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Tech editor Zack Vestal takes a look at Mark Cavendish’s Scott Addict SL

By Zack Vestal

Cav’s Addict: Mark Cavendish’s bike is built for speed.

Photo: Zack Vestal

Tuesday’s stage marked the first bunch sprint of the Tour of California, with Thor Hushovd taking the win and Mark Cavendish in fifth. Cav’s leadout seemed to leave him without a good wheel to follow, but his 2009 Scott Addict SL was well prepared for the expected bunch gallop. Prior to the stage, we had a few minutes to catch up with Columbia-High Road team mechanic Nick Vandecauter, who gave us a quick tour of the Cavendish machine.

Cavendish rides an Addict SL in size small (52cm). The SL version has Shimano BB bearings integrated into the frame and is claimed to be 10 percent stiffer than a standard Addict. The frame has proven stiff enough to harness Cav’s power, and he’s expressed happiness with the bike from new team sponsor Scott Bicycles. An integrated seat mast saves weight, adds strength, and permits a few cm of seat height adjustability.

Cav's Addict: PRO track stem is massively oversized for stiffness.

Cav’s Addict: PRO track stem is massively oversized for stiffness.

Photo: Zack Vestal

Custom tuned fork?

Word at the Columbia-Highroad team truck is that Cavendish is using a custom fork with extra internal carbon plies for stiffness. Scott USA reps were not able to specifically confirm this, but the company said “the riders of the Columbia-Highroad team always have access to the latest technologies and newest lay ups of this frame. We are using the Pro Cycling team as a Scott lab for testing any future versions and to further our product development and carbon expertise.”

There are no external signs of non-stock frames or forks, but Scott’s Integrated Molding Process permits adjustments in material thickness and ply bias to adjust ride characteristics and strength. According to Scott, riders have access and freedom to choose different frame and fork lay ups, but most have chosen the stock version.

The stock production frame available to consumers is light, at 790 grams, and is tuned to balance strength and stiffness with light weight and ride quality. To say that Cavendish has special needs is a testament to both his amazing power and the engineering muscle of a company like Scott.

Component Choices

For even more front end stiffness, Cav’ uses a huge track-specific carbon stem from Shimano’s PRO brand, and a PRO handlebar with nearly the entire bar top oversized at 31.8 mm. Shimano provides Dura-Ace 7900 shifters, brakes, derailleurs, cogs, and chain, but the crankset is a 7800 model (170mm length) with an integrated wireless SRM power meter. SRM is a sponsor, and everyone on the team uses wireless power meters for both racing and training.

The Columbia Highroad team has seemingly no limitation on wheel choice. Zipp, Shimano, HED, and others are all available for use, and have all been spotted (mostly de-badged) in various combinations on the team bikes. Tuesday morning, Cavendish chose a Zipp 404 rear, and a HED Stinger 6 Flamme Rouge front wheel. Vandecauter stated that Cav has no problems with stiffness on any of the wheels available to the team.

On the morning of stage three, Cavendish chose an 11-25 cogset with the Sierra Road climb in mind.

Cav's Addict: HED Stinger 6 Flamme Rouge wheel on the front.

Cav’s Addict: HED Stinger 6 Flamme Rouge wheel on the front.

Photo: Zack Vestal

Other component highlights:

  • Bar: PRO Vibe 7S Anatomic OS 42cm (outside to outside)
  • Stem: PRO Vibe Track (130mm)
  • Saddle: Fi:zi’k Arione
  • Tires: Continental Pro Limited tubulars (7.5 bar front, 8 bar rear)
  • Pedals: Dura Ace 7800
  • Brake pads: Swiss Stop yellow
  • Chainrings: Dura-Ace 53/39

Check out Wednesday night’s edition of VeloCenter for video highlights of this bike, as well as news and features from the Tour of California.


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