part one of this series, we showed you the road bikes of the Ineos, Deceuninck-Quicktep, CCC, Jumbo-Visma, and Trek-Segafredo teams, which obviously left an awful lot of lovely two-wheeled machinery still to cover.
We’re now deep into the Tour de France, and in this round of tech coverage, we bring you the team bikes of Ag2R La Mondiale, Arkea-Samsic, Astana, Bahrain-Merida, Bora-Hansgrohe, Cofidis, Dimension Data, Groupama-FDJ, Katusha, Lotto-Soudal, Movistar, and Sunweb.
What’ll you find in here? Lots of gold with Bahrain-Merida, the Eddy Merckx frames of Ag2R that aren’t really Eddy Merckxs, a broad mix of aero and non-aero — and rim brakes and disc brakes — and a surprising amount of … tape.
So dig in and feast your eyes, and never fear, part three will be here sooner than later.
Please note that this gallery is best viewed on a desktop computer with a big monitor. And you can also find our complete coverage from this year’s Tour de France ] here.
Bahrain-Merida has mostly been on the Reacto aero model during the earlier stages of this year’s Tour, with the lighter-weight Scultura being saved for the big mountains.
Bahrain-Merida captain Vincenzo Nibali doesn’t make do with plain old name stickers on his bike.
This has been Nibali’s signature paint scheme for some time now.
FSA and Prologo stickers adorn the front end of Bahrain-Merida’s team bikes. For the television cameras, of course.
SRM’s Origin power meter costs more than the bikes that many of us have in our garages right now. And Bahrain-Merida has a fleet of them.
The aero seatpost on the Merida Reacto has a pronounced cutout on the back that is meant to provide some comfort on rough roads. That isn’t an elastomer on the trailing edge, by the way; it’s basically just a soft foam filler to maintain the aero profile
Standard plastic FSA bottom bracket cups are apparently just fine for Bahrain-Merida.
Ever wonder how much pressure pro teams are running in their road tires? While there’s certainly a fair bit of variation – and a lot of secrecy – most of the Bahrain-Merida team was running 6.9bar, or 100psi.
The Merida Reacto’s rear brake is mounted behind the bottom bracket, below the chainstays. As such, riders can’t reach down there to open up the brake if and when needed, so there’s an inline quick-release built into the brake housing instead.
Gold is a recurring theme for the Bahrain-Merida team. Even the bottles are gold!
You have to wonder if there’s some tension between the Eddy Merckx and Ridley brands. Both are owned by the same parent company, but while the Ag2R La Mondiale team is officially sponsored by Eddy Merckx, the team bikes are really all Ridleys in disguise. Technically speaking, this really is an Eddy Merckx Stockeu69, but it’s the same mold as the Ridley Helium SLX.
Ag2r’s Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 rear derailleurs are upgraded with CeramicSpeed’s OSPW pulley cage to help reduce drivetrain friction.
Power data for the Ag2r-La Mondiale team comes courtesy of Rotor’s 2InPower cranksets.
Seriously, team mechanics really need to find new markers. Ag2r’s official tire sponsor is Vredestein, but these are clearly Continentals.
The Cervelo S5 of Team Sunweb is one of the most progressive aero road bikes in the peloton. It wasn’t all that long ago that you’d only see shapes like this on a full-blown time trial machine.
Science says aero is king, but that doesn’t stop a lot of riders at the Tour from reaching for more traditional bikes like this Cervelo R5, which places a higher priority on low weight and high stiffness. Note the use of rim brakes on these bikes – a common pairing.
Cervelo uses a radical split stem on the S5, which is supposedly not only more aerodynamic, but helps with the internal cable routing, too. As it’s a two-piece, bolt-together design, it also allows for more fit customization than if it was all molded as one piece.
Deep-section aero seatposts often require dedicated solution to hold the number plates.
This patch of electrical tape is just there for the small electronic transponders used by race organizers to track rider positions. The tape helps keep them from shifting around, and also protects the paint from marring after repeated zip-tie applications.
The UCI is still checking regularly for hidden motors – and still hasn’t found any, at least not at this level of the sport.
The Canyons of Team Movistar are a vision in blue, particularly with the matching Campagnolo rim decals and anodized-to-match Power2Max power meter chainring spiders.
Two guesses who this bike belongs to…
The rainbow rim decals are a nice touch.
Lotto Soudal is yet another team running a mix of aero and lightweight bikes at the Tour, along with a mix of rim brakes and disc brakes. And if that Helium SLX frame looks familiar, that’s what the Ag2r team is on, too – only theirs are painted to look like Eddy Merckx frames.
