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Tour de France tech: Adjustable seatposts and funky graphics

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Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) had this wild height-adjustable seatpost fitted to both of his Cannondale SuperSix Evos.

Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) had this wild height-adjustable seatpost fitted to both of his Cannondale SuperSix Evos. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) is using a Cannondale Hollowgram SL crank fitted with an SRM power meter.

Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) is using a Cannondale Hollowgram SL crank fitted with an SRM power meter. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Omega Pharma-Lotto sprinter Andre Greipel gets this custom painted Canyon Ultimate CF SLX for this year's Tour de France.

Omega Pharma-Lotto sprinter Andre Greipel gets this custom painted Canyon Ultimate CF SLX for this year's Tour de France. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Gracing the front end of Omega Pharma-Lotto sprinter Andre Greipel's bike is a menacing gorilla.

Gracing the front end of Omega Pharma-Lotto sprinter Andre Greipel's bike is a menacing gorilla. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Omega Pharma-Lotto component sponsor Acros has supplied team members with custom headset top caps.

Omega Pharma-Lotto component sponsor Acros has supplied team members with custom headset top caps. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Not to be left out, Omega Pharma-Lotto rider Sebastian Lang also gets a personalized touch, complete with sparkling tooth and all.

Not to be left out, Omega Pharma-Lotto rider Sebastian Lang also gets a personalized touch, complete with sparkling tooth and all. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Omega Pharma-Lotto rider Jurgen Roelandts gets this custom painted Canyon Ultimate CF SLX for this year's Tour de France.

Omega Pharma-Lotto rider Jurgen Roelandts gets this custom painted Canyon Ultimate CF SLX for this year's Tour de France. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Jurgen Roelandts' (Omega Pharma-Lotto) Canyon Ultimate CF SLX gets the visage of the Incredible Hulk on his bike.

Jurgen Roelandts' (Omega Pharma-Lotto) Canyon Ultimate CF SLX gets the visage of the Incredible Hulk on his bike. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Instead of a simple name decal, Jurgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto) gets his signature.

Instead of a simple name decal, Jurgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto) gets his signature. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Omega Pharma-Lotto team is reserving these ultralight Mavic R-Sys Ultimate wheels for the big mountains of this year's Tour de France.

The Omega Pharma-Lotto team is reserving these ultralight Mavic R-Sys Ultimate wheels for the big mountains of this year's Tour de France. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Rarely seen (and thus far never reaching production), the Mavic R-Sys Ultimate wheels use tubular carbon fiber spokes bonded into the minimal aluminum and carbon fiber hub shell.

Rarely seen (and thus far never reaching production), the Mavic R-Sys Ultimate wheels use tubular carbon fiber spokes bonded into the minimal aluminum and carbon fiber hub shell. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Tucked safely away inside a Canyon company van and under a blanket was a prototype time trial bike that will be fully revealed at Eurobike. We got a sneak peek and it's definitely a major departure from the company's current Speedmax CF.

Tucked safely away inside a Canyon company van and under a blanket was a prototype time trial bike that will be fully revealed at Eurobike. We got a sneak peek and it's definitely a major departure from the company's current Speedmax CF. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Canyon's time trial prototype bike will use a clever carbon fiber seatpost that will work with either conventional rails or Selle Italia's Monolink system.

Canyon's time trial prototype bike will use a clever carbon fiber seatpost that will work with either conventional rails or Selle Italia's Monolink system. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Jurgen Van Den Broeck gets this custom painted Canyon to use this year.

Jurgen Van Den Broeck gets this custom painted Canyon to use this year. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Several Omega Pharma-Lotto Canyons are also fitted with white Campagnolo hoods.

Several Omega Pharma-Lotto Canyons are also fitted with white Campagnolo hoods. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Andre Greipel's (Omega Pharma-Lotto) custom extra-stiff stem was modeled off of the team's standard-issue Ritchey model but the extension diameter has grown, the walls are much thicker, and the steerer clamp now uses three bolts instead of two.

