By Stefan Abram
As perhaps the toughest one-day race on the calendar, Paris-Roubaix is always a hotbed of interesting bike setups – and Lizzie Deignan’s cobble slaying Trek Domane SLR is arguably one of the most cutting edge.
While some are still upsizing their inner chainrings, holding dear to their tubulars – a few even switching back to mechanical shifting – Deignan’s setup is bang up to date, so let’s take a look through the tech.
With front derailleurs not becoming widespread until after the Second World War, this naturally isn’t the first time a single chainring setup has graced the top step of the podium at Paris-Roubaix.
Nevertheless, Deignan is very much in the minority of today's peloton by choosing to the eschew the inner ring.
There are many reasons for going 1x – such as weight savings or aero gains – but the choice for Deignan centred around a much more fundamental concern: chain retention.
There’s nothing worse than a dropped chain at an inopportune moment to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
The narrow-wide tooth profile of the 50t chainring in conjunction with SRAM’s Orbit fluid clutch of its AXS rear derailleur makes for a pretty bombproof set up – but Trek-Segafredo left nothing to chance, also installing a hefty looking chainguide.
While some will still choose tubular tyres for Paris-Roubaix, citing their ability to be still be ridden when completely flat and their much-lauded suppleness, tubeless is steadily taking over.
Although Deignan had the choice of running Pirelli’s P-Zero tubs, for Paris-Roubaix she opted instead for the tubeless version.
Benefits of the system include the sealant’s ability to plug nicks and holes cut into the tyre, as well as the option to run tyre inserts. Essentially a foam tube that’s wrapped around the rim, pretty much where an inner tube would go, these help to protect the rims from hard impacts and also allow the tyre to be ridden even when completely flat – although, naturally, not at the same speeds.
These Pirelli P-Zero TLRs are mounted to a set of Bontrager Aeolus RSL 37 TLR wheels, with a wide internal wide of 21mm and an external width of 28mm. Judging by the way the tyres still bulge a little over the walls of the rim, it’s likely Deignan’s tyres were a nominal 30mm width.
At 37mm deep, the wheels are on the shallower side, although that doesn’t seem to have held Deignan back in the slightest, finishing with an average speed of 39.6kph and having ridden much of the course solo.
At 38cm wide, Deignan's handlebars were likewise a balance between aerodynamics and control on the cobbles.
Bottle and battery retention
It's not just chain retention that's important, bottles are too. The last thing anyone wants to be left unable to fuel or hydrate properly because a bottle has auto-ejected at the wrong moment.
Looking closely you can see the extra grippers attached to Deignan's cages to really keep the bottles in check.
The same goes for the SRAM AXS battery. Although we've never experienced one just rattle off before, there's no harm in being a little extra cautious. If you look very closely, you can just about make out the rubber band binding the battery to the rear derailleur for a more secure connection.
After more tech? Check out Sonny Colbrelli's race winning bike from the men's Paris Roubaix.
Starting off riding mountain bikes on the South Downs way, he soon made the switch the road cycling. Now, he’s come full circle and is back out on the trails, although the flat bars have been swapped for the curly ones of a gravel bike.
Always looking for the next challenge, he’s Everested in under 12 hours and ridden the South Downs Double in sub 20. Although dabbling in racing off-road, on-road and virtually, to date his only significant achievement has been winning the National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Bike Championships in 2019.
Richmond Park bike robberies: 16-year-old arrested after string of brazen thefts in popular riding spot
The teen was arrested on suspicion of robbery and possession of a weapon after cyclists were targeted by thieves in west London
By Alex Ballinger •
How Tadej Pogačar won Tour de France switching between disc and rim brakes: 'It's all about the weight'
The Slovenian alternates between braking technologies depending on the weight, rather than the weather
By Ryan Dabbs •