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Pro Bikes - Custom or OTP?

NuggsNuggs Posts: 1,804
edited August 2011 in Pro race
Hi Gang

Sorry if this is a numpty question but I'm curious whether the pros have custom-made bikes or if they're given off the peg frames?
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  • Bit of both, by all accounts.
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  • shinyhelmutshinyhelmut Posts: 1,342
    I think, since the advent of carbon fibre, generally the pros ride off the peg frames. Making a custom monocoque CF frame would be very expensive so is reserved for a few of the "big names", Boonen is the one who springs to mind.
  • Unless they have freakish dimensions (the rider), they generally ride off the peg bikes. There are so many ways to modify a bike to fit a rider (without need a custom frame) that there is little point to doing something custom these days.
  • tremaynetremayne Posts: 378
    Off the peg.

    I think onlookers (ie - us lot) are sometimes guilty of overestimating just how much money teams have available to throw at equipment. It's easy to think 'oh - he's a pro-rider, he must get the very best of everything, custom this, custom that'. I think the truth (for bulk of pro-riders) is very very different.

    Top names (Cav for one) may get some special treatment.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 46,776 Lives Here
    I think, since the advent of carbon fibre, generally the pros ride off the peg frames. Making a custom monocoque CF frame would be very expensive so is reserved for a few of the "big names", Boonen is the one who springs to mind.

    That was purely out of necessity though.

    He's got a sensitive back.

    (No, not in the way..)

    Edit. (well maybe, but I haven't been in a position to find out)








    (pun intended)
  • NuggsNuggs Posts: 1,804
    I was looking at a pic of Van Summeren's frame at the weekend. It looked like he had quite a long head tube so I was wondering if his bike would be custom.

    I have a vested interest as I'm the same (freakish) height as VS and am in the eternal OTP or custom debate for the next bike (n+1 and all that...).
  • Article here on Van Summeren's Paris Roubaix R3 which says that the only difference is more rake and clearance on the fork and the stays are a bit longer, so I'm guessing the rest of the geometry, including the tall head tube is the same.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/par ... cervelo-r3

    Alot of the Cervelo framesets have changed recently with taller headtubes for "Mamils". Although they don’t exactly say that on their website…

    http://www.cervelo.com/en_us/bikes/2011/R3/geometry/
    Enter Cervelo's new geometry for the R3 and R5. The headtube is slightly longer in most sizes, but they allow for the same low position as before if used in combination with a minus-17 stem (now available from our team partner 3T and also Ritchey). And for regular riders, the new headtube lengths with a standard minus-6 stem offer the slightly higher handlebar height most of us need. Of course those who ride low can still go with the minus-17.
  • "They're not necessarily the make that it says on the frame either "

    I don't think that happens much these days, not like it did in the 90s, when people like LItespeed made 50% of the peleton's bikes.

    Only a very few have custom bikes, as said above, because they're a peculiar size or just can't get on with a standard. Even then, they'll probably find something in the manufacturer's range that suits them, like Gilbert racing on an aluminium Canyon for some races last year.

    Not sure if custom or not, but I've certainly never seen another Cervelo like this one (JVanS's bike).
    IMG_0670.jpg
  • That bike was custom. http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/race-tech-paris-roubaix-van-summerens-winning-cervelo-r3-29858/

    However, Cervelo do a standard 61cm R3 with a 225mm head tube!
  • NuggsNuggs Posts: 1,804
    Not sure if custom or not, but I've certainly never seen another Cervelo like this one (JVanS's bike).
    IMG_0670.jpg
    That head tube is MASSIVE. Looks like exactly the sort of thing I would end up with if I went custom (which would be better than a bunch of spacers but still easily confused with a gate)...
  • Ash_Ash_ Posts: 385
    Making a custom monocoque CF frame would be very expensive so is reserved for a few of the "big names"

    Yep, the lesser lights of the pro peleton with freaky dimensions do not get the 'big name' treatment and have to make do with the kind of stuff most of us ride, as evidenced by this below:

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/photos/one-last-lead-in-to-paris-roubaix/15222
  • pedro118118pedro118118 Posts: 1,101
    Surely the simple reason for the large headtube on JvS's bike is that the frame is massive, as he's freakishly tall (esp for a bike rider)? If you look at Rujano or Cunego's bikes, they look equally weird, with no headtube, almost like children's bikes!
  • Surely the simple reason for the large headtube on JvS's bike is that the frame is massive, as he's freakishly tall (esp for a bike rider)? If you look at Rujano or Cunego's bikes, they look equally weird, with no headtube, almost like children's bikes!

