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by Dave Rome
January 25, 2018
Photography by David Rome
WOMEN'S CYCLING BROUGHT TO YOU BY ORBEA
For 2018, the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under moved up to UCI 2.1 status, offering desirable UCI points and with that, attracting a number of Women’s WorldTour and international teams to compete in the Australian summer heat.
With teams ranging from WorldTour to those from Australia’s National Road Series all competing together, the race served as a unique opportunity to see a wide variety of race equipment.
Where some bikes are little different to what you’d find in the men’s WorldTour (such as those from Wiggle-High5), many vary greatly. Whether it’s due to women’s racing offering a more affordable entry for smaller brands to be visible, or simply the budget restraints of Continental racing, the women’s peloton offers its own unique assortment of tech.
Of all the bikes photographed and presented here, only one is women’s specific, and that is of an older model. While professional racers may not be representative of all cyclists, it’s further evidence of the cycling industry moving toward unisex options when it comes to performance bikes.
With a handful of obvious team bikes missing in action, here are 12 professional women’s team bikes of 2018.
Related: Bikes of the 2018 men’s WorldTour
The Dutch-registered team, formerly known as WM3 Pro Cycling, continues in 2018 with a new headline sponsor (WM3 remains as a secondary sponsor). The team of Marianne Vos, and previously Olympic champion Anna van der Breggen as well as Pauline Ferrand-Prévot, it’s a team that has held plenty of accolades over the years.
From 2017 came a change in sponsorship and the team ended its relationship with Liv, making the move to Belgian brand Ridley. As pictured, the team is riding the latest lightweight all-rounder, the Helium SLX, a bike only announced to the world 12 months ago.
WaowDeals is sponsored by Shimano, so their bikes are covered in the latest Dura-Ace Di2 R9150 shifting, with Shimano’s componentry brand, PRO, providing cockpit components. Power measurement is handled by Pioneer’s dual-sided powermeter (on an R9100 crankset) and head unit, with the former being in a colour-matched green.
The wheels pictured are old rolling stock, the previous generation Shimano C50 tubulars. We suspect the team will get the new wider and faster Dura-Ace C40 and C60 tubular wheels once back in Europe.
Bike Pictured: Ridley Helium SLX belonging to Dutch rider Riejanne Markus.
Picking up Trek as a co-headline sponsor in 2018, UK-registered team Trek-Drops can’t be missed in the unmistakable baby blue colours. The visibility is not too surprising given Drops is a company from the design world, making cycling-specific wallpapers, prints and exhibition stands.
The team bikes are a mix of lightweight Emondas and aerodynamic Madones, both using rim brakes, the former pictured here. The Emonda is one of the lightest bikes on the market, and where Trek is known for pushing the technical boundaries, the Emonda is kept visually simple, with its performance advantages hidden within the carbon layup design.
Trek’s own components and accessories company, Bontrager, is another sponsor of the team, outfitting the bikes with all the touch points and wheels. Shimano is not officially a sponsor of the team, but the Japanese company’s components are found in the form of Dura-Ace R9100 mechanical. Continental tyres complete these race bikes.
Bike pictured: Trek Emonda of Germany’s Kathrin Hammes, formerly of Team TIBCO.
Based in Denmark, the UCI women’s team made the move to Germany’s boutique carbon Storck bikes for 2018, having previously ridden Cervélo.
The team is riding the Storck Fascenario.3 Pro, the company’s do-it-all race bike that’s said to be aero, stiff, lightweight, and comfortable. The flagship Platinum version of this frame made headlines with a limited edition collaboration bike with car manufacturer Aston Martin, which sells for an eye-watering €17,777.
By comparison, the team bike pictured here uses the one tier-down Pro frame that still achieves a claimed frame weight of just 870g. While it uses a lower grade composite compared to the Platinum, with a frameset price of €4,399 it’s far from a budget machine.
Rolling stock is provided with HED Stinger wheels wrapped in Schwalbe Pro One HT tubular tyres. The team is without an official drivetrain sponsor, and so the bikes are completed with Rotor cranks and a mix of Shimano Dura-Ace and Ultegra Di2 components.
Bike pictured: Storck Fascenario.3 of Norwegian rider Emilie Moberg.
The brightest team in the women’s pro peloton, the Ale Cipollini team continues in 2018 without change. The Italian-registered team has been sponsored by Mario Cipollini’s bike brand since its inception in 2011.
