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Crazy track bikes, huge stems and rim brakes FTW: 10 tech highlights from the 2023 Cycling World Championships

Do you know what a Hrinkow is? Are the new track bikes fair, and are rim brakes more aero after all? Here is some of the weirdest and most wonderful tech we spotted on the road and track

The 2023 'Super' Cycling World Championships in Scotland has been billed as the biggest cycling event ever. Immersed in the centre of it all in Glasgow, that’s very easy to believe! Here are 10 of the coolest techy things we’ve spotted so far at the inaugural 'Cycling Olympics' on the road and track. You can also head over to off.road.cc to check out mountain bike, gravel and BMX highlights so far. 

1. 1X refuses to go away

2023 Glasgow world champs road race cervelo S5 1x belgium

It would be remiss not to start with THAT elite men’s road race. The city centre, criterium-esque circuit wasn’t to the liking of all the riders, but it did deliver on the entertainment front. It’s hard to argue that some of the best in the peloton didn’t rise to the occasion.

> Should you run a 1x set-up on your road bike?

Second place was snapped up by Wout van Aert, and it was only Mathieu van der Poel that prevented yet another big race from being won by a single front chainring setup. Although Wout van Aert led the Jumbo Visma/Belgian charge, he was far from the only rider to ditch a second chainring. Nathan van Hooydonck and Tiesj Benoot also opted for SRAM’s 1x setup, so it’s safe to say that 1x isn’t going anywhere and is going to be a debate that rages on for some time yet.

2. The Specialized Tarmac SL8

2023 Remco Evenepoel Specialized Tarmac SL8 Belgium Project black frame

Aside from the physical racing, perhaps the biggest news from Sunday at the World Championships was the new Specialized Tarmac SL8. You can read our first ride review and all the tech details here

Many of the team leaders had access to - and chose to ride - the new bike, including the likes of Remco Evenepoel, Julian Alaphillippe and Peter Sagan. Specialized will get another chance at the top spot on Sunday as Lorena Wiebes and Demi Vollering line up for the women’s elite road race.

The new bike may not have been ridden to victory in the men’s race, but it did still create plenty of buzz. We got the chance to see Evenepoel's Project Black bike up close, as well as the Soudal Quickstep and women's SD Worx colour schemes.

3. Sagan’s habits die hard                          

2023 Specialized Tarmac SL8 Sagan glasgow worlds champs venge stem

Despite being one of the lucky riders to get access to the new SL8, three-time road race world champion Peter Sagan opted to not use the new Roval cockpit, which Specialized claims to be four watts faster at 40kph. Instead, he used the weightier Venge stem.

We’re unsure why Sagan would rather use the heavier Venge stem, which is now two generations old and has since been superseded by the SL7 stem, and now the Roval cockpit. A potential motive is that it's rumoured to be slightly stiffer.

Specialized engineers exclaimed “Sagan loves that Venge stem”, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be upgrading any time soon. 

4. Loads of new track bikes!

2023 Hope-Lotus bike

Over on the track, we’ve seen absolutely loads of new bikes as nations search for every advantage possible. Team GB unveiled their new Lotus Hope track bike (above) recently before the games, the Danes have been putting their new Canyon to good use, France has been riding a new (very unique) Look bike and Japan and Argentina have also been getting in on the act with their own radical designs...

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by TºRED BIKES (@tredbikes)

It’s fairly unanimous that wider seat stays that start as high up the bike as possible are faster, but are all these new bikes fair? Personally, I would argue not. Just like in the 70s and 80s, track cycling appears to be becoming an arms race when really it should be about the athletes, regardless of the size and/or affluence of the nation they come from.

2023 Look P24 Track bike french Charlie Forgham-Bailey/SWpix.com
Charlie Forgham-Bailey/SWpix.com

It’s hard to see that the UCI won’t take a similar view, so perhaps these are the fastest bikes that we’ll see for some time if a crackdown does indeed happen. An honourable mention goes to Australia, as ignoring the custom 3D-printed titanium cockpits, they're on Argon 18 bikes that you can actually buy for an amount of money that is comparable to other top-of-the-range 'off-the-peg' bikes. Which is still a lot of money, but still... 

