11 Apr 2018

HOW TO DEFEAT THE COBBLESTONES? HERE ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT FSA AND VISION COMPONENTS PROVIDED FOR PRO TEAMS TO CHALLENGE THE PARIS-ROUBAIX.

The Queen of the Classics, the Hell of the North, the 116th Paris-Roubaix “road” race from the suburbs north of Paris over the famed cobbles of northern France and into the velodrome at Roubaix has taken place this Sunday.

The hits from the cobbles have been so jarring as always, and the choice of materials has proven essential for the teams.

In spite of riders and mechanics having various solutions, here are the most important FULL SPEED AHEAD and VISION products chosen for the Paris-Roubaix.

The long term exposure to vibration, typically absorbed by the rider, causes muscle fatigue and discomfort, resulting in reduced performance, so the handlebar has been the first important component to choose.

An ideal handlebar for cobblestones must have three essential features. It must be able to maximise ride control and handling under normal to extreme vibration loads; reduce the muscle fatigue and increase energy savings in distance rides; increase rigidity and peak power output over long distances.

During his last few racing years, the Belgian champion Tom Boonen, one of the most successful cyclists on cobbles, rode with a handlebar only 380 mm wide, normally used by women or junior riders. A particular choice, because in a race like the Paris-Roubaix riders pass a lot of time on the tops of the handlebars, and they get more control with a wider hand position.

In 2017 the Belgian rode his last Paris-Roubaix, and his last career race, with SL-K Compact Full Carbon, the latest evolution of FSA compact bar shape, with a shallow 125mm drop and gentle flare.

The choice of stem was important too in a race with more than 50 kilometres of cobblestones. Sandwiched between the handlebar and the frame, the stem has to absorb the heavy impact. It has to be strong and very reliable, like K-Force Stem. Thanks to its titanium hardware, this stem was the favourite with riders during the last Paris-Roubaix. In 2014 Lars Boom dominated the Tour de France stage 5 with it, on the same cobblestone sectors that have made Paris-Roubaix history.

As regards the seatpost, many riders have chosen K-Force SB25, a one-piece carbon fiber shaft and head topped off with a forged alloy Minimal Top Clamp. It has a full range of adjustment and secure saddle mounting at a very low weight.

Finally let’s talk about wheels. Over the last few years, the cobbles of northern France have crushed all sorts of wheels and spirits! Not Vision wheels. Metron 40 SL TUB and Metron 55 SL TUB have never broken a spoke in the many past Paris-Roubaix editions. A fast wheel can make a difference anywhere on the race, and these two wheelsets, with or without disc brakes chosen by the protagonists of Paris-Roubaix, have always guaranteed the utmost reliability for the Vision sponsored teams.