Bikes of The Tour 2013

The New Madone photo: Velonews
Is Trek the new Bianchi?

How can we not talk about the Tour? After Sunday’s stage it’s hard not to be a little excited. Until yesterday the most thrilling thing I had seen was Mark Cavendish’s mad man chase back to the peloton after a late-in-the-race crash. He needed to get back quickly as the race was hurtling toward a sprint finish he was supposed to win. Happily there was a TV moto trying to follow him. For much of the chase he was without teammates, picking his way through the following convoy at high speed, jumping curbs, drafting cars very close, zipping around everything with millimeters to spare. He is a sprinter. These scenes are happening during every stage but the TV viewers miss almost all of it.

And now the rant…

Are all carbon monocoque bikes getting uglier as their computer aided design becomes more and more functional? Engineers are designing for a combination of aerodynamics, weight, stiffness but badass looks are not a design parameter. BMC has been crowing about some new software that produces the best design after a zillion Monte Carlo simulations but man, that damn thing is not pretty. All the monocoque frames must be heading toward the same computer derived solution, but not quite yet. 

I’m sorry to offend Pinarello owners but the new Dogma is incrementally uglier than all the other preceding ugly Dogmas. It pains me to say this. I am a devout Italophile and longtime admirerer of Pinarello bikes. And I’m the one around here lecturing about form following function, but this bike is wrong. I realize the kinky stays and fork blades are shaped that way for performance, aren’t they? The frame looks like it stayed in the easy-bake oven too long and everything got a bit wobbly before it cooled.  The front fork is a horror, the seat stays are bent the wrong direction, the chain stays don’t match.

The all carbon-weave clear coat frames are boring. Pinarello takes a lot of pride in their paint and for that I salute them. Luckily Sky’s and Movistar’s bikes are painted glossy and dark. It’s harder to see just how nasty the front fork is. With all the frame designs stuttering toward the same solution, it’s the paint that sets them apart. Matte black Orbeas and Bianchis look nearly identical until the orange or celeste paint goes on.

Trek has also been into the paint for its frames. Thankfully one doesn’t see a carbon clear-coat Madone. They have a new weight- saving paint this year and for the Tour they unleashed a beautiful mono-pantone  “lei ‘o pard blue” (not to be confused with leopard blue) for the Shack rides. Now that is a paint job! The new Madone is ugly. There, I said it, but the damn paint saves its kammtail ass. Its head tube, or what used to be the head tube looks clumsy. At least the Trek bikes have a proper front fork and it’s painted that great color, as is the seat mast. Would I like the Pinarello if it was painted up like this? Yes I’d like it a lot more but I can’t get around the wavy fork. The first time I saw a steel Colnago with straight fork I fell in love. It shouldn’t even work but does. I’d never considered that a front fork could be straight. Straight fork yes, wavy fork no. Is it just me? Obviously it is as every Pinarello has a noodle fork and they are selling nicely. What does Ernesto Colnago say about a Pinarello? Believe me, I wish I knew. The Colnago C-59 is a fantastic looking bike and if that was painted completely “leopard” blue, my head might explode.

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123 Replies to “Bikes of The Tour 2013”

  1. They are all converging on a common appearance and decals have become larger and louder over the years.  I often wonder, given the UCI weight restriction, if Titanium will make a resurgence in the pro teams.  A round tube Ti bike would really stand out among the full carbon set that you see today.  It would be sensible marketing, but there isn’t a readily known mass produced Ti bike maker that is probably up to the task of sponsoring a team.

  2. @Duane

    They are all converging on a common appearance and decals have become larger and louder over the years. I often wonder, given the UCI weight restriction, if Titanium will make a resurgence in the pro teams. A round tube Ti bike would really stand out among the full carbon set that you see today. It would be sensible marketing, but there isn’t a readily known mass produced Ti bike maker that is probably up to the task of sponsoring a team.

    Surely Madison Genesis are already there….steel is real!

