Joining VeloClub not only supports the work we do, there are some fantastic benefits:
by Dave Rome
January 15, 2018
Photography by David Rome
A New Year is celebrated and, before you know it, the WorldTour is back in full swing. Based in Adelaide, Australia, the Santos Tour Down Under has long-stood as the season opener, providing the perfect opportunity to see all the teams and their new equipment in one place. Just as we did in 2017, 2016 and years prior to that, here are the bikes of the 2018 men’s WorldTour.
Related: 2018 pro bikes of the women’s peloton
This is a season without major changes to equipment and sponsors. There are no new teams in the WorldTour. There are no new bike sponsors, or bike sponsor exchanges for that matter, and there are only marginal shake-ups in the remaining equipment. That said, brands develop new product all the time, colours are changed to keep things fresh and the teams evolve their equipment each year looking for the next edge in speed.
The promise of disc brakes continues to elude much of the peloton. But compared to this time last year, discs are more visible, and many teams are talking about them positively. Given the race’s geographical remoteness from where most WolrdTour teams are based (Europe), the Tour Down Under has long seen teams bring a bare minimum of bikes, spares, and equipment. And for this, disc brakes still produce a number of logistical difficulties that most teams aren’t yet ready to overcome. For this reason, all but three teams are exclusively racing with rim brakes at the Tour Down Under. Expect many, if not all, teams to dip their toes into the pools of hydraulic discs brakes as the season progresses.
Shimano continues to be the most widespread brand in the pro peloton. Fourteen teams are either sponsored by or have purchased Shimano Dura-ace R9150 shifting and brakes. Katusha is the sole SRAM user, while Movistar, UAE and Lotto-Soudal ride Campagnolo. And there’s no sign of either Rotor Uno or FSA We groupsets at Tour Down Under. Regardless of groupset brand, it’s all electronic, and the use of secondary sprinter shifters in the drops is becoming common with riders on Shimano.
Shimano has seemingly become the dominant name in powermeters overnight, taking over the reigns from SRM with its Dura-ace R9100P powermeter. With such a shift, many more teams are using Garmin head units in place of SRM.
Perhaps the only other company as visible across a sheer number of teams is the small American company K-Edge. Specialising in chain catchers, computer mounts, and race number holders, the company’s components are found on the vast majority of team bikes in some capacity, whether official or not.
Another tech trend is the use of aerodynamic handlebars, with more and more riders seen using them their respective sponsoring bike brands (Canyon, Specialized, Trek, etc), or otherwise from component manufacturers such as PRO and Vision. This follows a number of bike brands, such as Canyon, that have recently stated that some of the biggest aero gains to bike design can be had in cockpit changes.
The French team continues on Factor bikes for 2018, without any change in equipment. According to Factor’s part-owner, and former Green Jersey winner, Baden Cooke, we should expect to see team riders on both the company’s aero platform The One and the lightweight 02 during the season.
When asked about switching brake types, Cooke admitted the team won’t likely be seen on disc brakes this season. Apparently, this hasn’t affected sales. The boutique carbon company now selling more disc brake bikes than rim brake bikes.
Ag2R is one of the few teams on SRM powermeters for 2018, using both the German company’s impressive Origin carbon 9000 carbon model, and a not-yet-available alloy version.
Shimano is used for the shifting, but not as an official sponsor. This gives the team some room to mix and match drivetrain components, and mechanics have set up rear derailleurs with CeramicSpeed Oversized Pulley Wheel system (OSPW) and added the SRM cranksets. The team is officially sponsored by CeramicSpeed, with the slick bearings found at the headset, bottom bracket and pulley wheels. The company’s fast UFO chains are expected to be used in critical races and timetrials.
Mavic wheels remain, as does Black Inc at the cockpit, a brand with shared ownership of Factor Bikes. Pictured is Black Inc’s new carbon stem, a product made in-house, within the same company-owned factory as Factor bikes.
Bike Pictured: Factor 02 of French rider Mikaël Cherel.
Canadian bike brand Argon-18 remains in the unmistakable colours of Astana in 2018. The team is seen riding the Gallium Pro, but it’s expected the aero Nitrogen will be ridden throughout the season as well.
Where last year we saw Astana riding Vision wheels, the Italian-registered team has returned to Corima. The deep 58 S+ wheel is in use here.
FSA continues as a key equipment sponsor, currently providing cockpit and cranks, with Power2Max handling power measurement.
