Gallery: The bikes of the Paris-Roubaix podiums

The mud, sweat, and aero on the more subtle Roubaix-specific bikes of the current era.

Ronan Mc Laughlin
by Ronan Mc Laughlin 09.04.2024 Photography by
Ronan Mc Laughlin
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Paris-Roubaix and the Spring Classics season are over for another year. For a select few, it was an immensely successful spring.

In most races, success means winning: winning is all that matters. But at the Monuments and especially at Roubaix, making the top three is something to be celebrated for almost every rider. For the past few years, the Roubaix Velodrome has added a bike podium just to the side of its rider podium. It gives us a chance to admire the bikes that carried the best riders in the world to their results.

We’ll have several more Roubaix tech galleries in the coming days, but first, let’s pay our appreciation to the bikes of the Roubaix podiums.

First – Lotte Kopecky | Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL8

The image shows Lotte Kopecky's S-Works Tarmac SL8 on the Roubaix podium.
Kopecky powered a Tarmac SL8 to victory in Roubaix. Her mostly white World Champion edition paint job we saw at Flanders was replaced with this entirely black paint job (save for the decals), but it wasn’t just the frame colour that was different. Kopecky rode her usual Tarmac SL8, but taking a closer look, this bike had plenty of Roubaix-specific adaptions compared to even her Flanders bike.
The image shows Lotte Kopecky's SRAM 1X drivetrain.
The most obvious change was the shift to a 1X drivetrain. Kopecky raced with a 50-tooth SRAM narrow-wide aero chainring with an integrated power meter (10-33 cassette). The reasoning is simple: inner rings are just not required at Roubaix. The benefits are numerous, including better chain retention with the narrow/wide tooth profile over the extremely rough cobbled sectors and – very much secondary, but welcome all the same at the speeds Roubaix is these days – the possibility of a slight aero improvement. Kopecky’s bike also features a Wolf Tooth GnarWolf chain guide (which differs from some of her teammates as seen in our upcoming Roubaix tech galleries) and an oil slick rainbow-esque flat-top chain.

Roval’s Rapide CLX II wheelset is another constant on Kopecky’s two classics bikes, but the tyre and setup were very different from her Flander’s rig. Out went the 28 mm Turbo Cotton Hell of the North tyres with inner tubes used at Flanders, replaced with the 32 mm Mondo endurance tyre set up tubeless for Roubaix. The Mondo should provide more grip and better puncture protection over the cobbles than the Turbo Cotton, but presumably comes at some rolling resistance cost. The sidewalls also feature a mesh structure for extra cut protection, presumably quite important at Roubaix and visibly tougher than the Turbo Cotton sidewalls.
The image shows the drops of Kopecky's handlebars.
Kopecky’s bike also featured a host of more subtle but exceedingly more interesting differences. Amongst those is a handlebar swap, with the Roval Rapide aero bar stem Kopecky usually leans on replaced with this two-piece handlebar and stem setup.

Kopecky prefers the round tops on the rough cobbled sectors compared to the wider, aero-profiled tops on the Rapide bars. Kopecky is not alone here, with many riders preferring the more traditional bar top for this one day per year over the harsher-riding aero bars presently used the rest of the season. One benefit of integrated handlebars and stems at Roubaix, though, is the elimination of any risk of the bars slipping and rotating in the stem. That’s a problem Kopecky did run into on Saturday, although her skills and confidence meant she was able to fix this on the move with a hex key from the support car.
The image shows the tops of Kopecky's handlebars
The team had wrapped bar tape all the way to the stem on Kopecky’s Roubaix setup, making it difficult to identify the bars, but Escape Collective understands they may be Zipp bars left over from the team’s previous handlebar and wheel deal with Zipp.

