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Old 07-26-08, 06:13 PM   #1
damnable
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How much choice do riders have in equipment?

Hello all,
I was just watching some of the Tour on TV and I had a thought of how much of the riders equipment is chosen by themselves or buy the team and managers.

When people ask question on these forums as to which bike, helmet or really any other of the many bits and pieces the answer is always along the lines of 'make sure it fits you and it's comfortable'. The bike and the helmet are probably of major interest here.

When watching the Tour all members of the one team seem to be wearing the same kit. I can't be totally sure of the bikes but they look the same throughout a single team or at least the colours are. The helmets within the one team are definitely the same. Sure they may use different spacers and what not under the helmet but it's still the same helmet. When I was trying mine on found that different colours of the same size and models with the same sized inserts felt different. So what do the professionals do?
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Old 08-08-08, 03:01 PM   #2
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good question, I'm also curious.
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Old 08-08-08, 03:26 PM   #3
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Of course they are wearing the same kit. That is the team uniform, they are a team. There are exceptions for national or world champions and the Jerseys of the Tour. Those really are to make at laeast some notable riders easy to pick out of the pack.

As to bikes a lot depends on who the sponsors of the team are. If one is a bike company expect riders to be on their bikes. Though there have been cases in the past where the bikes just had the 'right' decals and were in fact from some other manufacturer. As to bikes also expect the top riders to have true custom bikes built to spec if that is what it takes to get the fit and other characteristics they want.
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Old 08-08-08, 04:09 PM   #4
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For groups, you ride what the team gives you.

Wheels, for the most part, fall under the same rule. There are a few teams and riders who use what they think is best for them.

You'll notice a few riders on Lightweight wheels. These wheels are considered to be the lightest, stiffest and strongest wheels you can possibly buy. They don't sponsor any teams, with the exception of the Unibet team in 2007. Riders have to purchase the wheels themselves, which cost from $4100 USD to $6000 USD per pair.

Team Colombia uses rebranded Zipp 808 and Lightweight wheels in lieu of the Shimano wheels they are provided with for special and important events.

Things like stems, saddles and handlebars are usually furnished by the team's sponsors. Most manufactures provide a number of different styles of handlebars for riders to choose from. Some prefer deep non-anatomic drop bars like the Pro PLT OS, 3T Rotundo and Deda Newton Belgian Deep Drop. Other rider enjoy the shape of anatomic bars like Oval R701, Deda Newton Anatomic and FSA Energy.

Frames are almost always what the team's sponsor gives the team. The further back in cycling history you go, the larger the number of riders who used custom frames. In the 70's, everyone was riding custom steel. The 80's saw the advent of TIG welded aluminum and lugged carbon fibre frames which were harder to produce. Now, almost every team uses a molded carbon fiber frame that is the same as the production version, because they are the production version. It is extremely expensive for a manufacturer to make one mold for one or two frames for every rider on the team.
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Old 08-09-08, 07:07 AM   #5
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the riders normally get to choose their own shoes and saddles.

if your good enough you can choose your own wheels and bike even
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Old 08-09-08, 07:12 AM   #6
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the riders normally get to choose their own shoes and saddles.

if your good enough you can choose your own wheels and bike even
Wheels, yes. Frames are no longer up to the rider.
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Old 08-10-08, 12:17 AM   #7
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Unless you are Cipo.
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Old 08-10-08, 07:29 AM   #8
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Wheels, yes. Frames are no longer up to the rider.

...No longer up to the rider...

...No longer up to the rider...

...No longer up to the rider...
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Unless you are Cipo.
...

Cipo doesn't race anymore, and the last time he was on a custom Specialized was when he rode for Liquigas for a few months in 2005.

His even briefer stint with Rock Racing was on a De Rosa King 3.
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Old 08-10-08, 04:58 PM   #9
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...

Cipo doesn't race anymore, and the last time he was on a custom Specialized was when he rode for Liquigas for a few months in 2005.

His even briefer stint with Rock Racing was on a De Rosa King 3.

You sure about that?



His brief stint with Rock Racing saw him riding everything but what was supplied by the teams sponsors. I wouldn't be surprised that even his kit was bespoke.
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Old 08-10-08, 06:37 PM   #10
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You sure about that?



His brief stint with Rock Racing saw him riding everything but what was supplied by the teams sponsors. I wouldn't be surprised that even his kit was bespoke.
He was on a De Rosa at the training camp, and he has always used Shimano. When Domina Vacanze took over the sponsorship of the Acqua & Sapone team in 2003, they were to switch to Campagnolo.

Cipo wanted Shimano, so the team stayed with Shimano.

Same with the 3T bars he has used since 2000.
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Old 08-10-08, 07:42 PM   #11
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That's baloney about the frames not being up to the rider. Granted, riding frames from a different manufacturer is not likely in the cards, but selection of the model, and selection of components from the sponsoring manufacturer still happens with some regularity.
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Old 08-10-08, 08:36 PM   #12
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That's baloney about the frames not being up to the rider. Granted, riding frames from a different manufacturer is not likely in the cards, but selection of the model, and selection of components from the sponsoring manufacturer still happens with some regularity.
The manufacturer gives them frames, what they want is up to them.

I figured this would be implied, but it would appear not. =/

FDJ riders use the X-Lite HM or team issue frames that are similar to the S-Lite aluminum frame.

Colnago gives their sponsored riders EPS's or CXC-1's.
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