5. The best kit in the world(s)?

2023 Glasgow world champs nigeria national kit - Will Palmer/SWpix.com
Will Palmer/SWpix.com

It’s tenuously a tech highlight, but it’s most definitely (in my opinion) cool! The track is full of super high-tech skinsuits and materials, but it was the Nigerian national kit that caught our eye. 

It can be seen here in the women’s team sprint qualification race. Bonus points if you can name the year of the football jersey that surely inspired it down in the comments below…

6. Rim brakes are world-class still!

2023 Glasgow world champs Dan Bigham TT bike Cervelo P5-Three

Dan Bigham almost caused the biggest upset of the games, as the Ineos aero guru proved he has the legs as well as the science by coming very close to beating track phenomenon Filippo Ganna in the Individual Pursuit. 

It’s not that electric evening in the Chris Hoy velodrome that we want to draw your attention to though, rather his outdoor appearance in the mixed relay team time trial. Team GB did enough for fourth on the day, and Bigham was certainly very competitive on his debadged Cervelo P5-Three frameset.

> Has aero gone too far?

The massive chainring, base bar and aero bars unsurprisingly all come from the Wattshop brand, which is run by the self-proclaimed aero obsessive himself. The pedals are single-sided Wahoo Speedplay Aero, and there’s also a CeramicSpeed Aero OSPW system.

2023 Glasgow world champs Dan Bigham TT bike front Cervelo P5-Three

A TriRig Omega One front brake calliper completes the build. I’m confident in saying that if Bigham saw a big enough advantage to switch to disc brakes, then he would have. Does this mean that rim brake bikes are more aero after all?

Finally, the tyres are Continental's GP5000TT TR, and appear to have inner tubes inside them (we presume latex ones). Many of Bigham's rivals opted for tubeless.

7. Stella McCartney X Cannondale

2023 Cannondale Supersix Evo CX Stella Mccartney paint

As well as the pro race bikes from every discipline, the World Championships present an opportunity for brands from around the world to showcase their latest designs to cycling fans. 

Each brand tries to outdo each other with loud special designs, and this one in particular caught many an eye. The spec sheet of the Cannondale SuperSix Evo SE is surprisingly ordinary when compared to its paint job, with a mechanical SRAM Force 1 groupset and aluminium wheels. 

2023 Cannondale Supersix Evo CX Stella Mccartney

This paintjob appeared on one of two Cannondale bikes at the show that got the Stella McCartney treatment (there are 18 designs in total) that Cannondale says  “celebrate the spirit of self-expression and creativity.”

The bikes can usually be found at one of four Stella McCartney flagship stores in London, New York, Shanghai and Tokyo. I guess, the real question is… given the chance, would you ride around on a bike this loud?

8. Have you ever heard of a Hrinkow?

2023 glasgow world champs road race hrinkow bike

There's a lot more variety among bikes in the peloton at a World Championships compared to the big races we usually cover, and that’s nowhere more true than on the road. 

In Sunday’s men's elite road race, we spotted this very green Hrinkow-branded bike being ridden by Tadej Pogacar’s Slovenian teammate Jaka Primozic of Team Hrinkow Advarics. 

> Best road bikes 2023 

The bikes are made in Austria, with e-bike, cross country and road frames to choose from. Primozic opted for the Scorpion SL Disc frame for the rolling Glasgow course. 

9. What does it take to fuel "the hardest World Championships road race ever"?

2023 Michael mathews with Giant Propel post worlds road race glasgow

Michael Mathews of Jayco Alula and the Australian National Team came into the Glasgow World's Road Race as an outside favourite, and for much of the race looked to be in control. You can check out his post-race interview including his honest thoughts on the course, the neutralisation and how racing has changed through his career in our upcoming road.cc podcast.

