The Tour de France is the greatest event in cycling. Just participating in a single Tour can be the highlight of a rider’s career, and winning a stage will put you in the cycling history books for eternity.
It’s no surprise then that bike manufacturers will stop at nothing to get the camera lenses pointing at their bikes, and here are our five favourite custom painted bikes for 2017.
1. Peter Sagan’s Specialized Tarmac SL6
The 2018 Specialized Tarmac was first spotted last month at the Criterium du Dauphine underneath Dan Martin and Emanuel Buchmann. Several riders on Bora-Hansgrohe and Quick-Step Floors are lucky enough to be racing them at the Tour, but two-time World Champion Peter Sagan is the only rider to receive a custom painted frameset from the big S.
The pearlescent paint scheme features gold trim and is the same design as the Specialized Venge ViAS Sagan raced on earlier this season.
Following an incident in the finale of stage 4, Peter Sagan was dramatically ejected from the race, as was his bike.
2. Fabio Aru’s Argon18 Gallium Pro
Freshly crowned Italian national champion Fabio Aru unveiled his metalised red Argon18 Gallium Pro in June. Winning the Italian championships on the custom frameset, Aru went on to win stage 5 of the Tour de France on La Planche des Belles Filles and looks to mount a serious challenge at this year’s race.
The frame features chrome and yellow decals, as well as Aru’s official personal logo of a Sardinian knight on the top tube.
3. Sergio Henao’s Colombian national champion edition Pinarello Dogma F10
Chris Froome’s chief lieutenant won the Colombian national championships back in February. Despite having raced on the bike for a couple of months now, we still think this is a stand-out machine in the Tour de France peloton.
Henao’s bike maintains the dot-dash motif of the marginally gaining team, but swaps the main colour for an eye-catching white, while detailing is a combination of the red, yellow and blue national colours of Colombia.
4. Romain Bardet’s Factor O2
Frenchman Romain Bardet launched a late attack in the final stages of the Tour de France last year, earning him a place on the podium in Paris.
AG2R La Mondiale riders are riding new bikes this year, partnering with British brand Factor.
The predominantly white frame has the usual team blue and black and is emblazoned with the platitudinous mantra ‘Take the risk or lose the chance’. Will we see this bike take Romain Bardet up to the top step this year in Paris? At time of writing it’s looking more and more possible.
5. Mark Cavendish’s Cervélo S5
In the same incident that saw Peter Sagan eliminated, Mark Cavendish crashed out of the Tour, breaking his shoulder blade in the process.
Despite the absence of the British rider, the short but sweet appearance of this custom painted Cervélo S5 is surely the custom-bike standout of this year’s race.
Painted by Formula 1 specialists Silverstone Paint Technology, the Cervélo has a green-to-silver fade, with a white finish on the stays. The super-light paint is claimed to measure just two microns and adds just 26g to the weight of the bike, around a quarter of a standard high-end painted finish.
The customisation doesn’t end on the frame though, Cavendish pairs his frame with a pair of ENVE wheels with matching green decals and green Chris King hubs.
We’re hoping the Manx Missile heals up fast, so we can see this green machine back in action and Cavendish back to his winning ways.