  3. @Duane  @Deakus

    Howz-a-boutz round tube steel next to today’s carbon?


    “American Flyers” edition Specialized SL3s Saxo Bank races at the 2010 Tour of California.

  4. @xced

    those Dogmas are fugly.

    best looking bike of the bunch i reckon:

    Look seems to have maintained a high degree of aesthetic style. It’s said that form follows function, but a purely functionalist view of design shuts it’s eyes to the beauty of style. The two don’t need to be mutually exclusive. I’m riding a 3 year old Trek where the designers made an effort toward fluid lines and parts to whole relationship. Some recent frames seem to have escaped from a Transformers movie, by comparison.

    Just started a VMH approved savings account for a Pegoretti. The consensus of the guys at a recent training camp was inspiring: Pegoretti frame = groupo. Group-san? Not on your life.

  5. I agree with those who argue that the Leopard colour is a bit too close to Bianchi celeste, but damn it is a nice looking color.  What really does it for me is the painted to match stem and seat pillar.  I decided a long time ago that should I find myself ever purchasing a custom frame, at the very least it will have a painted to match stem.  And I agree with Gianni – the Dogma is seriously one of the ugliest bikes I’ve ever seen – I don’t care if asymmetric design makes the bike go faster, to look good is already to go fast.  Sadly these bikes look like a bad Salvador Dali painting.

  6. How about Legend from Bergamo, Italy. They do a great light blue/sky blue/Belgium blue. They have non-curvy but beefy forks and ride great as well.

  7. Agree the Colnago looks cool, also the Bianchi’s. The rest are pretty uninspiring. Luckily, at my level of crapness generally and overweightedness I can sit on something that looks nice, as spec isn’t going to make me go faster.

  8. A little less black n orange to be seen in the future with the impending demise of Euskael and their Orbea bikes, sad to say.

  9. The Katusha Canyons are looking good. Top tube not horizontal but at least it’s straight. I know it’s a bit of a Cervelo-a-like but still…

  10. @VeloVita

    I agree with those who argue that the Leopard colour is a bit too close to Bianchi celeste, but damn it is a nice looking color. What really does it for me is the painted to match stem and seat pillar. I decided a long time ago that should I find myself ever purchasing a custom frame, at the very least it will have a painted to match stem. And I agree with Gianni – the Dogma is seriously one of the ugliest bikes I’ve ever seen – I don’t care if asymmetric design makes the bike go faster, to look good is already to go fast. Sadly these bikes look like a bad Salvador Dali painting.

    Me too, I love the matching stem and seat mast with the rest of the paint. It’s unusual in the peloton and they chose a beautiful color to do it with. And I agree on the stem matching the frame in general, it looks wicked.

  11. @simon

    @Nate

    Kirk weren’t exactly known for good looking bikes.

    Fucking hideous magnesium thing

    Neither were Softrides.

    @titirangisi

    Celeste is only on a Bianchi – This should be a new rule.

    When asked, I told a teacher in grade school that my favorite color was Celeste. She told me to pick a real color.

  12. @heinous

    The Katusha Canyons are looking good. Top tube not horizontal but at least it’s straight. I know it’s a bit of a Cervelo-a-like but still…

    I think Canyon might be the first to do that sort of design, but I forget how that lawsuit worked out and don’t really care. I think if Gianni is right that all bikes are moving toward the same conclusion in design, this will be very close. Its certianly the way Veloforma went with their newest road frame.

    I loved my Cervelo R3 to pieces, literally. Always thought that was the best bike I’d ever ridden…too bad it broke. But I’m utterly psyched to get riding on the new steed as soon as I build it this week.

     
  13. It has to be said, I’m beyond enamored with my Veloforma CCX’s design and paintjob! Rode the shit out of it last week and it just kept taking and taking and taking whatever I laid into it. Amazing.

