While disc brakes have become all but universal in the WorldTour peloton, riders and teams still enjoy the freedom to experiment and customize other parts of their bikes, from cockpit configuration and tire design to wheel depth and saddle choice. And, for some riders, custom paint is an option.
Here is a look at what some of the men were riding at the 2022 Gent-Wevelgem.
Greg Van Avermaet has this striking faux-marble paint job on his BMC Teammachine SLR01.
For years ‘Golden Greg’ had a few gold-themed bikes to celebrate his 2016 Olympic win.
Richard Carapaz won the most recent Olympic road race, but Van Avermaet has a new theme.
‘GVA – The will must be stronger than the skill.’
This is the Canyon Aeroad of Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Fenix).
Like so many Shimano-sponsored WorldTour riders, Vermeersch has a new Dura-Ace 9250 group, but…
… an older 9150 crank with power meter.
The 9250 12-speed shifters have a slightly longer hood with a more curved in design. There is also a battery indicator light in each shifter.
This is one of Jhonnatan Narvaez’s Pinarello Dogmas. Ineos racing director Rod Ellingworth was using Narvaez’s back-up bike to ride around the start at Gent-Wevelgem.
While tubeless and even clincher tires are now somewhat common in the WorldTour peloton, tubulars tires haven’t disappeared.
But rim brakes? These are a rare sight in the 2022 WorldTour. Narvaez raced Gent-Wevelgem on disc brakes. Note the #4 sticker on his down tube, meaning this is his back-up, back-up, back-up bike.
The 3D-printed Fizik perch of Narvaez, marked for fit measurements by his mechanic. Mechanics and fitters like to have a fixed point from which to calculate saddle height and fore/aft measurements.
Narvaez’s Ineos Grenadiers teammate Tom Pidcock raced Gent-Wevelgem on tubeless tires (and disc brakes).
Former Gent-Wevelgem winner John Degenkolb (Team DSM) with his Scott Addict RC.
Another Shimano Dura-Ace drivetrain with a 9150 crank paired with 9250 everything else.
Check out the skeleton direct mount in place of the stock derailleur hanger.
Scott puts its Synchros integrated bar/stem on the Addict RC.
Now what sort of bike is this?
Trek-Segafredo communications manager Jacob Hennison is wired for filming action on his electric scooter.
Not the typical two-wheeled machine on the pink carpet of Gent-Wevelgem’s team presentation area.
Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) won Gent-Wevelgem in 2020. This year, he’s racing with a separate aluminum bar and carbon stem instead of Trek’s stock integrated cockpit.
Further, Pedersen has SRAM’s new wireless Blips glued to the back of his bars. We first saw these disposable/recyclable Blips in WorldTour use at Strade Bianche with Pedersen’s teammate Quinn Simmons.
The wireless Blips can be put anywhere on bike, including on the drops to be used as sprint shifters. Some riders like to ride cobbles with their hands on the tops instead of the hoods, so having shifters within fingers’ reach is helpful.
Giant makes full use of the 65mm depth to brand the Cadex tubular wheels.
Giant’s Propel Advanced SL Disc’s stem is striking for its angular, integrated design. And the stem-molt-mounted computer mount is notable, too.
A Shimano sprint shifter peeks out from under the tape. The new SRAM Blip wireless shifters is strikingly similar in button shape to the Di2 sprint shifter, although the body underneath is quite different.
The curved-in cockpit of Adrien Petit (Intermaché-Wanty). While a few riders have long preferred their shift levers rotated in, this style is certainly on trend in 2022.
Continental’s latest tubeless design has found favor with a few teams. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) won the 2021 Paris-Roubaix on this tire, which certainly didn’t hurt its credibility.
Newmen wheels is a German brand.
Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) was relaxed at the start and happy to talk about his cockpit set up.
“In 2019 I changed the width of my bars and started tilting the levers in,” Campenaerts said. “I have to admit, I copied Remco Evenepoel in this.”
Campenaerts said his bars are 36cm wide at the tops but 38mm wide at the ends of the drops.
Taco Van der Hoorn (Intermarché) is another rider who favors a narrow bar with tilted-in shifters for an aero position when riding the front.