Here is the bike Mathew Hayman rode to victory in Paris-Roubaix. It may surprise you

Tom Boonen rode his trusted Specialized Roubaix, a bike named after this very race, with special inserts designed to flex and absorb the hand numbing vibration of riding on the cobbles.

Ian Stannard rode the Pinarello Dogma K8-S, a bike that is also designed specifically for the pavé, with built in rear suspension.

>>> Paris Roubaix bikes and modifications

Plenty of post race mud on Hayman's Paris Roubaix Scott Foil

Plenty of post-race mud on Hayman’s Paris-Roubaix Scott Foil

Surprising then, that the winner, Mathew Hayman took to the cobbles aboard his favoured Scott Foil aero bike, despite having the option to ride a Scott Solace, the American brand’s bike for the cobbles.

Upon it’s launch last summer, Scott claimed that comfort of new Foil had been significantly increased over the previous version. Having ridden it ourselves we would agree, but this is certainly not a plush ride designed for rough surfaces.

>>> How much faster is an aerobike? (video)

Single wrapped bar tape and distance markers on the stem of Hayman's Paris Roubaix bike

Single wrapped bar tape and distance markers on the stem of Hayman’s Paris Roubaix bike

Frame choice aside, most riders opt for hacks and modifications to ease their suffering. These often include, saddles with additional padding, gel inserts on the handlebars, double wrapped bar tape, additional cyclocross style brake levers on the tops and additional shifters too.

At 37, Hayman is a 16-time veteran of the Paris-Roubaix and opted for none of these.

Watch: Paris-Roubaix 2016 highlights

After the race, Hayman explained, “in the past I have come into the race stressed, with good form, knowing I could do well and changing bits of my bike and going through all the modifications and equipment and here I just said look, I am just going to ride this bike and see where it gets me. I felt comfortable on it.”

Hayman's saddle was the thin, carbon, Fizik Antares 00 he uses normally

Hayman’s saddle was the thin, carbon, Fizik Antares 00 he uses normally

Orica-GreenEdge mechanic Craig Geater told us “Matty told me that he had ridden Paris-Roubaix 16 times and had always been fussy with his tyre pressure and this and that and it’s never gone right, so he decided to just use his normal race bike, with a standard setup he uses in normal races.”

28mm Continental tyres were pretty much the only Paris Roubaix specific feature

28mm Continental tyres were pretty much the only Paris-Roubaix specific feature

>>> Secrets of the toolbox with Craig Greater of Orica-GreenEdge (video)

Even his bottle cages were standard issue Elite Cannibal cages, with no additional sandpaper added to hold the bottles in place.

Standard issue Elite Cannibal bottle cages on Hayman's Paris Roubaix bike

Standard issue Elite Cannibal bottle cages on Hayman’s Paris-Roubaix bike

The only Paris-Roubaix specific tech on his bike were the 28mm Continental Pro Ltd tubular tyres and 44t inner chainring instead of his usual 39t.

This is deemed preferable because the gap between the two rings is smaller, reducing the chance of dropping a chain at a crucial moment and Paris-Roubaix is not very hilly, so many riders do not feel the need for a 39 tooth ring.

Hayman also used a 44 inner chainring instead of the 39t.

Hayman also used a 44 inner chainring instead of the 39t.

The obvious question arises – If a rider who was given odds of 800/1 can win the toughest one day race in the world on an aero bike, are the slight suspension features and dampeners found on many bikes completely unnecessary and merely a marketing gimmick?

After all, the Pinarello K8-S only has 1cm of travel in the rear shock. Perhaps Mathew Hayman is just a different breed to the rest.

  • Brian Savercool

    ive been riding road for 32 years. a always use a standard bike with bigger tires and modify my tire pressure. i honestly think the only think that can make me any faster is an aero bike and aero wheels. or going back to a steel frame and fork with regular wheels because you can just flog away and go. its hi-tech or low tech for the most speed. not smushy cushy poo poo

  • Christophe

    Last year Van Avermaet told Belgian reporters that if it weren’t for his sponsor, he wouldn’t use the BMC GF01 for Roubaix, but his regular steed with bigger tyres and different gearing. His reasoning was that he used that bike all year round and didn’t see the point in switching for one race a year.

  • “are the slight suspension features and dampeners found on many bikes completely unnecessary and merely a marketing gimmick?” – like most things in cycling yes – smoke and mirrors 🙂

  • I’d agree with you – different strokes for different folks!

  • you forgot to add a bit of luck, poor Cancellara didn’t have any at all!

  • Alejandro Gonzalez

    However aero bikes do give you a watts advantage because of less air resistance so those watts saved during the 257 km so the rider does have a slight advantage over those last .5 km

  • llos25

    It is a good job we do not all have the same taste,I think it is a good looking bike.

  • blemcooper

    Did you mean to reply to Robin rather than me? I’m not judging aero bikes overall as being ugly, only the Scott Foil.

    As I said in my other reply, I like the way many of the current aero bikes look.

  • J1

    Don’t judge aero bikes on the Scott Foil, it is probably the ugliest.

  • blemcooper

    I’d agree that aero bikes have a different aesthetic to them than more conventional bikes, but that Scott Foil looks ugly in absolute terms :-).

    Some aero-ish bikes look very good in their own way, e.g. the new Trek Madone, the Cervelo S-series (without the P-series style seat tube), and the Pinarello Dogma F8.

    The original Specialized Venge was also hideous, but the current one (minus the Darth Vader helmet stem) looks nicer.

  • Robin Mainwaring

    Most aero bikes are!

  • blemcooper

    Maybe it’s the slightly askew angle from which the photo was taken, but that is one ugly bike!

  • Ranjjiet Varhmen

    All those comfort features are there, but I guess they dont make a world of a difference. If the world’s best bike for any given situation in this case paris roubaix is 99.9/100 then a standard road bike with comparable specs (what mathew rode) would be 99.5/100.

    Winning = Bike and equipment + Power figures on race day + tactical skills

    Power figures on the race day = form(conditioning) + good power to weight ratio figures + weather (Road conditions)

    In pro cycling- 99% of wins are due to power figures on race day and tactics, bike is less than 1% factor. So the chances of winning because of a bike .04%.

    All the above is considering, the rider has no mood swings and he is putting his 100%. This is not scientific, however it kind of conveys what I think.