The Tour de France bikes, ranked
- The Tour de Francebikes are, of course, fast, light, and expensive.
- They're worthy of most any cyclist's dream quiver, but some of the bikes are nicer than others.
- As we did last year, we went to the Tour and tracked down the 22 teams' bikes for a look at what the world's best cyclists are riding.
- We ranked them all, totally subjectively, on design, build, and looks.
- For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.
It's the rider, not the bike, but we can't help staring when the Tour de France rolls around.
All the gorgeous aerodynamic lightweight carbon fibre comes from sponsors who each July put out their best product on cycling's biggest stage for all the world to see and, they hope, buy.
We went to the Tour again to track down the 22 teams' bikes and rank them, from least to most desirable. (Spoilers: We don't dig loud bikes and continue to be uninspired by all-black paint jobs.)
Following is our very subjective ranking of the 2019 Tour bikes.
No. 22 — Wanty-Groupe Gobert's Cube
The Litening raced by Wanty-Groupe Gobert is one of two Cube models at the Tour, this being the climbing bike. It hasn't changed since last year, though it now has disc brakes, as do the majority of Tour bikes these days. But what we once thought were interesting colour choices are starting to feel dated, so a new look is in order.
No. 21 — Cofidis-Solutions Crédits' Kuota
The Kuota Khan raced by the Cofidis-Solutions Crédits team looks much the same as last year's, save for an updated paint job. It's an OK-looking bike with a somewhat classic road vibe but a fairly aero frame. Brands should ditch all the noisy decals, though.
No. 20 — Bahrain-Merida's Reacto
This Reacto is one of two Merida road models raced by the Bahrain-Merida team, and it's a fast-looking ride that's unchanged since last year. The frame has slippery tubes as well as graphic touches for star rider Vincenzo "The Shark" Nibali. The Fulcrum wheels are fast, too. But matte-black bikes just haven't inspired us, this year or last.
No. 19 — Katusha-Alpecin's Canyon
The Canyon Aeroad raced by Katusha-Alpecin is one fast bike, and it's much the same as last year's. We dig the speed of the Zipp wheels - they're among the fastest you can buy - but we'll just never be fans of big all-caps on our wheels. Still, a sleek red frame does turn heads. Katusha-Alpecin is one of two teams at the Tour riding Chicago-based SRAM components, the other being Trek-Segafredo.
No. 18 — AG2R La Mondiale's Eddy Merckx
The Eddy Merckx 525 frame raced by the AG2R-La Mondiale team has a traditional look that we like. Yet the deep-profile aero wheels from Mavic, while sleek, look a little too deep on this bike. Still, it must be cool to ride a bike with the name of cycling's GOAT on it. Doesn't every bike look better with a gold-plated chain?
No. 17 — Dimension Data's BMC
The BMC Teammachine has a squeaky-clean design but maintains something of a classic road look compared with the hyper-aero bikes around the Tour. The shiny black paint and ENVE wheels are complemented nicely by the blingy chain and gum-wall tires.
No. 16 — UAE Emirates' Colnago
The Colnago Concept looks like a lot of other bikes, but it's still fast-looking. There's a lot of free speed here, and coupled with the Campagnolo components and wheels and the Colnago frame, it's a pure Italian stallion.
No. 15 — CCC's Giant
The Giant TCR Advanced SL raced by the CCC team is a good-looking if understated frame, with its beefy head tube and slim seat stays. The matte-black look feels uninspired, but this bike benefits from the clean Cadex wheels and gum-wall tires. If the Olympic champ is racing it, you know it's fast.
No. 14 — Ineos' Pinarello
The stealthy Pinarello Dogma F12 raced by Team Ineos has a $6,200 pair of Lightweight wheels for the mountains. It's a fast-looking bike whose curvy seat stays and fork help it stand out from the other matte-black bikes in the bunch.
No. 13 — Deceuninck-Quick Step's Specialized Tarmac
As he's worn yellow longer than anyone else in this Tour, we thought it only right to show Julian Alaphilippe's Specialized S-Works Tarmac Disc. Fast and light with the Roval wheels, the Tarmac is one of the best all-around road bikes. The blue on the lower half of the frame and fork nicely complements the black paint.