2023 Michael Mathews nutrition plan Worlds Glasgow road race

> How to fuel for epic rides

Mathews had plenty of good words to say about his Giant Propel, and still present from the day before was his nutrition notes adorning the VERY long stem. The stem notes show that Mathews was planning on getting through a 500ml bottle per hour, with a combination of carbs, 'big carbo' and salts.

There's also plenty of variety in the food: carb gels, isotonic gels, bakes, chews, rice cakes and a SiS Nootropics gel, which contains 'Cognizin Citicoline', said to support both physical and mental performance by improving brain function. 

10. Team cars with multiple brands of bikes

2023 Glasgow world champs mens elite road race team car bikes factor

My final takeaway from the worlds is not exactly surprising, but it was odd to see such a wide selection of different bikes on the roof of each country's team car. 

For the rest of the cycling calendar, save for a few special paint jobs, all the bikes will be all but identical as each team is tied to its sponsors, suppliers and brand identity. At the World Championships, though, nations are made up of riders from a wide variety of trade teams. None are allowed to, or would likely want to, switch bikes for one weekend of racing.

What's been your favourite moment or tech from the 2023 Cycling World Championships? Let us know in the comments section below...

Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the road.cc team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...

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24 comments

Avatar
hmsgenoa | 6 months ago
0 likes

Please can the article be amended in the part about Dan Bigham using rim brakes. Use of Latex tubes on rim braked bikes is ill advisable, they can explode when the rim is heated - think alpine descents, obviously Bigham wont have been intending to touch those brakes much, they are almost there for show on a tt bike, but you need your readers to be aware it is a potential safety issue using latex tubes on a rim braked wheel. Fine on a disc braked one for obvious reasons. If someone wants to fit  lightweight innertube on a rim braked wheel them they need to be looking at the 'tpu' type which also have very light valves that help to keep the wheel nicely balanced. Or use a tube like a Continental Supersonic, ultra thin butyl (why don't Conti make them in latex  3 ).

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quiff | 6 months ago
5 likes

I sure wish I could get a sticker like that for my stem. Reckon I'd pay about £15 for 4...

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mark1a replied to quiff | 6 months ago
3 likes

With free shipping worldwide of course. 

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chrisonabike replied to mark1a | 6 months ago
0 likes

I was going to order some stamps but apparently the Post Office don't do free shipping (below 50 quid).

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Dogless | 6 months ago
0 likes

Nevermind 😂

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Brauchsel replied to Dogless | 6 months ago
6 likes

How dare you describe a health slur as "mental". 

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MonarchyBoner replied to Dogless | 6 months ago
1 like

The fact that you've just mentioned a slur was used without saying what this "slur" was shows that you have no intererst in actually improving genral discourse and would instead rather complain.

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Dogless replied to MonarchyBoner | 6 months ago
0 likes

Sorry, assumed it was obvious. General advice is to not describe things as 'crazy' that are, in fact, weird, bizarre, surprising, unusual etc etc. There are plenty of words that can be used, it's just lazy. No one would describe an odd design as 'retarded', for much the same reason.

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Cugel replied to Dogless | 6 months ago
2 likes
Dogless wrote:

Sorry, assumed it was obvious. General advice is to not describe things as 'crazy' that are, in fact, weird, bizarre, surprising, unusual etc etc. There are plenty of words that can be used, it's just lazy. No one would describe an odd design as 'retarded', for much the same reason.

I might.  It seems objectionable to me that sneering intolerants annex perfectly good, meaningful and often precise words to use as slurs and denigrations in their various attempts to bully and batter the vulnerable or those they wish to make pariahs or scapegoats in their various kulcha wars. In using words in a such a fashion, these dotards often reverse or otherwise mistake the actual meaning of the word.

A "retarded" design would, for me, mean one that's hung on to more traditional, well-understood and long-tested aspects rather than adopting untested and perhaps bleeding-edge innovations of the "advanced beyond current design conventions" sort, for the kind of thing being described. It would suggest caution and a pleasure in familiarity rather than the risks of the new! improved! that so often turns out to be no such thing.

