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Tour de France tech: The weird and the wonderful gallery

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Ridley provides a matching paint job on the Helium SL

Ridley provides a matching paint job on the Helium SL (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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3 in 1: Campagnolo, S-Works and SRM

3 in 1: Campagnolo, S-Works and SRM (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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A closer look reveals more texture to the paint job

A closer look reveals more texture to the paint job (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Nibali bit off a win on stage 2

Nibali bit off a win on stage 2 (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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FSA is using stickers over the bar tape for increased exposure. This can't be ideal for riders

FSA is using stickers over the bar tape for increased exposure. This can't be ideal for riders (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Nibali's Corima pads look quite similar to the unmarked pads on Yuri Trofimov's Canyon Aeroad CF SLX

Nibali's Corima pads look quite similar to the unmarked pads on Yuri Trofimov's Canyon Aeroad CF SLX (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Nibali's Astana squad is sponsored by Specialized saddles, so his Fizik Antares must be blacked out

Nibali's Astana squad is sponsored by Specialized saddles, so his Fizik Antares must be blacked out (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Two of the nine Astana bikes have Fizik saddles

Two of the nine Astana bikes have Fizik saddles (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Conversely, a rider on Katusha, which is sponsored by Selle Italia, has a Specialized saddle that he must black out

Conversely, a rider on Katusha, which is sponsored by Selle Italia, has a Specialized saddle that he must black out (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Team have different strategies for quickly identifying riders' bikes when on the roofs of team cars. This is Sky's solution

Team have different strategies for quickly identifying riders' bikes when on the roofs of team cars. This is Sky's solution (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Jagwire's new sectional housing is lighter than standard housing. Trek, for example, uses it on its hyperlight Emonda

Jagwire's new sectional housing is lighter than standard housing. Trek, for example, uses it on its hyperlight Emonda (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Nibali also gets the Campagnolo Super Record RS group

Nibali also gets the Campagnolo Super Record RS group (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Lotto-Belisol's bikes are all painted red in a retro scheme. All except this one

Lotto-Belisol's bikes are all painted red in a retro scheme. All except this one (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Just because you're the star rider on a team at the Tour de France doesn't mean you get brand-new everything. This was Greipel's saddle before the start of stage 1

Just because you're the star rider on a team at the Tour de France doesn't mean you get brand-new everything. This was Greipel's saddle before the start of stage 1 (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Greipel's Campy SRM crank gets a special Ridley graphic

Greipel's Campy SRM crank gets a special Ridley graphic (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Jack Bauer's Garmin-Sharp bike isn't shy about its use of an SRM instead of Garmin Vectors. The pedal spindles don't even seem to have the power-meter internals

Jack Bauer's Garmin-Sharp bike isn't shy about its use of an SRM instead of Garmin Vectors. The pedal spindles don't even seem to have the power-meter internals (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Bauer's 140mm, -17 stem houses the typical Shimano Di2 junction box strap, but

Bauer's 140mm, -17 stem houses the typical Shimano Di2 junction box strap, but (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Mechanics have tightly wrapped the Di2 wire to the brake cable for a clean front end

Mechanics have tightly wrapped the Di2 wire to the brake cable for a clean front end (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Visual cleanliness means aero cleanliness

Visual cleanliness means aero cleanliness (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Not all bikes at the Tour de France are cutting edge

Not all bikes at the Tour de France are cutting edge (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Vincenzo Nibali's frame has a shark motif with sparkly paint

Vincenzo Nibali's frame has a shark motif with sparkly paint (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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This is Lotto-Belisol's marking for back-up bikes for quick identification from below

This is Lotto-Belisol's marking for back-up bikes for quick identification from below (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Even the Noah aero bikes got the retro treatment for the Tour

Even the Noah aero bikes got the retro treatment for the Tour (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Retro paint, new-school design

Retro paint, new-school design (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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SRAM still has a line on Gore cable lining for certain partners

SRAM still has a line on Gore cable lining for certain partners (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Taping the route - or cue notes - to the stem is a time-honored tradition, and every rider seemingly has his own method

Taping the route - or cue notes - to the stem is a time-honored tradition, and every rider seemingly has his own method (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Since route profiles are created in horizontal orientation for books, why not keep them horizontal?

Since route profiles are created in horizontal orientation for books, why not keep them horizontal? (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Some teams combine route profiles from race organizer ASO with their own information

Some teams combine route profiles from race organizer ASO with their own information (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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For those that just want to take a look before the start of the stage, there is this method

For those that just want to take a look before the start of the stage, there is this method (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Key points in kilometers are marked, typically the top or the duration of climbs

Key points in kilometers are marked, typically the top or the duration of climbs (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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A horizontal profile made vertical

A horizontal profile made vertical (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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This integrated bar/stem is brand new. Why sully it with a taped-on cue sheet?

