Thor Hushovd recces the cobbles... and tests the new BMC GF01 frame?
What's that he's riding then? Doesn't look like a Team Machine...
We got alerted to this video on YouTube today (thanks othello!) of Thor Hushovd having a blast over the cobbles on a recce of the Paris Roubaix. But what that he's riding? It's certainly not a standard issue BMC Team Machine and looks as though it might be a special Classics bike. Perhaps the new GF01?
What makes us say that? Well, have a look a look at the super skinny chainstays (0:23 on the vid); Nothing says 'laterally stiff yet vertically compliant' like a set of wafer-thin stays. Also the top tube is very sloped, meaning Thor is running a lot of seatpost, again possibly to help with cushioning.
At the front the head tube/down tube interface is beefed up considerably from a Team Machine and the fork has a forward kink at the bottom of the legs, possibly to increase rake and wheelbase a bit and make the bike a bit less jittery over the rough Classics surfaces. We don't know if this is a production frame or not. What we do know is that the UCI approved frames list makes mention of a GF01 frame and GF fork, ratified by the UCI on 8 November last year. GF presumably stands for Gran Fondo, which would be in keeping with the sort of comfort-first design brief you'd have for a Classics bike.
Here's another view of the bike; this one belongs to Marcus Burghardt. You can see the design of the bike pretty clearly here. The sloping top tube and 27.2mm seat tube will mean plenty of give at the rear, coupled with those thin seatstays. The chainstays certainly aren't thin - they're kept nice and beefy to keep power transfer efficient - and the massive down tube and head tube should keep the spine of the bike plenty stiff. The fork is certainly interesting. You can clearly see the added rake on this pic, and note that the rear wheel isn't tucked right in against the seat tube either. That should make for a slightly longer wheelbase and a stable ride, that kink in the fork may add a touch of cushioning at the front too.