Whilst we're at it, I'll mention my chagrin at the use of various meaningless hyperbole blurts such as "cool", "hot", "incredible", "fabulous", etcetera, etcetera.  Anyway, I like "lush" much better than any o' them, as a generalised signal of approval for anything at all no matter how mundane to all but the overexcited gusher of such terms.

Ooooh - I feel better now.   1

************

As to these ten things - they provide one good list of things all cyclists interested in cycling rather than fashion promenading should avoid, for the good of their bikes and also their wallets. These professional racing events are, in fact, large marketing events for shiny baubles that the PR ghouls hope "everyone will want despite nobody needing any of them".

But this to the side!  Where can I buy a Speciatrek Roadweapon Mark 78 with bits that are slammed or otherwise causing discomfort, coated with a glaring paint job by that designer of ourageously priced handbags made for 3d by slaves and sold to dafties* who've already got 107 others more or less the same?

* Note that "dafties" has only one meaning and has here been used in an attempt to convey that meaning, unambiguously and with no ambivalence or spoiling of an alternative and proper use of this word, which it does not have. Yes ... er, no.

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hawkinspeter replied to Cugel | 6 months ago
2 likes
Cugel wrote:

Whilst we're at it, I'll mention my chagrin at the use of various meaningless hyperbole blurts such as "cool", "hot", "incredible", "fabulous", etcetera, etcetera.  Anyway, I like "lush" much better than any o' them, as a generalised signal of approval for anything at all no matter how mundane to all but the overexcited gusher of such terms.

Ooooh - I feel better now.   1

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Cugel replied to hawkinspeter | 6 months ago
0 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:
Cugel wrote:

Whilst we're at it, I'll mention my chagrin at the use of various meaningless hyperbole blurts such as "cool", "hot", "incredible", "fabulous", etcetera, etcetera.  Anyway, I like "lush" much better than any o' them, as a generalised signal of approval for anything at all no matter how mundane to all but the overexcited gusher of such terms.

Ooooh - I feel better now.   1

//external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fi.pinimg.com%2F736x%2F6c%2Fd1%2Fb1%2F6cd1b1dac927f1a1e939c1e5f9f9fdd7.jpg&f=1&nofb=1&ipt=22e5f980775ea4f674b12b981ea6437bed11482586da92898cfbeb83fe993aee&ipo=images)

Wot that mean in Bristolian then? When I wiz a lad in Tyneside, a gert lush thing would have been a large thing of special attraction because likely to provide great enjoyment when had, used or otherwise interfaced with. You'll understand, from this, what "a gert lush lass, her" was likely to mean, eh? That Viz mighta portrayed examples.

Sometimes thing were "canny lush, that, like" which was a sort of faint praise.

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hawkinspeter replied to Cugel | 6 months ago
1 like
Cugel wrote:

Wot that mean in Bristolian then? When I wiz a lad in Tyneside, a gert lush thing would have been a large thing of special attraction because likely to provide great enjoyment when had, used or otherwise interfaced with. You'll understand, from this, what "a gert lush lass, her" was likely to mean, eh? That Viz mighta portrayed examples.

Sometimes thing were "canny lush, that, like" which was a sort of faint praise.

Pretty much the same, then

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyKzYBRfyfw

Avatar
Dogless replied to Cugel | 6 months ago
2 likes

Ha, well glad it's inspired debate anyway. Perhaps 'crazy' is a poor example of what I'm trying to convey.as obviously 'crazed' means wiggly etc; more egregious examples are the use of 'mad', 'mental' to mean the same thing. I was tired and in a bad mood, what can I say?

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Geoff Ingram replied to Cugel | 6 months ago
0 likes

Which meaning of the word "lush" are you referring to? Alcoholic, verdant and thriving vegetaion, or sexually attractive?

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Cugel replied to Geoff Ingram | 6 months ago
1 like
Geoff Ingram wrote:

Which meaning of the word "lush" are you referring to? Alcoholic, verdant and thriving vegetaion, or sexually attractive?

In the Tyneside argot, "lush" generally meant full to burstin' with life-juices of the tasty kind enjoyed by most.