This integrated bar/stem is brand new. Why sully it with a taped-on cue sheet? (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Taping the profile in a circle works well enough

Taping the profile in a circle works well enough (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The Gore lining keeps otherwise exposed cable clean for smooth shifting no matter the conditions

The Gore lining keeps otherwise exposed cable clean for smooth shifting no matter the conditions (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Although no longer available as an individual item to everyday riders, the Gore cable lining is still popular in the pro peloton

Although no longer available as an individual item to everyday riders, the Gore cable lining is still popular in the pro peloton (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Aero seatmasts and integrated rear brakes eliminate two traditional number-mounting spots, so Lotto-Belisol puts it up here

Aero seatmasts and integrated rear brakes eliminate two traditional number-mounting spots, so Lotto-Belisol puts it up here (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Lapierre's Aircode has a slightly recessed headset cap

Lapierre's Aircode has a slightly recessed headset cap (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Arnaud Démare's immaculate bar tape

Arnaud Démare's immaculate bar tape (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Démare can't quite get his stem low enough, so he removed the headset cap

Démare can't quite get his stem low enough, so he removed the headset cap (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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While the word 'integrated' is being applied more and more to bike parts, some things are still just zip-tied on

While the word 'integrated' is being applied more and more to bike parts, some things are still just zip-tied on (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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NetApp-Endura's Fuji Transonic aero bikes are so new that some still have the sizing stickers on them

NetApp-Endura's Fuji Transonic aero bikes are so new that some still have the sizing stickers on them (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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This is a quick release for Shimano's new direct-mount rear brake

This is a quick release for Shimano's new direct-mount rear brake (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Getting race radios set up is sometimes a three-man job

Getting race radios set up is sometimes a three-man job (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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One wired in, riders can hear - and sometimes speak to - their directors

One wired in, riders can hear - and sometimes speak to - their directors (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Look's massive stem offers a healthy baseplate for a wide profile map

Look's massive stem offers a healthy baseplate for a wide profile map (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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You see all sorts of innovative if not necessarily polished innovations at the Tour de France

You see all sorts of innovative if not necessarily polished innovations at the Tour de France (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Movistar has a neat integrated number-plate holder

Movistar has a neat integrated number-plate holder (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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For whatever reason, Movistar brought Nairo Quintana's winning bike from the Giro d'Italia to the Tour de France. He is not at the race

For whatever reason, Movistar brought Nairo Quintana's winning bike from the Giro d'Italia to the Tour de France. He is not at the race (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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This is Astana's mobile kitchen

This is Astana's mobile kitchen (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Lampre-Merida is using BBB number-plate mounts

Lampre-Merida is using BBB number-plate mounts (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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After years of cranking out the watts, Jens Voigt will be retiring at the end of this season

After years of cranking out the watts, Jens Voigt will be retiring at the end of this season (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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After capturing the King of the Mountains jersey of stages 1, Voigt got a polka-dot SRM head unit

After capturing the King of the Mountains jersey of stages 1, Voigt got a polka-dot SRM head unit (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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French national champion Arnaud Démare has a black Lapierre that contrasts with the blue bikes of his teammates, but there is plenty of French pride on the handlebars

French national champion Arnaud Démare has a black Lapierre that contrasts with the blue bikes of his teammates, but there is plenty of French pride on the handlebars (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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A Trek Factory Racing mechanic checks cleats alignment on Fabian Cancellara's shoes

A Trek Factory Racing mechanic checks cleats alignment on Fabian Cancellara's shoes (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Europcar's Thomas Voeckler kept his compression calf sleeves on until the start of stage 2

Europcar's Thomas Voeckler kept his compression calf sleeves on until the start of stage 2 (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Campagnolo EPS now has a rubberized strap to switch off the internal battery to save juice

Campagnolo EPS now has a rubberized strap to switch off the internal battery to save juice (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Should the lead spindle inserts not get the bike to the 6.8kg necessary weight, there are individually weighted and labelled lead weights like this that can be attached under water-bottle cages

Should the lead spindle inserts not get the bike to the 6.8kg necessary weight, there are individually weighted and labelled lead weights like this that can be attached under water-bottle cages (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Bauke Mollema of Team Belkin chooses to forego the rubber hoods on his Shimano Di2 levers

Bauke Mollema of Team Belkin chooses to forego the rubber hoods on his Shimano Di2 levers (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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No functionality is removed, but the naked lever does look odd

No functionality is removed, but the naked lever does look odd (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Mechanics wrap the hood with black bar tape to somewhat disguise the stripped lever

Mechanics wrap the hood with black bar tape to somewhat disguise the stripped lever (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Despite the internal routing, mechanics still need to do a bit of cobbling with a zip tie on the Di2 wire

Despite the internal routing, mechanics still need to do a bit of cobbling with a zip tie on the Di2 wire (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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How close do you motorpace?

