The 2015 Vuelta a España has started so here’s a roundup of some of the coolest bikes in the race.
Most brands involved with the WorldTour used the recent Tour de France to launch new bikes and updated equipment (and there were many new bikes on show) so there are really no big changes going into the Vuelta. One brand, however, bucks the trend: Fuji unveiled its all-new SL model on the eve of the race.
That means most of the bikes are the same as we see in the Tour de France. There are 22 teams racing the Vuelta, from the likes of Team Sky to Cannnondale-Garmin, but also including Caja Rural-Seguros RGA and Colombia, two UCI professional continental squads. Here are seven of the coolest bikes to look out for in the race.
Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling - Cannondale SuperSix Evo
Cannondale-Garmin will be racing the brand new SuperSix Evo, the company’s flagship racer, which was raced in anger for the first time at the Tour de France. It’s a gradual evolution of the existing model. You have to look closely to spot the differences, so slight are they.
Changes there are though. Cannondale claims this new version is lighter, stiffer, more comfortable, and more aero. A raft of subtle refinements which Cannondale reckons adds up to a significantly better bike. Well, they would say that wouldn’t they. Bikes will be equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, FSA cockpit and Mavic wheels and tyres.
Etixx-Quick Step - Specialized Venge and Tarmac
The big news at the Tour de France was the launch of the head-turning Specialized Venge Vias, as ridden by Mark Cavendish (and Peter Sagan). It ushers in some radical new aero features over the older Venge, with new integrated brakes and completely internal cable routing with a bespoke handlebar and stem design. There were teething problems with the new bike, it's fair to say. While he started on the new Venge, Cavendish didn't ride it for the whole race.
With Cavendish not racing the Vuelta, it’s likely most of the Etixx-Quick Step squad will race the trusty Tarmac, the lightest bike in the US company’s range. It got a refresh in 2014 with a new internal seat clamp and a complete revision of tube profiles, shapes and carbon fibre layup across the size range. The bikes were running Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupsets mixed with FSA chainsets at the Tour, but don’t be surprised if we see a bit more of FSA’s electronic groupset, which this team is rumoured to be holding out for.
Giant-Alpecin - Giant TCR and Propel
This team will be splitting its time between the Propel aero model, which has been around for a number of years, and the brand new TCR. While it retains the same name, the TCR has been given a complete makeover for 2016. Hoever, much like the new Cannondale SuperSix Evo, you do have to look closely to spot the changes.
The pictured bike isn’t the team edition, it’s actually the bike from the launch and the one Mat got to ride. The main update is a claimed improvement in the stiffness-to-weight ratio. The frame is reckoned by Giant to be 181g lighter while maintaining the same stiffness as the previous generation frame. Bikes will once again be equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrains, Pioneer power meters, Shimano wheels and PRO finishing kit.
Orica-Greenedge - Scott Foil and Addict
Orica-Greenedge is sponsored by Scott Bicycles and at the Tour a few, but not all, members of the squad were given the revamped Foil aero road bike to race. We’d expect to see more of the team on this new bike at the Vuelta, but that depends on the stage profiles -the lighter Addict will likely be the go-to choice for the mountain stages becuase it's lighter. The bike pictured above belongs Daryl Impey who is racing in the Vuelta.
Scott reckons the new Foil is a leap forwards in terms of aerodynamics compared to the old bike, with a new integrated stem and revised seatstay design - they now meet the seat tube much lower than on the old bike. As well as improved aero performance, the new bike is claimed to be more comfortable, a real achilles heel of the old Foil, which was famed for being a bit harsh on anything but a billiard table smooth road. Bikes will be decked out with Di2 and Shimano also supplies the wheels and PRO finishing kit.
Team Sky - Pinarello Dogma F8
Can Chris Froome do the double? That’s the big question. No questions about his bike though, he’ll be riding the same Dogma F8 he used so convincingly at the Tour de France. We don’t expect many big changes on the equipment front, so it’s a case of a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, Dura-Ace wheels and PRO stems, bars and Fizik saddles. We presume Froome will be sticking with his favoured Osymetric non-round chainrings. If the roads call for it, Froome will have the new Dogma K8-S softail road bike at the ready equipped with wider tyres.
Trek Factory Racing - Trek Madone, Doman and Emonda
Most bike companies involved with a WorldTour team supply a choice of bikes, and Trek is no different. Each rider can choose from the Domane (Fabian Cancellara’s preferred bike), the lightweight Emonda, or the slippery new Madone aero road bike (pictured above). The Madone, completely updated with an aero frame, hidden brakes and IsoSpeed decoupler borrowed from the Domano, was ridden for the first time at the Tour de France, and we expect to see it being used again in the Vuelta. Speaking to a Trek mechanic, road.cc was told that each rider can choose whichever bike he wants to ride, there’s no pressure from the team or Trek to ride a particular bike. Whatever model they go with, each rider will have a Dura-Ace Di2 groupset with Bontrager wheels and finishing kit.
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA - Fuji SL
Fuji comes to the Vuelta with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA team, a Spanish UCI professional continental outfit. The US company will provide the team with its brand new SL, it’s lightest ever production frame. It has a claimed weight of 695g. Built up with some lightweight components, Fuji reckons a 4.96kg (10.91lb) complete build is easily possible. The team will obviously have to add some not-quite-so-light equipment to the frame to bring it up to the UCI’s 6.8kg minimum weight limit. The team will use Shimano Dura-Ace drivetrains, mechanical, not Di2 like every other Shimano team. Chainsets are from Rotor and wheels are Reynolds, and all finishing kit is from Oval.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.