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The Mountain Bike Tech Infiltrating the Tour de France

Jul 7, 2021 at 9:58
by James Smurthwaite  
While mountain biking has spent the past 30 years trying to shed its road cycling similarities, the road cycling world has now begun taking some cues from its muddier cousin. Last year we talked about how mountain bike products such as dropper posts, mountain bike rotors and inserts were becoming viable options for Tour de France riders and we're back with another haul of tech trends for 2021.

Disc Brakes Are (Almost) Ubiquitous Now

Shimano Deore on Vancouver s North Shore 2020

Despite initial fears that they would be unsafe in a peloton setting (one rider referred to the rotors as 'giant knives'), disc brakes have now become standard issue for most teams in the Tour de France.

Every team but one now has a disc brake bike at their disposal apart from the Ineos Grenadiers. This is the same team that has been fielding Tom Pidcock at the XC World Cups this year and they were among the favourites before the race began. The team used the Tour to unveil its new Pinarello Dogma that was expected to run discs, but it ended up defying expectations and remained a rim brake only platform - potentially so the riders and mechanics didn't have to adapt to a new set-up before the biggest race of the year - although some would argue that their crash-prone riders including Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte might have fared better with a bit more control.

Despite this exception, it's safe to say that 2021 is the year that professional road cycling fully adopted the disc brake.

Coloured tires


Mountain biking left many things behind in the 90s and colored tires were supposed to be one of them. While road cycling tires have generally been jet black or skinwalled in the past, this year Jumbo Visma brought a new blue tire to the race, marking the first time a completely blue tire has ever been used in the peloton.

While they were generally a fashion statement in times gone by (Marco Pantani made a splash with yellow tires on his Bianchi in 1998 ), Jumbo Visma's choice has a different meaning. This is used to commemorate their sponsor Swapfiets, a bike subscription service that uses colored tires as its signature.

To create the tyre, Vittoria engineers’ had to remove all black ingredients and formulate a new recipe for rubber compounds that uses a specific silica as a filler. The result is a Swapfiets-blue tire that is claimed to be as efficient as the original Vittoria Corsa Graphene tire. It even has its own Twitter account

Tubeless

Mathieu Van Der Poel was one of the riders running tubeless at the first time trial. Photo: Ronan McLaughlin // Cycling Tips

Tubeless for amateurs, tubular for pros - that has been the mantra in road cycling for the past few years. Generally, pro riders will race on tubular tires - an all-in-one tube and tire combination that is glued on to the rim. However, that tradition is starting to slip, especially where time trials are concerned.

Time trials eschew the tactics of road racing and instead it's all about one rider against the clock. Because of this, teams will wring every possible aero and rolling advantage out of a bike as possible - that's where tubeless comes in. While for mountain bikers, tubeless is all about avoiding punctures and dropping tire pressures, for time triallists, tubeless allows them to reduce rolling resistance.

This is mainly thanks to continual improvements in casing technology, plus the fact that tubeless tires are often more round, once mounted, than even the best handmade tubulars. So why aren't they being used on every pro road cyclist's bike? That comes down to safety, with tubular tyres less likely to catastrophically fail when riding in a group.

Wider bars ... sort of

Supercars gravel bikes and dangerous trails
Photo: David Cachon.

Coming from the gravel world as much as the mountain bike world, pro riders are starting to experiment with flared or outswept bars in the pro peloton. Riders will spend most of the time with their hands on the hoods of the bar, but for descents or sprints they will switch the drops (or the curly bits for those not fully clued in on the lingo). Gravel riders have started flaring their drops outward for the same reason mountain bikers have wider bars - so they can have more control on descents - while not sacrificing a normal riding position on the hoods for most of their ride.

Road riders have taken this principle and adapted it; rather than having a wider flared drop, they keep the drops the same width and flare inwards for a more aerodynamic position on the hoods. This comes with some sacrifices around bike handling and lever alignment but it has been experimented with by pro teams. We haven't seen any extreme flares in the Tour de France so far but as this Cycling Weekly article explains, it's definitely an experiment the pro riders are willing to try.

Mathieu Van Der Poel

Surely the first of many for Mathieu Van Der Poel.

Anybody who didn't believe Mathieu Van Der Poel was one of the most talented cyclists of his generation before the Tour must surely do so now. Van Der Poel delivered on all the hype that piled on him in the run-up to the event and left the race with a stage win and six days in the Yellow Jersey under his belt. He may now have pulled out of the race to prepare for the Olympics but Van Der Poel was comfortably the most effective mountain bike import of anything on this list.


219 Comments

  • 85 3
 Anyone else been following the outrage on the roadie websites about MvdP leaving the Tour? If not grab your popcorn and take a look...

