Boonen in his final Paris-Roubaix

The Color White

by / / 113 posts

I saw the Black Crowes in concert some years ago, and as the band swung into their first number, Chris Robinson casually strolled onstage wearing head to toe white sequins. Later in the show, he remarked that nothing quite makes you feel like a virgin like wearing white.

The color white is indeed a bold statement. A white house declares to the neighborhood that the homeowners are committed to give nature the what-for and keep it pristine at all times. Similarly, the Cyclist who wears white declares that they are willing to take their chances against road grime, despite effectively turning themselves into a human mudflap.

White is like hanging a “Kick Me” sign on Nature.

I personally find it irresistible. White bar tape and socks, even on a bike I expect to get dirty, is a must. I do admit to going through phases where I’ll experiment with black or orange socks or bar tape like a temperamental tween experimenting with talking back to their parents. But I always find myself irrevocably drawn back to white.

When I was 13, I bought my first Selle San Marco Regal saddle in perforated white leather. (I promptly crashed on it). It matched my Scott Drop-Ins which were wrapped in white Benotto bar tape, as well as the white spatters on my early Nineties paintjob. It was many years later before I bought myself some White Ladies. And to be fair, as much as I love my Orange Damsels, there is nothing like a clean, white pair of socks matched to a clean, white pair of shoes. Just ask Tom Boonen.

White sunglasses are a must as well, and after a short foray from the path, I’m back on the white helmet program. White jerseys tend to look sharper than their dark counterparts (assuming your physical qualities don’t require the slimming effect of black.) I’m on a quest for a white bike, but people seem loathe to make me one, as they are apparently unlucky. (I’m going for the next best thing: silver sparkles.)

White is bold and requires a concerted effort to ensure one keeps it pristine, but it pays you back by Looking incomparably Fantastic. It seems the only place where white doesn’t look better is on bibshorts. Go figure.

// Awesome Belgian Guys // Etiquette // La Vie Velominatus // Look Pro

  1. @chuckp

    @frank

    Is your wife wearing a sleeveless jersey? Two demerits.

    Rule #99 – WAGs who ride get to do whatever they please because you should be so fortunate to have a significant other who doesn’t resent that you ride. That said, here’s a pic of my wife from a coffee ride we did a few weekends ago.

    I’ll agree with you that having a SO who rides is a wonderful thing Chuck, but is that a Mellow Johnny’s jersey she’s wearing?

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  2. @wiscot

    I’ll agree with you that having a SO who rides is a wonderful thing Chuck, but is that a Mellow Johnny’s jersey she’s wearing?

    Yes, it is. Bought on a visit to Austin many, many moons ago well before the Lance fell from grace. I was never a big Lance fan, but my wife and daughter were. My wife no longer is (and my daughter was crushed), but for whatever reason she likes to wear the jersey. Presumably because it’s comfortable. Like I said … WAGs who ride are allowed to do whatever they want. Far be it from me to give her shit about it.

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  3. Goddamn, how timely, as always! I recently made a commitment to keep the kit simple, as much as I like bright colors. All white shoes, all white socks, black bibs (of course) and simple jerseys, with a black or white helmet and black or white shades. I was walking my dogs yesterday evening when someone pedaled by on a bike, covered in all sorts of garish gear. It reaffirmed my commitment to classy kit. I have been morbidly noticing all the boutique kit makers pop up on the internet with dopey gear. But, it suddenly seems like bike riders in the real world are now sporting this stuff. I’m seeing more and more people riding on open roads who could pass for a circus clown. This is stirring my inner curmudgeon. I never understood people wearing Surf Style jackets in the 90s and I don’t understand people on bikes wearing a neon vomit massacre kit.

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  4. As for music, first time I saw TOOL live, Maynard performed in black body paint and a black speedo, looking like a character out of their early videos. Bald head, covered in black paint, as was every bit of his skin. I then saw him a few months later with A Perfect Circle. He performed behind a white sheet and “had” hair to his waist. He’s one talented, oddball dude.

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  5. Well I did see this chap in white and his partners live……

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  6. @Teocalli

    Well I did see this chap in white and his partners live……

    Nope, don’t know. Cool outfit though.

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  7. @RobSandy ELP

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  8. @Ron

    Goddamn, how timely, as always! I recently made a commitment to keep the kit simple, as much as I like bright colors. All white shoes, all white socks, black bibs (of course) and simple jerseys, with a black or white helmet and black or white shades. I was walking my dogs yesterday evening when someone pedaled by on a bike, covered in all sorts of garish gear. It reaffirmed my commitment to classy kit. I have been morbidly noticing all the boutique kit makers pop up on the internet with dopey gear. But, it suddenly seems like bike riders in the real world are now sporting this stuff. I’m seeing more and more people riding on open roads who could pass for a circus clown. This is stirring my inner curmudgeon. I never understood people wearing Surf Style jackets in the 90s and I don’t understand people on bikes wearing a neon vomit massacre kit.

