Race tech: More bikes of the Tour de France

Caisse d'Epargne, Cofidis, Euskaltel-Euskadi and Footon-Servetto

New Look 695 road racers for Cofidis

Some Cofidis riders at the Tour de France are still using Look's current 595 but the rest – including team leader Rein Taaramae – are on the company's latest 695.  Unlike the tube-and-lug 595, the 695 uses a more conventional modular monocoque setup like on the 586 but the real story is the higher level of integration. 

A key feature of the 695 is the new Zed 2 crank, similar to the 596's original Zed crank with its enormous 50mm-diameter spindle (roughly 66 percent bigger than BB30) and one-piece carbon fibre construction that yields an ultralight 320g claimed weight for the arms and spindle.  A unique three-sided pedal insert allows for adjustable effective crankarm lengths of 170, 172.5, and 175mm, but unlike the original Zed, Zed 2 will work with any threaded pedal spindle.

Securing the new 295g HSC 7 full-carbon tapered fork is Look's latest Head Fit 3 headset system, all topped with a clever new carbon fibre 'C-Stem'.  Angle is adjustable between -9 and +13° and each of the five sizes is adjustable in length by 10mm (80-90, 90-100, 100-110, 110-120, 120-130mm).

Cofidis team bikes are outfitted with Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical groups aside from the FSA chainrings mounted on the Zed 2 crankarms.  FSA also provides handlebars and a wide variety of wheels from alloy shallow-section to carbon deep-section tubulars, and naturally, the team is using Look KéO pedals as well.

Rounding things out are Vittoria tyres, fi'zi:k saddles and bar tape, Zéfal bottle cages, and BBB computers.

Caisse d'Epargne's asymmetrical Pinarello Dogma

Caisse d'Epargne's Pinarello Dogmas

The Pinarello machines of Caisse d'Epargne are consistently among the easiest to spot in the Tour de France peloton with their distinctive red, white and black paint jobs, color-matched componentry, and curvaceous front and rear ends that are said to improve rider comfort and road feel.  Yet while many frame manufacturers are content to include asymmetrical chain stays – and sometimes seat tubes – Caisse d'Epargne's latest Dogma frames are asymmetrical almost throughout the entire structure.

Pinarello claims this better accounts for the uneven forces applied while pedaling with features that include a bigger driveside seat stay, a driveside chain stay that's narrower up at the bottom bracket but wider at the dropout, a non-driveside chain stay that adopts an opposite profile, and even a bigger and stronger driveside fork leg. 

Whether or not you buy into the theory, adding in the colour-matched brakes from Campagnolo and the MOst integrated carbon bar and seatpost adds up to quite the eye-catching package.

Campagnolo supplies most of the rest of the componentry, too, including Super Record Ergopower levers and derailleurs, Record cranks, chain, and cassette, and even carbon tubulars in various rim depths depending on the conditions and course profile.

Finishing up the build kit are Continental tubulars, Selle Italia saddles, Look KéO pedals, and Elite carbon bottle cages.

Cushier Orbeas for Euskaltel-Euskadi

Samuel Sanchez's gold themed Orbea

Euskaltel-Euskadi is using Orbea's latest Orca flagship, which the company says is lighter with a frame weight of just 900g but also adds more comfort relative to the previous edition to help team riders feel a little fresher towards the end of a stage.  Rather than rely on tuned flex patterns, though, the 'Attraction' system's kinks and twists in both the seat stays and fork blades are said to attenuate road vibration.

Other key features on the new model include a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" steerer, a BB30 bottom bracket (though Euskaltel-Euskadi runs both threaded frames and press-fit adapters to more readily accommodate its Shimano Dura-Ace cranks), and a continuation of Orbea's size-specific frame design, which aims to provide the same ride quality throughout the more generous ten-bike size range for 2011.

Orbea has also adapted the slick DCR cable routing setup from its off-road line on the updated Orca for reduced shift line friction. But Euskaltel-Euskadi team bikes are all built around the optional Shimano Dura-Ace Di2-specific version with internal routing and a dedicated battery mount beneath the non-driveside chain stay.

Shimano also provides its range of carbon fibre tubular wheels and Dura-Ace SPD-SL pedals, FSA supplies stems and bars (and ceramic bottom brackets on some team bikes), and all of the team's proprietary Orca carbon seatposts are fitted with the Selle Italia Monolink-compatible heads to fit the saddle makers newest range.  Completing the package are Elite bottle cages and Vittoria tyres.

Footon-Servetto bikes awash in gold

Footon-Servetto's gold Fujis

Hidden beneath the gleaming metallic gold paint jobs of Footon-Servetto's team bikes are Fuji's latest 985g SST carbon frames, which the company says add stiffness relative to the former SL-1 flagship thanks to features such as the tapered head tube, internally ribbed down tube, BB86 press-fit bottom bracket shell and correspondingly wider seat and down tubes, and the deep-section integrated seatmast. 

Bolted on to the frame is a conglomerate of parts from a broad collection of companies with the SRAM Red label only adorning the DoubleTap levers, front and rear derailleurs, and cassette, and the rest of the drivetrain filled in with Rotor's Agilis crank elliptical Q-Rings, a gold Wippermann Connex chain, and Time's new iClic Carbon pedals.  Rolling stock comes courtesy of Reynolds carbon tubular wheels of various depths wrapped with Challenge tyres.

Fuji's parent company recently purchased Oval Concepts so it's no shock to see its bars and stems mounted up here – in gleaming white – but Selle SMP's radical-looking Evolution saddles are more of a surprise.  Completing the package are a set of TRP R970 magnesium dual-pivot brake calipers, Elite bottle cages, Rotor chain watchers, and Polar computers.

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