The TdF is a fantastic event but some of the die hards can't stand him leaving to chase the gold medal.
  • 86 0
 I've loved watching roadies having aneurysms over the fact that he "betrayed" his team by leaving. How dare he quit an annual race to do something like have a shot at a possibly once in a life time thing like an Olympic gold medal. /sarcasm
Plus, his sponsors must have LOVED IT. Headlines in the sports world for a week?
  • 39 33
 is it as bad as how 650b ruined the mountain bike industry in 2014, and how ebikes have ushered in Armageddon in 2018?
  • 3 1
 Where exactly? I am in
  • 18 0
 TBH I’ve seen way more frothing about it on this site than any other
  • 36 0
 Imagine the rage if he left the TdF wearing yellow
  • 31 2
 @ratedgg13: don't explain your sarcasm - just take the downvotes from those who don't understand it like a hero
  • 3 5
 i mean not much glory in dropping out week one of the tour....Especially when wout went and won one of the biggest climbing days of the whole thing today...
  • 11 1
 @ratedgg13: Most road cycling fans can name the winners of the Tour and some Monuments, like Paris-Roubaix for years. I'm not sure I can recall who the previous Olympic road champion was...and I only know the current one because he's worn a freakin; gold helmet ever since.
  • 38 0
 A certain Eddy Merckx has said that he thinks it's bad for the sport that MvdP left the Tour to pursue other goals. He's still worshipped in cycling and especially in Belgium, so it does not surprise me at all that lots of his minions think alike. It's a romantic image of road cycling from way before mountainbiking was even invented. Lots of traditionalists in that sport that have a rulebook on how to behave in it. The new, young generation of cyclists like MvdP, Pidcock and Wout van Aert scrap the rulebook and it's beautiful. Road cycling had become really predictable and they just do things their own way. Like MvdP attacking on the first of 2 Mur the Bretagne ascents, where every TV commentator screemed 'keep your powder dry!'. In the end, the guy got the bonus seconds he needed and he still had enough in the tank to leave everyone in his wake and take the leaders' jersey. Twitter had lots of funny 'OK boomer' replies on Merckx's remark, so there's a good balance of opinons. From what I can see, the general opinion is that MvdP allways brings excitement to cycling, whatever the discipline.
  • 77 0
 @jeroenk: So Eddy Merckx saying MvdP leaving to training for the Olympics bad for the TdF/sport?
And I was thinking been caught 3 times for Doping would be bad for the sport! But what do I know!
  • 4 0
 I saw someone mention this yesterday. I didn't spend a lot of time on it but between two articles it was mostly just saying "it's a shame he left." If you've got a source for some real seething I'd be curious.
  • 1 3
 I'm loving it - the absolute outrage. How dare he leave the Tour for some 'poxy race' in the Olympics. Why would MTB riders care about the Tour? The Olympic MTB race is the big one for XC racers - yet they won't accept it - the Tour is sacred for all bike racers....
  • 3 1
 @prevail: Wait now I am mostly on MTB side of life, but who the hell could left tdf wearing yellow jersey? If he was still yellow for sure he'll be there now.
  • 12 0
 Only Merckx is actually outraged, and people who love Merckx are outraged because he is outraged.
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: I know you’re just the messenger here, but I don’t understand their sentiment of him betraying his team. He’s a pro athlete. I’m pretty sure he informed them of his plans ahead of time.

I don’t know. This dude wanted the TdF experience, wore the yellow jersey for a few days, and now it’s on to another prestigious event. It’s not like the Olympics is some backwoods local race. Maybe he will pick up where he left off next year.
  • 1 0
 @prevail: you sir are a very funny devious person lol
  • 7 25
flag scott-townes (Jul 7, 2021 at 15:45) (Below Threshold)
 Is anyone surprised? The majority of roadies are dentists.



If you need further explanation, visit a dentist.



Yes, that was mainly directed towards the Brits because you know, bad teeth and all.
  • 8 0
 He stated at the beginning of the year that his goal this year was MTB olympics. He didn't want to ride the TDF at all, but felt it was a duty owed to his team. Roadies need to chill.
  • 6 1
 @scott-townes: Sir, this is a Wendy's.
  • 6 4
 @jeroenk: who is Eddy Merckx?
  • 4 4
 @hamncheez: I like how everybody's down voting you, but nobody argues with you. (Because you're right)
  • 8 5
 @Starch-Anton: yeah, I'm still undecided on what's more entertaining: watching a bunch of drug-enhanced guys pretend to be super-athletes, or watch a bigger bunch of armchair cyclists pretend the drugfest isn't happening and it's all a matter of genes and good training...
  • 1 1
 @southoftheborder: ha ha ha. Look the other way at least.
  • 1 11
flag drivereight (Jul 7, 2021 at 23:04) (Below Threshold)
 The guy came from CX, wouldn’t be surprised if he left cause he missed his doping cycle and using the Olympic for cover...and btw might not even happen!
  • 3 11
flag jaame (Jul 7, 2021 at 23:08) (Below Threshold)
 @grector: A man whose fame is going to fizzle out in the next few couple of weeks. He's making the most of it while he can. After his record falls he'll be just another multiple stage winner.
  • 6 7
 I bought a roadbike last year for winter training or the quick ride- nothing beats dropping roadies on 8k bikes and expensive kit with your MTB kit ;-)

No wonder they are outraged.

Casually Explainded has the best description about roadbikers on His YT channel
  • 5 0
 @TOflat: I'm waiting for the Merckx fanbois to explode if Cavendish wins a couple more stages Smile
  • 5 0
 @Alexh1983: Because of his physique, he wasn't going to stay in yellow after the first mountaineous weekend, so it's quite hypothetical. Reasons to leave the tour early: Probably having tickets to Tokyo booked in advance and Tokyo is warm, quite humid and lot of timezones away. There's no point going if you are not taking the time to acclimatize.
  • 2 1
 @hamncheez: oh no, this was worse. This was so much worse. XD
  • 3 0
 @korev: for real, Merckx should be more worried about Cav beating his stage wins record. #ManxMissile
  • 10 0
 @southoftheborder: Are you sure there are no drugs in MTB?
  • 7 1
 @southoftheborder: You sound like a broken forum record and the trick gets old. It's impossible to prove cyclists are not doping (you cannot prove the absence of something), but it's very easy to suggest doping is used based on hearsay and evidence that is circumstantial at best. It's completely unfounded. Cyclists are still innocent unil proven guilty and performances are much more in the realm of what's humanly possible than in the late 90s. Testing has improved a lot too. Sure, there are those that are better than anyone else, but they have been since they were kids. No surprises there and no denying their talent either.
The 'winners are dopers' camp allways have different picks depending on who's performing well and also based on nationality. Riders from some countries (Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavian countries, France) are questioned less than others (former USSR or Balkan). That tells you how biased the logic is and what little worth their suggestions have.

