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Many of us want the very best kit in the land, which often means buying the same bike and gear as the pros. Perhaps one of the most appealing things about professional cycling is that you can do just that, as in you can walk into a bike shop and ride away on a road bike pretty much identical to one ridden to victory by Remco Evenepoel, Wout van Aert or Tadej Pogačar... but, these bikes often come with very lofty price tags! Let's have a look at some more obtainable versions of these top-end road bikes.
In the late 90s there were loads of team replicas around, such as the Bianchi Mercatone Uno, MBK Cofidis and Trek for USPS which many amateur cyclists at the time wanted to get their hands on. However, team replicas aren't as much of a thing anymore, and many team paint jobs aren't quite as distinctive.
The question of whether pro bikes are the same as ones that you or I can buy in the shops is, broadly speaking, a simple one to answer. More or less, barring individual modifications that some riders might request, pro bikes are these days the same as those that you can buy in a bike shop. All you have to do is hand over around £10,000 (sometimes more) and you’ll be presented with something that is much the same as the bikes that you’ll see being raced towards Paris.
Happily, however, it is possible to get bikes that are very similar - not only in appearance, but also in construction - to the ones the stars of cycling ride, but at cheaper prices. Okay, these bikes aren't cheap, but they are cheaper. It's all relative, isn't it? These bikes use very similar frames, just with cheaper spec sheets.
To see what is available, we've had a look at 12 manufacturers to show that you can realistically get a bike that pros are using. We've focused on bikes that share the same (or a very similar) frame and keep the cost a little more obtainable with less posh components. Aside from parts like wheels, transmission, handlebars and stems, these bikes are essentially the same as the WorldTour bikes.
If you want to be Remco Evenepoel but can't afford a £13,000 Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7, here's a more sensible option.
The Tarmac SL7 Comp uses the same frame design as the Soudal Quick-Step team's Tarmacs, just with a different level of carbon. The Specialized Tarmac SL7 frameset is a refined full FACT 10r carbon layup rather than the S-Works bike's FACT 12r carbon.
The Tarmac SL7 Comp is complete with a Shimano 105 Di2 groupset and hydraulic brakes, and it rolls on DT Swiss R470 Disc aluminium wheels with 26mm Specialized Turbo Pro tyres.
Yes, we realise this is still five grand, but for the money you get the same frame design as the pros.
The full-dress Scott Foil RC Pro as used by Team DSM will set you back £10,499 with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 shifting and deep section C50 aero wheels. Luckily, there's a cheaper alternative!
The Foil RC 30 has the same frame shape as the Scott Foil RC Pro, featuring internal cabling and an aero seatpost like a top-end bike, but uses a less spendy grade of carbon fibre to keep the cost under control.
It's equipped with Shimano 105 Di2 and Scott's own Syncros RR2.0 Disc wheels.
EF Education-EasyPost and EF Education Tibco-SVB team riders use Cannondale bikes equipped with Shimano groupsets, opting for the SuperSix Evo as their all-round bike and the SystemSix as their aero bikes.
Riders from EF Education-EasyPost men's team were spotted earlier this year riding a new Cannondale road bike which we suspect will be a fourth generation of the SuperSix Evo, but until this is released, you can get your hands on a Cannondale SuperSix Evo 3.
You still get electronic shifting, but it's 105 rather than Dura-Ace, and DT Swiss R470 Disc aluminium wheels, all for £4,000.
The French team AG2R Citroën have chosen to stick with BMC bikes this season and is the only World Tour team to use Campagnolo equipment for 2023.
If you want to buy a pro-spec BMC Teammachine SLR01 with Campagnolo Super Record EPS, as ridden by the AG2R Citroën team, you're looking at a whopping €15,999.00 (∼£13,700).
Instead, you could get this SLR 6 with mechanical Shimano 105, finished off with Mavic Open Disc wheels and a Fizik Antares saddle for £3,100.
So, you desperately want a Pinarello Dogma F so you can descend like Tom Pidcock, but the budget won't stretch to £12,400. Instead, you can get your hands on a Pinarello F5 which borrows much from the top-end Dogma F, at less than half the price.
It shares a similar frame profile, but it’s made from a different blend of carbon fibre and has a lower spec with Shimano 105 Di2 rather than the top-end Dura-Ace Di2.
