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Old 12-26-11, 12:04 PM   #1
BikeArkansas
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What the pro cyclists ride

The past couple years I have moved from strictly riding stock bicycles and more to building up a bike one part at a time. After going through this process for a while I have started wondering about the bikes the top professional cyclist ride. Are any of their parts "off the shelf" or are they specially machined or produced. What about their frames? Just curious.
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Old 12-26-11, 12:19 PM   #2
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Free Bikes.

Mainly stock stuff but the wheels will be top rate and group-set top of the line.

BUT some mods will be made for certain riders or certain events. You won't see many riders on the stiffest frames on Paris-Roubaix for example and IF you are a big enough name I presume that some will get a special frame for them.

And those factory frames will be of the lighter production variety and be checked for perfect quality and true. And that will mean perfect.
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Old 12-26-11, 12:34 PM   #3
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Years ago when most teams rode steel, you saw many custom built frames. But with the effort that goes into carbon fiber and the need for special molds for most frames, it's rare that all but the very top riders ride anything different than you can buy yourself. About the only things pros use that you can't immediately buy is they are tewst beds for new products. For example, some teams used the electronic Di2 groups for a year before they became available to the public.

I ride a bike which vitually is identical to what the pro's used four years ago.
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Old 12-26-11, 02:01 PM   #4
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It's nice to be in a sport where random amateurs can use the same equipment as the pros for not a lot of money. That way there is no question that your lack of results is your fault. In the past there's been a lot of alternate or custom parts that get painted to look like sponsor equipment (i.e. some of Lance'searly TdF wins were on a Lightspeed TT bike painted to look like a Trek) but that's been happening less as manufacturers get more responsive to rider requirements.

Male international pros on the larger teams get a few bikes for each season- usually a training bike and a TT bike and one or more race bikes. Sometimes the team has race bikes in more than one location so the riders don't have to fly overseas with bikes, because that's expensive.

Some components makers sponsor teams. They usually get to dictate what equipment those teams use. Shimano for example often makes its sponsored teams use Shimano wheels. Some teams buy their components (not at list price of course!) and can then choose what they want to run, or get partial sponsors (i.e. wheels).

Teams often take back the bikes at the end of the season (and sell them) but riders may get some or all of them depending on their deal with the team.
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Old 12-26-11, 11:12 PM   #5
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There are domestic pro teams that compete in country and UCI international teams that compete internationally, in grand tours such as the TdF, Giro d'Italia and the Tour de Espana as well as one day classics. Most people are familiar with the UCI teams that they see on TV in the Tour de France. Pro racers sign a contract with the team and in general, do what they are told to do and race in races that team management decides. The team arranges financing from sponsors and equipment deals whereby the equipment manufacturers donate the equipment to the team. Management hands out the equipment to the pro racers. Not all pro racers are created equal and some get special consideration or designs when it comes to equipment. The team owns the equipment and may elect to give it to the pros but generally keeps it or sells it. Pros ride what they are told to ride and promote the sponsors by making appearances with the equipment. Equipment selection is optimized for the races depending on what the sponsor provided. For example if the team has a Zipp deal and the racers would prefer a trispoke front wheel for the time trial it is not going to happen. Zipp does not make a trispoke front and the racers will have to settle for a 1080 wheel.

I have heard the painted frame stories and etc but I suspect for the most part the teams use the bikes that are stock. One notable exception may be Paris Roubaix. They use special tires and rims and I have heard of frames being modified for the race. This is no different than pro golfers who use different irons than what is sold to the public because they can generate a lot more power and hit the ball squarely every time.

Our racing club used to have a domestic pro men and women's teams. I purchased parts and wheel sets from our pro women's team at the end of a season to get a good deal on expensive wheels from a trusted source and help out the team with financing for the next season.
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Old 12-27-11, 01:25 AM   #6
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Some interesting sneak peeks at pro equipment are available at:

http://velonews.competitor.com/categ...tech/pro-bikes
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Old 12-27-11, 08:07 AM   #7
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How many of the "Painted/Outside Builder Frame" stories came form the 7-eleven team bikes that carried the Huffy logo and were decaled as such but were made by Ben Serrotta and some other noted frame builders? These were some interesting bicycles with completely one off geometry for each rider and specific type of race. I'd like to find a link with several stories of the special frames from the Pro peleton.

Bill
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Old 12-27-11, 11:12 AM   #8
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Pros ride whatever their teams/sponsors give them to ride. Period. Comes with the territory.

