Having won Paris-Roubaix four times, it’s fair to say that Tom Boonen is an expert when it comes to tackling the pavé.
He has also previously won the race on the same frame you see here, the Specialized S-Works Roubaix SL4.
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Riding on the Roubaix cobbles is unique, so Tornado Tom has requested some very specific equipment on his bike.
Rather than the Specialized S-Works Tarmac he normally rides, Boonen uses the Roubaix, which has a longer wheel base for increased stability and special inserts to dampen vibration.
The stack and reach of the Roubaix are the same as the Tarmac, allowing Boonen to adopt the same position and there is also greater clearance, to accommodate the wider tyres.
Tom Boonen’s tyres of choice are modified 28mm FMB tubular carcasses with a Specialized Turbo tread and latex inner tubes.
The Specialized tread is used because it is said to have lower rolling resistance. By contrast, other Etixx riders chose 30mm tyres.
The groupset is Shimano Dura Ace Di2, with an 11-25 cassette and 53-44t chainset. This is because Roubaix is a very flat race, with little need of a 39t ring.
Boonen favours double wrapped bar tape and sprint shifters on the drops. Other than the double wrapped tape, Tom Boonen’s cockpit is fairly standard, which is in contrast to some of his team mates, who opt for top mounted shifters and cyclo cross style brake levers.
Other details include a new 4iii double sided power meter (not yet available to the public), Roval 40mm wheels, Tacx Tao cages and a Specialized Romin Saddle placed right back on the rails, potentially allowing for greater deflection.
40mm appears to be the depth of choice for wheels when riding on the cobbles. Mechanics told us that this is because although weight isn’t an issue on the pavé, deeper wheels are less comfortable.