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What’s The Fastest Bike For Riding The Cobbles Of Paris-Roubaix ?

What’s The Fastest Bike For Riding The Cobbles Of Paris-Roubaix ?


– Have you ever looked at
the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix and wondered whether or not a road bike is actually the fastest type of bike? Well, we have. (laughing) (rock music) – We’re going to put three types of bike through their paces here, on arguably, one of the most infamous sectors of pave in the world. The Carrefour de l’Arbre, in France, made famous of course, in Paris-Roubaix. – Yeah, we are each gonna ride a road bike, a cyclocross bike, and a cross country mountain bike through this tough sector
as fast as we possibly can, to see which one is the quickest. We’re gonna record our power on each run, with the same set of PowerTap P1 pedals and simply swap them between the bikes. Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt computers
will collect the data, in addition to speed and time. The road bike is the Orbea Avant. A fast, light bike, but with endurance geometry, and ample space for the 28mm wide continental tyres. It’s the very bike that
will be used in fact, by Team Cofidis in Paris-Roubaix itself. (techno music) Right, here we go, run
number one, on the road bike. Not gonna lie, I’m a little
bit nervous actually. Hitting pave at full tilt, ready, go. So here we go. Run one of the road bike in
the Carrefour de l’Arbre. ** (upbeat music) Effort’s starting to bite. Coming towards the end. Going pretty deep. The bump intake, it was really high. Got into a rhythm now. Rattly and constantly feeling like you’re trying to push to keep your speed up. Pinching still, the bigger tyres. Our cross bike today is the Trek Crockett. We fitted 35 millimetre
wide, semi-slick continental cyclocross speed tyres and other than the road pedals, this is ready to race. (techno music) okay, run number two, cyclocross bike. This one, I’ve got high
hopes for actually. Let’s see how it goes and go. Carrefour de l’Arbre, on a cross bike. Let’s see how she fairs. (techno music) This does feel better, than what’s expected. (techno music) No idea what the time difference is, but this bike, a cross bike, definitely feels better over the cobbles. Smoother, faster, potentially faster. It feels faster, is it faster? Only one way to find out. Okay, last but not least, it’s our mountain bike. A Canyon Exceed CF SLX. A 29er with big semi-slick
continental speed king 2.2 inch wide tyres. (rock music) Here we go then, run number
three, the mountain bike. I’m looking forward to this. This should be fun, let’s go. Run number three, MTB. That’s mountain bike for short. I’m not gonna lie, this is smooth, woohoo. I’m in top gear now,
I think that’s 38, 11. (rock music) That hardly feels like
pave on a mountain bike. It’s just kinda fast, slightly bumpy. A totally different experience. I cannot wait to see the time. Right, our pave interval
session is now over and results, very conveniently, have uploaded straight
to the Wahoo ELEMNT app. – They have indeed and I must admit, I’m just a little bit surprised. So here are the results.
– Go on. – Brace yourself.
– Yup. – In third place, therefore
the slowest of the three bikes, was the road bike. – The road bike? – And that’s for both of us. In second place, second
slowest or the second fastest, whatever way you look at it, was the cross bike and that leaves only one winner, the Canyon Exceed CF SLX mountain bike. That is a little bit of a surprise. – Yeah, isn’t it? – Should I drool down
a little bit further? – Go on. – For you, Si, the mountain bike was five seconds quicker than the cross bike and 10 seconds quicker than the road bike and for, it was slightly closer. The mountain bike was two seconds
faster than the cross bike and five seconds faster
than the road bike. Pretty surprising results. – Yeah and even more
interestingly perhaps, was that my average power
on the mountain bike was lower than on my cross bike. Despite the fact that I was going faster. So you may have thought, given the lack of aerodynamics
on a mountain bike and the wider tyres that again, you may think would roll slower, actually it was more efficient and I think it’s the secret, is down to those wider tyres and also the suspension because the vibration from the road doesn’t translate half
so much to your body and so effectively, there’s much less resistance to your progress as you hammer across the pave. – I think it’s also worth mentioning, this particular section of
pave, Carrefour de l’Arbre, is quite technical. There’s some nasty,
twisty turns at the start. A lot of them are off camber as well and then you got this
famous 90 degree left hander and I must admit, I was thrown really wide on the road bike and on the cross bike, but had so much confidence
riding those turns, those technical sections
on a mountain bike and also, even riding on
the crown of the road, I felt that my projectory
was far straighter. I’ve thrown all over the
place on the other bikes, bit weirdly, I did feel like
I was actually going slower on the mountain bike, which is slightly counter intuitive. – Yeah, I felt like that was possibly the slowest bike as well. So yeah, very weird indeed. Now, I think we probably need to mention, that although the mountain bike is clearly faster across the pave, Paris-Roubaix itself,
has what, 50 K’s of pave and about 200 and something
kilometres of road. So Matt, would you ride a mountain bike for 200 kilometres on the road? – As comfortable as it was on the pave, that’s a lot of tarmac. So, I’m sticking to the road bike. – Sticking to your road bike– – well that’s it, of course, for the right tyre pressure,
right tyres, et cetera. – Of course, do you just wanna ride that back to the hotel, it’s 20 odd K away? – Nah, I’ve just the saddle and this is just dialled for me now, so I’m just gonna– – I quite wanted to– – No, thanks for the offer though, but I’ve made my choice. – In your own time.
– Got my feet in and I’m off. See ya later. – Right, well, on that note. Firstly, I’d say, make sure you subscribe to GCN. If you haven’t subscribed already, then I don’t know what’s stopping you. It’s very easy and it’s free. Just click on the globe. And if you’re after some more content from these gritty roads
of Northern Europe, why not click just up there for a very special retro vs modern from the cobbles of Flanders? Or indeed, click just up there for our Flanders challenge. Has he clipped in yet? Possibly not actually.

