Tour de France 2021 tech trends – here’s what we saw and what they didn’t want us to see – .

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Tour de France 2021 tech trends – here’s what we saw and what they didn’t want us to see – .


The Tour de France is over for another year, leaving us no choice but to get down to business. But now is a great time to look back at the technology we’ve seen and while we couldn’t see the race in person, that didn’t stop us from spotting some interesting products.
It is, however, a real shame that we were not able to be there with a camera. Besides missing out on the sun, seafood, and great wine, technology is what we’re really looking for.

New Shimano Group and Wheels

The biggest of this year should have been some kind of new group from Shimano. They’ve been teasing us for months with various patents, a spy snapshot or two have been seen on some pro bikes and finally last week we got our first glimpse of some unbranded components on DSM Team bikes. . It wasn’t a fully finished band, but most of the components felt there or so to us, so the exit can’t be far.

At the Tour, we were all set to look for additional details, especially photos of the brakes that we haven’t seen yet, as arguably the potential change would have the biggest impact on us riders from everyday. If Shimano improves the brake pad clearance, for example, we would be very happy.

The problem is, the band never showed up, which is kind of annoying. What we do know, however, is that it will be a 12-speed system, the photos have confirmed this, and we have seen that the shifters have grown, so we’ll see if we can learn. something about how those shift levers talk to the derailleurs.

Shimano Dura-Ace 5 (Agence Cor Vos)

Will it be a fully wireless system? It seems unlikely, but it could still be semi-wireless, as has been widely rumored.

Shimano Dura-Ace 4 (Agence Cor Vos)

We also still don’t know what the smallest sprocket size is on the cassette. While you might not think it matters too much, going from an 11T sprocket to a 10T sprocket would likely mean a new freewheel standard and it would be a huge pain for those of us with multiple axles. If they changed things to allow this 10T, then Shimano’s own MicroSpline system would be the logical choice.

Shimano Dura-Ace 2 (Agence Cor Vos)

There is also the question of where the new sprocket will be in the cassette and also what the largest sprocket size will be. We imagine Dura-Ace will step up to offer a larger 32T sprocket, up from the current 30T size and that the extra sprocket will serve to fill a gap around the low 20s.

Can Shimano actually install 12 sprockets on the current freewheel? This is one of the big things we were looking for because we thought we could get the answer when the mechanics started leaving axles.

Unbranded Shimano Tour de France 2021 Wheels - 1

Speaking of wheelsets, there have been what looks like new Shimano wheels in the bunch for a few months. We’ve covered them in depth before and have seen them on a number of Shimano sponsored team bikes.

A bike for all stages

2021 Tour de France Cavendish Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 - 1

One trend we’ve seen over the past couple of years is a trend that was around 10 years ago as well and mechanics probably love that this one is back. Many major bicycle brands today only send one type of bicycle to their riders. Gone are the days, in most teams, when the rider could choose between a climbing bike and an aero bike.

> Video: The best touring bikes of the Tour de France for everything

The bike is often light enough for the mountain, while still offering aerodynamic touches. It must be easier for riders to have one bike to do it all.

We bet it makes the mechanics happy too. They have a smaller number of bikes to work on to begin with. There are also fewer aftermarket frames to store in the trucks that can be applied to the different parts that go with different bikes.

Inserts tubeless

Without really knowing it, tubeless inserts have been around in the pro peloton for a few years. Kristoff was supposed to use them first, but we certainly saw them in last year’s race.

> Vittoria Air-Liner Road tubeless insert kit

This is something we looked at earlier in the year and for the pros, using tubeless inserts is all about safety. It allows the rider to ride and take turns without the tire coming off the rim.

Mountain baths

pogacar rim brake bike - via aso.PNG

Although tubeless technology gets better with each passing year, it is not necessary to remove the wheels and tubular tires of a professional cyclist when he hits the mountains.

Race winner Tadej Pogacar, despite using Campagnolo’s new Bora Ultra WTO tubeless wheels for some stages, was back on his tubular wheels for the two mountain stages he won.

Aero disc bikes are light now

While science suggests weight doesn’t matter as much as it once thought, ask any runner about to take on a mountain stage if they prefer aero or light weight. and the weight will gain most of the time.

Fortunately, even with deeper wheels, many aero bikes are now at or just a little above the UCI minimum weight limit. That didn’t stop Kasper Asgreen from using the super-light Specialized Aethos on a mountainous day.

Incorrect sponsor components

This Tour de France was a vintage of spotting products that the sponsors would have preferred to remain hidden. Chris Froome wins for the chief offender. He used lightweight wheels, a non-standard brake caliper, his usual Osymetric bushings and there was also talk of his return to rim brakes. That said, his team, Israel Start-Up Nation, is not a Shimano sponsored team, so he has a bit more freedom to change parts than other riders.

Princeton CarbonWorks Peak 4550

Ineos also took part in the act, driving new Princeton wheels and also choosing Lightweight wheels when it suits them.

Van der Poel may have spent the most on kits in a day. He used NoPinz / Aerocoach shoe covers, a Lazer Volante helmet, Aerocoach Ascalon extensions, a Princeton Blur 633 disc that traveled 900 km the day before the TT and an Aerocoach Aeox Titan front wheel. This small lot cost £ 4,300.

Mathieu van der Poel 02 Stage 5 Tour de France 2021 Picture credit ASO / Pauline Ballet

The mechanics and apparently Van der Poel himself were up until midnight before the TT sorted out its position, so it only needs a few beers for a true 10 club experience.

These are the technological trends and the interesting elements that we have seen at the Tour this year. Did we miss something big and what was your favorite tech? Let us know in the comments below.

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