The Tour de France is a sponsor’s dream with millions of viewers tuning in to watch their favourite riders, teams and equipment get put to the ultimate test. It’s no surprise, then, that this time of year is so popular for new releases, and loads of new bikes, components and items of clothing are making their Tour de France debuts.
Some of these products have been around for a few months and have already seen action in other races, some have only just been released, and some are flying under the radar, yet to be launched…
Launched just a few days before the Grand Depart is the 2023 Trek Madone, a bike that the US brand describes as its “fastest road race bike ever”.
This new steed certainly turned a few heads when we first spotted it at the Dauphine thanks to IsoFlow technology – basically a huge hole in the seat tube; it’s said to provide dramatic aerodynamic improvements, plus has helped the brand to shave off 300g compared to the previous generation Madone.
Will we see the new Madone ridden to a stage win? Its best chances are probably under fast finishers Mads Pedersen or Jasper Stuyven.
Another bike making its debut is the yet-to-be-released Giant Propel.
This one has already been powered to one stage victory by Dylan Groenewegen and looks to be much lighter than the older design so could we see it compete in the hills as well? Team BikeExchange Jayco will certainly be hoping so.
You might not have noticed that the three Specialized sponsored teams in this year's Tour de France have updated wheels from Roval.
In the last few years, we’ve seen the Rapide and Alpinist become some of the most successful wheels in the peloton. The new second-generation look extremely similar but add tubeless compatibility.
Another change for the Specialized sponsored teams is their headwear. This will likely apply on every stage as there are three new lids, the Evade 3 aero road helmet, Prevail 3 ventilated helmet for climbing stages and TT 5 with accompanying balaclava for the two time-trial stages.
These were released just one day before the Tour started and are already available to buy.
Another team riding a new bike is Team DSM. It is sponsored by Scott which has equipped the riders with the new Foil aero bike. Once again this is billed as lighter, faster, and more comfortable than the previous model.
You can read Liam’s first ride impressions by hitting the link below.
We’ve seen oversized pulley wheel systems being used in the Tour for a few years now, usually on time-trial stages. This aero version was developed with Simon Smart, the same aerodynamicist who worked on that new Scott Foil (above), and it claims to save 2.5 seconds over a 25km time trial.
This was first sighted at the Giro d’Italia and then released at the end of last month with its Tour de France (TdF) debut happening on Stage One.
Jumbo Visma riders can choose between the Cervelo R5 climbing bike and the aero S5.
The S5 has been ridden for quite a few years now but this is the first time the riders will be using the updated version in the Tour, a bike that takes advantage of changes to UCI equipment rules.
The changes are subtle and include many deeper profile elements such as the head tube, down tube, seat tube and seat post. At the time of writing, this is the most successful bike so far with two second-place finishes and a win on Stage Four.
A bike that was tipped to have already won a stage, but hasn’t, is the new Pinarello Bolide F. Luckily it will have another chance in the Stage 20 time trial.
Pinarello says that this is their fastest bike ever and all of Ineos Grenadiers used the disc brake version for Stage 1. They also used 28mm Continental GP5000 TR tyres for the opening time trial, which is wider than usual. These were mounted to non-sponsor Princeton Carbonworks wheels.
The riders also took advantage of the team's significant budget and used 3D-printed titanium aero bars.
Sticking with Ineos Grenadiers, they’ve also got a new kit sponsor for the 2022 season – Bioracer.
This isn’t the first time the brand's clothing has been seen at this level; they’re responsible for the skinsuits of the Belgium national team to name just one example.
This is, however, the first time that we’ve seen the Bioracer ‘Supersonic’ skinsuit at the Tour de France which features strategically placed seams and allegedly stems from 300 hours of wind tunnel testing as well as being custom made to the individual athlete's body.
The TT brought us plenty of new tech, including this whopping 64T FSA chainring fitted to Steffan Bissegger’s bike. It also appears to be made for the most part out of carbon fibre and this ring certainly isn’t listed on the FSA website.
It didn’t help Bissegger much. He fell off not once, but twice. It was a day to forget for the rider.
The Specialized S-Works shoes were released just over a month ago, but this will be their first Tour on the feet of riders from Bora-Hansgrohe, QuickStep Alpha Vinyl and TotalEnergies. Maybe even a few other riders will forgo sponsor obligations and wear an unbranded pair.
The S-Works Torch promises better comfort, and low weight and is now available in wide fit. They’re also very expensive at £385, we doubt that worries the pros too much though.
Another set of shoes making their TdF debut is what we expect to be called Shimano's RC903.
These haven’t been released yet, but they seem to be being regularly worn by Jasper Philipsen. Wout van Aert has previously been pictured wearing them, but he seems to have opted for a custom-painted set of RC902s instead.
Oh yes, another new bike, this time for the Intermarche-Wanty team. The 2023 Cube Litening C:68 is the brand's aero bike although it has lost some serious weight compared to the last generation.
Fizik has been rolling out more and more 3D-printed saddles over the past few years. This Argo is the brand's short nose saddle and is available in 140mm and 150mm widths. Fizik says the Argo Adaptive “puts the rider in a planted position, offering greater stability, comfort and weight distribution”. That sounds quite useful for a three-week race! Fizik sponsors AG2R-Citroën, Ineos, Movistar and Jumbo Visma so we can expect to see a fair few of these being used.
Could this be the general classification winning bike? It certainly stands a good chance as it’s being ridden by last year's winner Tadej Pogacar. Currently dubbed the ‘Prototipo’ (Italian for prototype) this bike appears to be the direct replacement for the V3Rs, the all-around bike used by Team UAE Emirates for all road stages last year.
This feature doesn't cover all of the new stuff being raced in the Tour de France but let us know what your favourite item is in the comments below, and point out anything you think we’ve missed…
Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the road.cc team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...