Posted by Editoress on 07/20/05
Photographer Chris Redden is back at the Tour again this year, and here are his impressions from his first day at the 2005 Tour.
The Tech of the Tour July 20, 2005
The Tour de France is the best place in the world to see the latest and greatest of road bikes. All of the bike companies want the Tour riders on either their newest model or even prototype stuff. It can create a lot of hype for the bike and component companies to have their products ridden in the Tour. The European countryside is full of cycling fans that want to be just like their favourite rider and will get the full team kit and bike so they can emulate their favourites.
So far at the Tour I have seen a lot of the Teams bikes, but there are always new things that I am seeing every day. On some teams there are differences among the riders as some have different preferences or are trying prototype parts.
The following is what I have seen so far in the Tour and I am sure I will come across lots more in the days to come.
- Most teams are all riding carbon fibre bikes, although there seems to be some option in some teams. Some teams are riding both full carbon bikes as well as some riders riding aluminium/carbon bikes depending on rider preference.
There are a lot of Monocoque frames being used. Orbea, Giant, and BH are all using this type of frame. Basically this is a frame made of carbon that is made in one piece. An even tougher variation on this premise is the BH frames are that they have no seat post in them. The seat tube comes up to the correct seat height for the rider. Thats gotta be a tough frame to make.
Look, Scott, Pinarello, Colnago, and Trek all use a lug or modified lug system. This is where carbon tubes are joined together at lugs to form the frame. Essentially the frame is glued together with adhesives that are meant to hold the Space Shuttle together!
The coolest carbon frame (in my opinion) is Floyd Landis BMC. It is made using Easton Nanotec Technology. This is made using micro carbon fibres and makes for a very interesting frame shape.
- Mavic has a special edition of the Mavic Ksyrium Wheels called the ES. It has a carbon shell on the hub with Red flanges, and a red spoke. The rims are also different from front to rear as well. The front is designed for improved steering and the rear is designed for better power transfer.
- Lotto is experimenting with a special oval chainring. This is the same one that Bobby Julich is using as well. It is designed to provide more power to the drive train. Isnt that what they said about Biopace?
- If you see any riders with a seat bag, it is not to carry a spare tube. These riders are using the SRM power monitoring system and need the seat bag to carry the battery/transmitter system. This system measures the Power or watts a rider puts out when they are racing. This is a useful measure to see how hard a racer is working when compared to their heart rate. More racers are using this or other similar systems to help them train and race more efficiently.
- Bouygues Telecom riders are using a Stronglight crank that is made of carbon but it is hollow in the middle. Pretty cool looking.
- Shimano has 2 different sets of Carbon rims. Both are Tubulars, and one is a deep section rim and one is a shallow section rim. Very nice looking.
- Fulcrum sponsors one of the teams in the tour with wheels but unfortunately all they did was to re-label some Campy wheels as their own. They arent the first company to do this kind of thing. Some companies will label or repaint other components as their own to look good. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do, I guess.
- It looks like to me that you run Campagnolo componentry, that you HAVE to run a chain keeper to keep the chain from falling off the inside of the small ring. Every team that was running Campy had these on their bikes if they would fit on their frames.
- Polar looks like they are making bike computers now. I dont know much about it but the rider also had a heart rate monitor on his bike as well. That doesnt make sense to me but?
- Lance has a new set on icons on his bike today, but I still dont know what it exactly means. (all were some reference to his children - ed)
- Lance was also wearing a new looking Giro Atmos helmet. It is flat black with the blue flames and white Star of Texas graphics on it.
That is about all I have seen for now, but there is so much going on at any given moment that it is easy to miss stuff. More to come as I see it.
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