Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) isn't taking many chances with his gear this Sunday as he shoots for his fifth Paris-Roubaix victory. Whereas the punishing pavé can sometimes prompt riders to experiment a bit equipment-wise, Boonen will use nearly exactly the same Specialized S-Works Roubaix SL4 that he won on in 2012.
Boonen's Roubaix SL4 uses the same vibration-reducing design as stock versions, complete with those distinctively squiggly seatstays and Zertz elastomer inserts front and rear. Boonen rides a much more aggressive geometry, called '60 Pro' – which essentially features the reach of a standard 61cm frame but with a front end that's roughly 8cm lower than usual. Couple with a 140mm-long Zipp SLSpeed molded carbon fiber stem, Boonen has more than ample room to stretch out his sensitive back.
Most of his componentry has also carried over from before, including the Zipp 303 carbon tubular wheels, 177.5mm-long Specialized S-Works carbon fiber cranks (with 53/46-tooth chainrings), Look KéO Blade pedals, Tacx Tao aluminum cages, and SRAM Red brakes and transmission – although the latter has been updated to 11-speed and now uses an 11-28T PG-1170 cassette instead of last year's 11-26T one.
Boonen's fit is essentially unchanged from last year as well, with one notable exception: his saddle height appears to have increased by about 10mm.
That said, we still noticed a few key differences from years past. While the bars are still double-wrapped with another layer of padding up top, that Specialized S-Wrap Roubaix tape is now wound around a Zipp SL-70 Ergo flat-topped bar. Boonen has swapped his traditionally shaped Specialized Chicane saddle for the company's more modern Romin model (which could explain the height difference) and his long-standing 27mm-wide FMB handmade cotton tubular tires now wear Specialized-made tread patterns and rubber compounds, plus slightly more volume.
Both tires were stamped with 28mm markings when we visited the team hotel Friday afternoon before Paris-Roubaix. VeloNews reports, though, that Boonen will run a 30mm-wide rear tire on Sunday.
Specialized provided Boonen last year with a specially painted Roubaix SL4, featuring colors inspired by the Belgian flag, a stripe of past victors' names wrapping around the inside of the main triangle, and the four-time winner's name featured proudly on the seat tube. This time around, it's all business with a gloss black paint job and basic white logos.
We unfortunately weren't permitted to weigh Boonen's bike this time around but it should come in very close to the 7.34kg (16.18lb) figure we recorded last year.
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: Specialized S-Works Roubaix SL4, '60 Pro'
- Fork: Specialized S-Works Roubaix FACT
- Headset: Cane Creek integrated, 1 1/8-to-1 1/4in tapered
- Stem: Zipp SLSpeed, 140mm x -7°
- Handlebar: Zipp SL-70 Ergo, 44cm (c-c)
- Tape: Specialized S-Wrap Roubaix, double-wrapped with additional padding on top
- Front brake: SRAM Red w/SwissStop carbon-specific pads
- Rear brake: SRAM Red w/SwissStop carbon-specific pads
- Brake levers: SRAM Red 22 DoubleTap
- Front derailleur: SRAM Red 22
- Rear derailleur: SRAM Red 22
- Shift levers: SRAM Red 22 DoubleTap
- Cassette: SRAM PG-1170, 11-28T
- Chain: SRAM Red 22
- Crankset: Specialized S-Works FACT, 177.5mm, w/ SRAM 53T and TA Specialites 46T chainrings
- Bottom bracket: Specialized OSBB
- Pedals: Look KéO Blade chromoly
- Wheelset: Zipp 303
- Front tire: FMB/Specialized tubular, 28mm
- Rear tire: FMB/Specialized tubular, 28mm
- Saddle: Specialized S-Works Romin, 155mm
- Seatpost: Zipp SLSpeed, 20mm setback
- Bottle cages: Tacx Tao (2)
- Other accessories: Garmin Edge 510 computer, Gore Ride-On sealed derailleur cables and housing, SRAM chain catcher
- Rider's height: 1.92m (6ft 4in)
- Rider's weight: 82kg (181lb)
- Saddle height from BB, c-t: 830mm
- Saddle setback: 95mm
- Seat tube length (c-t): 460mm
- Seat tube length (c-c): 450mm
- Tip of saddle nose to center of bars (next to stem): 650mm
- Saddle-to-bar drop: 150mm
- Head tube length: 175mm
- Top tube length (effective): 581mm
- Weight: 7.34kg (16.18lb, estimated)