Pictured is Chloe Hosking’s aero RB1K The One frame. The RB1K recently got a makeover, becoming lighter, stiffer and more aerodynamic than its sprint-focused predecessor. With a raw carbon finish, the monocoque frame features both aggressive race geometry and design language.
Ursus provides its carbon Miura TS 37 wheels, while fellow Italian brands Selle Italia saddle and Deda provide saddles and cockpit components respectively. French company Look provides its Keo 2 Max pedals.
Campagnolo Super Record EPS shifting and brakes are featured, but equipped with a lower-tier aluminium Potenza crankset. This downgrade is due to the Canadian 4iiii powermeter that requires an aluminium crank. Even with the cheaper crank, this bike is arguably the most expensive in the women’s pro peloton.
Bike pictured: Cipollini RB1K of Australian Chloe Hosking, winner of Stage 4 women’s Santos Tour Down Under.
The team places small rubber wedges inside the hood to reduce reach to the brake lever.
Continuing its long relationship with Colnago for 2018, the Italian-themed bikes of Wiggle-High5 closely match those ridden by UAE-Team Emirates in the men’s WorldTour. Here, the team is riding the monocoque-constructed V2-R, Colnago’s best race frame in terms of stiffness-to-weight ratio, while offering a few subtle aerodynamic tweaks, too.
The rest of the build continues with a mostly Italian-theme, including a Campagnolo Super Record EPS groupset, Campagnolo Bora Ultra wheels, and Deda cockpit components. Italian brands Astute and Vittoria provide saddles and tyres, respectively, while powermeters (not pictured) are from German-based SRM, and pedals from Look.
Bike pictured: Colnago V2-R of current Japanese national road champion Eri Yonamine.
The Canyon-SRAM team wasn’t racing the Tour Down Under, but local team rider Tiffany Cromwell was — under the UniSA-Australia team colours. Cromwell had her 2018 Canyon-SRAM team bike with her, and with that, was the only rider spotted racing on disc brakes. It’s expected that Canyon-SRAM will exclusively race with discs in 2018.
Here, Cromwell was using the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc, an aggressive aero road frame adapted for use with disc brakes. Its aerodynamic profiles, including the large seat tube that shields the rear wheel, are no different to that found on the German company’s rim brake model. Canyon will also supply its lightweight Ultimate CF SLX Disc to the team.
With SRAM as a headline sponsor, it’s no surprise to find the bike covered in the American company’s latest and greatest, including eTap HRD wireless shifting and hydraulic disc brakes. Likewise, the new biomimicry-inspired 454 NSW Disc wheels are seen, something that claims to offer superior handling in crosswinds, a likely welcomed benefit for a lighter rider like Cromwell. These wheels are optimised for use with wide 28c tyres, something that Cromwell uses.
The SRAM sponsorship continues with a Quarq powermeter, while Schwalbe and Speedplay provide tyres and pedals respectively. The aerodynamic cockpit components, including the integrated stem and handlebar, are from Canyon, matched to the frames.
Bike pictured: Canyon Aeroad CF SLX Disc belonging to Australian rider Tiffany Cromwell.
2017 team bike pictured.
Much like we’ve seen in the men’s peloton, the Australian-registered Mitchelon-Scott team is still riding its 2017 race bikes at the start of the 2018 season. This is pretty usual for the local team, with many riders bringing their training bikes to the races, and then traveling light to Europe where the new team bikes await.
Little technical change is expected for 2018, with the obvious exception of the Orica branding being replaced by Michelton Wines branding on the Scott Foil bikes. Likewise, it’s expected the team will receive new Shimano Dura-Ace R9150 components to replace the older 9050 still being raced.
And in the case of Amanda Spratt’s bike pictured, we hope a new powermeter is provided to replace the well-used Shimano 7900 SRM unit, something that’s likely seen five or six seasons of use. Whether it’ll be a Shimano Dura-Ace powermeter like provided to the men’s team remains unknown, and if that doesn’t happen, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this well-worn SRM continue in use.
Bike pictured: Scott Foil of Australian Amanda Spratt.
Draped in new and exciting tech, the Cannondale SuperSix bikes of the Cylance team are a showcase of how new tech gets put under extreme and regular race use without the prying eyes of the international media that follows the WorldTour.
The Cannondale SuperSix Evo HiMod frames are the same as those used by the EF Education First-Drapac team. They’re somewhat of an all-rounder, offering marginal aerodynamic tweaks on a frame that’s lightweight, stiff and relatively compliant.
The 2018 team bikes feature rare FSA K-Force WE wireless shifting, still in pre-production form, along with new Watteam DIY powermeters. We had a closer look at both items earlier in the week.
