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Tour Tech 2016: Strange setups

Unusual equipment from the Tour de France

All of the bikes and components used in the Tour de France are fairly remarkable, but some are more unusual than other. We went visiting the various teams to look for some of the stranger setups out there.


Bar tape on the pedals

Bar tape on pedal - 1.jpg

Several Lotto Soudal riders have Lizard Skins handlebar tape across the middle of the central stainless steel plate. We’re not totally sure why they do this, but we guess it must be to reduce cleat/foot movement on the pedal or to avoid the possibility of any play.

Dan Martin's tri bars on road bike

Dan Martin TT bars road bike (1).jpg

We spotted Dan Martin riding with tri bars on his road bike before the start of the Tour de France. That might seem an odd combination be we guess this is a setup he's considering for the hilly/mountain time trial on stage 18, finishing at Megève.

Dimension Data’s Arctic Heat cooling vest

Arctic Heat cooling vest - 1.jpg

This body cooling vest is used by Dimension Data to pre-cool riders before racing. The idea is that it stabilises the core body temperatures and reduces sweat rates while allowing riders to warm up before the start.

Andre Greipel’s cutaway shoes

Greipel shoes - 1.jpg

These look like Gaerne Chrono shoes on Andre Greipel’s feet, but look closely and you’ll see a cutaway circle in the upper of his left shoe. Although you can’t see it in this pic, his right shoe is the same. Although we’re not certain, we presume this is pressure relieving measure.

Chris Froome’s Osymetric chainrings

pinarello chris froome 2016 1.JPG

​Team Sky’s Chris Froome is still using bi-cam Osymetric chainrings. Osymetric claims the rings allow you to achieve 7-10% more power than standard round rings for a given amount of work. 

When we visited Team Sky’s service course earlier in the year we learnt that the Team Sky powers that be aren't convinced by the evidence used to support these claims, but Froome wants to stick with something he has used for his two previous Tour de France victories.

FDJ’s Shimano Dura-Ace power meter

FDJ Shimano Dura-Ace power meter - 1.jpg

Shimano officially announced last week that the next generation Dura-Ace groupset would feature a power meter and FDJ riders are currently using a prototype. You can see the unit between the arms of the spider on the chainset above. 

Small Look 795

Bruce Feillu small bike - 1.jpg

Brice Feillu (we're pretty sure it's him) of Fortuneo-Vital Concept rides a Look 795 Light that looks very small considering his 1.88m height. We see many pro riders on bikes that are smaller than you might expect. They usually cite weight and manoeuvrability as reasons for sizing down. 

Team Katusha mudguard

Alexander Kristoff Canyon Aeroad13.JPG

Alexander Kristoff’s bike had a Team Katusha splash guard fixed to the saddle when we photographed it. These are available from

Peter Sagan’s gold coloured jockey wheels

Peter Sagan Specialized Venge TdF 5.JPG

Peter Sagan has gold coloured CeramicSpeed jockey wheels on his Dura-Ace rear derailleur. His Terminator nickname is printed on the side.

Cavendish’s red jockey wheels and gold chain

Mark Cavendish Cervelo S5 TdF 22.JPG

Mark Cavendish goes for gold too, this time with his chain. His CeramicSpeed jockey wheels are red.

Adam Hansen’s bespoke shoes

Today I will be wearing shoes I made over two years ago. Classics and I like the old fashion bikes on them.  4

We caught sight of Adam Hansen’s minimalist bespoke carbon-fibre shoes but our pictures weren’t great so here’s one from his Twitter feed. They apparently take over 42hrs to make and weigh under 95g.


Sky’s Ford Mustang team car

Team Sky Ford Mustang  - 1.jpg

Ford has taken over form Jaguar as provider of the support vehicles for Team Sky. Most of the cars it supplies are Mondeos but this is a 435bhp Mustang 5.0 V8. It’s certainly eye-catching.


Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

Latest Comments

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