No one is pretending cycling is completely clean, but suggestions that cycling is completely dirty and calling everyone naive who dares to put some nuance in there, is just plain silly. But hey - if you want to believe that and sound smart at the bar: Be my guest.
  • 4 1
 @jeroenk: the reality is more than likely between the two extreme camps. Half of pro cyclists dope. Some of them have paid testers off. Half are totally clean.
  • 3 2
 @jeroenk: So if calling ex USSR riders dopers it's a prejudice, it's OK to dismiss all the previous "isolated events" which are piling up on top of a ton of other "isolated events" happening at every single classic road race... The "winners are dopers" statement also found more ground in Western road racers than in any other part of the world: Armstrong, Pantani, just to name the more relevant ones. And the list goes on and on and on...

I'm not implying I'll become the next Cavendish by simply getting on the juice. All of the guys riding there have innate conditions and a ton of training which ultimately enabled them to be in at the top. But denying how much they put into themselves to have that extra edge enabling them to push their limits for so many consecutive days it's just naive.

I could simply reverse your statement: if you want to be the smart guy with the naive thinking and trust the whole pack riding the TdF as bieng "clean", be my guest. Maybe you need that kind of epic to help you go on with your life. I don't.
  • 1 1
 @oldroadie-nc: Where did I say that?
  • 2 1
 @oldroadie-nc: So if MTBer dope, it's OK for the TdF guys to do it? Are we going to lay the bar that low?
  • 1 1
 @southoftheborder: "Western road racers"
Interesting. Do Santiago Botero and Oscar Sevilla count as Western Road racers too?
Central and South America are known for their lack of any doping controls...and the effects of EPO and other PEDs have lasting effects well after they are clear from detection.
  • 1 0
 @southoftheborder: I’m down with catching ussr doing anything illegal for the sake of hypocrisy just to rub it in their faces lol. Since when did we become so sympathetic to the ussr?????
  • 4 0
 @TheR: I bet it was always the plan. Get enough coverage for the sponsors, then leave after the first week. HIs sponsors had the coverage of the special team kit for the team presentation and first stage. Second stage came the stage win and the yellow jersey. He´ll never get the yellow jersey back after the mountains and getting another stage with won´t bring the team or sponsors much more coverage. But leaving is already publicity. If he wins olympic gold, it will bring a lot of additional area of publicity. It´s a win win situation for me.
  • 2 0
 @weetabix-man: I’m not sure the publicity for him leaving the Tour was intentional, but other than that, spot on. There’s no way it wasn’t planned. He knew he would be leaving early, and everyone who mattered knew he would be leaving.
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: yes, by "Western" I meant opposed to the countries of the former "Eastern block", i.e. the ones belonging to the Warsaw pact. So in fact all of the American (Northern, Central and Southern) riders would fall into my categorization.
  • 1 0
 @SterlingArcher: I neither defend nor accused the former USSR. I used @jeroenk argument to show you can't justify doping by any country by saying someone else did it first. It's the same as justifying you ate the last cannibal to end cannibalism.
  • 3 0
 @southoftheborder: you should watch Icarus on Netflix.
  • 3 1
 Didn't the USSR end in 1992 or something?
  • 1 0
 @NotNamed: cool story bro
  • 2 0
 #ManxMissile strikes again
  • 2 1
 Ya it's an absolute joke how stuck in victorian values the roadie community are (though not all)
  • 2 0
 @SterlingArcher: Just one more win and the Mercksplosion will happen Smile
  • 1 0
 @korev: hasnt it already mutterings of meckx on the www being less gracious than was expected of ?
  • 3 0
 Ugggghhh nobody in the road world has given a shit other than Eddy Merckx. Its 2021, people understand race schedules now. Most people who follow road cycling were surprised he stayed in that long
  • 1 0
 @oldmanbucksaw: thanks :-)
  • 55 0
 Regarding MVdP, his Tour debut was never supposed conflict with the Olympics. The Olympics were supposed to happen LAST SUMMER. (2020) They didn't and were rescheduled for this summer. This completely screwed up the racing and training plans for a lot of the athletes, especially MVdp who competes at the top level for multiple disciplines. Alpecin-Fenix have a strong team but MVdP is their rockstar rider. He was required to attend the Tour by his team (sponsors) even though it did complicate his Olympic ambitions which have been a long term goal now for years. He obliged, and more than made good on his time at the race. He waited till he lost the yellow jersey and left to focus on his original goal. If the Olympics had happened as scheduled, this would have been a non issue. He knows what an honor it is to be at the Tour and was an ultimate goal for him. The timing of everything just got screwed due to Covid. All of this has been stated by the man himself in various interviews. Feel free to use this to shut down the haters. MVdP rules.
  • 3 37
flag IronWheel (Jul 7, 2021 at 17:50) (Below Threshold)
 I still think it is cheating to put full effort in to less than half of a race knowing that you have no more efforts to put in for the remainder. I do not believe he deserves any credit for participating in less than half of a race on purpose. He stole the opportunity for riders who were in it for the entirety to show their performance on a relative scale.
  • 19 0
 @IronWheel: How do you feel about DH racers competing in a couple EWS races and vice versa, such as Eddie Masters or Martin Maes?
  • 1 0
 @IronWheel: reading comprehension > you
  • 3 1
 @IronWheel: I always thought it was common practice for sprinters to do that. Try to get the glory in a few early stages, knowing they won't make it through the first three days in the mountains.
  • 2 0
 @jaame: yeah cipollini used to go win stages, drop out at the first mtn stage, and then publicise pictures of himself on a beach smoking cigarettes
  • 41 1
 If it wasn’t pointed out for them the PB commenters wouldn’t have even noticed the blue front tire of the Cervelo due to the orgasmic 2-water-bottle storage space....
  • 17 0
 I stared into the space of that front triangle and thought “why not a third water bottle?”
  • 5 0
 @DizzyNinja: you’re over there living in the year 2050 and we are all stuck in 2021!
  • 38 5
 Gravel is not road racing. The trend in road racing is narrower bars. "Aero is everything"; a narrower, and lower rider profile is faster. Check out Adam Hanson's set-up.