In addition to the groupset, FSA provides the team with cockpit components and wheels through its aero-focused Vision brand. The crankset is Cannondale’s own and the saddle is from Fabric, a company under the same ownership as Cannondale. Lezyne provides its Super GPS computer to the team. Speedplay provides pedals, with Vittoria looking after tyres.
Bike pictured: Cannondale SuperSix Evo HiMod of Italian rider Marta Tagliaferro.
Who says pros don’t run headset spacers?
Getting its current team name due to a focus on the 2020 Olympic games, the American squad continues a near all-American affair with Felt bikes for 2018.
Pictured is the American company’s FR1 race bike, claiming to offer the best stiffness-to-weight ratio in Felt’s history. The frame makes use of Felt’s exclusive materials partnership with Textreme, effectively a unique and advanced method of using carbon fibre. Not so common in top-tier frames, the FR1 offers external mechanical cable routing, something that remains lighter and easier for the mechanics to work with.
The rest of the build is from another American company, SRAM, which supplies its Red 22 mechanical shifting, Quarq powermeters, and Zipp wheels and components. American firms Arundel and Speedplay add to the bikes, with bidon cages and bar tape from the former, and pedals from the latter. Tyres are supplied by Kenda.
Bike pictured: Felt FR1 of United States’ Scotti Lechuga-Wilborne.
Founded in 2004, the TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) team is the longest-running professional women’s cycling team in North America. New recruit Shannon Malseed got the team’s 2018 season off to a flying start, becoming the Australian national road champion.
Since 2013, the American team has ridden Fuji bikes, with the company’s aero road Transonic seen in use during the Santos Tour Down Under. It’s a model that was released back in 2014, but seemingly remains relevant and competitive in a pro peloton today.
Wheels are provided by Swiss-company Edco, a name known for its lightweight and often uniquely designed components. These carbon wheels are wrapped in Maxxis tyres. Fuji’s sponsorship continues on with its in-house component brand Oval providing the cockpit components. Prologo provides saddles, with Kendall Ryan using the new short-nosed Dimension model.
A Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical groupset completes the bike, with Kendall’s bike photographed showing a mix of new R9100 and older 9000 components.
Bike pictured: Fuji Transonic of United States’ Kendall Ryan.
Similar to the talent-packed UniSA team that’s backed by the national cycling body, the New Zealand Institute of Sport entered its own team in the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under, supported by the longtime sponsor of New Zealand cycling, APL (New Zealand’s leading windows supplier, with brands such as Vantage). Where the UniSA team arguably served to provide world-class professional riders a chance to race in their home country in their team’s absence, the Vantage New Zealand National team is packed with young up-and-coming riders.
Pictured is the Specialized Amira of Grace Anderson, U23 New Zealand National road champion and the winner of the young rider classification at the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under. Anderson rides for US-based Team Illuminate, sponsored by Specialized.
Anderson’s bike is an older S-Works Amira, a women’s-specific race bike from the Californian bike company. The Amira still exists in Specialized’s lineup, albeit at affordable price points, with the company offering unisex versions of its Tarmac SL6 for those seeking the best on offer.
Wheels are American-made Enve rims laced to Chris King R45 hubs, a similar wheelset to that used by Dimension Data. Specialized provides tyres and saddles, while SupaCaz supplies bar tape. Shifting components are previous generation Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, matched to a carbon Specialized S-Works crank.
Bike pictured: Specialized S-Works Amira of New Zealand U23 National champion Grace Anderson.
2017 (spare) team bike pictured.
The top team in Australia’s National Road Series, Holden Team Gusto Racing was one of a few domestic teams racing the women’s Santos Tour Down Under. Once seen on Specialized bikes, the Australian-based team now use the relatively unknown bikes from Taiwanese brand Gusto. Founded in 2011, the bike brand quotes its mission as to offer “elaborate bikes with affordable price”.
Pictured is the team’s 2017 Gusto RCR Team Limited race bike, something that is being replaced within the next week by the updated 2018 version. The 2018 Gusto RCR Team Limited receives a more aggressive racing geometry, a few frame design tweaks and will be black with gold decals.
The team is locally sponsored by Shimano Australia and will race with Ultegra R8000 mechanical shifting, PRO PLT aluminium components and Shimano wheels. Schwalbe provides tyres, with the team racing on tubulars. Interestingly, there is no official saddle sponsor – a rare but likely welcomed scenario.
Bike pictured: Gusto RCR Team Limited spare team bike (2017 version).