We rode cobbles too rough for Paris-Roubaix!

Conor Dunne and James 'Hank' Lowsley-Williams take on a Paris-Roubaix recon with a twist, as they divert to take on some lesser-known cobbled roads

Clock10:41, Sunday 31st March 2024

With endless sectors of bone-rattling cobblestones and rutted roads, Paris-Roubaix serves up one of the hardest, if not the hardest, parcours in professional cycling. Only the toughest make it to the finish line, let alone get the opportunity to hoist the cobblestone trophy above their heads after emerging victorious in the Roubaix Velodrome.

The mystique and sheer brutality of the race is hard to comprehend, so we decided to send Conor Dunne and James ‘Hank’ Lowsley-Williams across to France on a recon mission to find out just how bad the roads really are.

Our dynamic duo aren’t WorldTour pros - although Conor did once grace many WorldTour races - so we couldn’t expect them to complete the full 257km that the elite men will tackle in 2024. Instead, Conor devised a slightly shorter 125km route, except he decided to make up for the shorter distance by taking a slight diversion across the Belgian border to include some lesser-known cobbled roads that aren’t a fixture in the professional races.

There was no easing into the ride, either, with the route starting in the iconic Forest of Arenberg, a five-star sector where the race regularly explodes to pieces.

Read more: Average Joe vs the Tour of Flanders: How much fitness has Cillian Kelly gained with help of Wahoo SYSTM

Luckily for Conor and Hank, they were also equipped with cobble-ready bikes for the job, in the form of Canyon’s Grizl and the Moots Vamoots, respectively. Both are great bikes as standard, but to give them a little extra edge on the rough stuff, Redshift kindly added their ShockStop suspension seatpost and ShockStop suspension stem to the bikes.

The seatpost offers 20mm of active travel through its unique combo of elastomers and springs and can be tuned to an individual rider's weight and preferences, so you can get the suspension you need for a given terrain. Like the seatpost, the stem also delivers 20mm of travel and can be adjusted through swappable elastomers.

Together, Redshift’s components provided a welcome relief from the rugged cobbles of Roubaix for our pair, but you don’t have to be riding Roubaix to experience the benefits, as Conor found out last year when he used the suspension stem during his Unbound attempt.

Our presenters were in good hands then, but were they capable of piloting the bikes successfully to the end of their route at the Roubaix Velodrome? Watch the full video at the top of this page to find out.

Check out more of our challenges on the GCN website.

Related Content

Link to The truth about counting calories and whether it can aid weight loss for cyclists
unknown

The truth about counting calories and whether it can aid weight loss for cyclists

Ollie Bridgewood takes us through the science of calorie intake and when it is and isn’t useful when it comes to fuelling and weight management

Clock
Link to Dan Lloyd: Why I’ve decided to change my lifestyle
YouTube video YIEjavvzCfU

Dan Lloyd: Why I’ve decided to change my lifestyle

In a new GCN series we'll follow Dan's progress as he adopts a healthier lifestyle in a bid to get more active, fitter and improve his longevity

Clock
Link to 'Circular revolution': Transforming cycling into a more sustainable industry
Erik Bronsvoort promoting a 'circular revolution' at the Taipei Cycle Show

'Circular revolution': Transforming cycling into a more sustainable industry

We spoke to Erik Bronsvoort of Circular Cycling to learn more about his efforts to promote sustainability and a circular economy in cycling

Clock
Link to Average Joe vs the Tour of Flanders: Cillian Kelly takes on the cobbles of Flanders
YouTube video K033KKvzQAo

Average Joe vs the Tour of Flanders: Cillian Kelly takes on the cobbles of Flanders

Whipped into shape by a eight-week Wahoo SYSTM training plan, Cillian embarked on a journey to Belgium in an attempt to complete the Tour of Flanders sportive

Clock
Subscribe to the GCN Newsletter

Get the latest, most entertaining and best informed news, reviews, challenges, insights, analysis, competitions and offers - straight to your inbox