As far as colored tires, Michelin had their green tires on the road around the same time as they did on the dirt (they did have black bands of tread as well, Their Pro series were offered in colors. Others like Hutchinson have had different colors available for a long time too.
The Jumbo Visma blue tire is a single team, and a single wheel...more like a publicity thing than a trend, no?
  • 2 1
 Exactly

Vittoria was running colored tired also, I had Vittoria Pro Team All weather tubulars in 93 that had the green in them. We had the gold track tires around 96.

Tufo stated selling all sorts of colored tires

And lets not forget those "awesome" Ummagumma tires that were available for road at the same time as the mtb ones!

I guess what's old is new......................
  • 2 1
 Sometimes a good feature idea doesn't quite pan out when you come to ride it. This really needed to be written by someone at cycling tips though. Even I know road bars are getting narrower.
  • 2 1
 Erm, write it, not ride it.
  • 1 0
 Road riders are using narrow flaired bars with high lever angle specifically for better aero position.
  • 20 1
 Roadies finally going tubeless instead of gluing their tires on? Progress!
  • 5 1
 Well, a lot of roadies didn’t glue and used tubes, you know.
Tubular tires have one advantage in a race situation: you can still ride a bit on a flat tire until the service car with a new wheel arrives. For amateur races it never made much sense.
  • 3 1
 What's the point of that even? And it's literally glued on? Guessing some sort of rolling resistance advantage. Why not just use a tube and high pressure?
  • 7 0
 @DylanH93: Wasn't Nino Schurter using glued on tires until he switched to Maxxis a few years ago?
  • 5 0
 @Heidesandnorth: Another side of that advantage is that you also can't instantly burp all your air out of those skinny high pressure tires like tubeless can. I know of a couple guys that woke up in a medevac or hospital because their tubeless tires burped completely during high speed descents. I don't mind the chance of burping some air at the speeds and volumes of MTB or gravel tires, but I'll pass on the road. Clincher and tube tech has improved a lot too, and folks are doing serious racing on those now.
  • 7 0
 @Heidesandnorth: but have you ridden a really nice set of sew-ups...like buttah...
  • 3 0
 @matadorCE: yeah he was on Dugast tubulars
  • 2 1
 I'll stop riding tubs when they pry them out of my cold dead hands. Or off my carbon tubular rims.
  • 5 2
 Not really actually. No-one who does not have a dedicated mechanic and a truck full of pre-glued wheels uses tubular. The debate on road tubeless is still very much open. The pressures are so much higher that, no matter how much sealant you use, a puncture is still very likely to let all your air out. Honestly, I have not seen a single road tubeless set up actually function yet. To add insult to injury, it then much harder to get the tyre back on after putting a tube in.
  • 1 0
 @chriscowleyunix: I’ve sold and installed an awful lot of tubs to people without even a clue. Let alone a private mechanic/vehicle.
  • 3 0
 I'm sticking with tubes on my road bike. I have wayy too many tubeless wheel setups on my mtbs and gravel to want another tubeless set to maintain lol.
  • 2 0
 @zephxiii: But you will miss the mess all over your hands as you try to get a tube into the cut carcass when you do get an inevitable flat.
  • 3 0
 @chriscowleyunix: I've been on road tubeless for 8 or 9 years, when only Hutchinson was making the tires.. And other than one issue that was an anomaly, I have not had flats. Only one I can think of, where I had to put a tube in. You can run lower pressure - 70psi - than tubes. I have punctured and had no idea other then seeing sealant after the ride. I have also punctured, stopped, and put my thumb over it to stop the pressure from blasting out, and the sealant was able to work. On Schwalbe and Pirelli road tubeless, they are fast, grip and ride great.
So, I would say they are functional.
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: I have had the same, but, still think that it is the solution to the problem that I have never had. As for the "feel", well, that is a snake eating its own tail as to stiffer frames and softer tires or softer frames and higher pressures.......in any case, the humans will behave humanly and desire effectively the same "feel" as we always have.
  • 2 0
 @JustAnotherRiderHere: OTOH a tubeless tyre going in the middle of the group/chainy is never not funny...... unless you’re the rider in the firing line of course
  • 1 0
 @mashrv1: I have a massive scar on one leg...and a helicopter ride from one such incident....
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: Have you ever tried Sealant in a Sew-Up? I wonder if it would work?
  • 1 0
 @Augustus-G: you mean something like a Challenge open tub? If so I believe its a no go
  • 1 0
 @JustAnotherRiderHere: Softer tires have better rolling characteristics than a soft frame.
  • 1 0
 @mashrv1: No, I was thinking a plain old Sew-Up, pull the Valve Core, pump in a few ounces of sealant.
I was just wondering if anyone had tried it. Was it effective when punctured?
I would but I don't ride on the roads anymore. It's right next to suicide around here.
  • 1 0
 @Augustus-G: Most have latex tubes, so, no go.
  • 1 0
 @Augustus-G: It's been discussed by Zinn over at VeloNews, and Mariposa Caffelatex can be used in latex tubes and sew-ups. It's been done.
  • 20 0
 MVDP isn't a mtb import, he is a CX product!
  • 15 0
 Does Levy not post articles anymore?? Last I heard of him on anything was a podcast.
  • 11 0
 He's busy sourcing the mass-production Grim Donuts
  • 2 0
 Last i heard he was having difficulties scheduling the guests for the aliens podcast, hopefully thats figured out by now, been waiting for that podcast for a while now.
  • 1 0
 And asking Tim’s for sponsorship
  • 9 0
 Colored tires are nothing new in the road scene... Marco Pantani had yellow in the late 90s, vittoria open corsa evo cx was available in Red during the CSC days. Also of note, I haven't seen the blue tires actually being USED at TDF this year, just featured in a press release.
  • 2 1
 I've had colored tires on my road bike since maybe 2005? Definitely not new
  • 1 0
 They did use them on a couple of the early flat stages. Roglic did not though, and as soon as things started heating up (stage 2 basically) they switched to proper tyres.
  • 5 0
 Blue is a pretty dangerous colour for a road tyre though - to most, that's the colour of a turbo trainer tyre, which equals certain death if left on for the road!
  • 1 0
 @chriscowleyunix: I finally saw them today (flat stage)
  • 9 0
 It is funny how the road bike industry pushed back on disc brakes forever. Now they have disc brakes on pretty much all high-end road bikes. Meanwhile, mtb had production hydraulic disc brakes for about two decades. Hydraulic disc brakes are just way better.
  • 13 3
 It was never about pure braking performance, but about neutral service in professional road racing and the speed of which a wheel can be swapped.