100 comments on “What’s The Fastest Bike For Riding The Cobbles Of Paris-Roubaix ?

  1. Rode the Paris-roubaix sportif last year and got properly pissed off by those doing it on mtb shouting for those on road bikes(paying homage) to get out of the way and then having to get around them on the road sections. Seriously- why did they bother? It's like watching a porno with your mum.

  2. Skip to 6:25. Conclusion; the MTB is better, faster and more cozy. Go buy a MTB. .Yes i was sent from GMBN.

  3. Could you make a comparison between the old front suspension road bike (Rockshox Roubaix) of the 90's and the brand new Specialized Roubaix with front suspension and how it compares to current Roubaix bikes without front suspension? Thanks.

  4. I have always asked myself how fast would be mtb over this crappy road when watching Paris Roubaix! 😀 Guys you made my dream come true. 😀

  5. you two look ridiculous on mountain bikes 😋😂 wise choice sticking to the road bike, leave the mtb to MTBikers 😂

  6. So, what if you'd use a 29er mtb with a double front crank? Say somethink like a 40 or 42 in front for bigger top end speed for the road? Small ring wouldn't matter in this case. Now try the longer course and see what the difference is.

  7. you should have tested a full suspensión MTB as well. If the explanation given here is correct, the full suspensión will be even faster…

  8. getting used to that difficult surface is also a crucial factor, train for some time on cobbles and you will be faster for sure

  9. Is it possible to make a video comparing a time trial bike vs road bike vs cyclocross vs mountain bike on a smooth surface for a 3 mile ride with Si and Matt? I would love to see concrete numbers presented on your channel ending the debate on which bike is fastest. It would also provide good data to compare and contrast your results with bikeradar.com

  10. How could you test a road bike on cobblestone without using the Trek Domane? That's specifically a cobblestone road bike with crazy vertical compliance integrated into the frame, feels like a missed opportunity.

  11. You guys talk about road bikes, mountain bikes and cyclocross bikes. But what's a hybrid bike then?

  12. Not a surprise to me. Back in '97 I bought a Specialized Rockhopper FS Comp. Over 2 years I changed almost everything. XT groupset except for SLX sifters. Mavic Ceramic Rims with 26r 18f spokes. 1.9" Panracer SS/SK tires. KORE 420mm bar/160mm stem/ski bar ends. 10-28 cassette and 50/42/36 chairing. Carbon seat post and Selle Italia Flute saddle.
    Weighed just under 19kg and went like stink over broken pavement, and down gravel tracks. 😀

  13. I wondered if you guys could make a review about the "Koga Colmaro Allroad Race Disc" I saw this bike on the internet and I think it can be a really great bike to test.

