Tour de France bike tech the pros don’t want you to know about

Riders' kit choices kept under wraps by team mechanics

This article first appeared on Bikeradar

There’s always been conflict between the gear that riders and mechanics want on bikes and the list of sponsors written on the side of the team bus. This year’s Tour de France is no exception with various decals scraped off, painted over or taped from sight.

Sponsor-incorrect gear often includes tubulars, chainrings, saddles and power meters. In the gallery above we have examples of each.

Tubulars have often been one of the sneakier items, as relabeling sidewalls with hot patches isn't too hard to do, and while some makers like FMB have telltale sidewalls, others are harder to distinguish. On the other end of the spectrum, oval chainrings are pretty difficult to hide, and the token piece of electrical tape over the logo is used more out of respect for current sponsors than in any real attempt to hide the product's identity.

Cannondale-Garmin's use of SRM power meters instead of the Garmin Vector meters have been one of those more obvious ones for the last two seasons. While some of the riders do use Garmin-branded Exustar pedals — but usually without the Vector's pods — in conjunction with a SRM meter, some riders like Ryder Hesjedal just use Shimano Dura-Ace pedals and a SRM. While team mechanics did initially tape over the SRM logos last season, this year they have stopped bothering.

Teams would prefer not to speak about these product switches, of course, but when pressed they often given a diplomatic answer.

"Garmin is our pedal and power sponsor," team communications director Marya Pongrace told BikeRadar. "As part of our partnership, Garmin works with our athletes and mechanics to continue to improve its products, including Vector. By doing so, Garmin is able to make invaluable enhancements to these products. As such, at this time, it is not at all uncommon to see different combinations of Vector, pedals and other power meters on team bikes. We are very lucky to work with Garmin, who has the only true suite of cycling electronics on the market today."

Take a look at our gallery above, and don't forget to check out more of our Tour de France 2015 tech coverage.

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