This article originally published on BikeRadar
Kittel rides Giant’s top-end aero road frame – the Propel Advanced SL. We first took a look at this frame just over a year ago, at the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under, and little has changed since. The streamline frame still boasts market leading aerodynamics with competitive weight and stiffness.
Standing at 6ft 2in tall, Kittel rides a large frame size – different from the trend for downsizing in frames we’ve seen recently among sprinters, including Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel. Even with this size, Kittel uses a lengthy 140mm stem and has a generous 105mm saddle to bar drop.
A powerful sprinter, Kittel uses an uncharacteristically large 11-28T cassette. His mechanics told BikeRadar that this allows him to use easier gears without having to always go to the edge of the cassette, therefore reducing chain crossing and the chance of other issues.
The drag-reducing mini-V brakes are interesting, tucked behind the forks and seatstays. Instead of Giant’s own SLR brakes, which are featured on aftermarket bikes, Kittel’s bike has small Swiss-brand Fouriers. These mini-V brakes appear to be machined aluminum and offer the usual V-brake adjustment, but there are no details on the company’s website.
PRO, Shimano’s in-house componentry brand, unsurprisingly sponsors team Giant-Shimano. While there are multiple WorldTour teams on PRO components, Giant-Shimano are the only team using its saddles, and Kittel chooses the Turnix Carbon. With technology and research from Shimano’s latest acquisition – bikefitting.com – expect big changes to come from this brand over the next year.
The PRO Vibe stem also caught our attention – with a four-bolt face plate and 1 1/4in steerer clamp. We saw this last year on Mark Renshaw’s Giant, but it's still not available for aftermarket purchase.
Kittel continues the trend of the top riders choosing slightly wider rubber, opting for a 25mm width Vittoria Corsa Evo CX.
The rest of the build is fairly standard Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 Di2 with internal battery, sprint shifters and matching SRM crankset.