Weight certainly played it's part in the beginning.

Then you ever swap wheels on a bike and the rotors are rubbing like mad? Not good for a road racer.

Lose time fumbling with a thru axle on a wheel change. Not good either...

And what rotor size, hub width and axle size should be standard for neutral support? Pick a standard, that's always easy (NOT).

Racers in general are pretty conservative, road racers are conservative in the extreme. All the above issues can be dealt with, but it took time, a lot of hemming & hawing, and for the old guard to age out of the sport.
  • 5 10
flag tacklingdummy (Jul 7, 2021 at 13:23) (Below Threshold)
 @krka73: Rotor alignment is more precise and exactly in same location. I have swapped many different rims on my mtb bikes with no alignment problems with the rotors. Perfect every time. Rims on wheels can have more variation. Also, a lot of hydraulic pads/pistons are self alignment, but need to be activated a few times to get aligned if off. The biggest pushback of disc brakes I kept hearing from road bikers was the safety issue of getting cut by rotors in crashes.

However, competitive road racing seems to have gotten over all of the issues they had with hydraulic disc brakes. It did take a long time though.
  • 6 2
 @krka73: There was never a problem with neutral service when it came to mixing 9/10/11/12 speed drivetrains, Campy vs Shimano vs Sram cassettes or carbon vs alloy specific brake pads, why should there be with disc brakes? I always considered that an especially dumb argument against discs.

Neutral support picks what standards they're going to support, carries a 5mm and t25 to loosen the caliper and allow a quick and dirty re-center by pulling the lever if required. Done. The thru axle is on the manufacturers to figure out, my Cane Creek Helm TA works way easier and faster than any QR skewer I've even used. If you as a rider/team choose to stray from their standard, you lose the option for neutral support, that's your problem. If a manufacturer makes too complex of an axle and their rider loses time as a result, maybe they should have done a better job, us end users don't want finicky axles either.
  • 3 2
 @krka73: I thought it was about riders legs and arms being cut off in crashes!
  • 9 0
 Also, apparently Friday Fails.
  • 8 0
 Still waiting for the E-Tour de France.
  • 8 0
 Tour d-"E" France
  • 5 0
 You got the handlebar part backward. Most Pros and even weekend roadies are moving to narrower bars for aero. The flared drops you sometimes see are to get the hoods narrower while keeping the drops at normal width.
  • 6 0
 That's exactly what the article says, just a little awkwardly
  • 7 0
 Don't forget Cavendish is running super boost for those sprint finishes.
  • 5 0
 Funny, Van Der Poel is also the most effective cyclocross import in mountain biking. Didn't take much to beat tubular tires out, though.
  • 6 0
 CX looks to be a good place to spot rising XC talent, like the number of top DH riders who started on BMX
  • 7 0
 Convertible full-face for sprint finishes?
  • 3 0
 I could be mistaken here, but I'm an old fart that's been riding MTB since the 80's and I could swear index/click shifting showed up as a result of mountain bikes. Even the earliest mountain bikes had friction shifters and when index hit... I believe it may have been Shimano Deore in the early 80's, it was like a rainbow hit every cyclist. It felt like a marvel of technology.Then it quickly spread to the roadies with Campy being the last hold out. Roadies have a lot to thank the MTB industry for. By and large, I find the road cycling industry to be very conservative and the MTB industry to be incredibly innovative and forward thinking. Almost to a fault. Please, let us join hands and say "NO" to the 32 inch wheel size...
  • 1 0
 Well said.
  • 5 0
 The best thing about this years TdF is Mark Cavendish
  • 1 0
 "although some would argue that their crash-prone riders including Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte might have fared better with a bit more control" LOL who would argue this exactly? I believe discs are objectively better, but that line is pure nonsense... Primoz and Caleb Ewan crashed out riding disc. The horror!
  • 2 1
 As a 53yr old who has never ridden a road bike due to fear of DFB (Death From Behind) I still absolutely love watching every single second of the TDF. NBCSN does a great job - except for that little cue ball headed dude in the studio, he can go pound sand.
  • 1 0
 TdF here - loving it every year - have been watching it for maybe 10-15 years before discovering mountainbiking...

