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  1. #1
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    Conformity in the Tour de France

    I've been struck by how remarkably similar all the bikes are in the TdF. I know, some will say that companies have all perfected the best possible design, but I wonder if there's more to it.

    Every bike seems to have the handlebars in exactly the same position. No one has a different type of handlebar. No one has aerobars on a non time trial day, and there are no bikes with a different geometry.

    Are there some rules about this?
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    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    Aerobars usually require that the seat is moved forward a bit, which is probably why they are only on the TT bikes. As for the handlebars and geometry, I would think the pros would use the best design that is currently available.
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  3. #3
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    The original bike will be set up for that particualr rider and the top riders will have an identical bike on the roof of the nearest car to them. However if you are further down the line you will get the bike of the same size that you are riding--If you are lucky.

    And Aerobars I believe are banned on Non TT days. They are not the easiest method of steering a bike so you can imagine what it would be like in the big bunches if a rider was wobbling all over the road.

    But there will be a few differences on components. Cavendish for example does not use CF bars- or never used to. He broke too many at the start of his sprints so went back to good strong alloy.
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    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
    Are there some rules about this?
    Hundreds of tiny little rules for each type of bike. The teams even had to change saddles at the last minute for the team time trial because of some little rule.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Are there some rules about this?
    Yup, You have the UCI there to write, and enforce them.

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    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Funny, I was actually noticing the tiny differences in how handlebars and brake levers were positioned. Granted, they are very close in terms of looking the same, but there are differences. I believe the UCI didn't make teams replace saddles, rather they made them adjust the position so they were horizontal/level.
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  7. #7
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    Funny, I was actually noticing the tiny differences in how handlebars and brake levers were positioned. Granted, they are very close in terms of looking the same, but there are differences. I believe the UCI didn't make teams replace saddles, rather they made them adjust the position so they were horizontal/level.
    Probably, but that is even worse.
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  8. #8
    Muscle bike design spec robtown's Avatar
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    I notice the riders put their forearms over the top of the drop bars in an aerobar type fashion. They even do it on hilly terrain in the rain. I'd take a fall within seconds of trying that.

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  9. #9
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    Funny, I was actually noticing the tiny differences in how handlebars and brake levers were positioned. Granted, they are very close in terms of looking the same, but there are differences. I believe the UCI didn't make teams replace saddles, rather they made them adjust the position so they were horizontal/level.
    +1. If you go to Velo News website and check out the features on pro bikes, you can see little differences in a lot of things like compact bars vs traditional shapes, etc.

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    The Eurosport webcast folks were talking about one little tiny difference today. They were noting that since many riders use different pedal/cleat systems the neutral support vehicle bikes have only old-fashioned platform/toeclip pedal systems. They put out a call for anyone who had actually seen any pros riding one of those bikes while waiting for his team car to get him a new one. Someone chimed in that Jens Voigt had once ridden 15 km on one of them during a race. It was kind of funny since one of the announcers was the last pro to regularly use toe clips, Sean Kelly.

  11. #11
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    Al, The UCI has more or less standardized the allowable design for bicycle racing. http://www.uci.ch/templates/UCI/UCI2...TkzNg&LangId=1 .

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    Senior Member trackhub's Avatar
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    I thought I was the only one who felt that all these modern bicycles, made from Carbon Fiber, all look the same, regardless of who made it. (Sighs heavily..) I remember when
    a Trek looked like a Trek, and a Bridgestone (remember Bridgestone bikes?) looked like, well, a Bridgestone. Motobecane, Raleigh, Cannondale, and all the high end Italian makes, such as Colnago, and DeRosa. All had their own unique look about them.

    Yep, today they all seem to look alike. Or,, Is it just me?
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    Quote Originally Posted by trackhub View Post
    I thought I was the only one who felt that all these modern bicycles, made from Carbon Fiber, all look the same, regardless of who made it. (Sighs heavily..) I remember when
    a Trek looked like a Trek, and a Bridgestone (remember Bridgestone bikes?) looked like, well, a Bridgestone. Motobecane, Raleigh, Cannondale, and all the high end Italian makes, such as Colnago, and DeRosa. All had their own unique look about them.

