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.
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...
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
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.
On their lightweight R5, there's just two bits of cable on show on the rim brake-equipped bikes above.
Cleanness rating: 9
This Specialized Venge belonging to Peter Sagan has totally clean and concealed cable routing thanks to Specialized' own S-Works Aerofly II cockpit.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.