Anyway - any insight into whether the geometry changes in MTB over the last 5-10 years have transferred into road bikes at all? Doesn't seem to be the old road videos have guys on tiny bikes but curious on how that's really translated...
  • 1 0
 This video makes a fairly convincing case for why the bike industry has been moving toward disc brakes on road bikes: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ow9MCaAgQTw

The gist is that hydraulic disc brakes allow frame designers to continue pushing road bike designs toward increasing internal cable routing and seamless cable integration. All of the sharp bends through a bike frame's tubes, steerer tube, stem, and drop bar bends from the caliper to a brake lever do not lend themselves to optimal operation for a cable. On the other hand, this isn't so much an issue for a hydraulic line. Hydraulic disc brakes allow bike designers to achieve clean, aero layouts on modern road bikes with few or no cables visible.
  • 1 0
 actually, road cyclists tend to use NARROWER bars, rather than wider bars, is my observation. see the Jan Willem van Schip handle bar development. UCI again shined by it's unability to handle innovatino.. Yes, it's allowed. Oh no, it's not, you're out Smile
  • 2 0
 I remember being in the pub 15 years ago with a group of roadies who were adamant that disc brakes were completely unnecessary on MTBs, when I suggested they'd be good for road too they thought I was taking the piss.
  • 1 0
 Lolol. One of the best aspects of this new trend, as GCN and others have noted in the Tour coverage, is that XTR 9100 rotors are all but set to be adopted by Shimano as the new Dura-ace level rotor design. Turns out most of the peleton pros and their mechanics prefer the XTR floating rotors to the current Dura item as a lighter, superior product. Will be really interesting to see if this becomes the official spec when Shimano formally launches Dura-ace 12S in the coming months.
  • 1 0
 In 2031, I will finally be able to grab a full carbon, hydraulic disc, electronic shifting, full carbon wheelset road bike from year 2021 for less than $1000.

Also, they need to burr and polish the edge of discs to make them less dangerous.
  • 2 0
 Are we likely to see longer reach + shorter stems any time soon? Or are there other geometry subtleties at play in road bikes I don't know about (very possible)?
  • 6 1
 The peloton, especially the sprinters, like to be as far out over the front wheel as practicable. This lets them effectively get closer to the rider in front and therefore a better draft. The pure climbers tend to have less aggressive positions, IIRC.
  • 3 0
 Not while the UCI geo rules are in place...I would love to see a brand make UCI illegal long and slack road bikes to maximise performance!
  • 3 1
 The handling requirements to maneuver in a pack of 180 riders does not allow you to go very slack or long.
  • 1 0
 I wonder if the longer stem with shorter reach results in a lighter bike as well.
  • 1 0
 @SintraFreeride: that would be the Evil Chamois Hagar I believe
  • 1 0
 @SintraFreeride: what rules are they?
  • 2 0
 What problem does a longer reach/shorter stem geometry solve in road biking? Road bikes aren't currently unsteady nor do road riders flip over the bars regularly. Second: A smaller frame is a lighter/stiffer frame (all else equal) and road riders are putting our massive power numbers. a 1500W 5sec peak isn't enough to guarantee a local race sprint win, but it would guarantee losing traction on a mountain bike. A long stem also allows you to make up for a long headtube. A very short headtube (ie. short distance between upper and lower headset bearings) would not be desirable, but a low handlebar is. A -17 degree stem isn't just so you can #slamthatstem.
  • 2 0
 @mtmc99: it does. Lighter and stiffer is the thinking. Less torsional flex when sprinting or riding hard out of the saddle.
  • 1 3
 @ReformedRoadie: I call BS. If anything a longer slacker bike would be way more stable at speed and thus safer in the peloton.
  • 2 0
 @mtmc99: Not within the UCI minimum weight limit of 6.8kg.
  • 1 3
 @TBaldwin90: Road bikes handle terrible at speed especially under braking. They also corner like shit. Longer slacker bike would fit taller riders better, give then a steeper seat angle and thus allow them to put more power down. You can acheive the same overall low position with the new geometry thus not losing any aero. As for stiffness/weight that can be maintained within the UCI minimum weight limit.