See also the little bit of blue kinesiology tape (other teams use helicopter tape) on Kopecky’s head unit mount, which was applied to reduce head unit rattle and possible ejection over the pavé.
The image shows Lotte Kopecky's handlebars and stem
Kopecky’s Roubaix bike also features the now-seldom-seen 5 mm spacer above the stem. Some manufacturers still recommend a small spacer be added above and below the stem to better spread the loads exerted by the stem, but such setups are an endangered species in the WorldTour peloton these days, with the slammed stem setups popular among pros and integrated stem caps manufacturers are building into their integrated aero handlebars. But all bets are off at Roubaix, and many teams forego the ultra-integrated setups for a little extra security on the pave.
Kopecky also opts for shifting options on the tops at Roubaix, seemingly preferring the older wired SRAM AXS MultiClics blips over the new wireless option, although this one had clearly seen better days by the time it arrived battered and broken in the Roubaix velodrome.
The image shows Lotte Kopecky's Tarmac SL8
Ok, finally, on the handlebars, Kopecky clearly prefers an inward-angled lever, maybe even a little too inward, should the UCI decide to check. However, what’s interesting is that the levers do seem more angled than her levers on the Rapide bar at Flanders. That could be a function of the handlebar change, but it could also be Kopecky’s preference on the pave. We know Kopecky had been training on this bike for months before Roubaix, and so presumably, it was not something overlooked or left to chance.
The image shows Lotte Kopecky's Tarmac SL8
Unlike other teams, SD Worx-Protime sticks with the same Tacx Deva bottle cages for both Flanders and Roubaix.
The image shows Lotte Kopecky's saddle
Kopecky had extensively tested this Roubaix-specific Tarmac, as evidenced by the wear on her Syncros Belcarra TT saddle she prefers on the road.
The image shows Lotte Kopecky's Tarmac SL8

Second – Elisa Balsamo | Trek Domane RSL Gen 4

The image shows Lotte Kopecky's Elisa Balsamo's Trek Domane RSL Gen 4
Elisa Balsamo’s Trek Domane RSL Gen 4 occupies the second spot on the Roubaix podium. If Kopecky’s bike was effectively a Roubaix twist on a standard everyday race rig, Balsamo’s was an out-and-out Roubaix-specific bike used just one day per year by the pros. The Domane platform took the top spot at two of the three Paris-Roubaix Femmes Avec Zwift prior to this season, but one has to wonder if Balsamo’s narrow second-place finish might be the last time we see Trek’s endurance frame with a dedicated team and pro-specific geometry raced at the Hell of the North. Just 24 hours later, the entire Lidl-Trek men’s squad lined up on the Madone, Trek’s dedicated aero platform, in the clearest indication yet that as Roubaix gets faster, the Roubaix-specific bikes are increasingly squeezed out. The battle ground has shifted from trying to win the race on the cobbles to trying not to lose it on the tarmac.
Elisa Balsamo's Trek Domane RSL Gen 4
If this is to be the last time we see the Domane, it went out in style as the most-Roubaix-specific of the few remaining Roubaix-specific bikes in the peloton, with plenty of pave-smoothing interventions.
Elisa Balsamo's Bontrager wheels
Most notable amongst those were these new Aeolus Pro 49V Bontrager Gravel wheels. These replace the existing 37V following riders’ requests for a similar wheel with improved aerodynamics. The new wheels feature, as the name suggests, a 49 mm deep rim with a hooked 25 mm inner rim width. Unsurprisingly, the rim is a little heavier than the road-specific RSL rim. The team was racing with the new prototype Pirelli tubeless tyres again, with these 32 mm tyres inflating to 33.1 on the new 49V rim. Lidl-Trek had previously raced and won Roubaix on 30 mm tyres, but testing over the winter saw the team bump up a size to these 32s.
The image shows Elisa Balsamo's Trek Domane RSL Gen 4 drivetrain
Balsamo opted for the 52-tooth version of the same 1X specific aero chainring from SRAM mounted to 170 mm crankarms. Lidl-Trek uses K-Edge chain guides while the team continued its tradition of taking no chances with AXS batteries, adding an elastic band around the battery and derailleur main body for even greater battery retention over the pavé.
The image shows Elisa Balsamo's Trek Domane RSL Gen 4 handlebars
Much like Kopecky’s setup, it’s out with the integrated carbon handlebars, replaced with this two-piece bar and stem setup. Unlike Kopecky’s unknown setup, we’ve identified Balsamo’s bars as potentially the Bontrager Elite Aero VR-CF, which retain some aero profiling on the tops.
The image shows Elisa Balsamo's Trek Domane RSL Gen 4 seat post and saddle
The newest Domane retains its pseudo-suspension IsoSpeed system at the rear. While Trek has removed the adjustability of that rear IsoSpeed and the front-end version of it entirely, its existence at the rear is almost invisible to those unaware of its presence, and yet also the closest thing we have to suspension in the modern Roubaix bike lineup. For those who are unaware, the top tube-to-seat tube junction features a pivot point said to offer much more bump-taming flex than a fixed system ever can. That, combined with the new seat post included in this latest Domane, is said to provide the same flex as the old, adjustable IsoSpeed system on its softest setting.
The image shows Elisa Balsamo's Trek Domane RSL Gen 4 bottle cages
Another Trek Roubaix tradition is the use of Bontrager’s Bat bottle cages, a cheap and cheerful bottle cage made from recycled ocean plastics which clearly must offer great bottle retention also for the team to keep coming back to it at the roughest race of the year.
The image shows Elisa Balsamo's Trek Domane RSL Gen 4 rear thru axle
Most Roubaix bikes include a thru-axle tool almost certainly omitted for every other race on the calendar. At Roubaix, riders need the option to remove a wheel themselves as often it is impossible to ride a deflated tyre on the pave and team cars may be a long way behind. Having the thru-axle tool installed means the rider can have the wheel removed before the car even gets to them, a slight marginal gain in a time-sucking, potentially race-ending, disaster.
The image shows the handlebars on Elisa Balsamo's Trek Domane RSL Gen 4
Wireless blips for Balsamo, but only on the drops.
The image shows Elisa Balsamo's brake lever.
The effort of riding so much pavé can do strange things to bike and rider, Balsamo has seemingly twisted the lever hood out of position.

