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Mark Cavendish's Tour de France Cervélo S5 with trigger shifters

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Mark Cavendish had a special paint job on his Cervélo S5 for the Tour de France

Mark Cavendish had a special paint job on his Cervélo S5 for the Tour de France (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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ENVE is a carbon outfit based in Utah, in the US

ENVE is a carbon outfit based in Utah, in the US (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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ENVE's standard aero bar features drops that angle inwards towards the center of the bike. Cavendish asked for standard drops, and got them

ENVE's standard aero bar features drops that angle inwards towards the center of the bike. Cavendish asked for standard drops, and got them (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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The S5's post is aero but tapers to a thinner gooseneck to allow for a bit of flex

The S5's post is aero but tapers to a thinner gooseneck to allow for a bit of flex (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Having the Di2 junction under the saddle keeps it out of the wind but allow mechanics easy access

Having the Di2 junction under the saddle keeps it out of the wind but allow mechanics easy access (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Cervélo's artist envisioned the series of lines as sprinters accelerating, with Cavendish of course being the one out front

Cervélo's artist envisioned the series of lines as sprinters accelerating, with Cavendish of course being the one out front (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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The paint is so thin — 2 microns, the company claims — that you can see through it in several areas

The paint is so thin — 2 microns, the company claims — that you can see through it in several areas (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Such a thin paint job allows the original shape of the frame, that was carefully designed for speed, to remain unchanged

Such a thin paint job allows the original shape of the frame, that was carefully designed for speed, to remain unchanged (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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These are not the Shimano droids you are looking for

These are not the Shimano droids you are looking for (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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ENVE also has a custom bar for Cavendish

ENVE also has a custom bar for Cavendish (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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ENVE uses no-contact seals for its pro-race tune, which reduces friction but increases maintenance

ENVE uses no-contact seals for its pro-race tune, which reduces friction but increases maintenance (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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ENVE also gave Cavendish some special treatment on the Chris King hubs laced to his tubulars

ENVE also gave Cavendish some special treatment on the Chris King hubs laced to his tubulars (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Cavendish's mechanic builds the bike with sprint shifters facing forward like a trigger, instead of the standard thumb-activated position on the inside of the bar

Cavendish's mechanic builds the bike with sprint shifters facing forward like a trigger, instead of the standard thumb-activated position on the inside of the bar (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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After wrapping the tape snugly around the sprinter shifters, Cavendish's mechanic makes a small incision over the button

After wrapping the tape snugly around the sprinter shifters, Cavendish's mechanic makes a small incision over the button (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Then he pulls the tape around just enough for the button to peek through

Then he pulls the tape around just enough for the button to peek through (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Having sprinter shifters facing forward lets Cavendish keep all his fingers, including his thumb, tightly wrapped around the bar while sprinting

Having sprinter shifters facing forward lets Cavendish keep all his fingers, including his thumb, tightly wrapped around the bar while sprinting (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Dimension Data mechanics shrink wrap the Shimano Di2 wires and the brake housing into one clean line

Dimension Data mechanics shrink wrap the Shimano Di2 wires and the brake housing into one clean line (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Stage 4 was Cavendish's last of the 2017 Tour de France

Stage 4 was Cavendish's last of the 2017 Tour de France (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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The hyper-thin paint job was done by an F1 outfit called Silverstone

The hyper-thin paint job was done by an F1 outfit called Silverstone (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Silverstone claims the paint only adds 26g to the frame and fork. Typically, paint weighs well over 100g

Silverstone claims the paint only adds 26g to the frame and fork. Typically, paint weighs well over 100g (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Could you make the Di2 wire port less obstrusive? It would be difficult

Could you make the Di2 wire port less obstrusive? It would be difficult (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

Mark Cavendish's 2017 Tour de France ended in a high-speed tangle with Peter Sagan in stage 4's sprint finish. Although Cavendish is out of the Tour along with Sagan, his Cervélo S5 is worth a look, with its feather-light paint job, race-tuned Chris King hubs, custom-shaped ENVE aero bar and front-mounted sprint shifters.

26g paint by Silverstone

Silverstone Paint Technology is an outfit that works with F1 teams on treatments that can be tuned for function, such as heat resistance as well as aesthetics. On Cavendish's bike, the green-to-silver fade is remarkably light and thin.

Silverstone claims the paint adds a mere 26g to the frame and fork, which is about a quarter of what a standard high-end paint job adds.

The paint is so thin — 2 microns, the company claims — that you can see through it in several areas

Further, the paint is a claimed two microns thin. In several areas, you can see the carbon showing through.

If you want to talk about the minutiae of marginal gains, you could make a, ahem, thin argument that a two-micron layer allows the original aero shaping of the bike to remain unfettered and thus faster than a shape covered in thicker paint.

In any event, it looks good, with the green of Cav's personal brand fading into the silver of South African charity MTN Qhubeka. The lines on the top tube symbolize a sprint, with Cavendish of course represented by the line extended out to the very front.

 

Cervelo's artist envisioned the series of lines as sprinters accelerating, with Cavendish of course being the one out front

Race-tuned hubs by Chris King

Keith Bontrager's maxim of "cheap, strong, light – pick two" can be adapted to many things on a bicycle. For race gear, you could say "durable, fast – pick one" when it comes to tires, chain lubrication or bearing seals.

For Cavendish's wheels, ENVE has two race treatments on the Chris King hubs. Instead of typical plastic seals that touch the bearings to keep out grime, Chris King uses seals with a slightly smaller inner diameter, so they don't slide on the axle and can thus be kept from contacting the bearings.

This set-up means more maintenance, but a little bit less friction and so a little bit more speed.

 

ENVE uses no-contact seals for its pro-race tune, which reduces friction but increases maintenance

The second treatment is pre-burnishing the bearings themselves. While some bearings get slower with ware, Chris King claims its bearings get faster — so the company can pre-wear hubs with a drill.

Forward-facing sprint shifters

Shimano's Di2 satellite shifters are popular in the pro peloton, allowing riders to shift the rear derailleur with their thumbs while keeping all their fingers tightly wrapped around the drops. Although of course you can shift from the drops any time, this set-up is particularly popular with sprinters, which is where the name comes from.

Typically, riders have the shifters set on the inside of the drops, just under the hood. But Cavendish likes his on the front of the drops, like a trigger.

Dimension Data mechanics first clip the satellite shifters into place, then wrap the bar with tape like normal. Finally, a small incision is made over each shifter, and the tape is pushed back so the button can poke through.

Shimano's Dura-Ace 9150 shifters can also be programmed to shift from the button on the top of each hood.

 

Having sprint shifters facing forward lets Cavendish keep all his fingers, including his thumb, tightly wrapped around the bar while sprinting

Custom ENVE aero bar

ENVE's stock aero bar features the flat top section common to aero designs, but also a curved-in profile on the drops. The idea is that the narrow stance brings in a rider's arms and shoulder for a more aero overall package.

But Cavendish likes a standard straight vertical drop, so that is what he received from ENVE.

 

ENVE's standard aero bar features drops that angle inwards towards the centre of the bike. Cavendish asked for standard drops, and got them

Browse the gallery above for a closer look at Cavendish's Cervélo S5.