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We rate this year’s Tour de France bikes for front end tidiness and discuss why wires and cables are being hidden on top end performance bikes

Nowadays, even some of the most entry-level bikes you can pickup for a few hundred quid often have some of the gear and brake cables routed through the frame - and it's been a good few years since we've seen fully external cables on a pro bike at the Tour de France. 

Perches of the peloton: Tour de France pro bike saddles
The rise of disc brakes at the Tour de France

In fact, some of the very best cutting edge race bikes, particularly those with hydraulic disc brakes, are beginning to appear with no cables or wires at all on show - everything is concealed within the frame and the front end, and there are numerous integrated bar and stem systems out there designed to house all brake/gear cables and wires for electronic gear systems. Some bike brands like BMC and Cervelo have developed their own in-house, while component brands such as FSA produce cockpits that support full cable integration.  

We've been scanning some of the pro team camps at the Tour to find out how many have consigned cables to the past, and who's still not afraid to bare all... 

Total Direct Energie (Wilier Triestina)

wilier slr

The French team are fully committed to disc brakes for this Tour, and their new lightweight Zero SLR is disc-only with no cables on show. The team are also riding Wilier Cento10 aero road and Turbine TT bikes with totally integrated front ends, which makes this is the only team we spotted with complete cable-tidiness throughout their entire bike line-up. 
Cleanness rating: 10

Team Sunweb (Cervelo)

Tour de France 2019 Matthews Cervelo S5 - 4

Sunweb appear to be letting their riders choose whether they opt for rim and disc brake bikes this year, and their disc brake S5 and S3 road models plus the P5 TT bike are all fully cable-less. 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The crowds were incredible today at the #TDF2019

A post shared by Team Sunweb (@teamsunweb) on

On their lightweight R5, there's just two bits of cable on show on the rim brake-equipped bikes above.    
Cleanness rating: 9

Bora-Hansgrohe (Specialized) 

peter-sagan-bike13

This Specialized Venge belonging to Peter Sagan has totally clean and concealed cable routing thanks to Specialized' own S-Works Aerofly II cockpit.

Tour de France 2019 Specialized Tarmac - 1

Whereas on this Tarmac model the stem and handlebar provided by Pro doesn't allow for full cable routing, which means there are a couple of exposed bits disappearing into the fork and down tube. 
Cleanness rating: 8

EF Education First (Cannondale)

bettiol-cannondale-supersix-evo26

Cannondale's new Supersix Evo was developed with integration in mind; however with EF First's Alberto Bettiol using a standard round FSA handlebar with rim brakes, Cannondale have plugged the hole with a plastic cover where the cables would be routed on a fully integrated version.  

We did notice EF First riders using disc brake models, and above is an example of the bike paired with the Vision Metron 5D cockpit for a super clean look. 
Cleanness rating: 8

Team Ineos (Pinarello)

Tour de France 2019 Geraint Thomas stem - 1

Ineos might be at the forefront of marginal gains in a lot of aspects, but this hasn't quite extended to hiding all their cables just yet. The luxurious Most Talon handlebar does a good job of hiding most of the internals, with just the front brake cable on all of Pinarello's Dogma F12's left hanging out. 
Cleanness rating: 7

Team Movistar (Canyon)

Tour de France 2019 Landa Canyon Ultimate - 9

The H36 cockpit might be one-piece and look super sleek, but on Team Movistar's Canyon Ultimate it's not quite able to house all the Campagnolo Super Record cables. 

Tour de France 2019 Valverde stem - 1 (3)

We do like the port for the EPS junction box under the stem though, which means it doesn't have to be secured with bands. 
Cleanness rating: 6

UAE Team Emirates (Colnago)

dan martin least slammed and messy

The Deda Trentacinque stem on Dan Martin's Colnago V2R doesn't have anywhere to hide the junction box, therefore it's just tied on instead which doesn't look as tidy as the Campag-equipped Movistar team bikes. There's also nowhere to route the rear brake cable, so you can see a bit of it running from the bars through the top tube. UAE might be riding bikes from one of the most desirable bike brands out there, but if a clean front end is your thing then this one leaves a little to be desired...  
Cleanness rating: 5

Astana (Argon 18)

Tour de France 2019 Jakob Fuglsang Argon 18 Nitrogen Disc - 20

Our least tidy team award goes to Astana, who definitely aren't afraid to have a wire or two dangling here and there. This Shimano Di2 junction box is left hanging out on Jakob Fulgsang's Nitrogen Pro, which we think may have something to do with the difficulty of integrating it into Vision's Metron 5D cockpit.  

Tour de France 2019 Gorka Izagirre stem - 1

On this Gallium Pro belonging to Gorka Izagirre there's also some x-rated exposure going on, with the junction box secured to the stem with a rubber band. 
Cleanness rating: 4

 

Do you appreciate a squeaky-clean front end, or is a little bit of cable not the worst thing in the world? Let us know what you prefer in the comments! And click here to find all of our 2019 tour tech articles. 

After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since.  He joined road.cc in 2017, having previously worked for 220 Triathlon magazine. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake. 

2 comments

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Tinbob49 [24 posts] 1 month ago
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So Pinarello get a 7 for one brake cable, and Specialized get an 8 for having two cables?

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Simontuck [206 posts] 1 month ago
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I dunno, you tell me. Does no cables look good?