    Amen brother. I go for the simple stuff. I’m not a member of a local club as so many of the jerseys are hideous. My last club (now defunct for many years) was the VC d’Or in Scotland. Our jersey was basically the Dutch national Champions jersey. Looked great and I still have a long-sleeved jersey from 1989 that sees regular use!

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  9. @Teocalli

    @Buck Rogers

    @Teocalli @chuckp @KogaLover Just won an old, all black, Brancale Belgian hairnet off of the French ebay site for 45 euro. Looks to be in great shape and it was a large size. So hard to find them in large. Cannot wait to get it! I think that we need to petition the Keepers to add a permanent Eroica thread/tab to the site as nothing screams old school Hardmen like Eroica to me. Talk about riding with ghosts and legends–nothing compares to the Eroica scene for that!

    I’ll raise a glass and a mouse click to that suggestion. I also just noticed that Eroica Limburg switched the ride to Saturday and have added an excursion on Sunday to Heri-Chapelle to see the TdF go by. Be interesting to see how many do that and whether the TV coverage picks up on a contingent in vintage gear cheering on the TdF.

    Holy shit, Brother! Are you in for the full weekend??? That sounds amazing.

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  10. @Teocalli

    @RobSandy ELP

    I wuz going to guess it was Greg Lake. I likes my prog, I do.

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  11. @Buck Rogers Yup making a long weekend of it Thursday to Monday. Seems like it would be rude not to take up the Sunday opportunity – just need to break it with the VMW. “You know how we are going to have that weekend in NL and I was nipping out on one day for a wee ride, well………..”.

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  12. @RobSandy

    @Teocalli

    @RobSandy ELP

    I wuz going to guess it was Greg Lake. I likes my prog, I do.

    Saw ELP on the original Tarcus tour and the following year for Trilogy in the old Odeon in Newcastle on Tyne.

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  13. @wiscot

    @chuckp

    @frank

    Is your wife wearing a sleeveless jersey? Two demerits.

    Rule #99 – WAGs who ride get to do whatever they please because you should be so fortunate to have a significant other who doesn’t resent that you ride. That said, here’s a pic of my wife from a coffee ride we did a few weekends ago.

    I’ll agree with you that having a SO who rides is a wonderful thing Chuck, but is that a Mellow Johnny’s jersey she’s wearing?

    In my Cyclist column, someone once asked me if there were different Rules for women, or if they were exempt from some. (It was a woman who asked the questions.) Like what Rules? Rule #5? No, the answer is no. WAG or otherwise, everyone is held to the same standard, @chuckp, you sexist pig. I judge everyone with the same disdain, irrespective of their gender thankyouverymuch.

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  14. @Ron

    Goddamn, how timely, as always! I recently made a commitment to keep the kit simple, as much as I like bright colors. All white shoes, all white socks, black bibs (of course) and simple jerseys, with a black or white helmet and black or white shades. I was walking my dogs yesterday evening when someone pedaled by on a bike, covered in all sorts of garish gear. It reaffirmed my commitment to classy kit. I have been morbidly noticing all the boutique kit makers pop up on the internet with dopey gear. But, it suddenly seems like bike riders in the real world are now sporting this stuff. I’m seeing more and more people riding on open roads who could pass for a circus clown. This is stirring my inner curmudgeon. I never understood people wearing Surf Style jackets in the 90s and I don’t understand people on bikes wearing a neon vomit massacre kit.

    Your INNER curmudgeon? Jesus, based on the curmudgeon that you let out of the cage, I’m terrified to know what the locked-up one is like, Mr. Hyde.

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  15. @Teocalli

    @Buck Rogers Yup making a long weekend of it Thursday to Monday. Seems like it would be rude not to take up the Sunday opportunity – just need to break it with the VMW. “You know how we are going to have that weekend in NL and I was nipping out on one day for a wee ride, well………..”.

    I’m not seeing the part about heading down on Sunday to see Le Tour go by. This sounds amazing, if true! http://www.eroicalimburg.com/the-ride-1

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  16. @Teocalli

    @Buck Rogers Yup making a long weekend of it Thursday to Monday. Seems like it would be rude not to take up the Sunday opportunity – just need to break it with the VMW. “You know how we are going to have that weekend in NL and I was nipping out on one day for a wee ride, well………..”.