Bike pictured: Argon-18 Gallium Pro of former Paris-Nice winner, Luis Leon Sanchez.
With no new sponsors, new colours spell the biggest equipment change for Bahrain-Merida. Business as usual means Fulcrum wheels, SRM Origin carbon cranks and Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 shifting. Seen here is the Taiwanese manufacturer’s aero model, the Reacto. Some riders in the team are also using the lightweight Scultura.
We were told the team may use disc brakes this season, but there’s no specific commitment to the braking system. Merida offers both the Scultura and Reacto in disc versions.
The Vision Metron 5D integrated carbon handlebar and stem, designed to offer stiffness and aerodynamic advantages, will be used by much of the team this season.
Bike Pictured: Merida Reacto of Lithuania’s Ramunas Navardauskas
Covered in a new two-tone gloss and matte red, the whole team are riding the Swiss company’s third-generation Teammachine SLR01 platform. This bike recently got an update with a number of aerodynamic tweaks being the most visible. BMC have followed the likes of Trek and Pinarello, offering clean integration of Shimano’s Di2 junction box within the downtube.
A longtime user of SRM, BMC Racing is now using the new Shimano Dura-Ace powermeter. With that change, Garmin head units are in use, too. Most of the team are using the Edge 520, although Richie Porte was using the far larger Edge 1030. The team is now using BMC’s stem-integrated Garmin mount.
The rest of the BMC build is unchanged. Shimano provides full Dura-Ace R9150 Di2 groupsets, including tubular wheels. BMC is one of the few teams making use of the Shimano direct-mount standard, where the frame’s hanger connects directly to the derailleur without the connecting link.
Bike Pictured: BMC Teammachine SLR01 of Richie Porte
Bora-Hansgrohe has a few new things on the go for 2018. Wahoo came onboard with computers and a new Specialized-branded powermeter is on the bikes too.
The team seems split between the aero Venge ViAS and the new Tarmac SL6, with the latter used by three-time World Champion Peter Sagan. While the team only had rim-brake bikes at Tour Down Under, it’s quite likely discs will consistently appear throughout the season.
In addition to the bikes, saddles and tyres are also from the Californian company. Specialized’s wheel company, Roval, remains in charge of rolling stock. Last year Bora was riding 4iiii powermeters, and now its Specialized’s own branded powermeter that appears in place. Details are scant on this product, but it closely resembles 4iiii’s product, which leads us to believe it’s made in collaboration or is simply a re-brand. Throughout the team, the powermeter is attached to Shimano R9100 cranks.
PRO remains as the cockpit sponsor, at least where compatible with the bikes. The team is using Wahoo’s aerodynamically designed Elemnt Bolt computer, held with K-Edge mounts.
Bike Pictured: Specialized Tarmac SL6 of two-time British National Champion Peter Kennaugh. The Manx rider is a fresh recruit, previously with Team Sky.
The South African-registered team is sticking with what it knows. The only change is to saddles, now on Italian Astute saddles.
Cervelo provides its R5 (lightweight) and S5 (aero) platforms, draped in a mixed bag of components. For example, the shifting components are Shimano, but the team is sponsored by both KMC and Rotor, supplying the chains and cranksets respectively.
Easy to miss is the Shimano R8000 cassette in use. This is a common trick, adding a little weight to help the bike over the 6.8kg UCI minimum limit, while also saving the team, which likely buys its groupsets from Shimano, a little money.
The Rotor 2INPower powermeter pictured hosts the “Qarbon” Aero carbon fibre big ring, though a look from behind shows the mostly aluminium construction. Details are scant, but the carbon insert creates a smooth outer surface while claiming to increase stiffness and reduce weight.
The wheels of Dimension Data are worth a closer look, with the team running Limited Edition Sour Apple Green coloured Chris King R45 Ceramic hubs laced to Enve tubular rims.
Bike Pictured: Cervelo R5 of Dutch rider Tom-Jelte Slagter.
While the team has been spotted riding discs, it’s the rim-brake version of the Cannondale SuperSix Evo HiMod that the team is riding at Tour Down Under. Here, the only change in the frames from 2017 is a subtly different paint scheme, gone are silver logos, replaced by black.
A long-time user of Mavic wheels, the American-team is now using Vision wheels, wrapped in Vittoria tyres. Additionally, the team has switched saddle sponsor, previously Fizik, and now Prologo.
