After seven straight years on top, Cervélo's dominant reign finally comes to an end with Omega Pharma-QuickStep's Specialized S-Works McLaren Venge winning the Best Team Bike classification for 2012.The make and model topping this year's poll may have changed but one thing is still clear, though: aero road bikes are here to stay.
Specialized introduced the McLaren Vengein March 2011 as an all-out race machine, supposedly saving 23 watts of rider effort as compared to the company's own Tarmac SL3 at 45km/h– and HTC-Highroad sprinter Matthew Goss put that claimed advantage to good use just two days later by winning Milan-San Remo. Weight and rider comfort were secondary concerns here but thanks to composite design help from development partner – and heralded Formula 1 engineering house – McLaren, claimed frame weight is still a very reasonable 950g.
OmegaPharma-QuickStep team bikes featured a straightforward build, featuring a SRAM Red group, Zipp cockpit components, Zipp carbon tubular wheels, and Look KéO pedals while Specialized provided the carbon fiber crank, saddles, and even tires.
Standing on the second step of this year's podium is Sky's Pinarello Dogma 2, as used by British cycling superstar (and newly crowned BBC SPOTY) Bradley Wiggins en route to his first Tour de France win. Pinarello's curvaceous flagship isn't touted as an aero bike like the Venge and in fact, it isn't remarkably light, either. However, its wildly asymmetrical design does strike a remarkable blend of stiffness, ride quality, and handling that seems well suited to three weeks of hard labor and few will argue with its enviable good looks, too.
We noted several curious component choices on Wiggins' machines this year (such as ceramic bearings and custom-built wheels) but Sky's team bikes in general use another by the book build, including Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groups, Shimano and PRO wheels, PRO cockpits, Veloflex tires, and fi'zi:k saddles.
Cervélo hasn't fallen completely off the map, though, rounding out the top three with Garmin-Sharp's Cervélo S5 – just edging out the Liquigas-Cannondale Cannondale SuperSixEvo Hi-Mod. Cervélo hasn't significantly changed the S5 since last year – it's still claimed to be supremely aero – but a new paint scheme that debuted late in 2012 looks to minimize much of the visual bulk.
We'll have to wait another year to see if that new graphic brings Cervélo back to the top but in the meantime, consider it the end of an era.
|#||Best bike 2012||Result|
|1||Omega Pharma-QuickStep Specialized S-Works McLaren Venge||31%|
|2||Sky Procycling Pinarello Dogma 2||16%|
|3||Garmin-Sharp Cervélo S5||13%|
|4||Liquigas-Cannondale Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod||12%|
|5||BMC Racing Team BMC TimeMachine TMR01||8%|
|6||Europcar Colnago C-59 Italia||6%|
|7||RadioShack-Nissan Trek Madone 6-Series||5%|
|8||Orica GreenEdge Scott Foil||4%|
|9||Lampre-ISC Wilier Triestina Cento 1 SR||3%|
|10||Farnese Vini-Selle Italia Cipollini R1000||2%|