No. 12 — Lotto-Soudal's Ridley
The bright-red Ridley Helium SLX raced by the Lotto-Soudal team is a great-looking bike that screams "Race me!" but manages to balance classic good looks and aero efficiency. The Campagnolo Bora Ultra wheels are sleek, too. No wonder it's racking up stage wins.
No. 11 — Movistar's Canyon
The Canyon Ultimate CF SLX bikes raced by the Movistar team are the riders' choice for the mountains, and they're have a nice blue-fade paint job. The Campagnolo Bora Ultra wheels complement the bike well. And while we believe that the colour of your bar tape should always match that of your saddle, everything still works out here.
No. 10 — Mitchelton-Scott's Addict
The Scott Addict raced by Mitchelton-Scott at the Tour doesn't look that special from afar, but up close you can see it has a gorgeous deep-purple paint job. The bike is fully integrated, so you won't find any cables. Like a lot of climbing bikes now, it's more aero and has features like dropped seat stays. Dura-Ace wheels with disc brakes complete the bike.
No. 9 — Sunweb's Cervélo
The R5 is one of two Cervélo models raced by the Sunweb team at the Tour this year. This lightweight climber has a traditional road-race look and a clean frame design. Its colours work well together, but the vibe still says climb fast.
No. 8 — Arkea-Samsic's BH
At last year's Tour we praised the BH bikes raced by Arkea-Samsic for their classic good looks. This year's fleet is much more aero in frame design and with the FFWD wheels but still distinguished-looking. Besides the world champion's custom livery, the BH is the only white bike at this year's Tour.
No. 7 — Groupama-FDJ's Lapierre
This Lapierre Aircode SL is the same as those raced last year by the Groupama-FDJ team, and once again it's the most French bike around the race with its proud tricolour paint job. Coupled with the fast Dura-Ace wheels, it's one of the better-looking aero road bikes at the Tour.
No. 6 — Bora-Hansgrohe's Specialized Venge
The Specialized S-Works Venge raced by Bora-Hansgrohe is the same as last year's, but a great bike with a good-looking mix of colours is timeless. Up there with the fastest aero bikes in the bunch, the Venge is fully integrated and built for speed with deep-profile Roval wheels with disc brakes. If it's good enough for Peter Sagan, it's good enough for us.
No. 5 — Astana's Argon 18
The aqua-teal of Astana's Argon 18 is refreshing and unique in the bunch of black bikes, an elegant colour scheme that complements the traditional look. But the team issue is still lightweight and fast with rim brakes and these Corima wheels.
No. 4 — Trek-Segafredo's Madone
Trek's Madone took the No. 1 spot in our ranking last year, and it stays in the top five this time thanks in part to its intriguing new paint job. (The custom work is something customers can get through Trek's Project One service.) We've ridden the Madone and can attest it is a superfast ride, especially with these Bontrager wheels. We like it enough to look past the supersize lettering.
No. 3 — EF Education First's Cannondale
The Cannondale SuperSix EVO is one of the best all-around road bikes, and the one raced by EF Education First is new for 2019. It's lighter, comes with either rim or disc brakes, and is more aero. What makes it a looker is the groovy paint, with a mix of blue, purple, and pink seemingly changing with the light. The EVO steps onto our podium of best Tour bikes.
No. 2 — Total Direct Energie's Wilier
Total Direct Energie's Wilier Zero SLR in admiral blue quickly caught our eye at this Tour. It's a stunning and elegant beauty but is still high on performance features, with its aero frame and fork, integrated cables, disc brakes, and FFWD wheels. The glossy blue really pops. We'll have one to go, thank you.
No. 1 — Jumbo Visma's Bianchi
Our favourite bike at the 2019 Tour is the Bianchi Oltre XR4 raced by Jumbo-Visma. Its aggressive, deep tube shapes make for clean aero efficiency, and its timeless celeste green is synonymous with cycling's rich history going back to Fausto Coppi. With the stealthy Dura-Ace wheels and gum-wall aesthetic, it's an all-around aero bike that turns heads and delivers stage wins.
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