    So why have a stem sloping downwards? It's because Cervelo (amongst others) are making frames to suit "Mamils" who can't ride in a low position. Even though Van Summeren's bike is custom built for Roubaix, they want it to look like a regular R3 so that people will rush out to the shops and buy one!
  • Mamils who can't ride in a low position?

    Plenty of protour riders ride with a stack of spacers. Linus Gerdemann even uses an upturned stem.
  • Dorset_BoyDorset_Boy Posts: 2,515
    The youff forget they will get old one day! :P
  • Dorset Boy wrote:
    The youff forget they will get old one day! :P

    flattered that you think I'm a "youff"

    :D
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    The marketing people who pay big bucks to sponsor a team are never going to readily admit that team riders get custom frames 'cos it kinda undermines their image. Boonen rode a Pegoretti painted to look like a Specialized for the first year until they sorted him out. Races like P-Rx always bring out weird hybrids involving extended wheelbases, bigger clearances and slacker head tube angles. The mamils thing is so true because rather than giving them a stack of spacers, they add 50mm to the headtube to try and retain the look of the frame - the PR for the new Cervelo had some bull$hit reason for a longer headtube.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,390
    Surely the simple reason for the large headtube on JvS's bike is that the frame is massive, as he's freakishly tall (esp for a bike rider)? If you look at Rujano or Cunego's bikes, they look equally weird, with no headtube, almost like children's bikes!

    So why have a stem sloping downwards? It's because Cervelo (amongst others) are making frames to suit "Mamils" who can't ride in a low position. Even though Van Summeren's bike is custom built for Roubaix, they want it to look like a regular R3 so that people will rush out to the shops and buy one!

    Wouldn't they just swap out the stays and keep the main triangle stock? I doubt they'd go to the trouble of making a whole new mould. Modular innit geez.
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  • tremaynetremayne Posts: 378
    Accept and understand the point regarding sponsorship.

    However, I'm highly dubious that any straight agreement to supply components or frames or bikes would extend to a totally open ended 'carte blanche' undertaking to fabricate one-offs and custom specc'd goodies as and when asked. I just can't see that at all. It's clear that one-off parts existand yes, the likelihood is that the bulk were the result of 'good will' on the part of the sponsor.

    Do I believe that the teams are all riding on custom fabricated frames - no I do not. Do I think that the majority are no different to something you or me could buy - yes I do.

    However, in truth, I guess neither of us have all the facts. As it happens, I own a bike I bought direct from Slipstream (2010 model - ie Garmin Transitions) and will drop the guy I dealt with an email. Will be interesting to hear from the horses mouth. Will post next week if I get a response.
  • tremaynetremayne Posts: 378
    ... this just in from Boulder, California;


    Tremayne,

    Great to hear you're enjoying the Felt!

    I believe that we will be selling 2011 team bikes in the next few weeks (3-5 weeks). We don't have an official "wait list", so the best thing to do is keep your eye on our team shop and sign up for our email list. Of course, you can also shoot me an email when the time comes and we can discuss the inventory that we have available to sell.

    The team's bikes are all 100% stock, off the shelf, exactly like you would purchase at a bike shop. That said, some components like wheels may be different than what is available at a bike shop. Otherwise, there are no custom builds for our riders.

    Stay in touch!

    Bryan



    Joe - I pretty much rest my case (Bryan is an employee of Slipstream and is referring to the Cervelos).
  • tremaynetremayne Posts: 378
    What, fella?

    He's :wink:

    I'm :wink:

    The email is a :wink:
  • RowCycleRowCycle Posts: 367
    tremayne wrote:
    ... this just in from Boulder, California;
    <snip>

    Interesting - thanks
  • tremaynetremayne Posts: 378
    Apologies for censored American geography. Yep - slipstream, boulder is in Colorado. Sorry for that. The felt was made in California though! (at least thats what it says on the frame).