  14. Europcar Colnagos are awesome.

     

    I love that Colnago went back to lugged carbon with the C59. My C50 is still the nicest riding bike I’ve ever ridden, I’d love to have a spin on the new…

  15. @sthilzy

    I’ve got the new Roubaix SL4 frame. I love it and think it looks amazing…

    In the end, looks are surface deep. It’s how the frame rides that counts!

    -Dinan

  16. Thanks Gianni, this is my exact thoughts, you nailed it

    Call me the negative realist, but why did Bianchi give it all away??  They own fuckin celeste and now some madone leopard something or other with a highly overrated nothing GCr has it???  really?  Competitive cyclist said it best, coppi must be shaking his head right now, and rolling in his grave crying

    and about the Dogma, dead on.  Listen, I have a pinarello paris in the garage, but cannot stomach the new stuff.  Traditional geometry fellas, and if you can’t ride it, repeat HTFU Rule V as needed until your up to speed

    If I am riding Italian, it MUST look the part, it MUST look good, or else I can always go get ‘whatever’, right? China’s making some pretty good carbon all on their own.  Italian is panache, its Pantani, its got the goods and the girls in short skirts agree.  Tradition and traditional geometry is part of it.  I can’t and don’t give a flying foul filth if  a computer generated cad designed and aero tested frame is faster, if its ugly, game over.  Ernesto said so too, so I agree.

    BMC was one whom I loved the earlier SLC frames, in that anything donned with the swiss colors and cross, just bring my heritage to the forefront of my mind, but there you go again, now they have these short seat stays and butt ugly frames that totally take the sexiness out of the game like a screaming karate monkey in the middle of your hot date.

    Here is how bad it has gotten with the cookie cutting carbon, when Cannondale has as good looking bike out in the peloton…guys, really??  Where did the Euro pimping character leave and go to??

  17. @Dinan

    In the end, looks are surface deep. It’s how the frame rides that counts!

    Yes, true, but wouldn’t that Roubaix look even better with a bright paint job, like Sylvan’s?

  18. @Deakus  Could not agree more about the Giant. Absolutely stunning bike My LBS owner has one as his current number 1 and he chooses it over his Cervelo. He told me that it’s incredibly fast but that he only cut the seat tube after about twenty re-checks of the tape measure! Lucky Bastard!!

  19. @Dinan

    @sthilzy

    I’ve got the new Roubaix SL4 frame. I love it and think it looks amazing…

    In the end, looks are surface deep. It’s how the frame rides that counts!

    -Dinan

    That frame has nobbly knees!  But I like the simplicity of the paint job…

  20. @heinous

    The Katusha Canyons are looking good. Top tube not horizontal but at least it’s straight. I know it’s a bit of a Cervelo-a-like but still…

     

    Ridiculous Reclining Italics

    Name would forever conjure up images of this…

    Canyon Aero

  21. @frank

    It has to be said, I’m beyond enamored with my Veloforma CCX’s design and paintjob! Rode the shit out of it last week and it just kept taking and taking and taking whatever I laid into it. Amazing.

    Is that an EPMS there? Or are my eyes deceiving me?

  22. @Souleur

    Here is how bad it has gotten with the cookie cutting carbon, when Cannondale has as good looking bike out in the peloton…guys, really?? Where did the Euro pimping character leave and go to??

    That does sum it up. Cannondale with a good looking bike. But like @Joe says, Europcar’s Colnago C-59s are mighty handsome still. Their black and metallic green frames of last year drove me nuts too. To each his own, unless the other guy has crap taste.

  23. @Gianni

    @lordmoos3

    I suspect a spare sew-up. It better not be an EPMS or I’m going back to one tomorrow.

    I know they’re OK on MtBs in certain circumstances, but that’s @frank’s CX bike yes? How does that rule apply to a CX?

  24. @lordmoos3

    @frank

    It has to be said, I’m beyond enamored with my Veloforma CCX’s design and paintjob! Rode the shit out of it last week and it just kept taking and taking and taking whatever I laid into it. Amazing.

