Since we broke the story on the prototype bike to be ridden by Specialized’s sponsored teams at Paris-Roubaix, a few more details have come out and we had plenty of time to study the bike as Tom Boonen rode the bike alone for 53 kilometres to win the Hell of the North in a solo break.

The usual lighter, stiffer claims have been made, along with an indication that a few will become available to the public post show season in the autumn. However, the most interest has been around the new rear stay design.

The Zerts inserts have got smaller over the years since the Roubaix’s original launch but this bike sees them gain substantially in scale. The larger surface contact area is said to improve the vibration absorption.

Rolf Aldag – ex Highroad directeur sportif and now technical liaison to the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team – explained it like this, “…on the cobbles it’s like a guitar string, the frame here sways with the hitting of the stones. With these rubber parts the swaying is less”.

The larger Zerts will add weight so, they must do something right!

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New Specialized prototype spotted at Flanders