Used to be pro bike racers had one race bike. Cobbles, climbs, time trials, flats - didn't matter. One bike. Maybe swap on some wider tires for really rough days. Or mount a pair of TT bars for the race of truth.
Today, choice is the name of the game. Every member of the pro peloton has access to a dedicated time trial machine, and most can also choose from at least two, if not three or four road bikes.
Aero, lightweight, compliant - there's usually a bike that focuses specifically on one of those coveted characteristics. Add it all up, and it's a lot of bikes. Take the Tour de France, for example. Twenty-two teams, nine riders per team, two to three bikes per rider. That's a lot of bikes. Here are some - but certainly not all - of the beautiful road racing machines that took on this year's Tour de France.
ROAD BIKES OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE PELOTON
Ag2R-La Mondiale's Focus Izalco Max: A stiff race machine with a claimed frame weight of just 750 grams. This is the bike that carried Frenchman Jean-Christophe Péraud to his second place position on the final Tour de France podium in Paris.
Astana's Specialized S Works Roubaix: Vincenzo Nibali's "shark" Tarmac got more press, but it was this Roubaix that delivered the Italian to the front of the GC pack during stage 5's brutal ride over the cobblestones of northern France. Vibration dampening Zertz inserts in the fork and chainstay help this endurance oriented bike absorb rough road bumps.
Astana's Specialized S Works Tarmac: Four stage wins and the overall yellow jersey - now that's what we call a feeding frenzy. Pictured of course is the bike of one Vincenzo Nibali. The Italian piloted this bike (or a similar one painted yellow) on all but two stages of this year's Tour. The custom graphics are a nod to Nibali's nickname, the Shark of Messina.
Belkin's Bianchi Oltre XR2: Call this a race bike with aero enhancements, it's the model that carried Laurens Ten Dam and Bauke Mollema to 9th and 10th in the final overall standings.
BMC Racing's BMC Team Machine SLR01: American Tejay van Garderen and the rest of his BMC squad could chose between this lightweight racer or the more aero BMC Time Machine TMR.
Bretagne-Seché Environnement's Kemo KE-R8: A newcomer to the Tour de France, Kemo is Swiss-based consumer direct seller which only available in Western Europe. The flagship KE-R8 is constructed with TeXtreme, a super high modulus, lightweight composite.
Cannondale Pro Cycling's Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod: More precisely this is Peter Sagan's bike. The eye's belong to his favorite super hero, the menacing Wolverine. The bike utilizes custom geometry. It's a size 54cm frame, but with a 57.5cm top tube, the same as what you'd find on a 58cm.
Cannondale Pro Cycling's custom Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod (Part 2): Sagan wasn't the only rider to get a special bike. The rest of his teammates rode these "inner animal" race machines with custom graphics inspired by each rider's personality. Picture here is the Lion themed bike of Kristen Koren.
Cannondale Pro Cycling's Cannondale Synapse Carbon Hi-Mod: Like most teams at this year's Tour de France, Cannondale Pro Cycling switched things up for stage 5, attacking the cobbles on the endurance-oriented Synapse Carbon Hi-Mod.
Cofidis' Look 695: One of the best looking bike's at this year's Tour, the color scheme is inspired by the famed La Vie Claire team, which with the help of riders such as Greg LeMond dominated the sport in the 1980s. Things didn't go quite as well this year. Cofidis was one of the race's big underperformers, winning nary a stage.
Europcar's Colnago V1-r: For big climbing days, this lightweight and aero racer was bike of choice for the Europcar riders. It has a claimed 835-gram frame weight and was built via a collaboration with famed Italian car maker Ferrari.
Europcar's Colnago C60: Also in the Europcar quiver was the Colnago C60, the bike's tube-to-lug construction means the Italian bike maker can build custom sizes for its WorldTour riders.
Continue to Page 2 to see more bikes of the Tour de France peloton »
FDJ.fr's Lapierre Xelius EFi: The traditional road race bike in the team's quiver, the Xelius EFi is billed as compliant, stiff and lightweight.
FDJ.fr's Lapierre Pulsium: For stage 5, most FDJ.fr riders opted for the Lapierre Pulsium, which has a bump absorbing elastomer insert that's integrated into the lower half of the bike's unique-looking y-shaped top tube.
Garmin-Sharp's Cervélo R3 Mud: Built-up specifically for the cobblestone stage of this year's Tour, this bike doesn't actually exist in the Cervélo production line-up. Changes include wider tire clearance and a 42-tooth inner chain ring, which is essentially a chain catcher since riders rarely used the small chain ring that day.
Garmin-Sharp's Cervélo R5: For big climbing days, the Cervélo R5 was the bike of choice for most of the Garmin-Sharp riders. Pictured here is the bike of team leader (until he dropped out) Andrew Talansky.
Giant-Shimano's Giant Propel Advanced SL: Meet the bike that awaited Marcel Kittel a day after he won the opening stage and earned the first yellow jersey of this year's Tour. The Propel Advance SL is an aero road racer through and through, utilizing recessed brakes and an integrated seatmast to help cut through the wind.
