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Tour Tech Talk: Red hubs, Rasmussen’s rig, posts, weights, saddles, shirts and helmets (whew)

Many people have been asking what those wheels with red hubs like old Mavic Heliums were on David Moncoutie’s bike. The Cofidis rider won stage 12 on the new Mavic Ksyrium ES Dixieme Anniversaire wheels, which indeed are supposed to honor and carry on the tradition of those Heliums, which premiered 10 years ago in the Tour as special climbing wheels, ridden by luminaries like Laurent Jalabert and Richard Virenque, among many others. The front and rear rims of the 10th Anniversary Ksyrium ES are different, with the front being lighter. Mavic says the tubular version weighs 625 grams () and

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By Lennard Zinn

Mavic's Ksyrium ES Dixieme Anniversaire wheels

Mavic’s Ksyrium ES Dixieme Anniversaire wheels

Photo: Lennard Zinn

Many people have been asking what those wheels with red hubs like old Mavic Heliums were on David Moncoutie’s bike. The Cofidis rider won stage 12 on the new Mavic Ksyrium ES Dixieme Anniversaire wheels, which indeed are supposed to honor and carry on the tradition of those Heliums, which premiered 10 years ago in the Tour as special climbing wheels, ridden by luminaries like Laurent Jalabert and Richard Virenque, among many others.

The front and rear rims of the 10th Anniversary Ksyrium ES are different, with the front being lighter. Mavic says the tubular version weighs 625 grams () and 785 (rear). The front has 18 spokes; the rear, 20. The hubs are made of red-anodized Maxtal aluminum, with a carbon hub shell for the front. The oversized rear hub transfers the torque to the crossed spokes on the non-drive side, making the spoke angles to the rim on right and left more similar, thus making the spokes on the two sides of the hub closer in tension. The quick release has Mavic’s easy-to-flip, high-pressure-lever head on a titanium shaft. Along with Cofidis, Lampre-Caffita and Bouygues Telecom are using them in the Tour.

Now, a question or two:

Yeah, but what's its weight in Belgian ale?

Yeah, but what’s its weight in Belgian ale?

Photo: Lennard Zinn

Rasmussen’s rig
Dear Lennard,
I noticed Rasmussen’s bike does not have HP stays. Is this because he’s riding an older C40? I have talked to some pro riders and they actually prefer the old model. Also, is he riding Ram bars? If so, is he the only one in the peloton doing so.
Paul

Dear Paul,
This is what Alessandro Colnago told me about his bike: “Rasmussen is not riding an old C40. He’s riding the new Extreme-C, the new extra-light frame we’ll introduce next September. To be honest, he’s still riding the prototype we gave him last year. Same frame for Boogerd, Dekker and Menchov. We are below 1000 grams. The same frame was used to win most important Gran Fondo here in Europe this summer, the Gran Fondo delle Dolomiti in Italy and La Marmotte in France.”

And yes, those are Cinelli Ram bars. Can’t say as I’ve seen others around.
Lennard

Posts, stick-ons, saddles and holey undershirts
Dear Lennard,
It looks like the Discovery team is riding aluminum or some other kind of metal seat posts on their Madone’s – is this so and if so, why the “retro” switch away from carbon seatposts? Also, What was stuck to the underside of Levi’s S-Works Tarmac SL in stage 10 (see the Graham Watson photo; scroll down in the column at left) – weights stuck on to meet UCI limit? Are the saddles ridden by Discovery really Bontrager or just Bontrager covers – because no other Bontrager saddles made have a “B” logo on the nose. And what is with the hole Ullrich has cut in the chest of his undershirt?
Cortino

Dear Cortino,
Posts: That’s just a standard Shimano Dura-Ace seat post. Believe it or not, aluminum seat posts work just fine and can be quite light. And it’s not a switch; Postal never used carbon posts on road bikes.

Levi: I would guess that those are weights. I wrote about that bike a couple of days ago, and it is super light (see photo) – the same weight as 2.5 liters of Gerolsteiner water. Lost of riders have weights on their bikes this year. Poor little Leonardo Piepoli, the smallest guy in the peloton, has stacks of lead under his water-bottle bosses, and they had to remove his carbon handlebars and replace them with aluminum, as well as a number of other similar switches. And that is just a stock Scott CR-1. It’s a real hardship for the little guys.

Bontrager saddles: Selle San Marco makes the high-end Bontrager saddle models and was also U.S. Postal’s saddle sponsor. The riders are used to San Marco saddles, and it is no secret that pro riders rarely want to switch saddles. Lance Armstrong is particularly notable in his absolute dedication to a model that’s more than a decade old, the Selle San Marco Concor Lite. All of the Discovery saddles I have looked at closely are Selle San Marco models (many of them are Eras) with those Bontrager covers on them.

You can see where the line gets blurry on these instances where riders are using products that don’t come from their sponsors. Since Selle San Marco actually makes Bontrager saddles and glues Bontrager covers onto saddles day in and day out, these are Bontrager saddles in every sense except that you cannot buy them. It’s a lot less blatant than using the printing machine that some saddle manufacturers were going around with in the days before the Tour, putting their logos on the saddles of their sponsored riders using saddles made by their competitors.

Ullrich’s undershirt hole: Dunno. Ventilation? The hole made by his mojo when it left him on the way to Courchevel?
Lennard

Helmets and hills
Dear Lennard,
Last year at the Tour, riders were permitted to remove their helmets on the last hill of the day when the course route finished on an uphill section that was in excess of “X” kilometers long. Did the Tour organizers reverse this rule? I noticed that all of the riders that came across the finishing line of stage 10 in Courchevel were wearing their helmets.
John

Dear John,
From Mr. Rulebook, VeloNews news editor Charles Pelkey: “That’s easy. The UCI eliminated the exception this year. Now it’s helmets from start to finish.”

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