    Is that an EPMS there? Or are my eyes deceiving me?

    @Gianni

    @lordmoos3

    I suspect a spare sew-up. It better not be an EPMS or I’m going back to one tomorrow.

    Fuck me, seriously? Fucking SERIOUSLY? Me, an EPMS? I’m not prone to experiment with rule violations the way a college kit experiments with sexual orientation. I’m not Brett, for fucks sake. Come the fuck on.

    Its a spare fucking tub.

  25. I’m kind of digging the rear brake setup on the Trek but would be interested to read the rants and musings of the collective on this point…

     

    Trek Madone

  26. Apologies. The angle had me thinking you were committing heresy. I was wrong to doubt.

  27. @frank I require a map or names of the gravel routes you rode. I’ll be there for two weeks next month.

    Also, I found a bunch of nice gravel routes in Cle Elum, only 90 minutes from Seattle. Have maps.

  28. @Deakus

    @Deakus

    Not a fan of the trek colour or styling…..it’s like trying to copy bianchis celeste but asking a five year old to draw it! For me, and I hate to say it, the Taiwanese are knocking the spots off the Italians this year, those dark blue and black Giants with the gum wall tyres are stunning!

    This is the one..

    Hmm just discovered a bulge in N1s rear tyre (pays to do the pre ride inspection!) but it does mean I am in the market for a new set of rubber hoops for the lady.  Any ideas?  I know this time round (having tried the vittoria open corsa winter tyres) that I definitely want an open cotton tyre so was thinking vittorias or veloflex but I am leanding towards the latter because they do a gumwall version in the “Master” but wondered if anyone knew what these Giants were running (yes I now they will be tubs) because that gumwall looks almost yellow!

  29. @kixsand

    I’m kind of digging ae Trek would be interestedad the rants and musings of the collec on this point…

    Trek Madone

    The Lion of Flanders had this set up on his steed back in April. He didn’t like it much – only for pros with full time mechanics.

  30. @Ivor Campbell I heard similar sentiment from the guy at my LBS. He said they were cool looking, good for aero, but a cast iron bitch to keep maintained.

  31. @Ivor Campbell

    @kixsand

    I’m kind of digging ae Trek would be interestedad the rants and musings of the collec on this point…

    Trek Madone

    The Lion of Flanders had this set up on his steed back in April. He didn’t like it much – only for pros with full time mechanics.

    My buddies who race for Trek Midwest all complain about modulation – while giving the performance edge to the DA over the Bontrager version. The word is you get too much too soon when applying the levers. I was hoping Trek would offer a traditional side-pull option for 2014, but it is not to be.

  32. @gregorio

    @Ivor Campbell

    @kixsand

    I’m kind of digging ae Trek would be interestedad the rants and musings of the collec on this point…

    Trek Madone

    The Lion of Flanders had this set up on his steed back in April. He didn’t like it much – only for pros with full time mechanics.

    My buddies who race for Trek Midwest all complain about modulation – while giving the performance edge to the DA over the Bontrager version. The word is you get too much too soon when applying the levers. I was hoping Trek would offer a traditional side-pull option for 2014, but it is not to be.

    perhaps its cleaner, but in a way, it’ll be a pain if your on a rainy day, or anything comes up from the road, then it will tend to pick up alot more grime

    like said above, if your name starts and ends in Spartacus, with a full time wrench, go for it.  only his guns would appreciate the drag effeciency of it being down low like this

  33. With all the colour schemes to choose from the project one collection it’s a shame they didn’t go with a more flashy one, like  the blue flamey one on my madone. which i have a photo of but can’t upload.

  34. I could not agree more with @frank on the straight tubes point – especially when it comes to the top tube. What looks worse than a bike with a curved top tube is an entry level bike with a curved top tube and external cable routing, with the straight line of the cable under the tube somehow looking completely out of place. Very unclean, in my humble opinion.