Third – Pfeiffer Georgi | Scott Foil RC

The image shows Pfeiffer Georgi's Scott Foil RC
Pfeiffer Georgi of Team DSM Firmenich-PostNL raced to third on a Scott Foil RC in what was by far the closest to “everyday race setup” of any of the three bikes on the women’s podium. Georgi said she felt really comfortable on the cobbles despite this almost standard aero-bike setup when asked by Escape Collective if not having a Roubaix-specific bike played on her mind during the race. Comfortable on the cobbles is probably all relative, but her comments do deal yet another blow to the Roubaix-specific bike and provide yet more proof that tyres offer perhaps the greatest gains over the pavé.
The image shows Pfeiffer Georgi's Scott Foil RC
Why so? Well, the most noticeable difference in Georgi’s bike versus her regular race setup was the addition of wider 32 mm tyres and Elite Ciussi gel bottle cages; while hydration is critical to performance, the benefits of those cages are not as direct as the wider tyres at presumably softer pressures.
The image shows the seatpost of Pfeiffer Georgi's Scott Foil RC
However, one other slight change from her regular race bike was hiding in plain sight. When Scott released the new Foil in 2022, it did so with two seat post options: one regular aero-profiled post and one almost identical post with a cutout section that allows the front part to flex under load or on rougher surfaces. Syncros claims this cutout (somewhat hidden in this photo by the cover that replaces a proprietary rear light housing gap in the post) helps to improve comfort.
The image shows a dura ace power meter.
Georgi raced with 170 mm Dura-Ace R9200P power meter and 54:40 chainrings: the only 2X setup on the podium.
The image shows the handlebars on Pfeiffer Georgi's Scott Foil RC
Contrasting the two-piece setups occupying the top two spots of the podium, Georgi retained her regular Syncros Creston IS SL Aero Integrated bar and stem.
The image shows the handlebars on Pfeiffer Georgi's Scott Foil RC
In fact, an extra bit of bar tape to cover the tops was the only comfort or grip-improving feature unique to Georgi’s Roubaix handlebar setup.
The image shows the handlebars on Pfeiffer Georgi's Scott Foil RC
Georgi prefers straight levers, and combined with a little adjustment on the lever reach, it makes for a very clean-looking setup. In a directly opposite result to Sunday’s race, Georgi’s bike gave Shimano its single spot on Saturday’s podium compared to SRAM’s two.

