Pro bike: Tom Boonen's Specialized S-Works Roubaix SL4
This year’s Paris-Roubaix was slated to be a showdown between two giants of the spring classics – 2013 Ronde van Vlaanderen winner Fabian Cancellara (Radioshack-Leopard-Trek) and 2012 Paris-Roubaix winner Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep). But sadly, Boonen is now out of the race after a nasty crash on Sunday. Even worse, team sponsor Specialized had built the Belgian rider a gorgeous custom painted S-Works Roubaix SL4 that will now never be ridden across the pavé.
Boonen’s Paris-Roubaix bike-to-be is the production version of the ‘Project Black’ machine he rode in last year’s edition and is more of a true race bike than ever before. Specialized’s unique vibration-squelching Zertz elastomeric inserts and slim, curvaceous seat stays are present as always but the front triangle is now a virtual carbon copy of the harder edged Tarmac SL4. As a result, it’s now not only comfortable but more efficient than one would usually expect of an ‘endurance’ bike.
Paris-Roubaix’s 28 secteurs of pavé are labeled on the top tube: paris-roubaix’s 28 secteurs of pavé are labeled on the top tubeJames Huang/BikeRadar
Each pavé sector’s length and location is noted on the top tube
Custom tweaks blur the race vs. endurance bike lines even further. Specialized supplies Boonen with a special “60 Pro” frame geometry with nearly the same top tube length as the company’s standard 61cm size but with a head tube length barely longer than on the consumer-spec 54cm for a far more aggressive fit than is typical – something that Boonen has said in the past is necessary for his sensitive back.
This year’s bike is far showier than last year’s stealthy all-black finish and kicks off the start of the company’s new “Specialized Edition” program. Tucked within the Belgian-inspired black, red, and yellow motif are the names and years of past Paris-Roubaix winners inside the front triangle, a course cheat sheet on the top tube calling out all 27 secteurs of pavé, plus Boonen’s name boldly emblazoned on the seat tube.
Specialized has commemorated past winners of paris-roubaix inside the main triangle: specialized has commemorated past winners of paris-roubaix inside the main triangleJames Huang/BikeRadar
Past Paris-Roubaix winners are commemorated on the inside of the main triangle
The build kit is virtually identical to what Boonen used last year, including a SRAM Red 2012 group, Zipp 303 Firecrest carbon tubular wheels wrapped in 27mm-wide FMB Paris-Roubaix tires, Look KéO Blade pedals, a 155mm-wide Specialized S-Works Chicane saddle with carbon fiber rails, and Specialized’s latest S-Works carbon crankarms fitted with specific SRAM Red 2012 chainrings (still with a 39T inner ring, too, since mechanics hadn’t yet gotten around to doing the final setup for Sunday when Boonen crashed).
Zipp provides the cockpit components as well, including the SLSpeed carbon fiber seatpost, 140mm-long Service Course SL forged aluminum stem, and a CSL aluminum handlebar double-wrapped with Specialized S-Wrap Roubaix tape plus an extra layer of padding up top. As with his Tarmac, Boonen again was to use a 42cm-wide (outside-to-outside) bar as off-season testing found it to provide better aerodynamics without sacrificing his ability to breathe.
Total weight is pictured is 7.34kg (16.18lb) without the Garmin Edge computer – which to everyone’s dismay will still read zero when the winner of Paris-Roubaix crosses the line on Sunday.
This is the specialized s-works roubaix sl4 that tom boonen (omega pharma-quickstep) was supposed to ride in sunday’s paris-roubaix. sadly, it’ll still be this clean on monday after he suffered a classics-ending injury during ronde van vlaanderen: this is the specialized s-works roubaix sl4 that tom boonen (omega pharma-quickstep) was supposed to ride in sunday’s paris-roubaix. sadly, it’ll still be this clean on monday after he suffered a classics-ending injury during ronde van vlaanderenJames Huang/BikeRadar