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Do road bikes really all look the same now? Find out if you can really tell your Giant from your Specialized with this Tour de France bikes quiz

Can you guess the bikes with their logos and paint jobs removed? We attempt to find out whether the latest bikes really are carbon copies of each other...

Forget Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? or Question of Sport, this is the only quiz we cyclists need in our life right now. Why? Because all the angry people in the comments, half of our office and seemingly everyone with a Facebook account seem to think that the latest road bikes all look the same now… but how true is that? Let's find out. 

The rules are pretty simple: 10 bikes, with no logos or colours that might give them away. Name the bike, model and brand and you earn yourself a point. We've already put the quiz to a select few people in the industry, so see if you can do better than them.

2023 Dogma F vs Sl7 vs V4rs logos

> Check out the bikes ridden to every 2023 Tour de France stage victory

You'll have to watch the video above for the full interactive experience and see how our cycling friends got on, but if you prefer your cycling content in written form and want to have a go yourself first, it's all below. Expect the quiz to get harder as it goes on - the only clue I'll give you is that all 10 of the pro-level bikes are currently being ridden around the Tour de France route. Good luck, no cheating! 


The Quiz

Bike 1

2023 Trek madone no logos

Bike 2

2023 Cervelo S5 no logos

Bike 3

2023 pinarello dogma F no logos

Got them all so far? Good work, but this is where it starts to get a bit trickier...


Bike 4

2023 Giantt Propel no logos

Bike 5

2023 Tarmac Sl7 no logos

Bike 6

2023 scott foil no logos

Bike 7

2023 Canyon Ultimate no logos

Bike 8

2023 Wilier Filante no logos

Bike 9

2023 Colnago V4Rs no logos

Bike 10

2023 lab71 cannondale supersix no logos

Bonus Bike

2023 prototype bmc no logos

Answers

Bike 1 (Trek Madone)

2023-trek-madone-slr-9-etap-project-one-icon-1

Yep, the chrome paint job has given this one away... it's the Trek Madone, with that unique hole in the seat tube. This particular one belongs to Mads Pedersen of the Lidl–Trek team, and at the time of writing has already won a stage at the 2023 Tour de France.


Bike 2 (Cervelo S5)

2023-dauphine-jumbo-visma-cervelo-vingegaard-1

> Jonas Vingegaard uses 1x gearing for Tour de France opening stages

This particular Cervelo S5 belongs to Jonas Vingegaard. Defining features include the seat tube that wraps around the rear wheel, the unique head tube and wing-style stem, and the fork in a contrasting colour to the frame.


Bike 3 (Pinarello Dogma F)

2023-pinarello-dogma-f-dura-ace-di2-team-replica-1

> Which Tour de France superbike is the best?

The Onda curve of the fork might have been the clue you needed for this one. The Dogma F is of course currently being ridden by the Ineos Grenadiers.


Bike 4 (Giant Propel)

2023 giant propel jayco alula team

> Review: Cadex 65 Disc Tubeless Wheels

Quite a few of our competitors struggled to identify the Giant Propel despite the integrated seat mast. This latest generation Propel has seriously slimmed down at the rear in a bid to save weight. Another clue that this was Team Jayco Alula's Propel is the super deep carbon spokes on the Cadex 65 Disc wheels.


Bike 5 (Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7)

2023-tour-de-france-jai-hindley-specialized-tarmac-sl7-1

The most common bike in the Tour de France peloton killed off the Venge to become one bike for all stages; however, it could soon be superseded by the SL8 Tarmac, check out the spy shots using the link below. 

> New Specialized road bike leaked with unique oversized head tube


Bike 6 (Scott Foil)

2023 team dsm scott foil

> Review: Scott Foil RC Pro 2023

Scott updated its Foil last year, and the serious weight savings now mean that it's the current weapon of choice for Team DSM on the majority of stages. Remove the logos and there are plenty of similarities in tube shapes between this and the Cervelo S5.


Bike 7 (Canyon Ultimate)

2023-dauphine-canyon-ultimate-movistar-1

> Review: Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8 Di2 2023

Canyon is still one of the brands offering team riders the choice of two bikes, the Ultimate CFR or the Aeroad CFR. Both Movistar and Alpecin Deceuninck are on Canyon bikes. This particular Ultimate CFR belongs to Enric Mas, with the lack of paint presumably helping to save weight.


Bike 8 (Wilier Filante)

2023 willier filante mark cavendish

> Mark Cavendish's Tour de France bikes through the years

Another tricky one and it's clear to see the resemblance in tube shapes between this, the SL7 Tarmac, the Canyon Ultimate and the next two bikes on the list. This particular bike belongs to Mark Cavendish and hence has a custom paintjob which differs to the rest of his Astana Qazaqstan team. 


Bike 9 (Colnago V4Rs)

2023-dauphine-yates-colnago-v4rs-continental-grand-prix-5000-tubless-tyres-1

> A closer look at Adam Yates' Colnago V4Rs

Is this the bike that's going to win the 2023 Tour de France> It is of course the Colnago V4Rs ridden by Team UAE Emirates and the likes of Tadej Pogacar. This particular bike belongs to Adam Yates and features Enve finishing kit, a lightweight Darimo seatpost and CarbonTi brake rotors.