Road bikes geometry should be allowed to evolve to see what the limits are rather than UCI's idea that the bike shouldn't change and it should be all about the rider.
  • 6 0
 @SintraFreeride: what road bikes have you ridden lately?
What you write about handling sounds like either 70’s - 80‘s steel frames or cheap & light aluminum frames of 10 years back…
  • 1 0
 This is a good question as frame length does notably affect road bike handling IME. Road bikes generally come in a good range of sizes and riders are able to choose a longer or shorter frame depending on whether they want nimble handling or stability. Stem lengths also vary by 20 or 30mm IIRC. No need for slacker head angles though, because they're not tackling rugged terrain - where a slack HA helps our MTBs not get hung up.
  • 1 0
 @Heidesandnorth: Word.
Modern road bikes with larger volume tubeless tyres, disc brakes and the stiffer frames needed to accommodate the discs are incredibly comfortable & stable - while usually being faster than the lighter, older bikes.
  • 1 1
 @SintraFreeride: Done much road racing, have you?
I guess you would know better than all the bike manufactures, teams, riders over the last 125+ years or so.
  • 2 0
 @SintraFreeride: Stability is not a problem. No one crashes because of lack of stability.
  • 1 0
 This is what I did last time I bought a road bike. The size I assumed I needed wasn’t in stock and then I figured that rather than having a really tall seat post and long stem I could get a bigger frame and have less exposed seat post and a 60-70mm stem. Seems to work pretty well for me. Not saying it’s for everyone and I’m certainly no racer (not even in my dreams) but it’s comfortable and handles really nicely.
  • 1 1
 @Heidesandnorth: I rode one of the latest Scott roadbikes last summer on a +120km road ride. It was utterly shit! A bike that is made to ride over 30km/h felt like utter shit under braking (wobble), cornered like a turd (lack of dropper didn't help) and having to be extra careful not to smack my front foot into the front wheel at slow speeds! I shifted the saddle as far forward and downward to try and achieve a better pedalling position. Man what I wouldn't give for a shorter stem, longer top tube, steeper seat angle, slacker head angle road bike!
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: Those bike manufactures have perfected road bike geo within the rules of the UCI but that does not mean the bikes are the best they could be outside of those rules.
I want a bike that handles better, is more comfortable and efficient I don't really care if the TdF pros like or ride that bike.
  • 1 0
 @LeDuke: Stability is a problem because it limits how confortable you can be at high speed.
  • 1 0
 @SintraFreeride: Thanks, but I don't see anything in there (or the UCI regulations) that explicitly precludes longer reach+shorter stem.
  • 1 1
 @SintraFreeride: Pro’s usually opt for smaller frames and longer stems. Nothing to do with UCI rules or sponsorship. Simply their choice for their needs, being covering lots of miles very quickly. I somehow think they may know better than you. Before carbon took over, pro bikes were made to measure for the top riders…and guess what - they used the same geometry and fit.
  • 1 1
 @boozed: It comes down to the overall length of the bike. You aren't able to fit a longer reach because it increases the wheelbase and thus exceeds that rule.
  • 1 1
 @ReformedRoadie: It has nothing to do with what frame material is used. If you aren't allowed to exceed certain geometry limits they how can you possibly know what the fastest/most efficient bike geometry is?
Road bikes are made to ride fast mostly in a straight line. The tightest hairpin on road is way wider than on singletrack. It is thus illogical to have 1m wheelbases, steep head angles, slack seat angles and long stems. It's now tradition so everyone accepts it. Sure you can learn to ride well on such a bike but if you had the choice would it be the best one? I doubt it.
  • 1 1
 @SintraFreeride: sure there are tube to tube carbon bike builders, but for the most part, they come from molds. I.e. set geometry.
The point of materials was that metal frames for top Pro’s were all custom. Sometimes from other sources that were painted over. So in those cases, it WAS the riders choice.
Again, how much road racing have you done to know what you are talking about?
  • 1 0
 Smaller frame = stiffer frame, which is key for sprinters at least.
  • 1 1
 @SintraFreeride: by your “logic”, moto GP would be racing choppers.
  • 1 0
 @SintraFreeride: There is no rule in the UCI rulebook about wheelbase length.
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: Motogp geometry would be a good start for roadbikes.
  • 1 1
 @LeDuke: There is a rule for the overall dimensions of the bike thus limiting wheelbase.
  • 1 1
 @ReformedRoadie: It was the riders choice WITHIN the UCI rules! No one was nor is allowed to have a 500mm reach, 1200mm wheelbase, 67º head angle, 77º seat angle bike!
I don't race road nor mtb. I fail to see how I need race experience to determine whether or not a bike rides well? With that logic any bike reviewer that isn't a racer should keep his/her opinions to him/herself?
And again what I am saying is that I would like the UCI rule removed to see where road bike geo could go. I know what I would like to see but that does not mean it would be the actual end result.
  • 3 1
 @SintraFreeride: Standard road racing geometry is way within those numbers you grew out there...if it was an advantage, they'd be right up there against the limits. Like the weight limit, or the saddle nose rule. What you would like is an endurance bike. Companies make them; racers do not use them. Racers could size up to get a longer reach and wheelbase. They don't. The opposite.
Your having no experience racing in a crit, or in a tight peloton does matter...you don't know WTF you are talking about.
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: I find you to be rather close minded.You assume that pros have tried everything and actually know what is best. Where is the evidence that current road bikes are the pinnacle?
Pros tend to be a rather conservative bunch both road and in mtb.
You like current road bikes good for you! Enjoy! I'm saving up money to have a custom geo road bike as I can't stand the "modern" ones.
  • 1 0
 @SintraFreeride: you're obviously not a golfer
  • 1 0
 @SintraFreeride: Fair enough, I couldn't make a judgement on that because I don't know if they're pushing the limits on length already. Cheers.
  • 2 0
 @SintraFreeride: Half of WT pros run setback seatposts as it is, but you, Joe Nobody, think that you'll produce more power with a crazy steep seat tube angle. Got it.
  • 1 0
 @LeDuke: Right, LOL. He's either a troll or so utterly clueless...
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: Guys, he's a freerider who rode a road bike once. People who dedicate their life to road riding ignore his wisdom at their own peril
  • 1 0
 @LeDuke: I have been saying we should lift the ban so brands and riders can test other geometries to see what's best. You seem to believe that it has all been done and we can't get any better. Please show me some proof?
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie: I see you'd rather drink the cool aid than actually question the status quo so be it.
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: What do they say about making assumptions? If you like current road bikes stick with them. I would just like to see some actual variation and some decent handling road bikes out there.
  • 1 0
 @SintraFreeride: These guys have access to the best exercise physiologists in the world. They can get custom seatposts, etc. If a position that far forward (77.5 degrees, as you stated) was at all beneficial for them, they'd use it. They don't.
  • 2 1
 I think you'll find coloured tyres have been used a few times before, green vitorria pave's for roubaix , yellow tyres on Pantanis rig, michelin pro3 in baby blue. NERD OUT. Do some research n00000bs
  • 4 4
 I think it's weird how road bikes use such small rotors. I know they are all about weight and aero but I personally wouldn't want to ride down those mountains on 160/140mm rotors. I guess they just don't drag their brakes ever? Or does road geo make it so easy to go OTB that reduced power is a safety feature?
  • 2 2
 I want MORE braking power on all my bikes; Road, Mtn, Cross... give me more braking power!! Smaller rotors, hmm, no thanks.
  • 12 0
 For many reasons, you don't need the stopping power of a 200mm rotor on a road descent, so bigger rotors are just dead weight to them.
  • 46 0
 The value of increasing rotor size is limited most by the ability of those narrow tires to transmit braking force to the ground without losing traction
  • 12 0
 @seanp241: This is the correct answer.

