This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
German strong-man – Marcel Kittel – has created quite the reputation for himself since his first Tour de France stage win in 2013. With a team-name change for 2015, the big, blonde sprinter is off to a flying season start with yet another win at the People's Choice Classic criterium, an opening event to the Santos Tour Down Under.
With Shimano stepping away as title sponsor, Alpecin has moved in to share the jersey space with Giant Bicycles. Alpecin are makers of caffeinated hair products, an incredible fit given Kittel’s well-known love for styled hair.
Just like Kittel’s bike we looked at last year, his 2015 team bike remains as Giant’s top-end aero road frame – the Propel Advanced SL in a size large. First launched at the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under and unchanged since, the Propel continues to remain competitive within the booming aero-road bike market.
For 2015, Giant-Alpecin has changed power meter sponsor from SRM to Pioneer. With this, the team has received ‘team-issue’ white and black colours for the Pioneer SGX-CA500 computers and white battery covers for the crank-mounted power meter.
Despite Giant now updating it’s Propel Mini-V brakes to an alloy model similar to those used by the pro’s since the bike’s 2013 launch, the team continues with its aftermarket Fouriers model brakes. It’s unknown whether this is because the team has a large stockpile of the Fouriers, or if they prefer the performance compared to Giant’s updated offering.
PRO, Shimano’s in-house componentry brand, remains as the supplier of the cockpit components, including saddles.
The PRO Vibe stem remains a curious one – with a four-bolt faceplate and 1 1/4in (aka OD2) steerer clamp. Since last year, PRO offers a 1 1/4in stem in the form of the Vibe 7S, however, the four-bolt faceplate of Kittel’s stem remains entirely different.
The rest of the build remains unchanged from last year, with a Shimano Dura-ace 9070 Di2 using an internal battery and sprint shifters for shifting from the drops.
Kittel continues to use a slightly larger than normal 11-28T cassette. We were told last year that this often saves him from chain crossing and having to use the edge of the cassette where other issues can arise if previously caught up in crash.
And grasping at differences from last year’s ride, Kittel is now using a lighter weight bottle cage in the form of the Elite Pase Custom Carbon. Unusually though, at the line of the pre-event criterium race, Kittel was back to using his old Elite Cuissi Gel bottle cages and a deeper Dura-Ace C75 rear wheel.
With a change in power meter and bottle cages alone, we weighed his 2015 ride at 7.23kg (15.94lb) including the Pioneer head unit. Compare this to 7.26kg (15.97lb) excluding the then-SRM head unit of last year’s ride and there’s a marginal weight saving.
Complete bike specifications
Frame: Giant Propel Advanced SL – size Large (57.5)
Fork: Giant Propel Advanced SL – OverDrive 2
Headset: 1 1/4 to 1 1/2in internal
Stem: PRO Vibe 1 1/4in, 140mm x -10 degrees, (potential prototype)
Handlebar: PRO Vibe 7S Compact, round 42cm (c-c)
Tape: PRO PU-SL
Front brake: Fouriers DX-005 Mini-V
Rear brake: Fouriers DX-005 Mini-V
Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 STI Dual Control ST-9070
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-9070
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 RD-9070
Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 STI Dual Control ST-9070 + SW-R610 sprint (on drops)
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-9000, 11-28T
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-9000
Crankset: Shimano Dura-ace, 175mm, 53/39T, with Pioneer power meter
Bottom bracket: Shimano BB-71 press-fit
Pedals: Shimano 9000 Dura-ace
Wheelset: Shimano Dura-ace C50 tubular
Front tyre: Vittoria Corsa Evo CX 25mm – 120PSI
Rear tyre: Vittoria Corsa Evo CX 25mm – 120PSI
Saddle: PRO Turnix Carbon, 142mm
Seatpost: Giant ISP
Bottle cages: Elite Pase Custom Carbon (2)
Computer: Pioneer SGX-CA500
Rider's height: 1.88m (6ft 2in)
Rider's weight: 82kg (181lb)
Saddle height from BB, c-t: 802mm
Saddle setback: 112mm
Seat tube length (c-c): 580mm
Tip of saddle to center of bar: 639mm
Saddle-to-bar drop: 210mm
Head tube length: 185mm
Top tube length (effective): 585mm
Total bicycle weight: 7.23kg (15.94lb)