Cervélo has again taken the prize for 'Best Team Bike' in the 2009 Cyclingnews Reader Poll. The Canadian company has won the category for an unprecedented fifth straight year, and yet again with a bike that prioritizes aerodynamics over low weight, the Cervélo TestTeam S3.
If the S3 looks familiar, it should: it's a direct descendent of the SLC-SL (last year's 'Best Team Bike' winner) and aside from more cleanly concealed cable routing, uses a virtually identical front triangle. Major changes come out back, though, as Cervélo aimed to temper the SLC-SL's somewhat rough ride by infusing some of the design traits of the lighter and more comfortable R3-SL.
The SLC-SL's already-bulbous chain stays grew substantially as a result but the seat stays got far smaller, thus preserving bottom-end stiffness but gaining rear-end comfort that even managed to convert long-time R3-SL holdout Carlos Sastre – at least for a while.
Frame weight changed only negligibly, too, and the new frame even retains the old model's good looks.
Updated models from major brands Trek and Specialized continue to make inroads up the ranks, though, now occupying the second and third-place positions (up from last year's third and fifth, respectively).
Trek's latest Madone 6-Series veers further into the pure race bike territory with an all-new chassis that is lighter, edgier, and markedly more rigid than before. Front triangle stiffness is now more in keeping with its demanding competition while still retaining very good overall levels of comfort, not to mention the previous Madone's superb handling characteristics.
Also carried over is the slick Net Molded carbon fiber bottom bracket shell with drop-in bearings, the no-cut semi-integrated seatmast, tapered front end, and ultra-wide down tube and chain stays for a decidedly tech-laden package.
Add in nine Tour de France overall victories with Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador since 1999 and Trek is easily the most dominant brand of the last decade on cycling's biggest stage.
Updates to Specialized's S-Works Tarmac SL2 were more subtle from a visual perspective but still comprehensive when it comes to what lies beneath its sleek carbon skin. The new SL3 sports an entirely different construction process with newly added internal stiffening ribs, extra-rigid pitch carbon fibers in key areas, trick hollow aluminum dropouts, bigger chain stays, smaller seat stays, and lighter press-fit carbon bits in lieu of heavier alloy cups in the head tube.
In total, the new model is – you guessed it – lighter and stiffer than the SL2 (by 153g and 18 per cent, according to Specialized), making it even more of a well-honed race machine than before. Sponsored teams for 2010 will shake up a bit with Saxo Bank carrying over but Quick Step being replaced by Astana.
Cyclingnews reader poll results - Best team bike
Cervélo TestTeam's Cervélo S3: 3218
Astana's Trek 6-Series Madone: 2122
Quick Step/Saxo Bank's Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL3: 1888
Caisse d'Epargne's Pinarello Prince: 1756
Columbia-HTC's Scott Addict: 1186
Garmin-Slipstream's Felt AR: 827
Liquigas' Cannondale SuperSix Hi-Mod: 798
Rabobank's Giant TCR Advanced SL: 551
BBox-Bouygues Telecom's Time RXR: 406
Katusha's Ridley Noah: 390
Lampre-NGC's Wilier Triestina Cento 1 SL: 342
Ag2r-La Mondiale's: BH G5: 213
Silence-Lotto's Canyon Ultimate CF SLX: 205
Milram's Focus Izalco Team: 168