Specialized managed to topple seven-time winner Cervélo from its perch last year but the king has roared back to claim its eighth title, this time with Garmin-Sharp's ultralight Rca.
The Rca builds on the same engineering-centric design philosophies Cervélo has long used on its popular R-series: stiffness, low weight, and rider comfort. Key features include the so-called 'Squoval' tube profiles, the extra-wide and oversized BBright bottom bracket shell, huge chain stays, and ultra-tiny seat stays.
What makes the Rca model special, though, is that it's built by hand in Cervélo's California design studio by the engineers that designed it, not in some far-off factory overseas. As a result, claimed frame weights hover at an unreal sub-700g, which leaves Garmin-Sharp team mechanics plenty of latitude for some creative builds, such as the pseudo-TT setup used by riders at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado.
Such attention to detail doesn't come cheaply, of course, and each Rca frameset carries a price tag of US$10,000 – not that the team riders have to worry about that, of course.
Team Sky's Pinarello Dogma 65.1 Think 2 came in second again this year, despite another dominating performance in the Tour de France this year with Chris Froome. Pinarello can't claim anywhere near the Cervélo Rca's outlandish weight but its curvaceous chassis nevertheless offers one of the most planted and confidence-inspiring personalities we've encountered, plus exceptional ride quality.
Specialized fell to third place this year with its aero-inspired S-Works McLaren Venge. Designed to be a race machine above all else, the deep-profile frame is neither ultralight nor particularly light but then again, that's not the point. The aim here is only to get to the finish line first – and in this field, third place is still pretty good.
Click here for a gallery of all 10 team bikes nominated for the 2013 Reader Poll.
|1||Garmin-Sharp Cervélo Rca||26%|
|2||Team Sky Pinarello Dogma 65.1 Think 2||17%|
|3||Omega Pharma-QuickStep Specialized S-Works McLaren Venge||16%|
|4||Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod||12%|
|5||RadioShack-Leopard Trek Domane Pro-Fit||7%|
|6||Europcar Colnago C59 Italia||7%|
|7||BMC Racing Team BMC SLR01||6%|
|8||Belkin Procycling Team Giant Propel Advanced SL||4%|
|9||Cofidis Look 695 Aerolight||3%|
|10||Argos-Shimano Felt F1 FRD||3%|