How close do you motorpace? (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Many mechanics just put a piece of electrical tape over the stem at the valve hole to prevent it from rattling, but Bretagne-Séché have a more complete solution

Many mechanics just put a piece of electrical tape over the stem at the valve hole to prevent it from rattling, but Bretagne-Séché have a more complete solution (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Vincenzo Nibali has this height-adjustable post on one of his bike. By turning the thick part with one hand, he can drop the saddle about 1cm

Vincenzo Nibali has this height-adjustable post on one of his bike. By turning the thick part with one hand, he can drop the saddle about 1cm (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Lead-out man Adam Hansen of Lotto-Belisol has a drastically forward position on the bike (with a blacked-out alloy post). He also has 40cm handlebars and a huge amount of drop - all designed to get aero when winding up the speed for the sprint

Lead-out man Adam Hansen of Lotto-Belisol has a drastically forward position on the bike (with a blacked-out alloy post). He also has 40cm handlebars and a huge amount of drop - all designed to get aero when winding up the speed for the sprint (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Trek Factory Racing employs a combination of aluminium and lead weights, plugged into the crank spindle, to get their new Emonda bikes up to the UCI's minimum weight

Trek Factory Racing employs a combination of aluminium and lead weights, plugged into the crank spindle, to get their new Emonda bikes up to the UCI's minimum weight (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Europcar has a host of Colnagos: C59, C60, V1-R, M10, CX-0

Europcar has a host of Colnagos: C59, C60, V1-R, M10, CX-0 (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Although not yet official, this is most likely a direct-mount Campagnolo caliper

Although not yet official, this is most likely a direct-mount Campagnolo caliper (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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An artfully shaped Dede bar/stem

An artfully shaped Dede bar/stem (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Giant-Shimano produced a properly themed bike for Marcel Kittel immediately after the German sprinter took the first stage and the Tour's first jersey

Giant-Shimano produced a properly themed bike for Marcel Kittel immediately after the German sprinter took the first stage and the Tour's first jersey (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Chris Horner is taped up at the start of stage 2

Chris Horner is taped up at the start of stage 2 (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Niki Terpstra gets loose before the start of stage 2

Niki Terpstra gets loose before the start of stage 2 (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The cockpit of the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX as the German brand intended

The cockpit of the Canyon Aeroad CF SLX as the German brand intended (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Internal routing is tidy alongside the head tube

Internal routing is tidy alongside the head tube (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Garmin-Sharp is obliged to use the Garmin Vector power-meter pedals, although most riders are only using the bodies, not the meters themselves

Garmin-Sharp is obliged to use the Garmin Vector power-meter pedals, although most riders are only using the bodies, not the meters themselves (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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In order for the Garmin Vector pedals to work as a power meter, a pod must be mounted on the spindle and connected into the gold-plated junction

In order for the Garmin Vector pedals to work as a power meter, a pod must be mounted on the spindle and connected into the gold-plated junction (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Garmin-Sharp riders use SRM power meters on all their bikes. Some, like this one, still have the logos covered up. Some do not

Garmin-Sharp riders use SRM power meters on all their bikes. Some, like this one, still have the logos covered up. Some do not (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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This is what a functioning Garmin Vector pedal looks like with the pod attached

This is what a functioning Garmin Vector pedal looks like with the pod attached (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Rodriquez is the one Katusha rider using the new integrated bar/stem from Canyon. The rest have Ritchey cockpits (one integrated, the other seven traditional bars and stems)

Rodriquez is the one Katusha rider using the new integrated bar/stem from Canyon. The rest have Ritchey cockpits (one integrated, the other seven traditional bars and stems) (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Ka-Boom! Joaquin Rodriquez is hoping to spark a win at the Tour

Ka-Boom! Joaquin Rodriquez is hoping to spark a win at the Tour (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Campagnolo's brand new Super Record has reshaped hoods

Campagnolo's brand new Super Record has reshaped hoods (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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A bit of sandpaper adds purchase for the front derailleur clamp

A bit of sandpaper adds purchase for the front derailleur clamp (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Europcar has a mix of Campagnolo groups on its bikes. This is the new Super Record

Europcar has a mix of Campagnolo groups on its bikes. This is the new Super Record (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Another direct-mount caliper that isn't branded. Our money is on it being a soon-to-be-released Campagnolo product

