What makes a... sprinter's bike?
Ridley, noah, tour de France, sprinter, lotto-belisol
At almost the opposite end of the spectrum to the GC riders are the sprint specialists, seeking out glory on specific days rather than playing the long game. As befits any specialist activity, these trophy hunters have some very defined needs.
With huge power needed to ride at 70km/h, the sprinters bikes need to be absolutely rock solid. Out of the peleton, they are often the riders least worried about overall weight - resistance to their pedaling input is paramount. More sprinters are starting to use Aero bikes too, when they are stiff enough, and Andre Greipel has used a mix of standard Ridley Noah's alongside the new FAST bike. Other sprinters will often use special variants of their team bike with extra carbon laid into the frame to increase stiffness.
As well as a stiff frame, components also need to resist the twisting forces applied during a flat out sprint effort. Cav's signature range from Pro is not only used by the Missile himself, it often graces the front of his rivals machines too - testament to its effectiveness at transmitting upper body power through to the bike.
Pic 1: Cav's stem, popular with other sprinters
Like the bar and stem, sprinters often have specialist wheels. While they may seem standard at first glance, thicker gauge spokes and brass nipples increase the robustness and offer less flex. Tying and soldering the spokes further improves power transfer.
Pic 2: Soldered spokes bump up rigidity
Check out our other Tour bikes for the time trial or the climbers
Easy gear change whilst on the drops
It's not only Cav who uses the Mark Cavendish siginature Pro stem
Gear options - Even Tour riders use 'easy' gears
Areodynamics is even making a difference for the sprinters