The Tour de France is a great place to test bikes built with modern research, especially with racing bikes. As the Tour De France is an annual Men’s multi-stage prestigious race, every part of the bikes used here is selected carefully. Yes, Tour de France bikes have gears and it’s probably the best combination ever because gears are one of the most important parts of racing bikes.
Tour de France bike gears play a role in making these bikes faster. If we observe, the performance of riders has been steadily improving over the years. Thus the Gears used in bikes also improved during this period. So, it would not be wrong if I say that these advanced gears are one of the reasons for the high-skilled racing performance of the rider in the Tour De France event.
In this article, I will discuss the evolution of Tour de France bike gears, how they differ from other bikes, adding additional gears, and reputed racing bikes for the Tour De Racing event.
What Are Tour De France Bikes?
The Tour de France is a men’s bicycle race consisting of 21 stages over 23 days primarily held in France. This race started in 1903 and nowadays Men cyclists consider this annual race to be the oldest and most prestigious. Riders from different countries of the world take part in this race. And, the bikes used to participate in this race are generally called “Tour de France Bikes”.
- Long, Low, and Narrow are the characteristics of a Tour de France bike.
Various companies send modern racing bikes to the race, notable among them are- Campagnolo, Shimano, SRAM, and Trek. Keeping in mind this particular event racing, Manufacturers usually make the frames and forks of modern Tour de France bikes of advanced carbon fiber, which makes the bike very light and strong. Even companies always make the wheels of Tour de France bikes of carbon fiber. Because this material is more effective in reducing the weight of the bike.
Although you will notice both tubular and tubeless tires on these bikes, now riders are going towards tubeless tires. And, other features, including improved gearing or gear shifting, make these bikes more attractive and desirable.
Comparison Chart Of Tour De France Bikes And Other Bikes
A Tour de France bike is speed-friendly and extremely lightweight. And, there are several differences between these and other bikes. Now I’ll present the key differences between Tour De France bikes and other bikes through a chart below.
|Parameter||Tour De France Bike||Other Bike|
|Purpose Of Use||Built for speed, especially to compete in the Tour de France.||Different types of bikes are used for different purposes.
For example, mountain bikes are made for trails, gravel bikes for riding on both smooth and rough surfaces, touring bikes for covering long distances, and, road bikes for quick destinations or fast biking.
|Frame Geometry||Use aerodynamic frame geometry.||Although road bikes come with aerodynamic frames, the frames of other bikes such as a mountain, hybrid, or cruiser bikes are not aerodynamic.|
|Wheel||Typically uses 404 and 454 wheels.||Most of the bikes use 700c or 650b wheels.|
|Rider’s Posture||The build of the bike helps the rider to achieve an aggressive posture.||Other bikes like cruiser bikes, hybrid bikes, gravel bikes, etc. help the rider achieve a more upright riding posture.|
|The Rim Of The Wheel||All the Tour de France bike uses carbon fiber rims.||Other bikes consider carbon fiber and aluminum for performance, price, or convenience.|
|Gear/Gear Ratio||Uses speed-friendly gearing.||Adjusts gearing based on speed, uphill riding, trail riding, physical fitness training, etc.|
|Weight||Lightweight.||All other bikes are not so lightweight.|
Gears Of Tour De France Bikes
Tour de France bikes have the best and most efficient gear systems of all time. Being a prestigious race, competitors pay special attention to every part of the bikes used here as well as the gears. Here riders prefer large gears, as they can maintain a comfortable cadence while riding at high speeds.
- When we consider the Tour De France bike’s gear type, you may notice that 11-28 t-size cassettes are commonly used in the peloton. Because an 11-28t cassette is more efficient than the previously used 11-21t cassettes. Since the gearing system is the most important to achieve and maintain the bike’s speed, manufacturers have been working tirelessly to improve this part of the bike.
- Meanwhile, we’re seeing the Shimano 11-30t cassette hit the market, which is showing up experimentally on amateur bikes. Maybe soon we will see these cassettes on Tour de France bikes too.
- And, some of you may notice most teams use two chainrings at the front of the crankset and an 11 cassette at the rear. But the number of these gears has changed over time.
