Are normal bikes the new normal at Paris-Roubaix?

Dylan van Baarle's almost-standard Pinarello Dogma F and more Paris-Roubaix tech highlights

Ineos at the start of Paris-Roubaix
(Image credit: Adam Becket/Cycling Weekly)

Last year we suggested that Sonny Colbrelli’s Merida Reacto was the most ‘normal’ bike ever to have won Paris-Roubaix. Is 2022 winner Dylan van Baarle’s Pinarello Dogma F more normal still?

Whereas Colbrelli - who was not defending his title after collapsing with unstable cardiac arrhythmia last month - swapped his integrated cockpit for a separate stem and round-profile bar for extra comfort, there was no such concession for Van Baarle and the rest of the Ineos team, who used the standard MOST Talon Ultra cockpit.

Dylan van Baarle's Paris-Roubaix Pinarello Dogma F

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Like Colbrelli last year, van Baarle used Continental Grand Prix 5000 S TR tubeless tyres - in the 30mm width - on Shimano Dura-Ace C50 carbon wheels and, apart from what looked like a double wrap of bar tape, the bike was completely ‘normal’ and unmodified, with the spec exactly what the Dutch rider would use for any race on the calendar.

Van Baarle ran new Dura-Ace 9200, with big - but not unusually  big - 54/40 chainrings.

The days when the mechanics would wheel out the tied-and-soldered spokes, aluminium Ambrosio Nemesis rims and green-sidewall tubulars are starting to feel like a very long time ago.

Unreleased Trek Domane first and third at Paris-Roubaix Femmes

New Trek Domane on team car at Paris Roubaix

(Image credit: Adam Becket/Future)

By contrast, in last year’s Paris-Roubaix Femmes winner Lizzie Deignan rode a Trek Emonda that was highly targeted towards the demands of racing on cobbles with its 1x chainset - something that had started to fall out of favour with the pro peloton. This year Elisa Longo Borghini did it again for Trek-Segafredo, but on a completely different bike. The team used an unreleased Trek Domane that arguably is even better suited to the cobbles with its IsoSpeed decoupler system that adds a small but crucial amount of travel.

This latest version, the fourth since the bike was debuted with Fabian Cancellara in 2012, looks to have ditched the front IsoSpeed, while the rear IsoSpeed looks as though it has been simplified, the slider to adjust compliance no longer featuring. In fact, it looks more like the non-adjustable IsoSpeed featuring on the lower-specced current/outgoing model.

Again the team ran SRAM Red AXS 1x groupsets.

Elisa Longo Borghini

(Image credit: Getty Images)

While we’re waiting to Trek to divulge the details, in the meantime what we can say is that the new bike performed very impressively, also taking third spot with Lucinda Brand and seventh place in the men’s race with Jasper Stuyven.

New Roval wheels and S-Works tubeless tyres

Unreleased Roval wheel and S-Works tyre

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl were using what looked like a new Roval wheel and S-Works tubeless tyre with their S-Works Roubaix bikes.

Bafflingly, the previous generation of pro-level Roval Rapide and Alpinist CLX, launched only in 2020, was clincher only. Some believed that not enough tolerance had been designed into the wheels to allow them to be used with all types of tubeless.

But the new wheels with simple, white 'Roval' decal and the black tyres with a silver S-Works label are fitted with tubeless valves and are almost certainly new tech.

Dugast tubs are not dead yet

Jumbo Visma Cervelo Caledonias with Dugast tubs

(Image credit: Adam Becket/Cycling Weekly)

The very fast adoption of tubeless tyres for Paris-Roubaix in the last two years - and their success - is something that no one could have predicted, but traditional tubulars were still spotted. Perhaps slightly surprisingly, Jumbo Visma were running Dugast tubs - now owned by Vittoria, though the label says ‘made by A. Dugast’ - on their Cervelo Caledonias. 

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Wout van Aert rode to second place but reported that he used four bikes in total due to mechanical problems, at least one involving a smashed Dura-Ace wheel. The team’s Christophe Laporte suffered a full collapse of his Dura-Ace wheel, which could have been caused by a cobble edge damaging the rim through the tub.

We’ve asked Shimano for comment.

Mohoric goes bar tape free

Matej Mohoric at the end of Paris-Roubaix

(Image credit: Getty Images)

We've heard of 'doing a Boonen', but this is next-level hard.

While Ineos looked to have added extra cushioning to their integrated cockpits with a double layer of bar tape, Matej Mohoric decided to leave the tops of his Vision Metron 5D bar completely tape free. The Milan-San Remo winner claimed to have revolutionised cycling with the dropper post he used in that race: was there some new kind of mountain bike suspension spliced into the bar of his Merida Reacto? Not as far as we could see. Dropper palms on his gloves perhaps? Dropper wrists? 

The Slovenian was in contention for 80 kilometres, for a time in a solo break, but he flatted with 38km to go, changed bikes and had to settle for a battling fifth.

UAE Emirates lend Ag2R's Raugel a wheel... but will he be DQ'd for it?

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And finally, in a Paris-Roubaix that seemed to have more than its fair share of punctures despite the dry, dusty conditions and tubeless tyres - which of course should be self sealing - there emerged a heart-warming story of inter-team cooperation. Ag2R’s Antoine Raugel received a wheel from fellow Campagnolo and Pirelli users UAE Emirates and afterwards tweeted his gratitude.

But, as commenters pointed out, had Ag2R just got their rider a time penalty and possibly a fine? In the 2015 Giro Richie Porte was handed a two-minute time penalty, effectively knocking him out of the GC race, and fined 200 Swiss francs for taking a wheel from fellow Aussie - but non-team mate - Simon Clarke.

Raugel placed 95th out of 107 finishers so he wasn’t exactly bothering the podium, so let’s hope the commissaire turns a blind eye and allows the Frenchman to savour his first Paris-Roubaix finish.

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