2012 Paris-Roubaix equipment check - photo gallery

A sneak peek at what riders will be racing this year

On the eve of Paris-Roubaix it's typical for teams and riders to arrive in the start city of Compiègne, France. They’re generally there one day prior to settle in and do their final recon rides. BikeRadar headed out to a few team hotels with hopes of an advance look at what some of them will be riding.

We found few surprises in terms of equipment for Paris-Roubaix. Essentially teams have the same basic formulas are in place that we've noted in prior years here. And it seems most of this year’s new equipment was unveiled in advance, with the launch of three new cobble specific bikes earlier in the week: BMC’s GranFondo GF01, Specialized’s Roubaix SL4, and Trek’s Domane.

And, across the board, even among teams without newly launched bikes, riders gravitate toward softer-riding and more stable options from their team frame suppliers: the Ridley Helium instead of the Noah for Lotto-Belisol; the Scott CR1 instead of the Foil for GreenEdge; the Giant Defy Advanced SL instead of the TCR Advanced SL for Rabobank; and the Pinarello Dogma K in lieu of the Dogma 2 for the Movistar crew.

Stuart O'Grady and the rest of the GreenEdge team will ride Scott CR1s for Paris-Roubaix

Big tubular tires inflated to modest pressures are the norm as well, with typical sizes up to 27mm across and pressures as low as four or five bar (58-73psi). Historically, those tires have been wrapped around traditional box-section aluminum tubular wheels almost without fail, but with recent advances in carbon fiber wheel construction the numbers are shifting dramatically.

A stack of 27mm-wide tubular tires await gluing the day before Paris-Roubaix

Still, though, many teams that continue to stick with tradition find themselves having to search outside of their usual wheel suppliers in order to get what they need. Ambrosio Nemesis and Mavic Reflex tubular rims continue to dominate the numbers among the traditionalists — as usual — but they're oftentimes not labeled as such.

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