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 catalogue 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. 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 torso.
“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 the SL2 and the green jersey at the Tour, now work on Roubaix technology and win [Paris-]Roubaix.
“He had previously 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.