RadioShack Trek Madone 7
Every year, companies launch innovative new bikes and product at the Tour de France. From new shades and brakes to aero and light bikes, these are the top ten new products we spotted at the 2013 Tour.
With Fabian Cancellara sitting out this tour and Andy Schleck still not back to his best, it was German domestique Jan Bakelants who christened the Madone 7 with a surprise win on Stage two aboard the new bike. Rather than a wholesale redesign, the Madone 7 gets a series of small tweaks, including revised shaping in the chain stays for improved road feel, a new carbon layup that cuts frame weight to 725 grams, and better braking power from additional integration with direct-mount style brakes. After the tour, Trek Travel is giving away Jens Voigt’s personal Madone 7.
Cofidis Look 695 Aerolight
The French manufacturer joins the aero road bike craze with its striking new 695. Though its tube shapes are still fairly blocky, aerodynamic improvements come from a sleeker version of the company’s unique, fully adjustable C-stem and, most importantly, from some trick brake integration. The front brakes are fully custom and housed within the fork, with the cables routing in the stem and down through the steer tube. Rear brakes are tucked neatly behind the bottom bracket. The 695 also gets a new carbon fiber layup, with a thinner 1.5K weave nudging frame weight down to 870 grams. Cofidis’ Christophe Le Mével is the only rider in the race aboard the 695 Aerolight.
Orica-Green Edge Scott Addict SL
Two years after the aero Foil squeezed the venerable Addict out of Scott’s line, the Addict returns as an even ganglier climber. The result is a bike that is under a kilo (frame and fork). Scott says that relative to the original Addict, the SL is 39 percent more comfortable, 6 percent stiffer in the bottom bracket, and 25 percent more aerodynamic. And while some of the Orica-Green Edge boys are riding the Addict SLs on mountain stages, Simon Gerrans won the flat Stage 3 aboard the Foil, so there’s clearly room for both bikes in Scott’s range.
Euskatel Orbea Orca
It’s been a decade since Orbea launched the Orca, a mash-up of “Orbea” and “carbon,” and this fifth iteration was launched specifically for the Basque Euskatel racing team’s Tour de France bid. Though it’s lighter than ever, at 950 grams for the frame the Orca is still no featherweight. The frame is electronic and mechanical compatible, with fully sheathed internal routings to accommodate both. The company says the new Orca is 10 percent lighter and 8 percent stiffer than previous models, and though the improvements haven’t yet won Euskatel any TDF glory, they impressed us on a test ride in Utah. Euskatel’s blaze orange theme is a nice touch, too.
Sky Bolide and Movistar Sibilo
Italian manufacturer Pinarello has not one, but two new time trial bikes at this Tour, partly because the company sponsors both Movistar and Team Sky. The Bolide actually debuted at the Giro in May, and it clearly has had some input from the folks at Great Britain cycling—especially in the cockpit area—which helped with the gear that saw Bradley Wiggins and Froome go 1-2 in the TT at last summer’s Olympics. Meanwhile, the Sibilo forgoes Pinarello’s trademark swoopy looks for straighter, more classically aero lines. Both bikes showed well during the Stage 11 TT to Mont-Saint-Michel—you could say the Bolide gets the edge given Froome’s dominant performance, though Valverde’s 13th aboard the Sibilo is impressive given that the Spaniard is not generally among the best in the TT.
Giro launched the first aero road helmet at last year's Tour, and Specialized jumps into the fray with the Evade. The company claims that wearing the Evade saves 46 seconds over 40 kilometers versus a standard road helmet. And Specialized ran some simulations for sprinter Mark Cavendish that showed he would gain 2.5 meters in the last 250 meters of sprinting in the Evade instead of his Standard Prevail. Performance claims aside, the Evade is good looking for an aero lid and has deep channels and a huge rear cutout that should keep things cool.
Castelli Aero Race 4.0 Jersey
The quest for free watts through aerodynamics isn’t just in bikes and helmets, but also apparel. The Aero Race 4.0 that many of the Garmin guys are wearing might not look much different than their normal kit, but wearing the jersey is said to save 12 watts at 40 kilometers per hour compared to a standard top. The savings come from a variety of textured materials as well as a compressive lower half that eliminates the standard floppy waistband. Castelli says the jersey is faster than its own San Remo Speedsuit and lighter than its climber’s jersey, which Dan Martin was wearing when he won Stage 9 at Bagnères-de-Bigorre.
Shimano R320 Special Edition Shoes
The R320 was launched earlier this spring, but Shimano has produced a small-run special edition version in flashy blue. The company will produce only 350 pairs of the shoes, which have the same thinner, lighter Dynalast fit system as the standard 320s and can be custom fit at any Shimano dealer. A handful of high-profile riders at the Tour are sporting the special edition 320s, most notablye Marcel Kittel, who has sped across the line three times so far in a blaze of shiny blue.
SRAM Red Hydraulic Rim Brakes
The UCI hasn’t yet approved disc brakes for use in the pro peloton (and who knows if they ever will), but SRAM has taken the hydraulic internals it developed for Red 22 Discs and applied it to a rim brake setup fro the pros. The system is said to yield better stopping power and higher modulation, both of which are good things given the sometimes poor braking performance associated with carbon rims. After trying the hydraulic stoppers for the first time just before the Tour, Cavendish demanded them for his bikes, and SRAM rushed to make it happen in time for the Grand Départ in Corsica.
Oakley Special Edition Tour de France Fuel Cell
You won’t see any riders racing in these lifestyle-oriented special edition Fuel Cells, though it is pretty amazing how many racers Oakley sponsors. In 2012, seven of the top ten riders on GC chose to race in the company’s RadarLock. As a tribute, Oakley has released four special edition glasses for the Tour, including the RadarLock and RadarLock XL, the Half Jacket XL, and these these Fuel Cells, which sport the colors of the French flag on the inner ear stem, a red and blue Oakley icon, and the logo of the Tour de France etched into the lens. All of Oakley’s Tour racers wore the special edition RadarLocks on Stage 1 and will wear them again on Stage 21, and many have been sporting the new Fuel Cells after each day’s stage.