Tour de France Tech 2014: Tony Gallopin’s yellow Ridley Helium SL

A yellow bike to match his yellow jersey

by David Arthur @davearthur   July 14, 2014  

Frenchman Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol) rode himself into the the overall of the Tour de France on yesterday’s 161.5km 9th stage which means as well as starting today’s stage in the yellow jersey, he’ll be riding a specially prepared yellow Ridley Helium SL. This is something that has become such a tradition that we'd be suprised if a manufacturer didn't present a classification leading rider with a specially painted bike.

You’d think the manufacturers would be prepared with a fleet of specially painted frames just in case one of their riders moved slipped on one of the classification jerseys, but can you imagine how many sizes they might need if they took that approach? For sure they'll have some frames already painted up for the nailed on favourites, especially a manufacturer that isn't based just over the border like Belgian company Ridley are.

In Gallopin’s case it looks like Lotto-Belisol sponsor Ridley Bikes had to rush together a frame overnight, which they've documented on their Facebook page. 

We’ll assume they were in the paint shop the minute Gallopin’s position at the top of the general classification was confirmed with a bare frame and a tin of yellow paint. Then it would be a case of allowing time for the paint to dry, decals applied and then the task of driving it from Ridley's base in Belgium to the start of today's stage, with enough time for the mechanics to build it into a complete bike. It must have been reasonably tight. 

Ridley have kept with the retro-inspired design that they announced just before the Tour started in Yorkshire, but replaced the red with yellow. A simple Ridley logo is encased in white bands on the down tube and seat tube, with a black rear triangle and matching fork, gives a nice simple aesthetic. 

Gallopin chooses the lighter and stiffer Helium SL over the aero Noah Fast, which is probably a sensible choice for the hilly profile of stage 11, though it’s widely expected that he’ll be handing over the jersey to someone else at the end of the stage.

The bike is built up with a Campagnolo Record EPS groupset with Bora 35 wheels and Deda bars, stem and seatpost. SRM have supplied a yellow Powermeter head unit to match the frame.

You can see all the bikes of the Tour de France here. 

10 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

That looks pretty smart, and nice to see they've resisted the urge to use yellow bar tape.

Ride what makes you happy

posted by RobD [248 posts]
14th July 2014 - 15:52

31 Likes

RobD wrote:
That looks pretty smart, and nice to see they've resisted the urge to use yellow bar tape.

Agree. Yellow hoods though...

David Arthur @davearthur's picture

posted by David Arthur @d... [2227 posts]
14th July 2014 - 16:27

25 Likes

Less is definitely more when it comes to classification-matching bikes and kit! Very nice apart from the hoods

posted by Chuck [482 posts]
14th July 2014 - 17:39

33 Likes

One of my biggest bugbears with modern bikes is the hideous design of the branding logos. I would refuse to ride a Canyon for instance because of the horrid font it uses.

Cycling (for me at least) is as much about aesthetics as it is about the usability of the kit. Does anyone else feel the same? I don't wear naff clothes to work or on a night out, so why would I choose to ride an ugly looking bike?

This Ridley Helium in red or yellow is a very good looking bike, as is the Lotto kit. It's easy to pick out in the peloton and to my mind looks very stylish.

posted by darrenleroy [203 posts]
14th July 2014 - 18:27

38 Likes

I think Canyon bike look great, and so does this, I like the yellow hoods too though I appear to be in the minority (interestingly not on the bike in the main shot, how many yellow versions have been put together?!!). Aesthetics are important to a degree (more so pre-purchase), but we all like different things - I think the Giant Defy is one of the ugliest bikes on the planet but I still ride one - mainly in the winter when it's dark!

posted by caaad10 [161 posts]
15th July 2014 - 4:06

33 Likes

I think, Chuck, you're brave to admit it, even though a lot of riders will agree! I'd like to think that I put function before form and it's just that the best performing stuff looks best.

However, I do think that dismissing a brand because of the font it use is taking a smidge too far.

Scrufftie's picture

posted by Scrufftie [105 posts]
15th July 2014 - 10:13

19 Likes

Lucky Tony Gallopin.
I waited a month for my replacement Ridley frame that was apparently being sprayed matt black. I gave up in the end and asked for a refund.
Maybe I should have asked for it to be sprayed yellow and got it back the next day At Wits End

I'm sure that I used to be fast?

posted by millhouse [27 posts]
15th July 2014 - 21:33

13 Likes

Scrufftie wrote:
I think, Chuck, you're brave to admit it, even though a lot of riders will agree! I'd like to think that I put function before form and it's just that the best performing stuff looks best.

However, I do think that dismissing a brand because of the font it use is taking a smidge too far.

I know it's irrational. In fact I went back and revisited Canyon's bikes and feel I've been a bit harsh. But there are some horrid ones out there.

posted by darrenleroy [203 posts]
15th July 2014 - 22:37

5 Likes

I sure hope they do a run of the yellow for consumer purchase.

Douglas J McFarland

posted by djmjay2 [3 posts]
22nd July 2014 - 5:57

1 Like

Agreed. At least Canyon dropped the .com off of their bike logos. They still need work on graphics big time.

Douglas J McFarland

posted by djmjay2 [3 posts]
22nd July 2014 - 6:01

3 Likes