Race tech: Contrasting bike choices at Paris-Roubaix

Different teams opt for road, cyclo-cross or road/'cross hybrids

During this weekend’s mostly dry and sometimes even dusty Paris-Roubaix, several teams split their riders between road and cyclo-cross bikes, while others opted for road/cyclocross hybrids.


While Milram’s ‘cross riders sported full carbon creations (which we showed you last week from Ghent-Wevelgem), Caisse d’Epargne’s Pinarello ‘cross bikes were fairly mundane in comparison to their usual Prince speedsters.

The TIG-welded aluminium frames were built with butted 7005 tubes and augmented with carbon seatstay assemblies, while the matching forks used alloy crowns and steerer tubes – thus assuredly making them far heavier than the all-carbon forks on the Prince.

Since team sponsor Campagnolo don’t make cantilever brakes, Shimano stoppers were fitted at either end. Otherwise, Caisse d’Epargne continued to be one of just a handful of teams running Campagnolo Super Record 11 components (most are still on standard Record 11).

The usual crop of Paris-Roubaix gear was also on hand, including box-section aluminium tubular wheels, wider tubular tires, taller gearing and more heavily padded bar tape.

Road-cross hybrids for others

Lampre and Katusha bike sponsors Lampre and Ridley carried over the unique road/‘cross hybrid machines they used last season.

Katusha mated their Ridley X-Fire ‘cross frames with mid-range road forks – complete with weighty aluminium crowns and steerers – in order to gain additional tyre clearance and bottom bracket height.

Save for the rear 4ZA cantilever brake, the rest of the bike is fairly standard-issue road fare including a production Campagnolo Record 11 group.

Wheels are the usual box-section aluminium tubulars with relatively wide tyres – here labelled as Vredestein but looking more like something from Dugast or FMB – and gearing is typically tall for Paris-Roubaix.

Most of the katusha riders used hybrid ridley creations based around their x-fire cyclo-cross frame:
James Huang

Most of the Katusha riders used hybrid Ridley creations based around their X-Fire frame

Lampre’s Wilier creations – the same machine Alessandro Ballan used to nab third place last year – required a tad more creativity.

A ‘cross bike seatstay assembly – flipped around so the empty brake studs face forward – was spliced in with other Wilier carbon road frame components to net some extra clearance and length while a longer fork is used up front to balance things out.

Long-reach brake calipers are used front and rear, and some Lampre riders also used a single supplemental brake lever on the bar tops for additional control on the pavé.

Lampre riders adopted a familiar formula for their paris-roubaix bikes, combining attributes of road and ‘cross frames for a special ride:
James Huang

Lampre’s Paris-Roubaix bikes combined attributes of road and ‘cross frames