In 2013, Marcel Kittel exploded onto the main stage with four Tour De France stage wins, including breaking Mark Cavendish’s stronghold of the Champs-Élysées.
Now on a new bike under a new team name, Kittel kicked off his 2014 season with a convincing win at the People’s Choice Criterium, an opening event to the Santos Tour Down Under.
Video: Marcel Kittel’s Giant Propel Advanced SL
Kittel rides Giant’s top-end aero road frame – the Propel Advanced SL. We first took a look at this frame just over a year ago, at the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under, and little has changed since. The streamline frame still boasts market leading aerodynamics with competitive weight and stiffness.
Standing at 6ft 2in tall, Kittel rides a large frame size – different from the trend for downsizing in frames we’ve seen recently among sprinters, including Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel. Even with this size, Kittel uses a lengthy 140mm stem and has a generous 105mm saddle to bar drop.
A powerful sprinter, Kittel uses an uncharacteristically large 11-28T cassette. His mechanics told BikeRadar that this allows him to use easier gears without having to always go to the edge of the cassette, therefore reducing chain crossing and the chance of other issues.
The drag-reducing mini-V brakes are interesting, tucked behind the forks and seatstays. Instead of Giant’s own SLR brakes, which are featured on aftermarket bikes, Kittel’s bike has small Swiss-brand Fouriers BR-DX005. These mini-V brakes are machined aluminium and offer the usual V-brake adjustment, in a very low-profile design that allows for varying rim widths with a quick adjustment.
PRO, Shimano’s in-house componentry brand, unsurprisingly sponsors team Giant-Shimano. While there are multiple WorldTour teams on PRO components, Giant-Shimano are the only team using its saddles, and Kittel chooses the Turnix Carbon. With technology and research from Shimano’s latest acquisition – bikefitting.com – expect big changes to come from this brand over the next year.
The PRO Vibe stem also caught our attention – with a four-bolt face plate and 1 1/4in steerer clamp. We saw this last year on Mark Renshaw’s Giant, but it’s still not available for aftermarket purchase.
Kittel continues the trend of the top riders choosing slightly wider rubber, opting for a 25mm width Vittoria Corsa Evo CX.
The rest of the build is fairly standard Shimano Dura-ace 9070 Di2 with internal battery, sprint shifters and matching SRM crankset.
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: Giant Propel Advanced SL – size Large (57.5)
- Fork: Giant Propel Advanced SL – OverDrive 2
- Headset: 1 1/4 to 1 1/2in internal
- Stem: PRO Vibe, 140mm x -10 degrees, 1 1/4in (possible prototype)
- Handlebar: PRO Vibe Compact, round 42cm (c-c)
- Tape: PRO PU-SL
- Front brake: Fouriers mini-V
- Rear brake: Fouriers mini-V
- Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 STI Dual Control ST-9070
- Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-9070
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 RD-9070
- Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 STI Dual Control ST-9070 + SW-R610 sprint (on drops)
- Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-9000, 11-28T
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-9000
- Crankset: SRM Shimano 11-speed, 175mm, 53/39T
- Bottom bracket: Shimano BB-71 press-fit
- Pedals: Shimano 9000 Dura-ace
- Wheelset: Shimano Dura-ace C50 tubular
- Front tyre: Vittoria Corsa Evo CX 25mm – 120PSI
- Rear tyre: Vittoria Corsa Evo CX 25mm – 120PSI
- Saddle: PRO Turnix Carbon
- Seatpost: Giant ISP
- Bottle cages: Elite Cuissi Gel (2)
- Computer: SRM Power Control 7 (Not pictured)
- Rider’s height: 1.88m (6ft 2in)
- Rider’s weight: 82kg (181lb)
- Saddle height from BB, c-t: 802mm
- Saddle setback: 80mm
- Seat tube length (c-c): 600mm
- Tip of saddle to center of bar: 636mm
- Saddle-to-bar drop: 105mm
- Head tube length: 185mm
- Top tube length (effective): 585mm
- Total bicycle weight: 7.26kg (15.97lb) excluding SRM computer