Andre Greipel's (Omega Pharma-Lotto) custom extra-stiff stem was modeled off of the team's standard-issue Ritchey model but the extension diameter has grown, the walls are much thicker, and the steerer clamp now uses three bolts instead of two. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Canyon made a custom extra-stiff forged aluminum stem for Omega Pharma-Lotto sprinter Andre Greipel.

Canyon made a custom extra-stiff forged aluminum stem for Omega Pharma-Lotto sprinter Andre Greipel. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Liquigas-Cannondale has outfitted its entire team with the company's latest SuperSix Evo.

Liquigas-Cannondale has outfitted its entire team with the company's latest SuperSix Evo. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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SRAM provides the Liquigas-Cannondale team with custom finished levers.

SRAM provides the Liquigas-Cannondale team with custom finished levers. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Now this is a first - Ivan Basso's (Liquigas-Cannondale) name decal incorporates his Twitter handle.

Now this is a first - Ivan Basso's (Liquigas-Cannondale) name decal incorporates his Twitter handle. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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A SRAM Red Black rear derailleur is matched to a SRAM PG-1070 cassette on Ivan Basso's Liquigas-Cannondale rig.

A SRAM Red Black rear derailleur is matched to a SRAM PG-1070 cassette on Ivan Basso's Liquigas-Cannondale rig. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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fi'zi:k supplies Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) with this custom Antares saddle.

fi'zi:k supplies Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) with this custom Antares saddle. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Rotating the central collar on Ivan Basso's (Liquigas-Cannondale) odd seatpost raises and lowers the saddle height in small, stepped increments.

Rotating the central collar on Ivan Basso's (Liquigas-Cannondale) odd seatpost raises and lowers the saddle height in small, stepped increments. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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These decals are definitely widespread in the peloton in this year's Tour de France, as seen here on Ivan Basso's Liquigas Cannondale SuperSix Evo.

These decals are definitely widespread in the peloton in this year's Tour de France, as seen here on Ivan Basso's Liquigas Cannondale SuperSix Evo. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Bontrager debuted these new 36mm-deep Aeolus 3.0 carbon tubulars on the bikes of Leopard Trek.

Bontrager debuted these new 36mm-deep Aeolus 3.0 carbon tubulars on the bikes of Leopard Trek. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The new Bontrager Aeolus 3.0 carbon tubulars are still as wide as the prototype 50mm-deep ones we saw earlier in the year but the depth is now just 36mm.

The new Bontrager Aeolus 3.0 carbon tubulars are still as wide as the prototype 50mm-deep ones we saw earlier in the year but the depth is now just 36mm. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) gets a more personalized checkerboard theme on his Canyon Aeroad CFs.

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) gets a more personalized checkerboard theme on his Canyon Aeroad CFs. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Canyon has supplied four members of the Omega Pharma-Lotto team with custom painted bikes, including this one of new Belgian national road champion Philippe Gilbert.

Canyon has supplied four members of the Omega Pharma-Lotto team with custom painted bikes, including this one of new Belgian national road champion Philippe Gilbert. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) actually get two custom painted bikes to use in this year's Tour de France - and they're finished in different colors, too.

Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) actually get two custom painted bikes to use in this year's Tour de France - and they're finished in different colors, too. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Jurgen Van Den Broeck is hoping to roar to victory in this year's Tour de France.

Jurgen Van Den Broeck is hoping to roar to victory in this year's Tour de France. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)

Intriguing FSA seatpost adjusts saddle height on the fly

The mountain bike community has now fully embraced the concept of height-adjustable seatpost but surely it doesn't have an application on the road, right? Think again.

Ivan Basso's (Liquigas) Cannondale SuperSix Evo was topped with a wild looking seatpost that may presumably be released by FSA at some point judging by the markings. Simply grabbing and rotating the ribbed and detented collar adjusts the saddle height in stepped increments without producing any noticeable play between the upper and lower halves or slipping.