Giant-Shimano's Giant TCR Advanced SL: Giant's traditional road bike where emphasis is placed on weight and stiffness, rather than aerodynamics. Basket not included.
Iam Cycling's Scott Addict: One of two Scott sponsored teams in the race, Iam Cycling could choose between the lightweight Addict or the more aero friendly Foil.
Iam Cycling's Scott Addict Custom: French cycling star Sylvain Chavanel opted for the Addict - and got a custom paint job.
Iam Cycling's Scott Foil: Truncated air-foil tube shapes highlight the Foil aero road bike.
Katusha's Canyon Aeroad CF SLX: Launched just ahead of the Tour, this is the bike Spaniard Joaquim Rodriguez piloted in his ultimately unsuccessful bid at the King of the Mountains crown. Aero enhancements include a seat tube that wraps tightly around the rear wheel, and a one piece bar-stem that cuts through the wind. Claimed frame weight is 960 grams.
Lampre-Merida's Merida Reacto KOM: This is the aero road bike of reigning world champion Rui Costa. The bike uses truncated airfoils that reduce drag, but don't produce the harsh ride quality associated with some aero road bikes.
Lotto-Belisol's Ridley Helium SL: Riders of this Belgium-based team could choose between the Helium SL climbing machine and aero-enhanced Noah Fast. Star sprinter Andre Greipel typically opted aero efficiency, but this stage had hills so the German went light.
Lotto-Belisol's Ridley Helium SL (and its rider): And as you can see, Greipel is a large man, so the lighter the bike the better when it comes time for climbing.
Continue to Page 3 to see more bikes of the Tour de France peloton »
Movistar's Canyon Ultimate CF SLX: Fourth place finisher Alejandro Valverde and his Movistar team had two bikes to chose from the Aeroad CF SLX or this more climbing friendly Ultimate CF SLX. Canyon is a Germany-based direct-to-consumer operation that does not distribute in the U.S. The No. 11 number plate is a nod to Valverde's status as team leader.
NetApp-Endura's Fuji Transonic: Released on the eve of the Tour's Grand Depart in Yorkshire, the Transonic is a sub-1000 gram aero roadster.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step's Specialized S Works McLaren Tarmac: The big Red S says only 250 of these very special edition bikes were made. Retail price, a cool $20,000 - unless you're on one of the three Tour de France teams the company sponsors.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step's Specialized S Works Roubaix: OPQS riders switched over to this cobble killer for stage 5. It's the same bike Tom Boonen has ridden to multiple Paris-Roubaix wins.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step's Specialized S Works Tarmac: Former sprint star turned Mark Cavendish lead-out man Alessandro Petacchi opted for a Tarmac during road stages.
Omega Pharma-Quick Step's Specialized S Works Venge: This custom aero road beauty belongs to Mark Cavendish, who had high hopes of donning his first career yellow jersey at this year's Tour. But a brutal stage 1 crash knocked him out of the race before he crossed a single finish line. This custom Venge aero road bike is painted to match one of Cav's sports cars.
Orica-GreenEDGE's Scott Foil: Simon Gerrans opted for Scott's aero road machine, which is painted up with lots of special touches for the current Aussie national road race champion.
Team Sky's Pinarello Dogma F8: Released just ahead of this year's Tour de France, Chris Froome and the rest of his Sky squad benefited from a variety of aero tube shapes to cut through the wind. On the cobbles day, the team switched over to the more-compliant Dogma K. Alas, neither bike could keep Froome upright and the defending champ crashed out of the Tour.
Tinkoff-Saxo's Specialized S Works Tarmac: This may or may not have been the bike that was busted in half during stage 10 when Alberto Contador crashed out of the race - and one of his spare bikes got tangled up with another team car. Either way, the Tarmac was bike of choice for the Spanish star whom many thought would have won this year's race were in not for his catastrophic accident.
Trek Factory Racing's Trek Émonda SLR 9: Launched just days ahead of this year's Tour, the new Émonda has been billed as the world's lightest production road bike. The SLR 10 model has a claimed weight of just 10.25 pounds, and a size 60cm test model Émonda SLR 8 equipped with alloy wheels that just showed up at the RoadBikeReview offices weighed 14.1 pounds without pedals. Some members of the Trek Factory Racing squad were on board the SLR 9 model, which is equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2.
Trek Factory Racing's Trek Madone 7.9: Other riders on the Trek Factory Racing team opted for the tried and true Madone during road stages. Pictured here is the bike of Jens Voigt, who was racing in his 17th and last Tour de France.
Trek Factory Racing's Trek Domane Classics Edition: Last but certainly not least is the bike of choice for one Fabian Cancellara. The Swiss star made the Domane famous with his multiple wins in the cobbled classics, but Cancellara likes the bike so much he rides it all the time, including standard Tour de France road stages.
Trek Factory Racing's Trek Domane Classics Edition: Of course Cancellara doesn't ride just any old Domane. The bike is uniquely his, decorated with a host of special graphics that pay tribute to the man known as Spartacus.
ROAD BIKES OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE PELOTON GALLERY