From over at the Cycling Art blog is a post on Steve Bauer‘s unusual bike, built specially for the 1993 Paris-Roubaix. That famous spring classic, routed over Napoleon-era cobbled roads, inspired quite a few odd bikes in the early nineties.
Bianchi built a full suspension road bike – yes, you read that correctly – for Johan Museeuw in 1994. The development team for this bizarre-o-cycle credit Greg Lemond with first using a suspension fork for Paris-Roubaix (on a bike with a small rear shock, too), though this trend got much less traction than that other one that he started.
Though the wild technological experimentation of the 1990s has passed, tinkering with boilerplate bike setups for Roubaix hasn’t. As recently as 2006, George Hincapie, riding for Postal, used a Trek with an elastomer shock in the rear wishbone seatstay; and cyclocross-inspired rigs have been an option for many riders when Roubaix’s feared-and-famed ill spring weather threatens to add another sloppy variable to the race.
But, in a classic case of “it’s not about the bike,” winners tend to ride fairly ordinary set-ups. The classic saying is that winning at Roubaix isn’t about having good luck – it’s about having no bad luck whatsoever. Flat tires at inopportune moments and broken everythings – from steerer tubes to collarbones and everything in between – seem to sink contenders’ chances more so than having the wrong bike.
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