4 Tech Takeaways from Pro Bikes at the Tour Down Under

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
A Look at Pro Bikes at Tour Down UnderAndy Rogers

After a long, two-year wait, the Tour Down Under returns as a World Tour race. The 2023 edition sees the highest level of racing back in Australia for the men's peloton. More importantly, the women's stage race rose to World Tour status for the first time. From a tech perspective, having both the men's and women's World Tour seasons start in the same place and time affords us a wonderful preview of the bike and components rolling around the professional peloton for 2023. So, let's dig in!

New Bikes From Look and Cannondale

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

Look supplied the Cofidis men's and women's teams with a yet-to-be-released frameset. This particular bike belongs to Rachel Neylan, who rides for the Cofidis women's squad but rode as part of the Unisa-Australia composite team in Adelaide.

The new frameset features many hallmarks of the modern, lightweight, aero-ish road racing bike. There are the ever-popular dropped chainstays and integrated cable routing, both of which help with aerodynamics. The tubing and overall profile of the bike are very slim, which at the very least, gives the impression of it being very light. Details are still sparse but considering these bikes seem ready for production, an official launch is expected soon.

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

There is quite a mishmash of parts on this bike, with a Shimano Ultegra derailleurs shifting on Campagnolo chainrings. Plus, it has a Campy rotors/Shimano brakes combination.

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

The Look cockpit has the sleek appearance of a single piece. But actually, it is a very clean two-piece bar and stem.

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

The French team is sticking with tubular tires, at least for now.

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

Cannondale's new bike is perhaps the worst-kept secret on the internet right now. Images of the upcoming bike have been floating around Instagram since before Christmas, and it has been all over riders’ social media accounts. The new frame has more than a passing resemblance to the current SuperSix Evo, suggesting that this is the updated version. The differences are subtle, the most obvious being the deeper, more aerodynamic seat tube and seatpost. The headtube and fork legs look a bit deeper as well, presumably improving the bike's aero performance.

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

We are waiting with bated breath to find out what kind of bottom bracket is hiding behind that crank. Will Cannondale continue to opt for a threaded BSA bottom bracket as it has with the new Synapse and Topstone? Or will the new race bike stick to the brand's traditional BB30 standard? Either way, given how this new bike seems to be everywhere, we expect an official announcement soon.

The Tubular Ain’t Dead (Yet)

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

Sometimes it feels like racing road racing tech moves at a breakneck pace. Then you spot how many riders are still rocking sew-ups in the pro ranks, and it feels like things haven't changed at all.

Granted, for every tubular wheelset we spotted, there were probably four tubeless ones. Sometimes even in the same team!

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

The Trek Women's team used tubular on some bikes and tubeless setups on others. But if current trends continue, it will not be long until tubular tires are a thing of the past for road racing—particularly given the advantage of tubeless tires in both rolling resistance and flat prevention.

Big Changes at UAE

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

The team of Men's Tour de France runner-up Tadej Pogačar sees a shift in its equipment for 2023. Colnago still supplies the frames, but even here, it is the all-new V4Rs, an updated version of the frame the team rode in 2022. Shimano replaced Campagnolo for components. Wheels are now provided by Enve and are wrapped in Continental tubeless tires.

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

According to Enve, the team independently tested several wheel options before selecting. Enve also confirmed that the team committed to running tubeless tires, primarily in a 28mm size. Interestingly the team used the lighter and thinner GP5000 TT tires in a 28mm width for the Tour Down Under.

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

UAE has access to the full line of Enve SES wheels, including the ultra-lightweight SES 2.3 climbing wheels and the much deeper SES 6.7 aero wheels. For most of the team's race days, it is expected to use Enve's mid-depth options, such as the SES 3.4 or the SES 4.5 that the team is using here.

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

Unlike last year, Shimano seems to have a decent supply of power meter Dura-Ace cranks. Teams no longer have to use older versions.

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

Continental 28mm tires, combined with the Enve SES’ generous 25mm internal width, result in tires being inflated close to 30-31 mm. In the past, tires this large would only be considered for Paris Roubaix. But now, it's considered one of the fastest rolling setups available.

Women’s Teams Using Mixed or Second-Tier Parts

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

The ZAAF team is a new name in the Women's World Tour peloton. It's another team supported by Enve, however, not just wheels but also frames and cockpits. Enve provides its production frameset, the Meele—a lightweight, aerodynamic, all-rounder race bike designed to handle all sorts of road racing tasks.

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

ZAAF mixes Shimano derailleurs with a Rotor crankset. Looking a bit closer, there is an Ultegra rear derailleur, which would be an extremely uncommon part to see on bikes raced by men's teams.

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

This one is for the purists. Nicole Frain won Australian Road Nationals in 2022, so this is likely her bike from last season. Her team, Parkhotel Valkenburg, is one of the few teams still on rim brake-equipped bikes full-time.

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

The exposed cables might be old school, but the turned-in hoods (for aero gains) are a new-school approach.

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

It's crazy to think that tubular wheels are now a more common sight in the pro peloton than disc brakes.

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

11-speed Ultegra and a power meter from a company no longer in business. If anything, pro riders using older equipment proves that you don't need the latest and greatest to go fast and compete for wins.

bikes from the tour down under in mid january 2023 in australia many bikes were under wraps
Andy Rogers

Some women's teams are better equipped than others. Anya Louw rides for AG Insurance-Soudal Quick-Step Team and shares all of its equipment sponsors with the men's Soudal Quick-Step squad.

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