    Yep, today they all seem to look alike. Or,, Is it just me?
    If anything, I think there's more variation in the carbon bikes of today what with sloped top tubes, straight TT, wavy forks, variations the head tubes and seat post design and clamping system, wheels, etc... Go look at the photo's of the pro bikes in the 70's when everyone was riding steel. The top tubes were all level, the forks were steel and looked the same, everybody rode 32 spoked wheels, silver with silver spokes, etc... Pretty much all that was different was the paint and the occasional Vitus aluminum or somebodies titanium.

    SB

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    Conformity is the key to acceptance.

  15. #15
    Lotus Monomaniac Snydermann's Avatar
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    They don't want to get teased in the peloton for riding something different. Then they'd get wedgies in the locker room.
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  16. #16
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    Conformity of another kind: In the old days the champion's bike may have been decaled "Peugeot" or "Bianchi" but was probably fabricated by a small custom shop rather than in the sponsor's big factory, the way your bike was.

    Today? Your Madone or SuperSix quite likely popped out of the same mold as the yellow jersey's.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Sort of makes sense. The riders are all doing the same kind of riding. Most of them tend to be of a smaller stature and of course skinny as a rail.. They don't put pro cyclists through air tunnels for nothing.. Cycling benefits from science and we are all built in much of same form. Come to think of it , most of our bikes on the Sunday club ride look pretty much the same. One bike I ride is a little different.. When Greg LeMond was participating in the TDF he developed his own handlebars.. He thought it would give him more riding options. Maybe more aero.. I have his design on my Surly.. I swapped it from my first bike.. But, I find I rarely use its lower position..
    My shop told me the drop bars shown below was a LeMond design.
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  18. #18
    no, the new new bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenji666 View Post
    Conformity is the key to acceptance.
    ...acceptance in the race:
    http://www.uci.ch/Modules/BUILTIN/ge...I0MDY&LangId=1
    all the specs

    but having said that, it's driven by "tradition". For example, to quote:
    "Only the traditional type of handlebars is authorised for use in massed-start road races"

  19. #19
    Surf Bum
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    This thread is basically like asking "Why do all Asians look the same?" or claiming "All that rap music sounds the same." In other words, you need to be familiar with something before you can see the differences.
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  20. #20
    no, the new new bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenji666 View Post
    Conformity is the key to acceptance.
    ...acceptance in the race:
    http://www.uci.ch/Modules/BUILTIN/ge...I0MDY&LangId=1
    all the specs

  21. #21
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificaslim View Post
    in other words, you need to be familiar with something before you can see the differences.
    bingo!
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by trackhub View Post
    I thought I was the only one who felt that all these modern bicycles, made from Carbon Fiber, all look the same, regardless of who made it. (Sighs heavily..) I remember when
    a Trek looked like a Trek, and a Bridgestone (remember Bridgestone bikes?) looked like, well, a Bridgestone. Motobecane, Raleigh, Cannondale, and all the high end Italian makes, such as Colnago, and DeRosa. All had their own unique look about them.

    Yep, today they all seem to look alike. Or,, Is it just me?
    It's only a little bit you. Look up Pinarello for a little difference!

  23. #23
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
    If anything, I think there's more variation in the carbon bikes of today what with sloped top tubes, straight TT, wavy forks, variations the head tubes and seat post design and clamping system, wheels, etc... Go look at the photo's of the pro bikes in the 70's when everyone was riding steel. The top tubes were all level, the forks were steel and looked the same, everybody rode 32 spoked wheels, silver with silver spokes, etc... Pretty much all that was different was the paint and the occasional Vitus aluminum or somebodies titanium.

    SB
    I kind of agree. Cervelo and BMC stand out to me as the most noticeably different designs. And Pinarello too. Also take a look at the Canyon bikes.
    Last edited by billydonn; 07-18-11 at 01:38 PM.

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  24. #24
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  25. #25
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Sorry. I don't see it. I thought about this while watching today's stage and I could see distinctions between the Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, BMC, Pinarello, Merckx, Orbea etc. that the different teams are riding.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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