipped fork and seat stays are clearly unique items that required new molds to be cut.

Sims wouldn't say whether or not the Roubaix SL2 would eventually be available to consumers as a production model but we have a hard time imagining that Specialized would limit the concept solely for team use. The idea of a bike that blends the responsiveness of the Tarmac SL2 with some of the ride characteristics of the Roubaix SL certainly sounds enticing to us.

More team bikes from Paris-Roubaix

Paris-Roubaix is renowned for its brutal cobbled sections (this year there were 28) but when it comes down to it, those sections still only account for 52km of the 259.5km total. True, those 52km played pivotal roles in determining the final outcome of the race but the vast majority of ground covered was still pavement. When combined with the surprisingly pleasant weather, few teams cracked out the truly special creations that, ultimately, were apparently only intended for a truly ugly day in the saddle.

We were expecting otherwise, but Agritubel riders did head out on their standard ultralight Kuota KOM carbon frames and it looks like they all survived race day intact. Likewise, the Saunier Duval-Scott team was found aboard similarly feathery Scott Addict full-carbon rigs but they all appeared to opt for the standard non-integrated seatpost version, presumably for the slightly softer ride.

Both teams were equipped with SRAM Red groups with the odd Rival crankset tossed in to accommodate the longer-legged riders. For whatever reason, though, all of the Agritubel and Saunier Duval-Scott bikes we spotted were also fitted with Force rear derailleurs; some also used Force front derailleurs instead of Red. Box-section aluminum rims were still the general rule of thumb.

Perhaps the only people disappointed in Sunday's dry conditions were Shimano engineers. According to rumors circulating amongst the pits, they were supposedly looking forward to some particularly demanding real-world conditions to test their upcoming new Dura-Ace electronic group. Most of the teams and riders that had previously been spotted testing electronic drivetrains (either from Shimano or Campagnolo) reverted back to the tried-and-true mechanical ones for Paris-Roubaix but a few Skil-Shimano riders served as test dummies for the day.

For sure, wet, cold and muddy conditions mixed with the extreme vibrations of the Paris-Roubaix cobbles would have served as the ultimate test bed for the new technology. Unfortunately (at least for them), Shimano engineers never got their chance to see just how their creation would have performed. For the sake of the rest of us, though, let's hope that it would have passed with flying colors as we expect to see the stuff introduced for public consumption late this year.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

after your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1