Here we have Johan Vansummeren’s Paris-Roubaix-winning R3. The frame is the new, 2011 model, with BBright, Squoval tube shapes, razor-thin seatstays and the tapered headtube.
The new BBright, Squoval shapes and tapered headtube all focus on geometric improvements to get more stiffness and strength out of less material.
- BBright widens the bearing stance where possible (non-drive side) and enlarges the crank axle.
- The tapered 1 3/8″ headtube increases the fork steerer side at the bottom without making it too stiff which is a risk if the diameter is 1 1/2″. It may sound like too stiff is not possible, but actually it would make it too harsh a ride and prone to impact failure.
- The Squoval shapes on the new R3 (and R5(ca)) are part of our continuous improvement process, not a single shape on the frame is unchanged from the original (and Paris-Roubaix 2006 & 2007 winning) R3.
- The razor-thin seatstays are actually even thinner on the 2011 models than they were on the first generation R3.
What’s quite unique about Johan is that he is the first pro rider who is on our biggest frame, the 61cm. Although this should come as no surprise given his 198cm/6ft6 stature.
Completing Johan’s bike are the prototype Mavic wheels and the biggest “27mm” tires I have ever seen. Compared to the “27mm” Pavés, these are enormous. The Pavés fit the standard R3, these sausages don’t (nor do they fit any other normal road bike for that matter). Hence we raised the brake bridge slightly and lengthened the chainstays by 5mm. Other than that, the R3 frame is standard geometry and layup.
The Sram Red group, Rotor 3D+ BBright cranks, 3T Arx Team stem and Rotundo bars are all standard parts, as is the new 3T Palladio Pro seatpost. It’s got a unique system to lock the saddle in with vault-like security, really a neat design. You set it and forget it, as they would say if it were a rotisserie grill.