What has Paris Roubaix taught us about modern tire technology?

I’d love to know what tire brand/tube technology had the least amount of punctures this weekend given the extraordinary number of punctures, even in dry conditions. It’s hard to know for sure since there are different combinations of tire technologies even within a team, and the same rider might be riding tubular one minute, and then get a tubeless wheel following a puncture the next minute (or vice versa)

On the flip side, I also wonder if this race is really a good indication of “normal” puncture resistance since most punctures that myself and the vast majority of riders get are from things like glass, thorns, sharp metal objects, etc. - not from riding across huge jagged rocks for hours.

I’m not sold on tubeless yet due to my past experience, but if the technology gets to a point where it truly IS as puncture-resistance as manufacturers claim, then I’d give it another shot.


Well, it is pretty clear after today that tubeless is not ready for Roubaix. My guess is that most of the flats that occurred today were due to burping vs punctures.

I’d be very interested in seeing which teams ran inserts vs. straight tubeless. I can’t understand why any team would NOT run inserts at Roubaix. The added protection alone would have been enough to sway me, but with the ability to keep riding until you can get a wheel change, it should have been a no-brainer.


My main fear of inserts is the difficulty of installation, not a problem you’d think for a pro mechanic.

Every single pro team should have been running tyre inserts. I probably will when I next ride PR and that’ll be with 42mm tyres!

It’d be interesting for some feedback on how this tyre pressure management system worked yesterday, I note that the highest placed Team DSM rider was John Degenkolb in 18th.

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According to Ronan’s start village photo gallery Team DSM didn’t use that tech after all. perhaps they should have…


The quicker the peloton moves to 42mm the better.


On the podcast they mentioned the teams using inserts. All the teams running vittorias did except alpecin. Ineos ran inserts. Jumbo were still running tubulars i think as mentioned they still ran the classic Dugast tubulars


There is only 50km of cobbles out of a 250km race. You need to balance the demands on the road vs. efficiency on the cobbles. 42’s aren’t going to be efficient for the majority of the race.


JV had a lot of tire issues and they were riding tubulars. I wonder if the speed yesterday was a factor in so many tire issues.

that’s overkill, even at the roughest race on the calendar.

Fwiw, I believe the new Continental GP5000s TR won both last year and this year. That’s some good marketing.


This. My takeaway is Tubeless has gotten pretty good. There are some challenges for the average cyclist that might not make it worthwhile, but, tubeless is ready for the big stage and it works.

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I would argue that the technology is very, very god and should be used by the “average” cyclist…but that it seems it may not be appropriately applied technology for this particular race.

So serious, guys. Still, you should try them one day. You’d be surprised.

For an amateur riding the PR sportive, riding the widest tyre you can fit is probably good advice. Not a whole host of road bikes will take 42s, though…


For the sportive event definitely. Although It might feel like cheating. The point of riding the sportive is to experience something close to what the pros do. I remember doing the sportive and catching a group of MTB riders at Mons en Pévèle (not part of the sportive but riding on the course), it didn’t felt like they were suffering a lot.

I am with @Henri_Desgrange on this one. Tubeless make a lot of sense for many races but they might burp a bit way too easily on sharp pavés, even with inserts. I had great experience riding the sportive with tubulars with some preventive latex sealant inside. I believe the ideal solution for this very race aren’t latex tubed tubulars or regular tubeless but Tubeless tubulars. No risk of pinch flat, easy to use with sealant. I think they are only made by Challenge in decent sizes for P-R with the 30 and 36mm Strada Bianca. The other ones are the Tufo but they are pretty terrible in comparison. The market is too small for this solution to be marketed by bigger companies though.

I have commuted on 42mm tyres for ages, it’s slower.
That’s fine for my commute as I don’t care about speed and the added comfort and grip is lovely but there’s no way anyone racing would be using them.

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It depends on what one may consider essential to his/her cycling experience. If suffering is valued above all else, you should ride the Paris-Roubaix on 23mm tubulars.
Or, you might prefer enjoying the scenery.
Or, what about speed? This being the case, you may just look for any rolling resistance and aerodynamic gains (like it was a cobbled TT: this would be so enthusing for me to watch at).

I would ride the Roubaix for the scenery, the Arenberg Forest’s charme, Pont Gibus noteworthy melancholy, dwellings etc.

To be clear, I’m not saying mine would be a more meaningful an experience than yours or someone else’s who choose the other ways.


My point was actually not about suffering above all else but enjoying the event in a similar way to the contemporary race, one day before watching the pros (and now same day as the women pros), hence my idea about riding it with material similar to the pro. But for sure you may want to ride it De Vlaeminck / eroica style with an old bike with 23mm tires and DT shifters as well, or on a colnago c40 with vittoria pave 25mm depending on your mood :slight_smile:

I will never do the sportive to enjoy the scenery, first because the actual scenery is quite dull to french standards, second because I actually lived in the area for 4-5 years but also because the sportive is quite competitive and enjoyed best that way, riding fast in groups, trying to drop the others from Mons en Pévèle or trying to hang on the wheels desesperately until carrefour de l’Arbre.

If the point is to ride the same roads in a less competitive way and on more comfortable tires, I’d rather ride the course outside of the sportive event, in less crowded roads. Only downside is you don’t get the chance to cross the line of the velodrome nor take your shower in the inconic showers. Last but not least, there is the Paris-Roubaix Cyclotouriste event. It usually takes place in june. It is ridden in a less competitive manner, you have access to a longer 210k route and is open to any bike. It also includes the lap to the velodrome and access to the showers.

Lots of options, quite the thread drift, sorry for that.


True, but in the absence of a team car, I’d like to (almost) guarantee finishing!


I’m interested in the new specialized tire. The rapidair was apparently far too fragile and the turbo cotton was… not tubeless. So if they’ve figured out how to make a decent tire for roubaix, it means they’ve improved the durability.

So the question then becomes, what does the new specialized tire sacrifice vs the rapidair/tc? Will they be using this tire only for rougher races and use the TC for time trials/smoother races?