The rest of the build continues without change, including Shimano shifting components and Cannondale’s own impressively light Hollowgram SISL2 cranks. In the case of Simon Clarke’s bike pictured, a Di2 climbing shifter sits pointing forward on the FSA handlebar. Prologo provides saddles and bartape.
Bike Pictured: Cannondale SuperSix Evo HiMod of Australian Simon Clarke.
FDJ continues what’s officially the longest running equipment partnership in the WorldTour. This season marks 16 years for the French team’s use of French Lapierre bikes.
At Tour Down Under, FDJ is using a mix of the all-rounder Xelius and the recently updated Aircode SL aero bike. The latter, pictured here, shows the refreshed colours.
FDJ also retains its longstanding relationship with Shimano. The team is outfitted in full Dura-Ace Di2 R9150 groupsets, power meters, wheels and accompanying PRO components. PRO is supplying its Vibe Aero handlebar with simplified graphics for clearer brand visibility. Prologo provides saddles.
Bike Pictured: Lapierre Aircode SL of Italian sprinter Davide Cimolai.
Katusha’s bikes continue without any notable changes in 2018. Canyon provides frames, which are built with the full catalogue of components from SRAM, including wireless eTap groupsets, Zipp wheels, and Quarq powermeters. An exception to this is seen on the Aeroad models, which use unbranded Shimano 9000 units to fit the direct-mount frames, a fitment SRAM still doesn’t offer.
The team is currently riding the Aeroad CF SLX, although the Ultimate CF SLX is likely to be seen in more mountainous races. Canyon also supplies its own cockpit components, finished off with Selle Italia saddles. Not pictured are the Wahoo bike computers the team will be using in 2018.
Of note, we spotted a tubular version of the whale-inspired Zipp 454 NSW wheels in use, a product yet to be released.
Bike Pictured: Canyon Aeroad CF SLX of Portuguese Tiago Machado.
The unmistakable Celeste-coloured Bianchi bikes remain for 2018, with no changes except for a move to Fizik saddles.
The team has ready access to Bianchi’s full range, including the aero Oltre XR4 (pictured), lightweight Specialisma and endurance-based Infinito CV.
Shifting, brakes, and wheels are supplied by Shimano, with Pioneer power meters remaining in the WorldTour through the Dutch team.
FSA completes the bike with its cockpit components. The bike pictured is using a more traditional handlebar and stem setup, although many others were using the aerodynamic Vision Metron 5D one-piece stem and handlebar.
Bike Pictured: Bianchi Oltre XR4 of Kiwi climber George Bennett
It’s business as usual for the Belgium team, with Tacx bottle cages the only sponsor change.
The team will use a mix of the lightweight Helium SLX and aero Noah SL, the former of which was first released exactly 12 months ago.
Andre Greipel’s Noah SL has a new fork with a more traditional design compared to the old split-design F-Splitfork which claimed to improve aerodynamic performance. Details for the reasons behind this change are limited, although we assume the more traditional fork is both lighter and stiffer without a significant trade-off in aerodynamics.
The bikes are completed with Campagnolo Super Record EPS groupsets, Campagnolo wheels, SRM Campagnolo powermeter cranks, Deda cockpit and Selle Italia touchpoints.
Bike Pictured: Ridley Helium SLX of former Polka Dot jersey winner Thomas de Gendt.
With a fresh look for 2018, the Movistar bikes are smothered in a new blue paint scheme. Joining Katusha as the other Canyon-sponsored team in the WorldTour, the Spanish team use both the Aeroad CF SLX (pictured) and Ultimate CF SLX. Canyon provides cockpit components to the team, too.
Where Katusha uses a full SRAM assembly, Movistar is full Campagnolo, with the Italian manufacturer providing groupsets (including direct mount brakes) and wheels. The powermeter is from Power2Max.
Like a number of others, the team uses Fizik saddles. A little nice touch is the Lizard Skins DSP bartape with Movistar branded finishing tape.
Bike Pictured: Canyon Aeroad CF SLX of four-time Portuguese time-trial national champion Nelson Oliveira.
The GreenEdge cycling team has a long-standing habit of bringing the previous year’s training bikes to the Australian racing season, and 2018 is no different. Pictured is the team’s 2017 team bike, with a 2018 component build. Expect a few small decals to highlight Mitchelton Wine’s sponsorship as the only changes to come.
The team has access to both the Addict (lightweight) and Foil (aero) platforms, and we’re told they have disc versions of each awaiting them at service course in Europe.