- If you notice 50 years ago, the Tour de France bikes used 7 gears at the back.
- Before 2012, these bikes had 10 cassettes.
- Nowadays some companies have already started using 12 cassettes. But one notable thing is that these bikes always have 2 numbers of chainrings in the crankset, never 3. Because the 3rd smaller chainring usually doesn’t help much in riding at speed.
Since 2009, Shimano has been using electronic gear shifting systems on some of their bikes. This gear-shifting system is known as “Di2”. It offers a different level of comfort on the Tour de France bike. Moreover, this system helps the rear derailleur shift instantly regardless of the load on the drivetrain.
Well, all of this might leave you confused and wondering if there is an option to include additional gears to your Tour de France bike, right? Okay, see you in the very next part of this content with this specific discussion.
But Can’t We Add Additional Gear To The Tour De France Bikes?
Although it is possible to attach additional gears, the mechanic may not approve of changing or replacing gears. You may know that the mechanic has an important role in the Tour de France event. Since an organized and well-balanced peloton takes part in these races as a team, it is not reasonable to change gears on a single bike.
It is true that these events have no specific rules regarding gears. Not only do you have to use a 12 cassette with 2 chainring combination, but you can also use any gear system you want.
But successful riders or bikes from the past always inspire us and we want to learn from them.
- The Pinarello Dogma F12 bike, which used 11-30t gearing with Shimano’s Dura-Ace Di2 electric gear shifting system, won the July 2019 Tour de France.
Differences Between Tour De France Bikes Gears And Other Bike Gears
The gearing of Tour de France bikes are adjusted for speed. Because Speed is the ultimate & primary goal here, so including 11-28t or 11-30t gearing is the most logical.
- Sometimes we notice different gearing also, but that must be suitable for speed. For example, the bike that won the Tour de France in 1903 was a half-fixie half-gravel bike and had fixed gear.
Gearing Comparison With Other Bikes
- The Tour De France bikes gearing system is most similar to road bikes. Because riders also use road bikes for speeding. That’s why you’ll often see 11-25t gearing on road bikes.
- But with MTBs, we usually notice different gearing. Since the bikes have to run on a wide range of steep trails. And, modern mountain bikes include a wide range of cassettes with 3 chainrings. 11-34t is often seen as common gearing on these types of bikes.
- Similarly, in touring bikes, cruiser bikes, or other bikes, companies adjust the gearing according to their needs.
Which Bikes Do The Pro Teams Ride At Tour De France?
As you must have understood from my discussion above, companies always upgrade their bikes for the Tour de France competition. Thus the spectators are also eager to know which bikes will win the competition.
There are many people who want to know about the materials used in these bikes. So now I am going to present the key specifications of the bikes used by 3 popular teams participating in the Tour de France 2022.
#1 Team AG2R Citroen
- The French team used bikes made by Swiss bike brand BMC.
- The company has used Campagnolo Super Record EPS 2×12 speed groupset, Pirelli tires, and Campagnolo wheels on the bikes.
#2 Team Astana-Qazaqstan
- Astana this year used the Wilier Zero SLR bike made by the Italian company.
- The bike uses Shimano’s latest 12-speed groupset, Corima-supplied wheels, and CeramicSpeed OSPW pulley wheels.
#3 Team Bahrain Victorious
- One of the pro teams of 2022 used Mérida bikes in the Tour de France in Mérida 2022.
- The bike was fitted with Shimano’s 12-speed Dura-Ace groupset, Vision wheels, and Continental tires.
Wrapping Up Tour De France Bikes Design, Specifications, And Gears
The average person might not afford a Tour de France bike, but we all have a strong affinity for this bike because its design, speed, gearing, outlook, and style amaze us. That’s why bikers, any cyclist from mid to pro get interested in Tour de France Bike parts and aspire to modify our bike parts accordingly.
Gears used in Tour de France bikes play an important role in performing the bikes. And, manufacturers, racing teams also take special care of gears as well as other parts of these bikes. Furthermore, maybe we’ll see a more efficient, innovative, and stylish gear system on the Tour de France bikes at the very next events. That’s all for now. Happy Cycling but Safe Racing ride with your sweetie.