Joining VeloClub not only supports the work we do, there are some fantastic benefits:
by Dave Rome
January 19, 2018
Photography by David Rome
The pro peloton is a well-coordinated bunch, whether it’s weaving through a mountainside or negotiating unruly crowds, the peloton moves at speed in an artful way. Look to the gear used, and the coordination continues, with teams responsible for having its riders all look the part and represent their sponsors in the most consistent way possible.
When a rider’s kit, or bike, doesn’t match the rest of its team, you typically stop and take notice. Whether it’s because they’re a three-time World Champion or a national icon, there’s typically a story behind it. Here are four such bikes of the pro peloton, as seen at the 2018 Santos Tour Down Under.
Riding for French squad FDJ, Switzerland’s Steve Morabito is riding a specially painted Lapierre Xelius SL, a bike he first received at the 2017 Giro d’Italia. The red-and-white paint scheme is an ode to his home region, as well as being a promotional tool for the Valais region that he works with through his consultancy company.
“Two years working really hard to develop cycling for local people and tourists for Valais. Lapierre is supporting my project by making the special bike, all the symbol of the place where I live,” Morabito told CyclingTips.
Looking at the paint, and there’s no shortage of fine detail. The top tube spells out the country’s iconic climbs and mountains, while the Swiss flag is present on the back of the seat tube. A closer look at the fork reveals the Matterhorn and Switzerland’s St Bernard dogs.
Morabito’s teammate and fellow Swiss local, Sébastien Reichenbach, is also riding the same Valais special bike.
The rest of the bike falls in line with the rest of the FDJ team, including a full Shimano Dura-Ace R9150 Di2 build, Dura-Ace powermeter, Dura-Ace C40 wheels and PRO cockpit. The saddle is a Prologo.
A man of the mountains, Morabito crashed on stage two of the Santos Tour Down Under, and then popped his shoulder back in place before continuing.
Among all the bright red bikes of the Trek-Segafredo team, it’s the black bike of Japanese rider Fumiyuki Beppu that stands most. A closer look reveals all sorts of detail on this Madone from Trek’s Project One house.
“This is my special edition bike. It is a promotion for the Japan Cup. They (made a) limited 100 framesets (sold within Japan exclusively). I also stay with Trek team, three years with Discovery, two years of RadioShack and now with Trek-Segafredo. It’s a long time, so a bit of respect to me, they give me this bike,” Beppu told CyclingTips.
“It has a special paintwork, (on the top tube) it looks like Japanese characters, but it is French,” said Beppu, before reading out. The characters spell “Je sais que je peux”, which translates to “I know I can”.
“My designer makes this graphic,” explained Beppu, before pointing to the logo on his seat tube and continuing, “this is Japanese Kanji characters, this is my Fumy logo.”
And then posting to the details beneath the toptube, behind the seat tube and on the inside of the rear triangle, “and this is camouflage, it makes me like a ninja in the peloton.”
The rest of the build is a rather typical build on the Madone platform, including integrated brakes and full Bontrager complement. The exception is that Beppu is using a standard stem, and with that, the cables are housed prior to entering the headtube. Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9150, with matching powermeter, completes the bike.
There’s no background story to this one, and certainly, little introduction is needed. For 2018, Peter Sagan will typically be racing this rather special Tarmac SL6. Instead of the tea-and-white colourway of his Bora-Hansgrohe team, this bike features an impressive spectrum metallic paint on the front triangle that seems to sparkle in the different colours of a rainbow depending on your viewing angle.
The S-Works graphic on the downtube is bordered by gold paint, with similar gold details appearing again with the Tarmac name on the toptube. In addition to the paint, the frame offers a few special details, including Sagan’s birthday (26/01/1990) in the form of an emblem on the top tube.
Another custom touch is seen with the K-Edge computer mount up front, laser-etched with ‘Petobomber’. It’s a custom mount to hold Sagan’s new Wahoo Bolt Elemnt out in front of the impossibly tight gap the Specialized AeroFly carbon handlebar allows, especially when combined with the carbon Zipp stem (not a sponsor).
Other details include a full Shimano Dura-Ace R9150 Di2 groupset, including sprint shifters in the drops and the Specialized-branded powermeter attached to the cranks. The wheels are Roval CLX 50 with CeramicSpeed bearings, wrapped in Specialized Turbo 26mm tubulars. Bar tape is from SupaCaz, with a Specialized S-Works Romin Evo perch.
Jagwire brake housing sits as a stealthy detail.
Pictured is the old Ridley Noah SL fork with its split blade design. While the old design was claimed to help cheat the wind, Greipel’s bike shows a different, more traditional fork design in use. Expect new Noah SL’s to come with a simplified fork.
German sprinter Andre Greipel is another rider who needs little introduction, with 22 Grand Tour stage wins to his name. Standing at over 6ft (184cm) and weighing 82kg (181lb), and with a powerful sprint, it’s easy to see why his nickname is The Gorilla.
Fittingly, Greipel has long ridden custom painted bikes, with his own Gorilla graphic almost always present. Looking to his Ridley Noah SL, a bike he’s been riding since the 2017 Tour de France, the graphic appears on both sides of the front end, occupying the oversized head tube.
In addition to frame’s paint, saddle sponsor Selle Italia produces a special saddle for Greipel, with his name and graphics printed onto the covering material.
Greipel’s bike features a new simplified fork design, replacing the Noah SL’s previously split-blade fork design with a more traditional looking fork. We can only assume it saves weight, increases stiffness, and may even be faster in crosswinds.
The rest of the build is similar to the rest of the Lotto-Soudal team, including a full Campagnolo Super Record EPS groupset and matching Bora tubular wheels. Other details include Lizard Skins bar tape, Look Keo Blade Carbon pedals, Tacx bottle cages, Deda Superzero Alloy handlebar and stem, and SRM powermeter.
Other, easily overlooked, details include an anodised green C-Bear ceramic bearing bottom bracket, and Jagwire segmented and compression-free brake housing.
For a look at the standard-issue team bikes, see our 2018 Bikes of the WorldTour feature.