    You don’t happen to have a second 1987 or earlier bike in a 56-58 cm size laying around do you???

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  17. @Buck Rogers

    @Teocalli

    @Buck Rogers Yup making a long weekend of it Thursday to Monday. Seems like it would be rude not to take up the Sunday opportunity – just need to break it with the VMW. “You know how we are going to have that weekend in NL and I was nipping out on one day for a wee ride, well………..”.

    I’m not seeing the part about heading down on Sunday to see Le Tour go by. This sounds amazing, if true! http://www.eroicalimburg.com/the-ride-1

    Look on the News page http://www.eroicalimburg.com/news/eroica-limburg-on-tour-1

    I booked early bird and it was not on then so have emailed them on how to add it. In fact in their write up they say…”Riders from over 16 nationalities will be starting their ride through the cross border region of Limburg. Riders from England and Germany deliver the top 2 of participants.” My registration turned out to be 0002 – so that’s me! Complete fluke that it must have opened just on the day I checked.

    I’m a bit of a midget 53/54. Though The Butler might stretch out with a longer stem and seat post ………..

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  18. @chuckp

    @wiscot

    I’ll agree with you that having a SO who rides is a wonderful thing Chuck, but is that a Mellow Johnny’s jersey she’s wearing?

    Yes, it is. Bought on a visit to Austin many, many moons ago well before the Lance fell from grace. I was never a big Lance fan, but my wife and daughter were. My wife no longer is (and my daughter was crushed), but for whatever reason she likes to wear the jersey. Presumably because it’s comfortable. Like I said … WAGs who ride are allowed to do whatever they want. Far be it from me to give her shit about it.

    Hmmmmm . . . I’d gently suggest she move it to the winter wardrobe – the kind of thing to wear on the turbo or the rollers indoors. OTOH, I well understand one has to pick one’s battles and this might be best one to let go . . .

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  19. @frank

    @chuckp Loves me that Hollands. Please, PLEASE post us a pick of the 90’s-style STI/DT combo?

    Here you go!

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  20. The 90’s style bidon cages are mint, too. The finishing tape on the bar wrap, however, blows balls.

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  21. @frank

    The 90’s style bidon cages are mint, too. The finishing tape on the bar wrap, however, blows balls.

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    Yeah, have to agree with the Ciussi cages being rad. @chuckp – you can find the full-width white electrical tape everywhere and the narrower multi-color packs have the deep royal blue that would work well with your downtube accent. I haven’t seen orange tape though… if I see some I’ll message you. BTW… I cut a narrow strip of that same dark blue tape to use as a height marker on my seat tube, and it’s perfect. Subtle, but if/when you do see it, at least it matches your color scheme.

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  22. @chuckp So the Hollands is just dripping class. And the Felt, you just know, has to be a sweet ride. So… which one is getting the most miles ? The modern C or the classic lugged steel ? I have a good buddy with a collection of classic Italian steel but it’s his C Merckx that gets the miles. @litvi Wow ! When I get big I’m gonna get me something in Celeste. And if not a bike, then it’ll be a Fender in Sea-foam Green. That’s a sweet bike. @MangoDave And did you start this whole thread of awesome bikes ?!? @DoctorNurse I love black bikes. And have more than a few. That collection ? Makes me want a white one ! Well…not really. But I sure appreciate that room full of beauties for sure. Cheers all

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  23. @Randy C

    @litvi Wow ! When I get big I’m gonna get me something in Celeste. And if not a bike, then it’ll be a Fender in Sea-foam Green. That’s a sweet bike.

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    Thanks. Back in the day it had a Selle Italia Flite like everyone was running, but I’m glad I eventually replaced it with that gorgeous tribute to Rule #61. It’s definitely a classic — even more so with that Brooks — and it rides like a dream. I get a kick out of all the recent comments about “I almost broke 50 MPH once and I almost died” we’ve been seeing lately. Hell, 80 km/Hr is just about where this thing finds the rails. Getting past that shaky spell at 75 km/Hr and feeling this guy settle right in at 80, then riding that groove through 85-90 km/Hr descents? Talk about some fun shit. Unfortunately I don’t have any nearby descents long enough to hit 100, but I’ll let y’all know if I ever earn my white silk scarf.* *A friend once told me to wear a white scarf on your motorcycle you have to earn it by breaking 100 MPH. That could be a thing, or it could be bullshit; it sounds too good not to be true, so let’s run with it. Obviously for our purposes, we will need a threshold of 100 km/Hr instead. (Note: this is strictly because Rule #24 is insuperable; some boring math that demonstrates I will eventually stop going faster sounds dangerously like “science” or “fact” and as such it has no place here.)