    Email from Bryan is wholly unadulterated. It's fair to say that he isn't either a mechanic or team principle - he heads up the e-sales. But I know from actually speaking to him that he knows his stuff.

    So anyone thinking about an ex garmin-cervolo should have a look on their site in month.
  • sean kelly was asked this on the tour commentary and said that riders pretty much ride off the peg frames with cranks seatpost and stem adjusted to suit, reckoned it was a load less hassle than in the days of stell and riders demading slightly different angles and tube lengths (also he said it was easier to replace frames if they broke you can just get a standard size and strip the components and transfer to the new frame)
  • tremaynetremayne Posts: 378
    It just makes sense. (re Sean Kelly quote)

    But to offer agreement (ish) with an earlier post, it does offer up that very bizzare situation where joe public can very easily 'out equip' a pro rider.

    That said, the bit which is often the big difference (swinging the balance in the other direction is that of wheels/tyres). The cost of running a set of mavic carbon ultimates on tubs, is going to be pretty eye watering and more than most riders would be able to accept for anything other than racing. (who would even want the hassle of using tubs for anything other than racing).

    When I bought from Slipstream, everything was for sale - except wheels. They had gone out and bought a job lot of mavic clinchers (can't remember which ones - not really important) just to try and encourage sales - which they felt would be seriously hindered by the addition of silly price carbon wheelsets.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 46,776 Lives Here
    tremayne wrote:
    It just makes sense. (re Sean Kelly quote)

    But to offer agreement (ish) with an earlier post, it does offer up that very bizzare situation where joe public can very easily 'out equip' a pro rider.

    That in itself should show how little the bike matters.
  • tremaynetremayne Posts: 378
    Totally agree.

    I would be interested however, in knowing what the pro's really think. Doubt if many would ever be prepared to comment - not while they are still racing.

    For example - when the boys at Garmin-Transitions were told they would be chucking out the Felts, and soon be getting nice shiny Cervelos.... Did they say FFS - or 'Fantastic'.

    Or are they even bothered? Perhaps less than we are!
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 46,776 Lives Here
    tremayne wrote:
    Totally agree.

    I would be interested however, in knowing what the pro's really think. Doubt if many would ever be prepared to comment - not while they are still racing.

    For example - when the boys at Garmin-Transitions were told they would be chucking out the Felts, and soon be getting nice shiny Cervelos.... Did they say FFS - or 'Fantastic'.

    Or are they even bothered? Perhaps less than we are!

    Well it's not their money!

    Ultimately I think riders want a bike which is super reliable, a bike which you don't have to worry about, and doesn't put them at a disadvantage.

    I remember a year or two ago the AG2R guys on BTWins were complaining that their bike was much heavier than others in the peloton.

    Gilbert, if I remember right, until recently's not even been riding the top model - but an aluminium model from the same make.

    I think the general increase in quality across all bikes (look at what the guys in '05 tour were riding and compare them to the £1500 bikes now - very comparable), has pushed all the bike manufacturers much closer together, and deep into the area of very marginal performance returns.
  • dougzzdougzz Posts: 1,833
    Did a famous cyclist once write a book saying "It's Not About the Bike", if I remember right he's a popular chap on these forums too.

    I remember reading odd bits in magazines, a piece with a mechanic where he mentioned that his rider (maybe Basso) rode a one down from the top group set so that the weight was there to meet the UCI minimum. I remeber another bit where I think Vaughters commented that all they care about is that the bike is properly stiff.

    Towing the line to promote Trek or Spec or whoever is all a rider is typically going to say, but does anyone remember a rider really saying that the change from x to y ruined their season?
  • Chip \'oylerChip \'oyler Posts: 2,349
    joe2008 wrote:
    I think onlookers (ie - us lot) are sometimes guilty of overestimating just how much money teams have available to throw at equipment.

    Pay for equipment? They get the kit they want, it's called sponsorship.

    For instance Euskaltel - Euskadi's 'off-the-peg Oberas' are in fact handmade in Italy by Viner. I was told this by someone who works for Viner. He also said 'that it was very common for a professionals bike to be supplied by someone other than the sponsoring brand'.

    These guys spend their lives on these bikes, surely you don't believe that with the technology available today they are riding stuff out of molds from the far east like a Sunday sportive rider.

    I also heard from a Viner rep that they used to make Boonen's frames as well
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