    Greetings from bill nwangwu, Holland

  14. soon the pros will have transformer bicycles that increase their tire size and reduce the pressure upon reaching the cobblestone sections of the race

  15. Contact time of rubber to cobble might played a role too. Even if you have 900hp, if you can’t put the power down. Similar to Wheel hop in drag strip only makes you slower. Mix of efficient suspension and suppleness of big tire both played a role. Nice hair cut both of you haha

  16. Curious how the new breed of suspension road bikes from Trek and Specialized would fare in this test against these bikes. Clearly suspension works.

  17. The results shouldn't have been surprising — they weren't hitting speeds where aerodynamics dominate. The feel of being slower they mentioned is because we're accustomed to interpreting high-frequency vibration as feeling faster. I bet that a "gravel grinder" with 50mm supple slicks would be even faster, at least in the dry.

  18. "Riding across the cobbles" – YES. "Riding across the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix" – NO. So many road sections that the CX and the MTB are much much slower overall.

  19. Interesting video. Feeling faster and being faster are two very different things, when a bike feels very fast (with tires pumped up to the max) is often because it transmits more roadbuzz, making you actually slower, as YOU are "absorbing" those road irregularities. You should have tried running the cross bike with 26"x2.35 superlight tires and lowering the bars with a negative angle stem to get as aero as possible, it would have literally destroyed the rest of the bikes.

  20. Had been interresting see a test between hard tail and full suspension bikes.
    Most fun in the clip was when Matt pass Simon in beginning. It sounded as they had give Simon Matt's laugh 🙂

  21. Not surprised at all. This is my experience too. I am selling my CX bike and keeping my hard tail which now has 4 kinds of tyres. I have bar ends on the hard tail, its very fast on the road with slicks.

  22. The two times I rode the Roubaix: Once on Airnimal Chameleon and other on full on Tourer- Condor Heritage: Have not found a video that describes how Diabolical it is to ride on the Carrefour de l'arbre. Only way is to ride it.

  23. Wouldn't it have been more interesting if they had tacked the same distance on smooth pavement on to the cobble section?

  24. By some reason people always fight me when I say best do it all bike is high end XC MTB. It is reasonably fast, very comfortable, light and can roll jump over everything. Slap drop bars on carbon 29er. Sky's is the limit.

  25. I think it is du to the wideness of the tire and its low pressure so the tire touch more the road and you use power more effectively to push the ground instead of the air.

  26. The Mtb is faster because of the bigger overall diameter of the tyres…mostly anyway,this is why fat bikes are so fast.

  27. Probably Mr. Matt and Mr. Simon are not accustomed rough roads. Impossible any mountain bike fastest than cx and road bike. I use road, cx and mtb together. Mtbs are slow than any road and cx bike on flat road conditions. Mtbs are fast on cross conditions.

  28. Ok. If u lok at the start where the bike brushes near. It really wasn’t the chemistry btw the two that made it work. That was just coincidental. The real reason they pulled it off was that the rider was going slow and wold have been able to avoid the hit even if si hadn’t adjusted. I am looking at it for the umpteenth time and I now understand that I cold have done it just as well. The secret is to slow down, concentrate and b ready for what ever the reaction. At no time was si in danger of being slammed. Trust me.

  29. Interesting. Really good test. I was expecting the bike that was designed for the Paris rubaix race to win…. However, I have a light weight full suspension mountain bike and can understand how it won on this surface. A good full susser mountain bike will smooth out those bumps leaving the rider able to pedal in comfort.

    Great video lads

  30. Cool. Just goes to show, the huge amount spent on marketing the fastest road bikes, in the real world, on UK roads, looks like we all need suspension, disc brakes and wider tyres. Good to hear Matts laugh again 🙂

  31. "Have you ever looked at the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix…" No si, I haven't. I live in the middle of North America.

  32. I don't know alot about the famed Paris-Roubaix race but GCN's test results are no surprise to me. I wonder how a rigid SS (52:18) 29" MTB would do?

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