  35. @gregorio

    Is the rear brake cable internal? Silly old school question, eh? Of course it is. Those seat stays do look rather tidy, it’s a weird sight, seat stays without a brake bridge. I think even most track bikes have something across the stays even though they don’t have a brake. As far as having the brake caliper “way down there”, I guess it’s not too much wetter and road grimy under the chain stay than above the seat stays.

    But yeah, I like it’s basic clean look, one step closer to what disc brakes will look like.

  36. @kixsand

    I’m kind of digging the rear brake setup on the Trek but would be interested to read the rants and musings of the collective on this point…

    Trek Madone

    I remember back in the 80s a lot of mountain bikes had u-brakes behind the BB. Of course, it probably worked just fine in sunny, dry Marin County but try riding on a muddy track in Scotland for a while then see how well your rear brake works and how easy it is to clean! I can’t ee it being too much of an issue o a road bike though . . .

  37. @kixsand

    I’m kind of digging the rear brake setup on the Trek but would be interested to read the rants and musings of the collective on this point…

    Trek Madone

    Museeuw’s bike he was riding on Keepers Tour had that setup. Useless, in his words. It makes sense to me to put the front brake behind the fork because it gives it something to push against. Similarly, the brake in its traditional position on the rear has the same thing. I think having it down there basically just softens up the rear braking.

    But this is all based on the idea that anyone would ever use their brakes, which obviously I never do. I’m not a sissy.

  38. @G’rilla

    @frank I require a map or names of the gravel routes you rode. I’ll be there for two weeks next month.

    Also, I found a bunch of nice gravel routes in Cle Elum, only 90 minutes from Seattle. Have maps.

    AWESOME! We will need to discuss over pre-emptive recovery beverages.

  39. @Deakus

    @Deakus

    @Deakus

    Not a fan of the trek colour or styling…..it’s like trying to copy bianchis celeste but asking a five year old to draw it! For me, and I hate to say it, the Taiwanese are knocking the spots off the Italians this year, those dark blue and black Giants with the gum wall tyres are stunning!

    This is the one..

    Hmm just discovered a bulge in N1s rear tyre (pays to do the pre ride inspection!) but it does mean I am in the market for a new set of rubber hoops for the lady. Any ideas? I know this time round (having tried the vittoria open corsa winter tyres) that I definitely want an open cotton tyre so was thinking vittorias or veloflex but I am leanding towards the latter because they do a gumwall version in the “Master” but wondered if anyone knew what these Giants were running (yes I now they will be tubs) because that gumwall looks almost yellow!

    That looks like a Rabo/Blanco/Belkin team bike, which means it would be Vittoria, no? Corsa CX (or open in your case). If you ride roads with lots of debris, these will cut up quickly. For a good durable tire, the Conti GP4000S is a great tire. The ride is no where near as delicate as the Vits or Veloflex’s, but they will last longer.

    I love the Veloflex tubs I have on the Haleakalas.

  40. @frank

    @Deakus

    @Deakus

    @Deakus

    Not a fan of the trek colour or styling…..it’s like trying to copy bianchis celeste but asking a five year old to draw it! For me, and I hate to say it, the Taiwanese are knocking the spots off the Italians this year, those dark blue and black Giants with the gum wall tyres are stunning!

    This is the one..

    Hmm just discovered a bulge in N1s rear tyre (pays to do the pre ride inspection!) but it does mean I am in the market for a new set of rubber hoops for the lady. Any ideas? I know this time round (having tried the vittoria open corsa winter tyres) that I definitely want an open cotton tyre so was thinking vittorias or veloflex but I am leanding towards the latter because they do a gumwall version in the “Master” but wondered if anyone knew what these Giants were running (yes I now they will be tubs) because that gumwall looks almost yellow!