Another direct-mount caliper that isn't branded. Our money is on it being a soon-to-be-released Campagnolo product (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Campagnolo adopted a four-arm spindle with its new group, similar to the new Shimano Dura-Ace

Campagnolo adopted a four-arm spindle with its new group, similar to the new Shimano Dura-Ace (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Released just prior to the new Super Record, Super Record RS is a limited-edition racing group

Released just prior to the new Super Record, Super Record RS is a limited-edition racing group (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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The Super Record RS has the same lever and body shape as the new group, just with a different hood

The Super Record RS has the same lever and body shape as the new group, just with a different hood (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Tinkoff-Saxo Bank has a new vest for carrying seven water bottles. Instead of cramming the bottles inside a jersey, a rider just slides on this Sportful vest that a mechanic has loaded up inside the car

Tinkoff-Saxo Bank has a new vest for carrying seven water bottles. Instead of cramming the bottles inside a jersey, a rider just slides on this Sportful vest that a mechanic has loaded up inside the car (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Along with Katusha, Movistar is also riding the brand new Canyon Aeroad CF SLX at the Tour

Along with Katusha, Movistar is also riding the brand new Canyon Aeroad CF SLX at the Tour (Image credit: BikeRadar)
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Andre Greipel, AKA the Gorilla, gets his own saddle from San Marco

Andre Greipel, AKA the Gorilla, gets his own saddle from San Marco (Image credit: BikeRadar)

This article first appeared on Bikeradar.

Just take me to the photo gallery.

At the 2014 Tour de France we have seen all manner of unique modifications, as riders and teams seek to eke out the best performance, highest comfort and most information from their tools – while still remaining inside the UCI rules that govern the sport.

Water-bottle vest

A common sight in recent years is a domestique dropping back to a team car, and absolutely cramming his jersey — all three pockets, down the neck, up from the bottom — with water bottles to take to his teammates. Tinkoff-Saxo Bank and clothing sponsor Sportful have a better solution.

On stage 1, a Tinkoff-Saxo Bank rider dropped back to the car and, instead of grabbing bottle after bottle, just grabbed a mesh vest loaded with seven bottles. With five bottle holsters one the back and one on each side of the front, the Sportful vest clips on with a single plastic buckle like on a backpack stabilizer strap.

Tinkoff-Saxo Bank team boss Bjarne Riis said he spoke to Sportful about the novel idea a few weeks ago.

"We asked if it would be possible to make such a thing, and they said yes," Riis said. And the rest – and perhaps the old jersey-stuffing tradition – is history.

Featherweight meets lead weight

One UCI rule is the minimum bicycle weight regulation, which specifies that all bikes must weigh at least 6.8kg (14.99lb). Trek just introduced the Emonda, a road bike that weighs – when built to a certain spec – just 4.65kg / 10.25lb. That weight is with hyper light Tune wheels, but even with the team's taller-rimmed Bontrager hoops and an SRM power meter, many Emonda bikes are still underweight. So, Trek has a modular system of cylindrical weights that are inserted into the crank spindle.

Using a mix of solid aluminum and lead as needed, Trek mechanics can get the bikes exactly to minimum weight, taking into account the particular wheels to be used that day. Using all lead pieces, it weighs 350g. For smaller frames, sometimes an additional piece of lead is needed, which can be bolted underneath the water-bottle cage.

The rule, originally instated as a safety measure, is now outdated and widely regarded as silly; adding lead weights clearly isn't adding safety. "The UCI knows the rule needs to be updated," Trek Factory Racing team liaison Jordan Roessingh said. "They just don't have a solution yet."

We have seen a few variations of shifter configurations over the years, but we have never seen a rider remove the rubber hoods. Bauke Mollema of Team Belkin prefers the feel of a naked lever wrapped in a bit of handlebar tape. While a continuous wrap of bar and lever would probably be smoother, team mechanics use the team green on the bar and black on the lever to somewhat disguise the fact that the hood cover is missing.

Dropper posts on the road?

Adjustable-height seatposts at professional bike races aren't new — on the mountain-bike circuit. But a dropper post on a road bike? Well, Vincenzo Nibali has one on one of his spare bikes. As one of the very best descenders in the peloton, the Italian probably appreciates the dropper post for the same reason mountain bikers do; it makes whipping the bikes around on descents easier, and you can get your weight lower while still keeping contact with the saddle. The FSA EB13 model works by twisting the thick part with one hand, raising or lowering the saddle.

Check out the massive gallery for dozens of up-close details on the bikes and gear of the 2014 Tour de France peloton.