First – Mathieu van der Poel | Canyon Aeroad CFR

The image shows Mathieu van der Poel's Canyon Aeroad
Cometh a Monument, cometh Mathieu van der Poel and Alpecin-Deceuninck in 2024. Sunday saw Van der Poel take his second straight Roubaix, while the team and Canyon took their second consecutive 1-2 finish in the Queen of the Classics. While Pfeiffer Georgi’s bike was close to the standard setup, Van der Poel started on what was an entirely standard bike, with what he described as “skinny tyres,” possibly 28s, before switching bikes just before the first pave sector to the bike he finished on with these 32 mm tyres.
The image shows Mathieu van der Poel's Canyon Aeroad
This is not a cyclocross bike. Is there any bike picture better than a muddied Roubaix bike?
The image shows Mathieu van der Poel's muddy pedal
Probably not.
The image shows Mathieu van der Poel's Canyon Aeroad drivetrain.
172.5 mm Dura-Ace R9200P power meter for Van der Poel, again with 54:40 chainrings.
The image shows Mathieu van der Poel's Canyon Aeroad muddy seatpost
The extra mud on Van der Poel’s bike was noticeable; was he just unlucky to pick up more, or did his solo ride mean he could better choose his own lines and push corners more? One might assume that would result in less mud pick up, but perhaps Van der Poel is just comfortable in slippy conditions and happy to push the lines a little further than others.
The image shows Mathieu van der Poel's Canyon Aeroad
The image shows Mathieu van der Poel's bottle cages
Elite Custom Race Plus bottle cages … as per usual.
The image shows Mathieu van der Poel's race number
Started number one, and finished number one.

Second – Jasper Philipsen | Canyon Aeroad CFR

The image shows Jasper Philipsen Canyon Aeroad
Repaint and repeat. If there wasn’t much we could say about Van der Poel’s bike, there’s even less to say now about second-place Jasper Philipsen’s. Apart from a different paint job, different saddle, and some shiny bottle cages, Philipsen’s bike is almost identical to Van der Poel’s, and again their standard setups.
The image shows Jasper Philipsen Canyon Aeroad
The men’s podium is actually a testament to where Roubaix and modern race bikes are in 2024. This year’s race was won solo with a new record average speed over the same punishing cobbled roads as ever, but for the second year in a row the top two steps of the podium are occupied by distinctly standard bikes in a race once dominated by the wildest and whackiest bikes ever seen in professional road racing. Sure, there was a tailwind this year aiding that new average speed record, but nevertheless, the riders are traversing these cobbled sectors faster than ever, and whether it’s cause, effect, or a mixture of both, the aero road bike is now the go-to bike in the men’s race.
The image shows Jasper Philipsen bottle cages
Same cage, different colour.
The image shows Jasper Philipsen's wheels.
Both Alpecin-Deceuninck riders raced with Dura-Ace C50 wheels.
The image shows Jasper Philipsen's tyre
But Philipsen’s had considerably more stickers and decals than Van der Poel’s, presumably denoting the inclusion of a liner or some other notable feature.

Third – Mads Pedersen | Trek Madone SLR 9 Gen 7

The image shows Mads Pedersen's Trek Madone
Rounding out the aero-profiling podium is Mads Pedersen’s Trek Madone. Pedersen raced with only modest adaptions to a more traditional road setup …
The image shows Mads Pedersen's wheel
… Chiefly in the form of the same new Pro 49V wheels as we saw earlier on Balsamo’s bike and …
The image shows Mads Pedersen's drivetrain
… By far the biggest chainring on either podium. Pedersen was rocking this 56-tooth 1X SRAM AXS aero chainring, again with a K-Edge guide doubling up on the chain retention gains.
The image shows Mads Pedersen's Trek Madone fork and front tyre.
One notable difference for Pedersen specifically was a shift from tubulars at Flanders to the Pirelli prototype tubeless 32 mm tyres at Roubaix. Clearance for those 32s was pretty close on the Madone.

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