All the touchpoint and cockpit components are from Scott-owned Syncros. The wheels and groupsets are from Shimano.
Having used SRM from the very beginning, the Australian team is one of many to make the move to Shimano powermeters, and with that, Garmin computers.
Where we saw the team using a Flaér automatic chain luber last season, we’re told the product is currently receiving some design tweaks.
Bike Pictured: Scott Foil of Australian, and former Tour Down Under winner, Cameron Meyer.
Joining Bora-Hansgrohe as the other Specialized sponsored team in the WorldTour, Quick-Step brought both Venge ViAS Disc and Tarmac SL6 (rim brake) bikes to the Santos Tour Down Under. The team is expected to be seen racing plenty with discs in 2018.
A change to PRO cockpit components (from FSA) is the most notable technical change, with the Shimano-owned company offering an ultimately clean Di2 integration through its handlebars. The new and not spoken of Specialized-branded powermeters are found on the bikes, too.
Bike Pictured: Specialized Tarmac SL6 and Venge ViAS Disc both belonging to Italian sprinter Elia Viviani.
All new paint for Team Sky’s Pinarello F10 bikes, along with a new cockpit sponsor, represent the new year changes. White and a lighter blue are speckled across the all-rounder F10 frames that were released 12 months ago.
Sky have long used PRO cockpit components but it’s now Pinarello’s own component brand, MOST, that takes over the reigns. Here, Sky is using a mix of the one-piece Talon 1K integrated handlebar and stem, along with the Jaguar XFC aero handlebar and matched aluminium stem.
Shimano Dura-Ace remains the pick in the groupset and wheels, with Fizik supplying saddles. Team Sky will continue to use Stages powermeters in 2018, but synced to Garmin computers, not Stages’ own Dash unit.
Bike Pictured: Pinarello F10 belonging to new Colombian recruit Egan Bernal. The promising Bernal is the team leader at Tour Down Under on his team debut.
Following a recent announcement, Giant has upped its sponsorship of the team for 2018, taking over as the official wheel sponsor in addition to already providing bikes, cockpits, saddles, helmets, clothing and some shoes.
The team will be training on the company’s SLR0 wheel and Gavia tubeless tyre system, but for racing, there are special team-issue carbon tubulars in use.
Where we saw the team using the Giant Neostrack bike computer in 2017, they’ve now moved to Sigma units, using the ROX 11.0 GPS to share data from the new Shimano powermeters (previously with Pioneer).
Expect to see the team riding both the new Propel Advanced SL Disc and regular TCR Advanced SL throughout the season, with only the latter being seen at Tour Down Under.
Bike Pictured: Giant TCR Advanced SL of German Nikias Arndt.
The Trek sponsored team are one of the few with disc brakes at Tour Down Under, and notably, have the most number of riders on the braking platform of any team. Here, they’re riding of a mix of the new Emonda Disc and Madone (rim brake). Both bikes are team issue through the manufacturer’s Project One program, with little touches, such a molded race plate holders evident.
We’re speculating that given how strongly the team is committing to disc brakes in 2018, it should be a safe assumption to expect a disc-version of the Madone at some point.
Like many other teams, Trek-Segafredo is no longer with SRM, also making the move to the new Shimano Dura-Ace unit for a lighter integration with the newly updated Di2 groupset. With this move, the team is using Garmin head units.
Trek’s component and accessory brand, Bontrager, continues to supply wheels, saddles, cockpit and a number of other items. Showing the safety conscious side of the team, the mechanics removed daytime-running lights from the bike prior to us photographing them.
Bike Pictured: Trek Emonda Disc belonging to Danish rider Niklas Eg, another on a WorldTour team debut at the Tour Down Under.
For 2018, the Emirati-Registered team sees no technical sponsor changes, sticking with the Italian Colnago bikes, and complementary component list.
At Tour Down Under, the team is riding a mix of the monocoque V2-r and aero Concept bikes, with one of last year’s C60 visible. It’s a big change from 12 months ago, where nearly the whole team were riding the lugged C60 model.
Campagnolo supplies its Super Record EPS groupset and Bora wheels, while fellow-Italian companies Deda, Vittoria and Prologo supply cockpit, tyres and saddles respectively. Powermeters from Power2Max and pedals from Look break up the Italian theme, but keep it within Europe.
Bike Pictured: Colnago V2-r belonging to Italian, and six-time Giro d’Italia stage winner, Diego Ulissi.