Le Tour de France is the biggest race in professional cycling. It has a history dating back to 1903. People from around the world gather in living rooms, bars and in front of computer and TV screens to watch some of the fittest athletes in the world do battle on the cols of the Pyrenees. Thousands more line the streets of France, waiting for hours to catch a glimpse of incredible calf muscles and sculpted carbon fiber. While the riders in Le Tour certainly take center stage, equally as interesting are the bikes that they’re riding to glory. They are the fastest and most technologically advanced bikes in the world, and if you look closely enough, you’ll often find custom parts or prototype tech that isn’t available to the public. These are the seven bikes you should keep your eyes on.
Pinarello Dogma F8
The Pinarello Dogma F8 was the bike that won last year’s TDF, and there’s a strong case that it could be the bike that wins this year as well. When our own Senior Editor Matthew Ankeny rode it last year, he had this to say: “For a bike with these looks, at this stiffness, with this premium of a ride, there is currently nothing else on the road that truly competes.”
Canyon Aeroad CF SLX
When Canyon finally comes to the US early next year, we’ll actually be able to get our grubby paws on the lust-worthy Aeroad CF SLX. Keep your eyes on Katusha lead man and proud Norwegian Alexander Kristoff, who kits his personal Aeroad with a custom Selle Italia saddle that depicts a viking holding an axe. Katusha won’t be the only ones aboard Caynons at the TDF. Also look out for the Movistar team and GC favorites Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde.
The Madone made our GP100 last year for its unprecedented integration and incredible aerodynamics. It’s no wonder, then, that Trek Segafredo lead man Fabian Cancellara will be aboard a custom edition in his last soirée at the TDF. The Madone features a sculpted one-piece handlebar and stem to maximize aerodynamics. In lieu of the standard paint job, Cancellara’s downtube is adorned with the word “Spartacus” — his nickname.
The S5 is the most aerodynamic and stiffest bike in the Cervélo stable and will be one of the more interesting bikes to watch in this tour, with Mark Cavendish (arguably one of the best sprinters of all time) having switched over from Etixx Quickstep and his long-favored Specialized. Another interesting aspect to watch out for in Cavendish’s bike at this TDF is the use of Rotor’s Q rings. The rings are ovals, and many pros swear by them — supposedly they help to eliminate dead spots in pedal stroke.
Look 795 Aerolight
Fortuneo Vital Concept
The Look 795 Aerolight is one of the most unique-looking bikes in the tour this year. The stem and handlebars flow seamlessly into the top tube and nearly every aspect of the bike is integrated — including the front brake, which is tucked away inside the fork. The Fortuneo team will be kitting their 975 Aerolights with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, and while they don’t have as big a name as other teams on the Tour, don’t count them out from winning a few stages.
Swiss IAM Cycling will be taking on the Tour aboard the Swiss Scott Addict. The Addict is Scott’s flagship road machine and will most likely be the weapon of choice for IAM riders in the mountain stages. On the flatter races, keep an eye out for the more aero Scott Foil.
Specialized Venge ViAS
The Venge ViAS will be the aero bike of choice for racers on Tinkoff this Tour. Frontman, rock star and reigning world champ Peter Sagan will likely feature a custom paint job on both his Venge ViAS and S-Works Tarmac — look for the world champ colors. Astana and Etixx-Quick Step will also be aboard Specialized bikes at the TDF with the S-Works Tarmac being the standard choice and the Venge ViAS the aero option.
If you can’t afford a team edition bike, a team cap is a worthy second option.