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Techs-Mechs: A prelude to Holy Week

Finally, I have seen a glimpse of a 2012 cobbled classic bike courtesy of our good friends at Tom Boonen's E3 and Omloop bike, the Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL4. Apart from the super short head tube and way-long top tube there is not a whole lot that distinguishes this from a standard road bike. (on the flip)

I am unable to distinguish the tire size or even the make (and this continues to be an annual secret...can we just say FMB please?) but if they are 23's there isnt much room for 25's with the tight seat tube, and 27's are out. The rear stays look wide and the hourglass shape (reminds me of my CAAD8) is designed for comfort, so maybe we will see this bike right through Easter Sunday. Tom also has chosen Zipp 404 wheels as opposed to his tried and true (but re-badged) Ambrosio Nemesis 36h rims. Again, maybe this is for the less brutal Belgian cobbles (although Patrick's photos sure make them look scary) but it bears watching.

The rest of the bike is pure Tommeke. Alloy cockpit, classic deep drop bars, 140(!!) mm stem and almost as much saddle to bar drop as Jens' new Focus. Interestingly Tom rode the McLaren Venge in G-W, which perhaps signifies that he is leaving nothing to chance in a sprint.

On Roubaix: Weather can play a factor, but last year Fabian's Trek Madone was remarkably un-Roubaix-ish save the 27mm tires. Just speculating here, but perhaps carbon technology has advanced to where you may not need zerts inserts, or comfort bike geometry to provide a supple and efficient ride on the rough stuff. Or, maybe the gods will be kind and turn Roubaix in to a mud bath fit only for modified cross bikes...

One can only wish...