How do modern cobbled Classics bikes compare to those from the past? GCN Tech Show

Due to their tough parcours, races like Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders have spurred on bike design and tech. But how much have bikes changed over the last 10 years?

Clock13:05, Thursday 4th April 2024

Alex Paton and Ollie Bridgewood are back in the studio for the latest edition of the GCN Tech Show, on a week that has been dominated by talk of the cobbled Classics.

It’s that time of year again when riders take to the roads of Belgium and France to duke it out on brutal cobblestones, including at two of the five Monuments, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Both routinely deliver some of the most exciting racing of the year and the 2024 Tour of Flanders didn’t disappoint as Mathieu van der Poel and Elisa Longo Borghini added to their previous titles in a rain-soaked Belgium.

Both Van der Poel and Longo Borghini won the races on their team’s dedicated aero road bikes, the Canyon Aeroad and Trek Madone, respectively, which are a far cry from the bikes used in the past. This got our dynamic duo thinking, how much have the bikes used for the cobbled classics changed over the last 10 years?

Here at GCN we’re lucky enough to encounter lots of pro bikes, so we’ve seen the changes first-hand. The biggest, and most obvious, is the shift towards aero-everything. As little as 10 years ago, round tubes were still dominant and aerofoil was an unfamiliar word.

Rather than an aero or climbing bike, many teams also used to have bikes tailored for rougher terrain, like the Trek Domane and the Specialized Roubaix. Both of these are still around but not in the WorldTour peloton.

And then there are the vast component changes, with the notable emergence of larger chainrings. Brands have also come up with interesting ways to avoid punctures, like the adjustable tyre pressure system used by Jumbo-Visma in 2023 - they won't be using it again in 2024, though.

All of these things have contributed towards bikes that, apart from their overall shape, barely resemble models from the past.

Check out all of the changes we spotted in the video above and let us know what you think the biggest change has been in the comments.

Hot and spicy tech

In amongst all of the cobble-related talk, there have been a few noteworthy tech releases over the last week.

Pinarello releases Bolide ready for the Olympics

The Olympics are fast approaching and brands are continuing to trickle out new tech. Pinarello has joined this tech arms race with the release of its Bolide track bike which will be used by the Italian team.

It’s the same 3D-printed model used by Filippo Ganna for his hour record.

Canyon bring enhanced integration to Speedmax CF range

Canyon has revamped its range of Speedmax CF triathlon bikes, which will now benefit from more pro-level features. The main update is the move to complete integration courtesy of a new cockpit and head-tube water bottle.

A tiny rechargeable pump for fast inflation

Alex recently stumbled upon Cycplus’ range of e-pumps, which could make inflation a breeze. There are three in total, starting with the most compact AS2 through to the AS2 Pro Max. The latter packs in more power and is capable of pumping a tyre up to 120psi on four occasions before it needs recharging, while the compact option can complete two pumps up to 80psi.

All three options are incredibly lightweight, ranging from a claimed 97g for the lightest compact option through to 205g for the Pro Max.

ENVE unveils its fastest ever SES tyre

ENVE has added the Raceday to its SES range of tyres, and it says it is its fastest ever. That's actually not a huge claim as there was only one tyre previously in their line-up, but it more importantly says that the Raceday is "one of the outright fastest on the market”.

Alex ditches carbon for alloy PRO Vibe handlebars

Alex has decided to diverge from his usual carbon handlebars for a pair of PRO Vibe aluminium bars instead. He has added them to his retro Trek bike and reckons that, with a dialled-in position and speedy tyres, the bike could be nearly as fast as a modern bike.

Don’t worry, if he’s successful in his attempts, we’re sure there will be a video on the GCN Tech channel all about it.

Bike Vault

If you want to see your shiny steed included in the bike vault, don’t forget to upload your photos to our uploader. If you’re unsure how to, check out this guide.

Once uploaded, you could be rewarded with a super-nice vote, although our presenters are harsh judges who expect the highest level of presentation. This week we have some special submissions from GCN staff that received extra scrutiny, but first here's an example of how to gain a super-nice vote.

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