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Dropper posts in the Tour de France? Mavic specs them on neutral bikes

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Mavic neutral support bikes have a new, custom dropper post to adjust to rider saddle height on the fly

Mavic neutral support bikes have a new, custom dropper post to adjust to rider saddle height on the fly (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Each of the Mavic cars has three bikes with droppers, and three bikes set roughly to the fit coordinates of the three top riders on the general classification

Each of the Mavic cars has three bikes with droppers, and three bikes set roughly to the fit coordinates of the three top riders on the general classification (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Each of the dropper bikes has one of the major pedal systems: Shimano, Look and Speedplay

Each of the dropper bikes has one of the major pedal systems: Shimano, Look and Speedplay (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Mavic wheels are now staged at the back instead of the front of the cars

Mavic wheels are now staged at the back instead of the front of the cars (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Mavic commissioned a custom post from KS with 65mm of spring-loaded travel

Mavic commissioned a custom post from KS with 65mm of spring-loaded travel (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Riders can adjust the saddle height while riding, by pulling down on the red loop

Riders can adjust the saddle height while riding, by pulling down on the red loop (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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As with the team cars, Mavic neutral support has quick-release racks, so mechanics can grab a bike with one hand and release it with the other. The wheels sit in trays unstrapped

As with the team cars, Mavic neutral support has quick-release racks, so mechanics can grab a bike with one hand and release it with the other. The wheels sit in trays unstrapped (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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The Tour de France organisation cars have yellow bikes, but these are merely ornamental (Ben Delaney / Immediate Media)

The Tour de France organisation cars have yellow bikes, but these are merely ornamental (Ben Delaney / Immediate Media) (Image credit: Ben Delaney/Immediate Media)
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Chris Froome on a small size Mavic neutral support bike

Chris Froome on a small size Mavic neutral support bike (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Chris Froome running up Mont Ventoux

Chris Froome running up Mont Ventoux (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

Dropper posts are now common for mountain biking, where a quick lowering of the saddle can add agility on descents and jumps. But dropper seatposts in the Tour de France? This year, for the first time, Mavic has installed custom KS dropper posts on multiple neutral support bikes so riders can adjust their saddle height on the fly should they need to take a bike after a crash or a puncture.

Mavic also overhauled the configuration of its four support cars in the race, favouring access to complete bikes over single wheels.

From Froome's low saddle to a moveable saddle

Mavic has long been associated with professional racing, its signature yellow ever present in the Tour de France and other elite events. But during last year's Tour, the brand ended up associated with race leader Chris Froome running up Mont Ventoux on stage 12.

Froome was involved in a crash and took a far-too-small Mavic bike with the wrong pedals. After pedaling awkwardly like an adult on a child's bike, unable to stand up because of pedal incompatibility, Froome abandoned the yellow bike and ran uphill, a remarkable sight in the Tour.

Mavic was keen to avoid anything remotely similar this year.

Riders can adjust the saddle height while riding, by pulling down on the red loop

So, three of the six bikes on each of the Mavic cars have custom KS dropper posts that adjust vertically up to 65mm with a tug on a loop. To compress the posts, a rider pulls the loop and just sits on the saddle. Since the post is spring-loaded, pulling on the loop with the saddle unweighted causes it to snap back up.

"The idea is getting them moving as fast as possible, and then telling them from the car how to adjust it if necessary," Mavic brand manager Chad Moore said. "All the teams have been briefed on the system, so the riders should know how it works."

Further, each of those three bikes is set up with one of the major pedal systems: Shimano, Look and Speedplay.

Each of the dropper bikes has one of the major pedal systems: Shimano, Look and Speedplay

Finally, the remaining three bikes on the car are set up roughly for the top three riders on the Tour's general classification.

It isn't likely that riders will have to take a Mavic neutral bike as their teams cars are often close behind and riders would prefer their own back-up, but Mavic wants to be ready, just in case.

And about those pesky disc-brake wheels

The introduction of discs into the Tour peloton has complicated neutral service, and was another reason behind Mavic's move to prioritize complete bike changes with riders.

Front rim-brake wheels are easy enough to change. For rear rim-brake wheels, neutral mechanics need to know whether to grab a wheel with a Campagnolo or a Shimano/SRAM cassette.

But with disc wheels, you have two rotor sizes (140 and 160mm) and a variety of bike-specific thru-axle configurations. (Quick-release disc wheels seem to have been a flash in the pan for pro bikes.) Mavic deemed it easier to just hand a rider a complete bike. Mavic still has disc wheels, just in case.

Mavic wheels are now staged at the back instead of the front of the cars

Confusingly, the UCI has mandated that 160mm is the official rotor size for pro racing — but some teams, such as stage 2 winner Marcel Kittel's Quick Step squad, are racing 140mm. So, Mavic has 160mm wheels on the car, but may bring 140mm wheels in the car.

"After what happened with Froome and the introduction of disc brakes, we needed to change," Moore said. "We are a neutral service, so we support all riders, but we absolutely want to be ready to support the GC guys." 

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