By Paul Norman
A new Roubaix and a new Pinarello for Roubaix
The much-loved Specialized Roubaix has had a makeover and the new bike was out last week. It’s lighter and much more aero – even more so than the Tarmac according to Specialized – with features like dropped seatstays and an aero seatpost clamp.
It’s also got a new straightline seatpost that Spesh says is more compliant than the previous sinuous number. It still retains its Future Shock headset to help smooth out bumps and bashes at the front end. We’ve been proving its mettle – and ours – with rides over the cobbles of northern France and Belgium.
And ahead of Paris-Roubaix Pinarello announced the Dogma FS – the bike that Team Sky rode for the race. It comes with both front and rear suspension, which are electronically controlled. A series of sensors in the frame determine how bumpy the surface is and automatically actuate an electro-hydraulic damper that either softens up the ride on cobbles or locks the suspension for a faster ride on tarmac.
Plus there's April's Tech of the Month video, with our ride impressions of the new SRAM Red eTap AXS 12-speed, Bontrager's new WaveCel helmet and more.
Electric bikes all round
Last week, Look launched its first road-going e-bike, the E-765 Optimum. This week, it’s announced two gravel bikes: the E-765 Gravel is also power assisted, but with wider clearances and a motor power output curve adapted for off-road use. We’ve been out to France to take it for a spin.
Meanwhile you need to provide all the power yourself to keep the 765 Gravel RS on the move. Look has had it approved by the UCI, so it can be set up for use in pro cyclocross races – and it reckons that UCI sanctioned gravel races may be on the horizon.
E-gravel bikes were a thing last week, as new UK brand Cairn Cycles opened pre-orders on its new machine. Like Look’s e-bikes, it’s powered by a Fazua motor. And since it comes from the same stable as Hunt Bike Wheels, naturally it comes with that brand’s hoops, in either 700c or 650b format.
And Hunt Bike Wheels has another new product out. Its Limitless Research aero wheelset is wind tunnel tested and designed to work with 28mm tyres. Hunt has backed up the new wheels’ aero credentials by taking the Strava KOM on the famous Trouée d’Arenberg cobbles, ahead of yesterday’s Paris-Roubaix run.
Gearing for the hour record and new Rapha gear
Ahead of his hour record attempt, we’ve had a look at Victor Campenaerts’s gearing for his Ridley track bike. With a manageable cadence critical for success, he’s gone for either a 60x14 or a 61x14. That’s a big ratio to turn for an hour and we’ve compared it to Bradley Wiggins’s gearing when he set the hour record back in 2015.
In Rapha land, we’ve had news of updates to the lower priced Core range, including the use of new materials and new colours, as well as the launch of a rain jacket. There are also new Core Cargo shorts and bibshorts, with leg pockets for gels, bananas, keys or whatever.
And we’ve also had news of CeramicSpeed’s Shimano-compatible low friction off-road pulley system and Mavic’s Bernard Hinault kit, which it launched ahead of Paris-Roubaix, telling you the story of Hinault’s 1981 queen of the classics win.
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