Larger rotors do offer more braking power, but it doesn't really mean anything if that braking power can't be effectively used. Higher tire pressures and a small contact patch is only going to stop you so fast, no matter how much braking power you have.
  • 8 0
 These guys have been running rim brakes for how long...even a 50mm rotor will be an improvement.
  • 8 0
 The point on a roadbike is to go down the mountain as fast as possible - no dragging brakes.
In today’s TdF stage the too speed down Mont Ventoux was 107.8 kph. And no brake have been dragged!
  • 3 0
 And I think the ONLY reason they use 160 on the front straight across all brands right now is "just in case". It leaves out any chance you could be underbraked for any road rider. For how infrequently you are on the brakes on a roadie combined with the fact that even with a 140 you have obscene stopping power and consistency over any rim brake there is no need for 160 (unless you're huge).
  • 8 0
 I have 160/160 on my gravel/road bike and wouldn’t want the rotors bigger than that. With the small contact patch and slicker tires, bigger rotors would only make it easier to skid the tires, which isn’t really what you want on a road bike.
  • 3 0
 I didn't even think about grip, thanks for cluing me in fellas
  • 5 0
 @azdog: to be honest road rim brakes have gotten really good. A set of dual-pivot Shimanos (105 and above at least) are very nearly as good (in terms of both power and control) as discs.

They do eat through the rims of our flashy carbon wheels though. Especially in winter, so that is the biggest advantage of discs: we can use nice wheels all year round Smile
  • 1 0
 Also smaller overall O.D. and much less rotational mass help braking on road bikes. And yes my rim brakes on both my road bikes are fine (I don't live in the mountains though).
  • 4 0
 News flash MVDP leaves TDF but returns the next day to jump the peliton
  • 4 0
 Up next: 64.3 degree head angle on the 2023 Trek Madone
  • 13 0
 We should all push for Cyclingtips to build a Grim Baguette just for shit and giggles.
  • 2 0
 Does this include using SPD's on a road bike? Nothing pisses off the die-hard roadies more than that. Well, except for maybe the MVDP thing.
  • 1 0
 Colored tires? What mtb trend of yesteryear will they try next? I don't know much about road biking, but my guess is 3" wide gazzaloddis.
  • 1 0
 watching my roadie friends struggle with their disc brakes, only a mid-tier finicky index item in MTB, has been fascinating. They're a mess!
  • 3 0
 Call me when they start using dropper posts for the descents.
  • 2 0
 Came here to say the same thing. I fully expect to see it, too, now that the "super tuck" is banned.
  • 1 0
 Yep, was thinking about a dropper watching WVA descent today. Slamming the post would get you to a legal supertuck. I wonder if you just put a QR on you post if you could drop it for one of those long descents, then have your team car pull it back up for you once you hit the flat...
  • 2 0
 Seriously. I have no clue why they wouldn't use a dropper on a stage like 11 over and down the Ventoux. Vingegaard would have have a chance to stay in front of the Pogacar group. Free speed when they're already adding dead weights near the BB to make the minimum bike weight in UCI rules. Plus safer with more maneuverability.
  • 2 1
 the new pinarello dogma isn‘t a rim-break only platform, it‘s just that the ineos team is using it. you can buy the disc-version, look on their webside.
  • 1 0
 "The Mountain Bike Tech Infiltrating the Tour de France?"

The correct sentence should be: "Road cycling getting inspiration from mountain bike tech, again and again".
  • 1 0
 Mountain bike tech influencing road and then we have fully internal wired bars from Bontrager. Probably the worst tech coming from road to mountain...just ask you local mech.
  • 2 0
 Was not prepared to see straight up MvdP in this list lol
  • 1 0
 Try to find a great modern drop bar wider than 46cm that isn't super flared. There aren't many. This is hardly ubiquitous.
  • 1 0
 also, Adam Hansen (I believe) was one of the first starting to use 38 cm (or narrower) drops
  • 1 0
 They stole our brake discs, our tires, our bars... they managed to steal everything except the fun.
  • 1 1
 These drop bar are total useless pieces of shit but looks perfect on a gravel or road bike.
  • 1 0
 @scott-townes: Spot on, sir...wait, are you identifying as a sir?
  • 2 2
 MVDP!!!!
  • 2 4
 ACTUALLY.... spinning brake rotors are in fact as sharp as knives and will slice thru a finger given the opportunity.
  • 1 3
 All the roadies coming out of the woodwork in these comments.
  • 14 1
 Nah... It's just the people who ride all bikes. Road, mountain or gravel, they are are fun.
  • 3 0
 Hell yeah.
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