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  24. The only time I’ve dared to put white bar tape on the bike…

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  25. @Phillip Mercer I did use the spare tape wisely to indoctrinate my son on his balance bike…

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  26. @Phillip Mercer

    The only time I’ve dared to put white bar tape on the bike…

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    I’m with you. I feel so pretentious putting white tape on my bike. Of course, I am the de facto leader of my “Team of One” but still does not feel like I have perhaps earned the right to ride white tape.

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  27. @Phillip Mercer (that being said, my Hampsten has white tape and my new-to-me Eroica Hinault has white tape as well!)

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  28. Regarding white not belonging on bib shorts- look no further than the FDJ team kit for evidence. It is only my opinion but the all white FDJ kit is one of the worst in the peloton. However, changing to blue shorts makes the kit one of my favorites:

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  29. @Randy C

    @chuckp So the Hollands is just dripping class. And the Felt, you just know, has to be a sweet ride. So… which one is getting the most miles ? The modern C or the classic lugged steel ? I have a good buddy with a collection of classic Italian steel but it’s his C Merckx that gets the miles.

    Thanks for the kind words. I pretty much just ride the Felt FC these days. But now you’ve reminded me that I should try to get the Hollands out every once in a while. Maybe on my “easy” days when I don’t have to deal with so many hills and wonder how I used to ride/race that bike with a lowest gear of 39×21 in the mountains.

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  30. @litvi

    Yeah, have to agree with the Ciussi cages being rad. @chuckp – you can find the full-width white electrical tape everywhere and the narrower multi-color packs have the deep royal blue that would work well with your downtube accent. I haven’t seen orange tape though… if I see some I’ll message you. BTW… I cut a narrow strip of that same dark blue tape to use as a height marker on my seat tube, and it’s perfect. Subtle, but if/when you do see it, at least it matches your color scheme.

    When I switch back to the stem/bars in the pic, I’ll also go back to white bar tape and use white electrical tape to finish it. I have blue electrical tape too so might see how that looks. Will probably just do regular black electrical tape for my seat post marker.

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  31. @Phillip Mercer

    @Phillip Mercer I did use the spare tape wisely to indoctrinate my son on his balance bike…

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    That. Is. Awesome.

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  32. @frank

    Your INNER curmudgeon? Jesus, based on the curmudgeon that you let out of the cage, I’m terrified to know what the locked-up one is like, Mr. Hyde.

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    He actually hibernates most of the year, so he’s usually pretty lethargic when I let him out. Hey, just like with the Rules, I have my own standards. It was fun when people started wearing colorful, stripey socks and such. Now that people are trying to sell full white kits with unicorns and ice cream cones on them…I’m not feeling it at all. Cut that out.

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  33. I love the FDJ kit, no matter what color bibs. AND, I like the AG2R kit as well. F the boring all black or black and white kits. So many ugly ones out there. Red and black are ugly too.

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  34. @frank

    @Phillip Mercer

    @Phillip Mercer I did use the spare tape wisely to indoctrinate my son on his balance bike…

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    That. Is. Awesome.

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    Only just seen this – bizarre, was having a conversation with my son yesterday and he said he’d like some Lizardskins camo tape on his bike. He’s 5.

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  35. @MangoDave

    @universo

    @Buck Rogers

    @universo Damn! Now that’s a proper bike! Who made it? Frame?

    Eddy Merckx MX Leader — Noah Rosen of Velocolour turned my design scheme into his 2016 white edition. We collaborated on my understated graphics to carry only the an M, Columbus Dove, and Velocolour logos. Then M appears where needed and Velocolour added dashes of pink on the pantograph areas of crown and bridge.

    Nice! I’d love to see some photos of these details.

    thnx — much more detail @ velocolour

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  36. really good to check back in and see what’s been happening with this group — after a long time lost in the wilderness — after gravel kept me hidden away.

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  37. @universo

    @MangoDave

    @universo

    @Buck Rogers

    @universo Damn! Now that’s a proper bike! Who made it? Frame?

    Eddy Merckx MX Leader — Noah Rosen of Velocolour turned my design scheme into his 2016 white edition. We collaborated on my understated graphics to carry only the an M, Columbus Dove, and Velocolour logos. Then M appears where needed and Velocolour added dashes of pink on the pantograph areas of crown and bridge.

    Nice! I’d love to see some photos of these details.

    thnx — much more detail @ velocolour

    1

    this bike is completely outstanding. i think the MX Leader ranks as the finest steel frame ever seen in the pro peloton. i like it better than the Colbago Master.

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  39. @slatanic

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    Cool – is that Goyt Valley perchance?

