Like Tom Boonen, Peter Sagan will tackle this weekend’s Paris-Roubaix aboard a very special version of Specialized’s latest Roubaix, with the disc brakes removed and rim brakes added.
Peter Sagan has been spotted riding the disc-equipped Roubaix away from the races but it’s most likely he’s opting for rim brakes for the simple matter of easier wheel changes. Not the actual getting the wheel in and out bit, but being able to take a spare wheel from neutral support or even a teammate if the team car isn’t close by, as can often happen in the chaos of this race.
We spoke to Specialized the other day and they told us that this bike will be “homologated under UCI regulations to allow it to be raced at Flanders and Roubaix in 2017, but production will be minimal.” So expect a production version of this bike but if you want one you’ll probably have to be quick because they’ll be in short supply.
Other than the change in brakes, the bike is the same as the regular Roubaix, and that includes the Future Shock spring underneath the handlebars. The spring can be changed to tune the stiffness, we wonder what setup Sagan has gone for? The neat seatpost inside a large diameter seat tube and dropped seat clamp and seat stays delivers measurably more seated comfort than the Tarmac, but Sagan isn’t using the CG-R seatpost that is sold with stock bikes.
You can read all about the tech on the new Roubaix in our review here.
Specialized is using Shimano’s latest Dura-Ace direct mount brakes as they provide clearance for up to 28mm tyres. And Sagan is using 28mm Specialized S-Works Turbo Gripton tyres, which is probably the narrowest tyre you’ll see at the race, where 30mm is more common. The tyres are mounted to Roval CLX 50 wheels, the same deep-section carbon wheels he races in all other races.
The new bike does retain the same custom paint job as the regular Tarmac he’s been racing so far this season. It’s a smart looking bike but is it the best custom painted bike Sagan has had during his career? And he’s had a few - remember the Tourminator?
For some reason, personal preference most likely, Sagan opts to use a Zipp Sprint stem with electrical tape covering the logos. The Bora-Hansgrohe team is sponsored by PRO so he could use the Vibe Sprint Carbon stem which has a similarly oversized design to the Zipp one. It’s rare to see taped over logos like this, with most bike brands sponsoring the professional peloton getting much better at delivering products the riders are happy to use.
He does use a PRO aluminium handlebar - aluminium is often preferred over carbon at this race because it’s less likely to snap in a crash. There’s a single wrap of SupaCaz tape, no double wrapping softness here.
It’s a full Shimano Dura-Ace 9100 mechanical groupset, including the crankset. Specialized supplied these photos, we're not totally convinced this is his actual race bike, as there's no 4iiii power meter that he's been using in other races. Another reason we suspect this isn't his race bike, or one that has been properly prepared, is that the chainset has a 39t inner chainring. The common choice at this flat race is for a 44t inner chainring which reduces the gap between the two chainrings in case hte rider needs an easier gear.
The bike also has Di2 electronic gears which he might be using, but last year he preferred the mechanical option due to personal preference, following in Fabian Cancellara's footsteps in preferring cables over wires. We'll be paying close attention to the equipment Sagan rolls up to the start line on this weekend.
Other details of note are the regular Specialized Romin Pro saddle, no preference for any extra padding as we often see on bikes lining up for Paris-Roubaix.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.