It's no secret that riders in the Tour de France get some of the best cycling tech available. One of the many perks of being a professional cyclist is getting to ride the best road bikes in the world and not having to pay for them.
However, while these bikes are available to the public to buy, such high-end bikes are often very expensive, so that raises a question: What is the cost of a Tour de France bike?
The exact answer depends on a variety of factors and will vary from team to team. Within the 2021 Tour de France, there are 19 different bike sponsors, and while they all work in the same market - and thus, their bikes are often priced to compete against each other - each brand will have a slightly different pricing structure to its range of bikes.
If you're after a ballpark figure of the cost of a Tour de France bike, then around £11,000 / $13,000 / AU$18,000 per bike is a safe round-number estimate, but let's dive deeper for a detailed look.
- Tour de France bikes: Who's riding what in 2021?
- Tour de France tech: All the tech and trends from the 2021 race
Firstly, it's important to recognise that a bike is made up of various components. Starting with the frame and fork, there is then a groupset, wheels, tyres, cockpit components such as the handlebar and stem, and the finishing kit such as the saddle, bar tape and pedals. To quantify the cost of the bike as a whole, you need to calculate the sum of its parts.
It's also worth noting that depending on the terrain of the stage ahead, riders will often be given different frames or different components to improve the bike's suitability to the stage parcours.
To calculate the true retail cost of a Tour de France bike, we've picked a few bikes from the Tour de France and calculated the cost of each.
Deceuninck-QuickStep: Mark Cavendish's Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7
Calculating the cost of Mark Cavendish's Specialized Tarmac is reasonably simple, since it's almost entirely off-the-shelf in terms of its specification.
Aside from the paint, which is specific to the team, the S-Works Tarmac SL7 complete with Roval Rapide CLX wheels and Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset can be bought from Specialized - as well as various retailers. It's retail cost is £11,500 / $13,000 / AU$19,100.
The only thing that Cavendish has specced differently is swap the stock S-Works Romin Evo saddle for the 3D-printed Specialized S-Works Power with Mirror, which is £390 / $450 / AU$750, a premium of £135 / $150 / AU$330.
Total cost: £11,635 / $13,150 / AU$19,430
Trek-Segafredo: Bauke Mollema's Trek Emonda SLR 9 Disc
Like Cavendish, much of Bauke Mollema's Emonda SLR 9 eTap bike is available to buy 'off the shelf' as a complete bike. It is available from Trek or third party retailers at £11,500 / $12,499.99 / AU$16,899.99.
Among the changes made Mollema has switched out the Aeolus RSL 37 tubeless wheels in favour of the deeper Aeolus RSL 62mm wheels, and the Aeolus Pro saddle for the Arvada Pro, albeit neither of which come with any extra cost.
He's also added a couple of Bontrager XXX bottle cages, totalling £89.98 / $159.98 / AU$199.98.
Total cost: £11,589.98 / $12,659.97 / AU$17,099.97
UAE Team Emirates: Tadej Pogačar's Colnago V3RS
Tadej Pogačar's Colnago V3RS is equipped with Campagnolo's top-tier Super Record EPS groupset, Campagnolo One wheels, the one-piece integrated cockpit is the Deda Alanera, and the saddle is Prologo.
Ahead of the race, Colnago launched a limited Tour de France edition of the V3RS. Limited to just 108 in quantity, the bike was launched with a price of £11,090 / $16,399 / AU$20,340.
The two differences coming at the wheels and the saddle, both of which actually brought the cost down by £1,219.91 / $1,279.00 / AU$1,986.00
Total cost: £10,145.09 / $15,120.00 / AU$18,354.00
How many bikes do teams have at the Tour de France?
Most riders will usually have two bikes available to them on any given day, with key riders having even more. Some teams will also have two different types of bike - one that is lighter in weight for the climbing days, and another that is more aerodynamic for the flatter, faster days. They will also have one or two time trial bikes per rider for the time trial stages.
If you extrapolate that out to eight riders per team and take into account bikes that have been crashed out, it's not uncommon for teams to have 60 framesets and over 100 wheelsets. We recently spoke to mechanics from Team Qhubeka Assos (now known as Qhubeka NextHash) who confirmed they took 115 wheelsets to the Giro d'Italia.
Can you buy a Tour de France bike?
UCI rules say teams can only use technology that is available to the public, or prototypes of tech that are planned to make it into the public domain within 12 months. Therefore, you can indeed ride the exact same bikes as the WorldTour pros… just know you'll need deep pockets.
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Josh has been with us as Senior Tech Writer since the summer of 2019 and throughout that time he's covered everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. On the bike, Josh has been riding and racing for over 15 years. He started out racing cross country in his teens back when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s, racing at a local and national level for Team Tor 2000. He's always keen to get his hands on the newest tech, and while he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium.
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