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  40. @Teocalli No, close though.. :) Its heading up the Gap Of Dunloe outside Killarney; heading for the Black Valley. It was for the 30th anniversary of the Nissan Classic in 2015

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  41. @slatanic

    @Teocalli No, close though.. :) Its heading up the Gap Of Dunloe outside Killarney; heading for the Black Valley. It was for the 30th anniversary of the Nissan Classic in 2015

    1

    Nice

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  42. @slatanic

    @Teocalli No, close though.. :) Its heading up the Gap Of Dunloe outside Killarney; heading for the Black Valley. It was for the 30th anniversary of the Nissan Classic in 2015

    2

    Brilliant! Abso-fucking-lutely BRILLIANT!!! I must ride this once I have my ’85 Hinault!!!

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  43. @Cary

    this bike is completely outstanding. i think the MX Leader ranks as the finest steel frame ever seen in the pro peloton. i like it better than the Colbago Master.

    cue music – I just can’t seem to get enough – Depeche Mode. I’ll need to make an effort to find yous Velominati out at this year’s Cogal somewhere — a meeting of the machines

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  44. Was playing some futbol last evening when a guy rode by on a nice bike in some classy kit. I couldn’t stop staring and the other team scored on us (I was playing in the back), I didn’t let on what distracted me, in order to keep hidden the depths of my cycling obsessed from the footballers. It was so refreshing! I either see folks in boring basic kit or totally outrageous clown college stuff. I’m already dreaming of churning out the KMs this weekend and looking down to see my white shoes and white socks. (Then again, a tropical storm is coming this way, so might have to go for less virginal gear).

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  45. @Ron

    I love the FDJ kit, no matter what color bibs. AND, I like the AG2R kit as well. F the boring all black or black and white kits. So many ugly ones out there. Red and black are ugly too.

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    I’m with you on the FDJ kit. And the AG2R kit has grown on me over time.

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  46. @chuckp

    @Ron

    I love the FDJ kit, no matter what color bibs. AND, I like the AG2R kit as well. F the boring all black or black and white kits. So many ugly ones out there. Red and black are ugly too.

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    I’m with you on the FDJ kit. And the AG2R kit has grown on me over time.

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    I will add my voice in solidarity. I like the AG2R kit. Wouldn’t it be nice if Bardet won the Tour?

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  47. @RobSandy

    @chuckp

    @Ron

    I love the FDJ kit, no matter what color bibs. AND, I like the AG2R kit as well. F the boring all black or black and white kits. So many ugly ones out there. Red and black are ugly too.

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    I’m with you on the FDJ kit. And the AG2R kit has grown on me over time.

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    I will add my voice in solidarity. I like the AG2R kit. Wouldn’t it be nice if Bardet won the Tour?

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    Hear, hear gentlemen! Nice to see some sanity around these parts when it comes to pro kit I like the AG2R and FDJ kits a lot. They tweak them each year, but they stay essentially the same. The current Jumbo kit is a shocker – and not in a good way. EQS is always good. Sunweb is ok but the old B&W Giant kit was a classic. Sky? Boring. Astana? Boring.

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  48. @Randy C

    @chuckp So the Hollands is just dripping class. And the Felt, you just know, has to be a sweet ride. So… which one is getting the most miles ? The modern C or the classic lugged steel ? I have a good buddy with a collection of classic Italian steel but it’s his C Merckx that gets the miles. @litvi Wow ! When I get big I’m gonna get me something in Celeste. And if not a bike, then it’ll be a Fender in Sea-foam Green. That’s a sweet bike. @MangoDave And did you start this whole thread of awesome bikes ?!? @DoctorNurse I love black bikes. And have more than a few. That collection ? Makes me want a white one ! Well…not really. But I sure appreciate that room full of beauties for sure. Cheers all

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    Been traveling for a while, recently back and catching up here. No, I don’t think I can take credit for starting posts of awesome bikes, there are others before mine (but thx). I do enjoy looking at everyones’ rides, no matter who started posting.

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  49. @universo

    @MangoDave

    @universo

    @Buck Rogers

    @universo Damn! Now that’s a proper bike! Who made it? Frame?

    Eddy Merckx MX Leader — Noah Rosen of Velocolour turned my design scheme into his 2016 white edition. We collaborated on my understated graphics to carry only the an M, Columbus Dove, and Velocolour logos. Then M appears where needed and Velocolour added dashes of pink on the pantograph areas of crown and bridge.

    Nice! I’d love to see some photos of these details.

    thnx — much more detail @ velocolour

    1

    Such understated class! Love it.

    1
  50. @universo

    One word … ethereal.

    1

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