Our experiences were great, only one of us had a small leakage near the finish. But the tyre pressure was sustained by using the pump in our system.
Jasper (72kg, 3T exploro race ekar with 40mm tyres)
“I opted to ride this challenge on our 3T exploro race bike with GRAVAA XC-30 wheels. For the tyres I used 40mm Vittoria gravel tyres. On the tarmac I used 3.1 or 3.4 bar and when the cobbles were near, I deflated the tyres to 2.0 bar. 2.0 bar was perfect for the cobbled sections, it felt really grippy and I didn’t have much troubles physically on these rough sections. Also going past slower riders on these sections were no problem at all. When I finished a cobbled sector I simply pressed my inflate-button to reach the 3.1 bars on the tarmac and then tried to ride with other groups to stay out of the wind. Because I was riding with others and trying to pace hard, I didn’t look down on my bike computer all the time and when I did the 3.1 bars setpoint was already reached. The 40mm tyres were a bit sluggish on the tarmac compared to others who were using way smaller tyres, but I was very happy with these tyres on the cobbled sections. And there were a lot of it. All in all the system and wheels worked perfectly fine, I had no flats or mechanicals all day.”
Eugene (80kg, Cube gravel bike with 30mm tyres)
“Most of the time I am using 40 mm gravel tyres, but because I knew there would be a lot of tarmac sections, I decided to challenge it and selected a 30 mm tyre with latex inner tube. On the normal smoothTarmac sections I used a pressure of up to 5.5 bar. This was perfect to keep up a high pace. The advantage over a 40 mm tyre was clearly noticeable at this point. Going away from the main roads the roads became a bit bumpier and I lowered the pressure to 4.5 bar, which gives a better balance between comfort and rolling resistance. On the cobbles the first impression was, “oh my god”, with the 30 mm tyre there is no perfect pressure for this. But after some sections to practice, I found a good balance at approx. 2.5 bar, going further down was tricky, I had a few nasty impacts on the rim, at 2.5 bar only very little. With my weight and speed on the cobbles this was the best I could get, and I was surprised that I could relatively well handle the bike at the Camphin en Pévèle and Carrefour de l’Arbre cobbled sections, the last difficult sections. If I would have to do it again I would go for 33 mm tyres which I believe have only little drawback on the tarmac but a better handling at slightly lower tyre pressure on the cobbles.“
David (90kg, BMC roadmachine with 33mm tyres)
“A few years back I visited the Roubaix area for the first time, back then still riding on 25mm tyres. What I remember was mainly the uncomfortable and bumpy ride. This time, I got the opportunity to test our newest prototype GRAVAA wheelsets, which I used with 33mm tyres. Being able to adjust the pressure to the alternating cobble and tarmac sections was an all-new experience. I played around with my tyre pressure on the first paved sections and found 3.0bar to be a good compromise between ‘comfort’ (although cobbles will never be comfortable), traction and speed. On the tarmac I raised the pressure while riding back to 5.5 to 6.0bar. This takes some time, but is still relatively fast and hardly noticeable. Since deflation goes very fast, you have immediately control on the cobble stones. I’m convinced our technology can be a game changer for a race like this.”