Bike 10 (Cannondale Lab71 Supersix)

2023 cannondale lab 71 supersix

The most recent release on our list is this Cannondale Supersix Evo Lab71 which was unveiled early this year and is being ridden by Team EF Education First. It was a bike that impressed our man Aaron on the launch so much that he went out and got himself one!


Bonus Bike (BMC Prototype - Rumoured to be the Timemachine Road)

2023-bmc-prototype-dauphine-3-1

> BMC prototype aero superbike spotted at Dauphine (updated with new pics)

Fairplay if you could identify this one, as it hasn't even been released yet. We presume that BMC's latest bike - which has been developed in conjunction with Red Bull's engineering department - will be called the Timemachine Road, but we won't know for sure until the bike's official release. Is this the way bikes are going, with super dropped seat stays and wide forks at the front?

Conclusion

2023 Dogma F vs Sl7 vs V4rs side by side superbikes

What do you reckon then, do all bikes look the same? I think our cycling friends did a pretty good job at determining which was which, so they can’t look identical. Congratulations to the folks at Ison Distribution, who performed best on the day as you'll see in the video.

Given the current UCI regulations, it’s unsurprising that bikes are looking so similar, and it's probably going to be some time before we see anything that isn’t a double triangle frame design at the Tour de France, if it happens at all. When UCI rules don’t matter, such as in the world of triathlon, things do indeed deviate. Normally in the name of aerodynamics - just take this Cadex tri bike for example.

2022 Cadex Tri bike - 2

Obviously, even double triangle frame designs can vary hugely, a pure aero bike vs a climbing bike for example. However, riders just like you, me and the pros now want aero and low weight more than ever. At the moment, that's only possible with kamm tail tube profiles that satisfy the UCI depth-to-thickness ratios, hence why so many look the same.

How many did you get right? Let us know in the comments section below, as well as whether you’d like to see more radical designs released or whether you’re happy with the current choices out there.

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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6 comments

Avatar
chrisonabike | 7 months ago
0 likes
Quote:

Do road bikes really all look the same now?

Another easy one - "yes", if you define road bikes as "those ridden in the TDF" or even "bikes most roadies ride".
OR "no", if you mean "bikes designed for fast road riding". As a for instance some trikes, recumbents or even recumbent trikes might merit a mention...

An extremely efficient bike design existed over a century ago. We've done wonders with new materials (allowing other things to be practical like disc brakes) but we seem to be in the very marginal gains phase at the moment.

Avatar
Cugel | 7 months ago
1 like

When I were a whipper-snapping young thruster of the pedals, 481 yers ago, there were but a few "designs" of bicycle: mostly racer style and begging style (heavy duty & lighter duty) with one or three gears. Whilst some aspects of their forms were determined by function, other significant elements, such as tradition and visual appeal, seemed to dominate.

Even the new-fangled stuff tended to look more functional than it actually was, rather like that "streamlining" of olde steam trains that .... didn't streamline (just created more weight and sometimes extra drag, alomng with a serious difficulty of maintainance of the working parts). Fancy brakes that were hardly brakes at all; lightweight skinny tyres that lasted a couple of days and would deflate at the mere sight of a hawthorn hedge; frames and forks that could shake your teeth out, bad ones and good.

These days there's definitely more form-follows-function going into bike design, even if these forms are advertised on their "look" and decorated accordingly, to make them more frock or handbag-like for fashion-conscious consumers.

Still, as long as the paint job isn't too garish or the manufacturer labels too shouty, it's quite pleasing that modern bikes tend to work better than the traditional form that seemed to ossify through the 50s into the 80s. 

And "faster" is by no means the most worthy of these functional improvements. Comfort, reliability, efficiency (at using one's pedalling energy) and precision of the controls/gubbins are so much better than on me old 8-speed (4X2) Coventry Eagle of the 60s. I spent nearly as much time "maintaining" that as I did riding it. The brakes were terrible; the tyres punctured regularly and slid on the bends; it was a PITA to get a wheel back in straight (wing nuts); etc..

Many think of the older gubbins as better-because-simpler. A downtube gear lever without indexing is certainly that .... but also ergonomically hopeless compared to STI. And I have never had a failed STI lever, of the 6 or 7 pairs I've used since 2008. On the other hand, downtube levers often became worn and inclined to change all by themselves!

Avatar
SecretSam | 7 months ago
2 likes

And now do a 1980s steel bike version

Avatar
Bmblbzzz replied to SecretSam | 7 months ago
0 likes
SecretSam wrote:

And now do a 1980s steel bike version

My guess is that would be easy – if and only if you were an expert on the details of lug design. Though I suppose if you go back another few decades you get oddities like the Curly Hetchins and the Flying Gate. Would either of those be UCI legal now? (genuine question). They were obviously allowed in their day. 

Avatar
tubasti replied to SecretSam | 7 months ago
1 like

Most of the bikes that were actually raced on were made by a handful of builders anyway.

Avatar
SecretSam replied to tubasti | 7 months ago
1 like
tubasti wrote:

Most of the bikes that were actually raced on were made by a handful of builders anyway.

If rumours are true, most were by De Rosa

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