Ineos riders usually use wheels from Shimano, although the team has been known to dip into the Lightweight and Princeton ranges in search of those marginal gains, but this Pinarello F5 is equipped with 40mm carbon disc wheels from Pinarello's brand MOST.
Team Jayco Alula switched to Giant bikes in 2022 opting for Giant's Propel Advanced SL, TCR Advanced SL and Trinity TT.
The top-of-the-line TCR Advanced SL Dsic 0 will set you back £11,999 so you might well decide to save yourself a whopping £9,000 by dropping down a bit in frame and components to the Propel Advanced 2 with mechanical Shimano 105 instead.
You lose the electronic shifting but still get a light carbon fibre frame.
The weapon of choice for the likes of Mathieu van der Poel and Jasper Philipsen is the Canyon Aeroad CFR, which will cost just shy of 10 grand when equipped with SRAM Red eTap AXS and Zipp 454 wheels.
The Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 8 and Aeroad CFR have the same frame design and feature an integrated cockpit and aero seatpost, but different carbon layups meaning the CF SLX frame is slightly heavier.
Still with electronic gearing and SRAM, like Movistar use, the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 8 is equipped with SRAM Force eTap AXS and costs £5,999 - this does include some 62mm deep rims from DT Swiss!
If you're looking for a cheaper alternative to the Canyon Aeroad, the Ultimate CF SL 7 balances being lightweight and aerodynamic, still with electronic gearing - SRAM Force eTap AXS, for £3,649.
This bike is still used by the pros, with it being Movistar's choice for those climbing stages. However, they opt for SRAM Red eTap groupsets, Zipp wheels and Fizik saddles.
If you're a big fan of Bahrain Victorious, this one's for you - the first bike in our lineup in team colours.
Bahrain Victorious are using the same trusted Merida bikes as last year, and you can get your hands on this team replica for £2,600 - albeit with a lower spec. The 5000 features a CF3 carbon aero frame with cable integration and tyre clearance of up to 30 mm tyres.
Shimano Dura-Ace is the groupset of choice for Bahrain Victorious but you'll have to settle with mechanical Shimano Ultegra for this model, and Merida Expert wheels rather than Vision wheels.
The Belgian Team Intermarché–Circus–Wanty continue to ride Cube bikes with Shimano groupsets and Newmen wheels, and this Cube Litening Aero C:68X Race bike gets you pretty much all of the way there.
It's equipped with Shimano Ultegra Di2 and Newmen Advanced SL R.50/65 carbon wheels for £5,699, and yes, this is still a lot of money, but for a bike with a similar spec to the pros, we can be thankful we aren't in five figures!
The Litening C:68X Aero provides lower drag whilst the Litening Air C:68X is the lightweight choice.
Trek-Segafredo has just changed its name to Lidl-Trek, but what remains the same is its weapons of choice - the Trek Madone and Emonda.
Like this Trek Emonda SL 6 with SRAM Rival AXS, SRAM supplies the groupsets for Lidl-Trek, while Trek's Bontrager brand provides pretty much everything else.
The latest Emonda isn't just about shaving grams, Trek's engineers having reshaped the frame for better aerodynamics. The aim is to make bikes that use the top-end SLR version of the frame the brand's fastest-climbing ever.
Bianchi had some mixed opinions when they released the new Olte road bike, which we have since seen in the pro peloton used by French team Arkéa-Samsic.
The Oltre Comp is derived from the superior Oltre RC and Oltre Pro, with a top-end Oltre RC with Dura-Ace Di2 costing an eye-watering £12,099.
This Bianchi Oltre Comp is equipped with Ultegra Di2, Velomann components and a Mitora saddle for £5,099.
* Relative to the actual bikes the pros race, that is. We know that these still aren't cheap!
Which of these (almost) pro team bikes would you choose? Let us know in the comments section below...
Emily is our track and road racing specialist, having represented Great Britain at the World and European Track Championships. With a National Title up her sleeve, Emily has just completed her Master’s in Sports Psychology at Loughborough University where she raced for Elite Development Team, Loughborough Lightning.
Emily is our go-to for all things training and when not riding or racing bikes, you can find her online shopping or booking flights…the rest of the office is now considering painting their nails to see if that’s the secret to going fast…