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by James Huang
May 17, 2016
Photography by James Huang
Peter Sagan is one of the most colorful world champions in recent memory, entertaining — and occasionally surprising — fans both on and off the bike. In celebration of his year-long reign as arguably the top road racer in the sport, Tinkoff-Saxo bike sponsor Specialized has provided Sagan with a similarly colorful S-Works Tarmac. U.S. tech editor James Huang took a closer look at the bike used to win the first stage of this year’s Amgen Tour of California.
Just as you’d expect, Sagan’s custom painted bike proudly wears the UCI world championship colors of blue, red, black, yellow, and green. But instead of the usual striped motifs that have graced the bikes of countless previous champions, designer Ron Jones has arranged that rainbow in a bolder camouflage pattern that wraps its way around the top tube, head tube, down tube, and seat tube. Cleverly, all of that color is also oriented in such a way that it’s visible from all angles but never overwhelming in any particular vantage point.
More traditional UCI rainbow stripes adorn the Roval carbon tubular wheels, the FSA K-Force carbon seatpost, and even the SRM PC8 computer head, and the names of past world champions are subtly integrated into the ’S-Works’ logo on the down tube. Up front is a gold-plated head tube badge.
Sagan isn’t just the current world champion, however — he’s now a brand in his own right, and his bike reflects a host of more personal touches.
In addition to the UCI rainbow, Jones has also integrated the colors and icons of the Slovakian national flag, including the double cross and triple peaks borrowed from the country’s coat of arms.
Meanwhile, Sagan’s personal logo — which is officially trademarked — can be found on the top tube, custom Prologo Scratch 2 Nack saddle, and even the underside of the Look KéO Blade Titanium pedals.
Sagan has not only avoided the dreaded ‘rainbow curse’ so far this season but seems to actually enjoying his status as the current world champion.
Mechanically, Sagan’s bike is mostly straightforward with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic transmission, an SRM/Shimano power meter crankset, Roval carbon tubular wheels wrapped with Specialized tires, an FSA traditional-bend alloy bar and carbon seatpost, Tacx Deva bottle cages, an SRM-specific K-Edge chain catcher, and Supacaz bar tape.
CeramicSpeed hybrid ceramic bearings are fitted to every rotating component, too — including the company’s own thread-together bottom bracket to combat creaking inside the press-fit shell.
Total bike weight is 7.46kg (16.45lb).
As always, it’s much better to earn the right to use these colors.
The colors may be derived from the UCI world championship stripes, but the imagery is meant to evoke Sagan’s beloved homeland.
The down tube logo subtly incorporates the names of past champions.
The custom colors are plainly visible from every angle.
Specialized struggled for years to get its Roval wheels into the top tiers of the sport. It’s only been fairly recently that teams, riders, and mechanics have deemed them worthy to go head-to-head with more established brands.
Yep, it’s real gold – well, plated, at least. And yes, one has already been stolen.
There are splashes of color everywhere you look.
The paint job really comes alive in bright sunlight – which makes it especially a shame that it was cloudy the day these photos were taken.
A position well earned.
Even SRM gets into the game with a PC8 computer to match the rest of the bike.
Prologo has a strong history of making custom saddles for key riders.
The FSA K-Force carbon seatpost gets the rainbow treatment as well, plus Sagan’s personal logo.
You know you’re a big deal when even your pedals are stamped with your personal logo.
External nipples are especially welcome on tubular wheels, which would otherwise require stripping the tire for even minor truing.
The Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 rear derailleur shows a few minor scars.
Five titanium sprockets on the Shimano Dura-Ace cassette helps keep the overall weight down.
Sagan records his numbers with an SRM power meter.
CeramicSpeed is a key component sponsor for the team so every rotating part gets the ceramic treatment.
A little insurance against a dropped chain never hurt.
CeramicSpeed even provides the headset.
The ultra-tacky handlebar tape comes courtesy of Supacaz.
CeramicSpeed provides the team with bottom bracket cups that thread tightly to each other inside the PF30 shell to help keep creaking at bay.
The K-Edge chain catcher features a magnet perched at the end specificially for use with SRM power meters.
The Roval hubs are packed with DT Swiss star ratchet driver internals and CeramicSpeed bearings.
A section of heat shrink tubing keeps the Di2 wiring neat and tidy.
Zipp isn’t a team sponsor, but Tinkoff team mechanics don’t exactly go to great lengths to hide the logo. The simple fact is that official sponsor FSA doesn’t make a stem with the necessary characteristics. What the world champion wants, the world champion gets.
Shimano Di2 sprint shifters are mounted relatively high on the drops.
No rainbow colors for the Tacx bottle cages — yet.