Critics have said that mixing rim brakes and disc brakes in the peloton would lead to inevitable disaster, but everyone seems to be getting along just fine so far.
Segmented aluminum housing like what the Lotto Soudal team is using was once extremely common. It’s lighter than standard housing, and improves braking performance and lever feel, too. But with the rise of hydraulic disc brakes, this stuff is much less common than it used to be.
O-rings are normally used to secure this Campagnolo EPS interface on most consumer bikes, but zip-ties are certainly more secure. Notice how the wires are shrink-wrapped together, too.
Katusha is running a mix of Canyon Ultimate CF SLX and Aeroad CF SLX frames for road stages, all with disc brakes.
Whereas some Trek-Segafredo riders are running custom standard-sized chainrings on their SRAM Red eTap AXS groupsets, Katusha is sticking with stock setups.
Katusha uses Continental tires glued to a range of Zipp carbon wheels.
A bit of woven tape helps make sure this Katusha rider’s Wahoo computer doesn’t go bouncing off into the weeds.
Bora-Hansgrohe arguably has some of the best-looking bikes in the peloton.
Ever wonder where team mechanics keep the thru-axles when the bikes are racked up waiting for washes and service? Turns out those saddle cutouts can be pretty handy for more than just comfort.
The Kuota Khans of Team Cofidis are also among the more traditional-looking machines in the peloton.
CeramicSpeed gets all the attention these days when it comes to oversized rear derailleur pulley systems, but Cofidis is going the budget route with this similar product from Taiwanese company Token.
The new Michelin Power Competition tubulars being run by team Cofidis feature latex inner tubes inside cotton-and-aramid casings. Cofidis is running the 25mm width.
Julien Simon of Cofidis clearly likes a lot of saddle setback on his Kuota Khan.
Look has a special Tour de France edition of its Keo Blade Carbon Ceramic Ti pedals, and there are quite a few of them scattered among team bikes at this year’s race.
GoPro outfits quite a few bikes with cameras during various stages of the Tour. This footage isn’t the same as the live feed you get during the race itself, though. Those cameras are quite different, and this GoPro footage is typically used after the fact.
Who said Tour de France riders don’t want to be comfy, too?
Cofidis has a smart idea to help keep riders cool when they’re warming up at the team bus. This isn’t just a fan; there’s a mister mounted to the front. I can say firsthand that it felt very, very refreshing.
The BMC TimeMachine Road of Dimension Data is the stealth fighter of the peloton, at least in terms of how it looks. Note how the custom Elite bottle cages blend perfectly into the profile of the down tube and seat tube.
Many high-end road bikes these days are designed with one-piece molded carbon fiber handlebar-and-stem setups. However, they’re often jettisoned for more conventional components since they’re rarely offered in the oddball sizes that pros demand to accommodate their ultra-aggressive fits. BMC uses a forged aluminum stem (and a rather neat manufacturing process) for its two-piece pseudo-integrated setup, so it’s a lot easier to accommodate sizes that will never be sold to the buying public. I’ve seen ones that were as long as 170mm from center to center.
Some riders really prefer a slick-looking out-front computer mount, but others are just fine with the standard stem mount. To each their own.
Astana’s Argon 18 machines are distinctly classic-looking, with nominally round carbon tubes and rim brakes.
A fleet of Corima carbon tubulars for the Astana squad.
Prologo has supplied several teams with snazzy custom-colored saddles.
Astana rider Gorka Izagirre clearly has a different viewpoint on saddle setback relative to his teammates. That’s an FSA seatpost turned 180° around, by the way, not a special forward-offset post.
Like most other teams, Arkea-Samsic is running a mix of aero and non-aero bikes on road stages. They’re also mixing rim and disc brakes.
Andre Greipel has one of the most recognizable personal logos in the peloton.
Not every combination of computer mount and handlebar is offered in fancy anodized aluminum. RaceWare Direct comes to the rescue for the Arkea-Samsic team, who’s sponsored by Wahoo Fitness, but whose Vision Metron handlebar sponsor only offers a mount for Garmin computers.
Many riders run TT-style chainrings on their road bikes, not for any aero benefits, but for increased stiffness.
The FDJ team has mostly been on Lapierre’s light-and-stiff Xelius SL model so far. With rim brakes, of course.
The forward attachment point of the seatstays is said to allow for more seat tube flex on rough roads, and thus, more rider comfort.
Does it seem odd to anyone else that Garmin-sponsored teams at the Tour are running monstrous Edge 1030 computers? Seems a bit excessive for the application, no?