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Old 12-27-11, 11:16 AM   #9
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How many of the "Painted/Outside Builder Frame" stories came form the 7-eleven team bikes that carried the Huffy logo and were decaled as such but were made by Ben Serrotta and some other noted frame builders? These were some interesting bicycles with completely one off geometry for each rider and specific type of race. I'd like to find a link with several stories of the special frames from the Pro peleton.

Bill
Yes, that was the case back in the days of steel (and to a lesser extent, aluminum) bikes. Case in point: Miguel Indurain's "Pinarellos" - actually Pegorettis with sponsor's paint and decals. Nowdays, with carbon having taken over, stock frames are the order of the day. Costs for a frame mold for one rider's needs make it a non-starter.

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Old 12-27-11, 11:33 AM   #10
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I think you still see a fair number of "stealth wheels" in the pro peloton. Lots of us are funny about our wheels: we have beliefs about what is fast for us (not always based on hard evidence), and pro riders do as well. I've recognized Zipp 404's, with no decals, on teams not riding Zipps. I'm sure riders with other brand preferences have done the same; convincing team management to allow what they feel they need to win. Then there are the individual deals some riders have. Cav has his own "named" bars and stems, and he is going to use them regardless of what the rest of the team uses, just as a basketball player is going to use his "named" shoes.
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Old 12-27-11, 11:42 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by bobbycorno View Post
for a frame mold for one rider's needs make it a non-starter.
And it really is unnecessary. Once you toss the need for a level top tube and a "handful of seatpost" aside, available sizes can be configured for any rider in the peloton. Vansummeren is the tallest guy out there at 6'6", and he rides a stock size frame. Plus, as fitness increases, so does the ability to tolerate minor fit differences. A couple of millimeters one way or the other in Top Tube length just doesn't matter; fit becomes based more on performance than on comfort.
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Old 12-27-11, 12:53 PM   #12
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Pros ride whatever their teams/sponsors give them to ride. Period. Comes with the territory.

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+1 this.
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Old 12-28-11, 09:58 AM   #13
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Back in the Old Days, it was quite instructive to look at photos of the pro's. Notable case in point: In 1967, Tom Simpson and Eddy Merckx both rode for Peugeot. You could see Simpson was actually on a Peugeot, with its crudely-finished Nervex lugs. Merckx's bike, however, was reputedly built by Masi. It definitely did not have the scrolled Nervex lugs, and the finish was much, much nicer. See if you can find pictures. In 67, it would, of course, be before the Tour...

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Old 12-28-11, 10:45 AM   #14
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I remember seeing the 7-11 team Murray bikes with "Built by Serrota" on the chainstay. Sometimes they're shoes are what they are, I remarked to Mark Gorski ('84 Olympic Sprint Champ) "nice Sidis", they had a Sidi label on the side, but were Duegi 101 wood shoes and still had the Duegi label on the tongue, he winked and nodded.
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Old 12-29-11, 11:18 PM   #15
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Very interesting section in the book "Lance Armstrong's War" about the efforts Trek went through to provide the bike(s) for Lance. After you win the TdF enough times the sponsor might spend just about any amount of money for you. Not exactly off the shelf. So when you go to the LBS and they try to tell you that you are buying the same bike as Lance used, maybe the paint scheme is the same.
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Old 12-30-11, 08:03 AM   #16
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Not a pro myself, so it really doesn't matter to me.
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Old 12-30-11, 08:31 AM   #17
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I'm currently enjoying riding a couple of 10-12 year old pro racing bikes that I found on ebay for about 10 cents on the dollar, neither of which required any build-up or additional parts. One has a OCLV one piece frame similar to the Lance bikes with a comp wheelset added and the other is a Sandvik tubing framed MTB that is all stock in perf condition. Very happy with em so far.
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Old 12-30-11, 03:56 PM   #18
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Very interesting section in the book "Lance Armstrong's War" about the efforts Trek went through to provide the bike(s) for Lance. After you win the TdF enough times the sponsor might spend just about any amount of money for you. Not exactly off the shelf. So when you go to the LBS and they try to tell you that you are buying the same bike as Lance used, maybe the paint scheme is the same.
In '07 our annual WI bike group stopped to tour a Trek factory. The guy leading the tour was also a local rider sponsored by Trek. He said starting around '04 the TDF team frames including Lance's were all pulled off the production run. The other interesting story he told was how the Trek employees who also rode under Trek sponsorship would routinely show up to events with equipment on top of their cars worth many times the total value of their car.
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