    That looks like a Rabo/Blanco/Belkin team bike, which means it would be Vittoria, no? Corsa CX (or open in your case). If you ride roads with lots of debris, these will cut up quickly. For a good durable tire, the Conti GP4000S is a great tire. The ride is no where near as delicate as the Vits or Veloflex’s, but they will last longer.

    I love the Veloflex tubs I have on the Haleakalas.

    Understood but I have fallen in love with the ride…so come what may it will be cotton clinchers for me..if the local roads are too bad I will just have to move house!

  41. @Deakus

    @frank

    @Deakus

    @Deakus

    @Deakus

    Not a fan of the trek colour or styling…..it’s like trying to copy bianchis celeste but asking a five year old to draw it! For me, and I hate to say it, the Taiwanese are knocking the spots off the Italians this year, those dark blue and black Giants with the gum wall tyres are stunning!

    This is the one..

    Hmm just discovered a bulge in N1s rear tyre (pays to do the pre ride inspection!) but it does mean I am in the market for a new set of rubber hoops for the lady. Any ideas? I know this time round (having tried the vittoria open corsa winter tyres) that I definitely want an open cotton tyre so was thinking vittorias or veloflex but I am leanding towards the latter because they do a gumwall version in the “Master” but wondered if anyone knew what these Giants were running (yes I now they will be tubs) because that gumwall looks almost yellow!

    That looks like a Rabo/Blanco/Belkin team bike, which means it would be Vittoria, no? Corsa CX (or open in your case). If you ride roads with lots of debris, these will cut up quickly. For a good durable tire, the Conti GP4000S is a great tire. The ride is no where near as delicate as the Vits or Veloflex’s, but they will last longer.

    I love the Veloflex tubs I have on the Haleakalas.

    Understood but I have fallen in love with the ride…so come what may it will be cotton clinchers for me..if the local roads are too bad I will just have to move house!

    I have been running Veloflex Master 25s all summer, very good tires, you may want to seal the sidewall though, mine are really dirty and don’t come clean.

  42. @Deakus

    @Deakus

    @Deakus

    Not a fan of the trek colour or styling…..it’s like trying to copy bianchis celeste but asking a five year old to draw it! For me, and I hate to say it, the Taiwanese are knocking the spots off the Italians this year, those dark blue and black Giants with the gum wall tyres are stunning!

    This is the one..

    Hmm just discovered a bulge in N1s rear tyre (pays to do the pre ride inspection!) but it does mean I am in the market for a new set of rubber hoops for the lady. Any ideas? I know this time round (having tried the vittoria open corsa winter tyres) that I definitely want an open cotton tyre so was thinking vittorias or veloflex but I am leanding towards the latter because they do a gumwall version in the “Master” but wondered if anyone knew what these Giants were running (yes I now they will be tubs) because that gumwall looks almost yellow!

    Not sure how it will go over here, but the other option you have for gumwall clinchers are the Panaracer Grand Bois series.  I’ve never used them, but have heard good things, and they are available in 23, 26 and 29mm versions depending on what kind of clearances you’ve got.  The 23mm tires are also available in an Extra Leger (extra light) version that is reportedly even more supple, but less durable.  You can check them all out here  

  43. @frank

    @kixsand

    I’m kind of digging the rear brake setup on the Trek but would be interested to read the rants and musings of the collective on this point…

    Trek Madone

    Museeuw’s bike he was riding on Keepers Tour had that setup. Useless, in his words. It makes sense to me to put the front brake behind the fork because it gives it something to push against. Similarly, the brake in its traditional position on the rear has the same thing. I think having it down there basically just softens up the rear braking.

    But this is all based on the idea that anyone would ever use their brakes, which obviously I never do. I’m not a sissy.

    I can see the appeal of the direct mount brakes, especially making the rear brake a lot stronger but the location bites. Direct mount brakes would probably require a fairly heavily redesigned stay and brake bridge, which would be a far more suitable solution. Aero benefits from the rear brake can suck it, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me. Maybe without a rider on the bike or at 79 degrees of yaw, but really.

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