That's all well and good but why bother? According to a team mechanic, Basso prefers a slightly lower height for smoother pedaling in high-cadence situations but a slightly taller one when he has to produce more power at a lower rpm. Of course this unusual seatpost is heavier than most of the ultralight carbon fiber or aluminum options normally used by Liquigas but supposedly the new ultralight SuperSix Evo frames leave enough wiggle room that Basso's bike is still barely UCI-legal (unfortunately, we didn't have a chance to weigh it).

Lest you start to think that this is just the start of a hot new trend, we should point out that Basso was the only one on the team using the unique seatpost but we'll keep vigil over the next few days.

Canyon customizes the fleet and stiffens things up – plus a sneak peek at a new TT concept

Canyon provided custom painted Tour de France bikes to four members of the Omega Pharma-Lotto team: Jurgen Van Den Broeck, Philippe Gilbert, Andre Greipel, and Jurgen Roelandts.

Jurgen Roelandts - Incredible Hulk

The bikes of Van Den Broeck, Greipel, and Roelandts all followed a similar theme, using the same basic layout as the standard team issue bikes but with black base colors, different accent stripe colors, and a personalized image on the side of the down tube-head tube junction. Van Den Broeck's machine was decorated with a snarling leopard, Greipel's bike wore his usual menacing gorilla, and Roelandts' rig sported the visage of the Incredible Hulk. All three got custom headset top caps, too.

Philippe Gilbert's checkerboard themed bike

Gilbert's main and spare bikes were a little more elaborate, however, with checkerboard themes owing to his 'Fast Phil' nickname. One of his Canyon Aeroad CF bikes wore simple slate grey graphics but the other was finished in more appropriate red and yellow to celebrate his recent Belgian national road championship win (we'll have a more detailed look at Gilbert's bike soon, too, complete with specs and measurements).

Andrei Greipel – The Gorilla

Greipel received one additional modification that was purely functional: a custom, extra-stiff, forged aluminum stem to help bolster the front end. The extension shape was mostly lifted from the team's standard Ritchey WCS 4-Axis 44 except for a slightly more generous width (and the four-bolt faceplate actually is a Ritchey item) but the steerer clamp is much taller than usual and sports three pinch bolts instead of two. Wall thickness is much greater than usual, too.

Not surprisingly, there's a weight penalty to pay with the added stiffness with Greipel's special stem weighing in at a hefty 260g – a small price to pay in hindsight if he wins a stage in this year's Tour.

Canyon company founder Roman Arnold also gave us a sneak peek at the company's new time trial bike that will be shown at this year's Eurobike show. Arnold gave us the preview only on the condition of complete secrecy as to its details but suffice to say it's a major departure from Canyon's current Speedmax CF and the striking form incorporates a healthy dose of component integration.

He did let us shoot a couple of images of the rear end of the prototype as it peeked out from beneath a blanket inside a company van, though. From those, you can at least clearly see that there's no conventional rear brake, the surfaces are notably more angular, and the telescoping seatpost is apparently held in place with a hidden binder. The design of that post also suggests that it will be compatible with both standard saddle rails as well as Selle Italia's clever Monolink system.

Leopard Trek heads for the hills aboard new shallow-section Bontrager carbon tubulars

Trek team liaison Ben Coates had mentioned to us several months ago that the company's new wide-profile Aeolus 5.0 signified only the beginning of a new complete family of carbon wheels designed in-house and the next variant has now made an appearance here at the Tour de France.

Fitted to the bike of Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) was a set of clearly labeled Bontrager Aeolus 3.0 wheels with a similar 25mm width at the tire bed but a lighter 36mm depth that should not only be more welcome in the big mountains but also easier to manage in strong winds.

Otherwise, the rest of the wheelset looked to be carried over from the 50mm-deep version, including Bontrager carbon-bodied front and rear hubs.

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

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