It’s that time of year again when we cast our eyes to the Tour Down Under and take a look and what the pros will be riding in 2018.
Here are five bikes we think are well worth a closer look.
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1. Trek Emonda
Trek released a new Emonda in 2017, and surprise, surprise it’s got a touch lighter and stiffer. Although the lack of weight makes absolutely no difference to the pros because all the bikes have to be within the UCI 6.8kg weight limit.
But this could be all set to change in 2018 because many of Trek’s riders will be using disc-equipped versions of the Emonda during the grand tours.
In races that are often decided on the climbs, weight matters and crucially we suspect the disc-equipped Emonda still hits that 6.8kg weight target.
This means 2018 could be the year we see a disc-equipped bike win a mountain stage in a grand tour.
2. Canyon Aeroad CF SLX
Much like death and taxes, if there’s one thing that you can guarantee in life it’s that Movistar will be winning races in 2018, and even though Alejandro Valverde's coming back from a nasty injury, we suspect he will be contributing to that tally. Who knows how that guy keeps getting better with age?
Elsewhere, the Aeroad is unchanged, with a Campagnolo groupset, power2max power meter and, Campagnolo direct mount brakes.
The Aeroad is also specced with Canyon’s one-piece bar and stem combo, Which Canyon claims is slightly more aero and we presume stiffer. Marketing speak aside, we just think it looks cool.
3. Pinarello Dogma
Team Sky’s Pinarello Dogma may seem like an obvious choice, but it’s gone through some subtle changes for 2018.
First, the colour. Adding bits of white to match Sky’s new white kit will hopefully go some way to making a squad currently clouded in controversy seem, dare we say it, a bit more friendly.
Next, Sky have switched finishing kit from Shimano’s in house component brand Pro to Pinarello’s in house brand Most. A small change but notable none the less.
And finally, it seems, at time of recording, they’re sticking with Stages dual-sided power meters instead of the rumoured new Shimano model. In fact, both companies claim Sky will be using their power meters in 2018 and it’ll be up to the riders which one they choose.
4. Specialized Tarmac
No pro bike list would be complete without including the new Specialized Tarmac, and there’s no doubt you’ll be seeing a lot more of this particular model, which will be ridden by Peter Sagan in 2018.
Just like every bike on our list, it looks fast and will weigh around 6.8kg. Where it differs is with the fancy custom paintjob and an all-new Specialized dual-sided power meter.
Details are still thin on the ground, but it looks like Specialized plans to throw its considerable weight behind power meters in 2018. From a development perspective we can’t think of a better place to test a new product than under the legs of one of the best cyclists of our time.
Although the eagled-eyed among you will notice that Sagan is running one half Specialized and one half 4iiii. ‘Why?’ is anyone’s guess, but the rest of the team seem to be on full Specialized models.
5. Colnago V2-R
UAE team Emirates are going almost — but not quite — full Italian for 2018. The frame is Italian, specifically Colnago’s new V2-R, and the wheels, groupset, tyres, saddle and finishing kit are also Italian, hello Campagnolo, Vittoria, Prologo and Deda.
But crucially, the French and Germans have snuck in at the last moment with Look pedals and a power2max power meter.
Obviously this matters little to the riders, the best bike they’ve ever ridden is always the one they’re currently being paid to ride, but there’s no arguing that this is a sweet looking ride with a dash of Italian flair.