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  1. #1
    Senior Member eddiepliers's Avatar
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    Adapting to equipment change

    As I read about Marcel Kittel's new bike, the Giant Propel SL, I was wondering how different of a change it would be from the Felt AR1 That he rode the last several seasons. As non-pro (or non-sponsored either) cyclists, we can pick and choose the kit we want. It's not like so for the pros where they pick up a new team with new gear. Do they cope?

    One instance seems to me is the looks of Mark Cavendish. At Columbia HTC, it seemed like he hit a sweet spot with the final season on the Venge/Tarmac. As he went over to Sky, he got on a Dogma, and while he did win and everything, it didn't feel the same. Now that he got back over a Venge/Tarmac. he took worlds and is doing fairly well again.

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    Some riders are more picky about gear, some less. I don't where Kittel stands, but I do know when Armstrong and Contador were both on Astana Lance brought most of his equipment sponsors in including Trek for frames as he tends to get involved there. Contador seemed to have the attitude of "whatever, I'll beat you on your own bike."

    Cavendish has voiced complaints on bikes he didn't like, although I think the change you noticed when he was on Sky was that the rest of the team was put together to support their GC riders (Wiggins and Froome) and Cavendish was often left to fend for himself. HTC in particular was essentially the opposite in that they focused on providing Cavendish with a complete sprint train leadout, often having the whole team together or close to it in the final kilometers. Omega Pharma doesn't have the riders for that (as of now), but they do make a better attempt at it and recruited Cavs best leadout man from HTC Mark Renshaw.

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    Something else that isn't talked about, but happens all the time is for a rider to get a piece of gear they like and put their sponsor's badge on it to keep the sponsor happy. I read somewhere recently about riders having frames hand built by their preferred maker and then badged to look like the bike their team sponsor was promoting. I don't think it is widespread, but it apparently happens. So I would imagine that Kittel can get anything he wants out of his new bike, or will get them to hand make one for him. I also agree that Cavendish's fewer wins have been mostly related to his team's composition and goals rather than his bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by txags92 View Post
    Something else that isn't talked about, but happens all the time is for a rider to get a piece of gear they like and put their sponsor's badge on it to keep the sponsor happy. I read somewhere recently about riders having frames hand built by their preferred maker and then badged to look like the bike their team sponsor was promoting. I don't think it is widespread, but it apparently happens. So I would imagine that Kittel can get anything he wants out of his new bike, or will get them to hand make one for him. I also agree that Cavendish's fewer wins have been mostly related to his team's composition and goals rather than his bike.
    From what I've read, that was a more common occurrence back when the predominant frames were round steel/Al tubes, but that it's harder to get away with that with modern monocoque CF frames. A Madone or a Venge or a Dogma has certain features that make it distinctive and any sharp eye would notice if a high profile rider like Cav or Contador or Froome won on a bike that didn't have the same seatstay/rear brake/BB/downtube config as the rest of his team.


    And I don't think Contador quite has a "whatever" attitude to his equipment. He seems to have worked a lot with SRAM on his equipment, including on the development of WiFli, for one. When he and Lance were going to be on the same team, there obviously had to be a bit of compromise; Lance had to switch from Dura-Ace SPD-SL to Look Keos with Radioshack because the rest of the team preferred them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leinster View Post
    And I don't think Contador quite has a "whatever" attitude to his equipment. He seems to have worked a lot with SRAM on his equipment, including on the development of WiFli, for one. When he and Lance were going to be on the same team, there obviously had to be a bit of compromise; Lance had to switch from Dura-Ace SPD-SL to Look Keos with Radioshack because the rest of the team preferred them.
    I'm saying that in a relative sense as with LA and some others I seem to always see plenty of him getting involved as with his frame design and Contador not so much. As it is, Contador road Trek with Bruyneel and I think Specialized with everyone else? Maybe he is as fussy, but I just don't end up hearing about it like some others.

  6. #6
    Senior Member eddiepliers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by txags92 View Post
    Something else that isn't talked about, but happens all the time is for a rider to get a piece of gear they like and put their sponsor's badge on it to keep the sponsor happy. I read somewhere recently about riders having frames hand built by their preferred maker and then badged to look like the bike their team sponsor was promoting. I don't think it is widespread, but it apparently happens. So I would imagine that Kittel can get anything he wants out of his new bike, or will get them to hand make one for him. I also agree that Cavendish's fewer wins have been mostly related to his team's composition and goals rather than his bike.
    I forgot to mention instances like that. I've seen some riders wearing shoes with aero covers to hide the shoes that they liked rather than the sponsor shoe. It's a good thing that BMC doesn't have a cycling shoe contract or the Phinney-inspired Empire or any of the flashy Diadoras that Cuddles wears would go out the window.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eddiepliers View Post
    I forgot to mention instances like that. I've seen some riders wearing shoes with aero covers to hide the shoes that they liked rather than the sponsor shoe. It's a good thing that BMC doesn't have a cycling shoe contract or the Phinney-inspired Empire or any of the flashy Diadoras that Cuddles wears would go out the window.
    I think I've read that shoes/pedals are one item that riders are frequently allowed pick themselves. Just like soccer players with their boots, it can be a very personal thing. Obviously there are limits to that; you're unlikely to see Kittel or Degenkolb or anyone else on the Shimano team in Sidi shoes.

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