Sometimes the "life juices" were virtual ones, as in "a lush pair o' ice-blue jeans, them though but". They would, when pulled up to fit tightly on one's youthful thighs, imbue a sense of fatal attraction that would surely arise in the lusting eyes of any lass observing the pulsing trews as we strode about before them.

But often the "lush" was quite physical, being exhibited not just by large ripe peaches and wind-rippled mid-summer fields of green, green grass but also well-presented ripe persons of the opposite gender possesing a certain maturity of body and attitude.

"Gert lush" was synonymous with "geet lush" in an intent to convey that the amount of lush (one way or another) seemed larger than the norm in whatever was being eagerly assessed as such.

"Alcoholic lushes" is a yank term, innit? Trust them to turn a term of approbation into a sneer.

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perce replied to Dogless | 6 months ago
3 likes

Weird. Weird little thing called love. She drives me weird. Weird weird nights. Weird for you. Shine on you weird diamond. All great songs. 

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Rendel Harris replied to perce | 6 months ago
4 likes
perce wrote:

Weird. Weird little thing called love. She drives me weird. Weird weird nights. Weird for you. Shine on you weird diamond. All great songs. 

They are, I like to listen to them whilst sitting out on my weird paving patio.

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perce replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
4 likes

I like listening to them while playing bizarre golf.

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chrisonabike replied to perce | 6 months ago
2 likes

Although interestingly (and perhaps you meant this) the last is indeed referring to the other meaning, what with it being about Syd Barrett.

I thought of another - what about "Crazy"?

Is this the current "spastic"?

Think all these language complaints come down to "it's easy to joke if you don't know (you might not know what you don't know).  'Popular understanding' really isn't" vs. "why so touchy and special?  I'm a cyclist / mentalist myself!".  Or "it's just words.  Anyway I have cyclist (or bipolar) friends!"

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hawkinspeter replied to perce | 6 months ago
3 likes
perce wrote:

Weird. Weird little thing called love. She drives me weird. Weird weird nights. Weird for you. Shine on you weird diamond. All great songs. 

Weird horses

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Dogless | 6 months ago
2 likes
Dogless wrote:

Sorry, assumed it was obvious. General advice is to not describe things as 'crazy' that are, in fact, weird, bizarre, surprising, unusual etc etc. There are plenty of words that can be used, it's just lazy. No one would describe an odd design as 'retarded', for much the same reason.

Why don't we just stop calling people with mental health problems crazy (although to be honest one rarely hears that these days) and then we can use continue to use crazy in its long accepted sense of off the wall, bizarre et cetera?

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
2 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:
Dogless wrote:

Sorry, assumed it was obvious. General advice is to not describe things as 'crazy' that are, in fact, weird, bizarre, surprising, unusual etc etc. There are plenty of words that can be used, it's just lazy. No one would describe an odd design as 'retarded', for much the same reason.

Why don't we just stop calling people with mental health problems crazy (although to be honest one rarely hears that these days) and then we can use continue to use crazy in its long accepted sense of off the wall, bizarre et cetera?

OTOH would that be losing part of the fun* - language is elastic and allusive?  Being amusingly irritated is a bit like being really angry and out of control is a tiny bit like wigging out on some thoroughly illegal pharmaceuticals is a bit like some kinds of mental illness.

* Fun if it doesn't remind you about the time you / friends having a really bad time of course.  Or the responses and prejudice ("moral failing") of other people in the aftermath, I guess.  But people can "reclaim" terms too - ain't language interesting!

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to Dogless | 6 months ago
2 likes
Dogless wrote:

Thought we'd got beyond describing things using mental health slurs 🙄

Are you for real?

crazy
INFORMAL
adjective

1.
mad, especially as manifested in wild or aggressive behaviour.
"Stella went crazy and assaulted a visitor"
2.
extremely enthusiastic.
"I'm crazy about Cindy"

Avatar
quiff replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 6 months ago
3 likes

And which do you think was intended in this context? Extremely enthusiastic track bikes? Personally though, "very unique" bothered me more. 

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