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MTB Tech We’ve Spotted at the 2020 Tour de France

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MTB Tech We have Noticed on the 2020 Tour de France

Whereas top-level racing is a hotbed of recent know-how and contemporary concepts in mountain biking, that does not are typically the case in skilled street biking. A mix of UCI guidelines, traditions and riders fearing the worth of failure of an experimental setup, it is a slow-moving world. Evaluating the mountain bikes of 20 years in the past to immediately would make you assume you are a special sport, whereas in street biking you’d most likely simply discover the seatstays now meet the downtube a bit decrease.

It is also a reasonably secretive world with mechanics within the professional peloton reluctant to provide away any details about the working of their bikes, to be able to preserve different groups from benefiting, so it may be onerous to identify the brand new tech when it does arrive. That being stated, we have positively seen mountain biking’s affect on street biking in recent times, so we thought we would check out what’s occurring within the peloton this yr that may be traced again to the MTB world.

XTR rotors

Although the rim brakes of the Jumbo Visma staff are at the moment in pole place within the race, disc brakes on peloton bikes are extra frequent than ever earlier than. It is a know-how that has been adopted and tailored for street bikes over the course of the final decade however even this yr we’re seeing some tech plucked instantly from mountain bikes and positioned on Tour bikes.

The Mitchelton-Scott and Deceuninck-Fast-Step groups are operating full Dura Ace Di2 groupsets aside from one element, the brake rotors, the place they’re operating XTR. XTR goes all the way down to 140mm so becoming them is a straightforward swap over, however the query is, why? We have learn a variety of theories from biking web sites, however the fact is, no person appears to know for positive.

The first idea comes all the way down to weight. The 140mm XTR rotor is 11 grams lighter than its Dura Ace equal, which can not sound like a lot however do not forget we’re within the realm of marginal good points and it is rotational weight as nicely. Different theories are that the bigger cooling fins of the Dura Ace can be extra affected by crosswinds or that the XTR could have better braking perormance, particularly within the moist, due to the bigger holes drilled into the braking floor of the rim.

Regardless of the case, it appears to be working for the DQS staff with two stage wins below their belt and Sam Bennet poised to clinch the Inexperienced Jersey in Paris on Sunday.

Tubeless set ups

Because the saying goes within the street biking world, “tubeless for amateurs, tubulars for professionals”. Whereas the advantages of tubeless tires are nicely confirmed, professional cyclists have a tendency to stay to tubulars for his or her familiarity and the better safety in the event that they do get a puncture in the course of a giant group of riders. An essential distinction right here is that we’re speaking about tubulars, not interior tubes right here – tubulars are a tire and tube in a single that’s glued on to a flatter rim, which implies even with a puncture you may proceed driving on rubber, not on the rim.

Tubeless did not make their debut at this yr’s tour as they have been on sure riders’ time trial bikes, nevertheless it’s the primary time that we predict we have seen a variety of riders utilizing tubeless set ups on their common bikes. Staff UAE Emirates introduced in February they might be driving tubeless tires all yr and picked up the opening stage win due to Alexander Kristoff driving Campagnolo Bora WTO 45 tubeless wheels with Vittoria Corsa tubeless tires. Kristoff has been one of many strongest advocates of tubeless within the peloton and final yr received Gent-Wevelgem and completed third on the Tour of Flanders utilizing tubeless tires. Elsewhere, Italian and European champion Giacomo Nizzolo is reported to be using Vittoria Corsa G2.0 TLR tubeless tires on Enve 5.6 tubeless wheels on sure levels.


The place tubeless wheels go, inserts cannot be far behind. As reported by CyclingTips following a latest episode of The Cycling Podcast, not solely are the Schooling First staff experimenting on operating tubeless with no sealant (like some XC racers) however additionally they appear to be utilizing a kind of froth in its tires to assist if a riders flats in the course of a stage.

Jac-Johann Steyn, one of many staff’s mechanics, stated, “We now have, I name it like a sponge inside. I can’t go into element about it as a result of it’s at all times a secret to different groups, however yeah, that’s principally our security and you’ll nonetheless experience it… it nearly feels such as you’ve obtained like two bars (approx 30psi) in your tires so you possibly can nonetheless experience with it wherever that you must go… It’s that will help you get to some level the place you will get a brand new wheel. And it’s additionally a security factor, when you don’t use that foam insert and the tire’s deflated, and it comes off, you could crash.”

There is not any phrase on what ‘sponge’ the staff is utilizing though we suspect it is one thing customized as we’re not conscious of any model that at the moment makes inserts for street tires… Plus, how onerous can it’s to design your individual model of a closed foam hoop? We’re not even positive if the froth made it to the Tour in the long run, nevertheless it’s clearly one other instance of street biking trying to mountain biking for its tech.

Different Traits

Wider tires

As mountain bike tires have gotten wider so have street bike tires too. Whereas 23mm was beforehand king, with some riders taking place to 21mm or narrower, riders have begun to appreciate the additional consolation of going a bit wider would not equal a price of nice rolling resistance. Due to that, we have seen most riders within the peloton exit to 25mm and even wider to 28mm in some instances.

Off-road expertise

Okay, so this one is perhaps a bit spurious, however the three breakout riders from this yr’s Tour, Wout Van Aert, Sep Kuss and Marc Hirschi, all have one factor in frequent, an off-road background. Van Aert is 3x Cyclocross World Champion and Kuss and Hirschi each began out mountain biking of their youth, with Kuss profitable races on the Collegiate Nationals whereas on the College of Colorado. Perhaps it is the superior bike dealing with or an additional dose of explosive energy, however there’s clearly one thing that off street driving can carry to the skillset of a street bicycle owner to assist them excel on the sport.


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