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By Zack Vestal
As the Paris-Roubaix weekend draws near, several teams have announced plans to use special edition frames in the legendary race. German brand Canyon Bicycles, sponsor of Silence-Lotto, has created a “Pavé” version of its Ultimate AL frameset for the team to use. And thanks to a wild-card invitation, the BMC racing team will take the start in Compeigne, with four riders piloting a new carbon-aluminum SLX model, instead of the standard ProMachine SLC01 carbon model.
Silence-Lotto’s special edition from Canyon Bicycles
The Canyon Ultimate AL Pavé frame has been in testing by team riders since the beginning of the 2009 season.
The Ultimate AL Pavé frame is built around a new F8 aluminum road frame, with oversized 7005 series aluminum. Director of Engineering Michael Kaiser said that the frameset has similar characteristics to Canyon’s top of the line F10 carbon fiber frame. In addition to an asymmetric seat tube and “I-Lock” headset, the team will use the One-One-Four SLX carbon fiber fork, which has a tapered 1.25 to 1.5-inch steerer tube. The top tube and wheelbase are 10mm longer than standard, for improved stability.
“Other specific modifications are especially for Paris-Roubaix, such as adding additional clearance on the right chainstay so that riders can use a 46-tooth chainring. We also increased the clearance between the chainstays so a 28mm tire can be added,” said Kaiser, in the press release.
Special graphics have been applied to the new frames. A graphic depicting the mileage and sequence of all the pave sections in Paris-Roubaix adorns the top tube, so that (in theory) a Silence-Lotto rider can keep track of his location on the course during the race. On the underside of the downtube, an image of cobblestones is meant to convey the bike’s purpose.
Four BMC riders to test new frames
The American-Swiss Pro Continental BMC team will have Danilo Wyss, Martin Kohler, Tony Cruz, and Taylor Tolleson on new SLX carbon-aluminum frames at Paris-Roubaix. The rest of the squad will race the standard full carbon ProMachine SLC01. Although not a typical arrangement, it permits direct comparison of the two bike frames in the demanding conditions of the Hell of the North.
The newly developed frame is meant to be more robust and absorbent of road vibration. In a press release, team liason Stefano Cattai said that “The new model is extremely rigid though nevertheless more comfortable.” He will be on hand to assist team mechanics and solicit feedback from riders. “Paris-Roubaix is the biggest test for any racing frame. It is the best place to look to see how the new materials are performing,” he added.
Certain additional components are also fitted specifically for the race. Component supplier Easton has made a special carbon fiber road fork with extra tire clearance and softer ride. The fork was first tested early in March at the Three Days of de Panne, and has been stored away since, to be used again only in Roubaix.
For the drivetrain, Campagnolo has supplied 44-tooth small chainrings instead of the usual 39s. The smaller jump in ring size (compared to a standard 39-53) helps reduce the chance of a dropped chain. Aluminum rims from DT Swiss and 25mm tubular tires from Continental will round out the package.