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Tour Tech 2012: Cockpits

A look at the various handlebar and stem setups from the Tour de France

In this latest Tour Tech we take a look at the cockpits of the team bikes. Handlebars and stem, aside from sponsorship contracts, are one area a rider can get personal, choosing usually from a wide catalogue of parts to suit their demands.

Look and their Integrated Road C-Stem, made from hi-modulus carbon fibre it allows micro height adjustment via a single screw, hidden away the flap on the side, which you can just about make out. Look have just released their latest version take this design to another level, with the 675 which they recently unveiled.

Cannondale's new Slice RS time trial bikes uses an unconventional design for the stem, removing the steerer tube and clamping the fork to the headset at the top and bottom with large bearings. That makes cable routing very clean.

Canyon's time trial bike uses a very similar design to the Cannondale, in removing the conventional steerer tube. Canyon designed their very own handlebar and extensions for the Speedmax, integrating them into the fork assembly for the best aero performance. 

Most Shimano sponsored teams are running Di2, with the buttons to change gear more aero and easier to operate than mechanical time trial bar end shifters.

This is the Cannondale Evo of Daniel Oss, and like many professional cyclists his size and height dictates a long stem, in this case a rangy 14cm FSA SL-K aluminium stem. There's no spacers between stem and headset, to keep the front as low as possible. Just one spacer sits above the stem.

At 6'2” Daniel Oss rides a large Cannondale Evo, with a long stem.

This Rabobank rider opts for a PRO (the component off-shoot of Shimano) Stealth Evo one-piece handlebar/stem. It's not something you'll see often, as it doesn't allow the same ease of adjustment (bar angle, height) as a regular setup, but providing it fits your needs, it's a light and stiff, and striking, option.

Meanwhile, this Rabobank rider has opted for PRO's Vibe bar and stem combination. It looks like an aluminium handlebar and, to survive the three weeks of racing, that's a double layer of bar tap. A small PRO computer is mounted at the very end of the stem.

Radioshack-Nissan are supplied by Trek and that means they also use Bontrager for all their handlebar and stem needs. This rider has opted for an aluminium stem, in preference to carbon, with a a Race XXX Lite stem clamping it in place. With no tape measure to hand, we're guessing it's a 13cm stem. This rider has fitted Shimano's optional Di2 shifter button just beside the stem, for easy changes when riding on the tops.

Riders can go to extreme lengths to get bikes to fit them, as is this case with this RadioShack-Nissan rider, with what looks like a 17 degree rise stem turned upside down. Still, to get it just right, they've had to fit a slim spacer beneath the stem.

Team Sky are looked after by PRO for all their handlebar and stem needs, and on their Graal time trial bikes they use a Missile setup.

Few riders get their cockpits as customised as this, spotted on Fabian Cancellara's Trek Speed Concept time trial bike. You know you must be good when your team goes to lengths like this for you.

Not all riders prefer their stems 'slammed' as is evidenced by this Rababank team bank. That's a healthy number of spacers underneath a stem that isn't very short. Again, lots of bar tape.

A custom designed mount allows the team to fit the Garmin Edge 500 between the extensions, so the rider can keep check of their speed and time.

If you're a rider of Michele Scarponi's calibre, customised components can be expected. This one-piece carbon fibire handlebar is finished with fetching decals, featuring an eagle graphic, because of his Eagle of Filottrano nickname.

Garmin-Sharp are running the new 3T Integra stem. The stem comes with an integrated Garmin Edge computer mount for improved aerodynamics, security and a slick appearance. 

Cervelo worked with Magura to develop the new hydraulic rim brake that some of the team are using. Not limited to just time trial bikes, it's seen here fitted to an S5. That box beneath the stem is the converter, the brake cables feed in one side and operate a piston which pushes the hydraulic fluid to the brake unit.

Some are using Shimano's Dura-Ace Di2 'sprint' shifter, an optional trigger placed inside the drop. It's a bit like Campagnolo's approach, and allows easy up changes when in the drops, something you want to be able to do in a sprint. Hence its name.

The cockpit of sprint ace Mark Cavendish. Personalised PRO carbon fibre stem and an aluminium handlebar.

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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