Fans of bike racing rejoice! The early season races are here and if you’re like us and you enjoy spending your lunch break watching races like the Saudi Tour, it’s the best time of year.
But what are the best bikes in the pro peloton? We think it’s these six beauties, but do you agree? Let us know if you love our selection or whether you wouldn’t ride one of these bikes to save your life.
We’ve chosen bikes from both the men’s and women’s pro teams, but with more teams supporting both men’s and women’s teams, lots of the bikes are ridden by both.
One of the biggest setups to have a new women’s team for 2022 is the team of the reigning Tour de France champion, Tadej Pogacar.
Both teams use the Colnago V3Rs for road races and this thing is a stunner, though we have to say that the women’s bike is the design we prefer. Sorry Tadej…
The teams V3Rs bikes are similar, but not completely identical. The women’s team gets the mechanical version of Campagnolo’s Super Record groupset, though they still get the braking power of the excellent disc brakes.
The men’s team, meanwhile, gets electronic shifting from Super Record EPS and it seems that Pogacar will continue to use rim brakes for the occasional mountain stage. There’s also no prizing him away from his favoured tubular tyres, though he does train on disc brakes and tubeless tyres. Well, it hasn’t exactly hindered him…
The uber fancy Bora Ultra WTO tubeless wheels will see some use, though the team still has their old Bora Ultras for when the rides fancy rolling on tubular tyres.
It’s one bike to rule them all for the Ineos Grenadiers, although, that said, the Dogma F is an ok bike to have if you’re only going to have one. We rode this bike when we went to see the new Shimano Dura-Ace groupset last summer and it helped to set a moderately respectable time on the Tour de France climb of Luz Ardiden.
Back to the bike and Ineos’ standard paintjob is a nice red to navy blue fade, but it is the special-edition bikes that we’re really interested in. Ineos have a fair few national champions including British champ Ben Swift and Spanish champ Omar Fraile. Those two get white bikes with some subtle nods to their respective national jerseys, though we can’t help but think that the Spanish champion is going to have an easier time keeping his bike clean than the man from Yorkshire.
Anyway, Ineos also has the Olympic champion and Richard Carapaz has gone for the classic golden bike, with a fade into black. Oh it’s pretty and we very jealous!
The bike is decked out in Shimano’s latest Dura-Ace Di2 groupset and Ineos have finally made the jump over to disc brakes. While we, as bang average recreational riders love discs, it would be interesting to know what proper racers like Luke Rowe and Geraint Thomas think about them. If only they made a podcast where they talked about bike stuff.
Shimano also provides the wheels with the riders having 38, 50 and 60mm options and long-standing tyre provider Continental again provides the rubber.
Onto one of the bikes that we’ve reviewed recently on road cc. The Merida Scultura is the team’s lightweight climbing and slightly aero road racer. While the rouleurs and sprinters might gravitate to the more aero Reacto, the Scultura is the one that you’ll likely be seeing under the likes of Jack Haig and Mikel Landa at the pointy end of the grand tours.
Not only is the Scultura now a very sleek race bike, we really like the design that mirror’s the team’s jersey design. The orangey red headtube uses a geometric pattern to transition into the jet black back half of the frame. It isn’t over the top, but it also isn’t boring.
One thing is very interesting about this bike. Let us run you through the parts list and you can guess the price of the bike.
So we’ve got the clever lightweight frame that has aero touches and a neat front end. There's a carbon seatpost and one-piece carbon bar/stem. Dura-Ace Di2 disc groupset - that’s the latest 12-speed wireless model, Vision carbon tubeless wheels and Continental’s GP5000 tyres.
You’d think that’d run to around 13 grand but you can have this exact bike, with the power meter for £7,750. Ok, that’s not cheap, but it’s a hell of a lot more affordable than most top-end bikes. One to consider if you’re after a Tour de France level bike this year.
So, the team has green shorts and we’re still not sure how we feel about that, but there is no doubt that this bike is an absolute stunner. Thankfully Cannondale has gone for a rather plain white middle of the frame with contrast stripes on the rear triangle. We love the black classic logos and Cannondale has then provided a blast of colour with a pink fork that features the same splatter pattern as you’ll see on the jersey.
Vision and FSA provide the majority of the finishing kit with the Metron integrated carbon front end a particular highlight. The wheelset is also from Vision’s Metron range and the team has some riders on tubular wheels and some on tubeless setups. The tyres are from Vittoria in the form of the Corsa G2.0 and FSA provides power data from its Power Box unit.
Finishing the bike are the shifters, derailleurs and brakes from the latest Shimano Dura-Ace groupset.
Ridden and reviewed recently on road.cc, we know that the Factor Ostro VAM is a stupidly fast race bike and, put Nizzolo on one and we can see this bike notching up a fair few grand tour stage wins this year.
The team’s paint job is absolutely beautiful with a bare carbon base that gives a smokey look offset by the stripey logos that tie in with the team’s kit. It is well thought out, classy and makes our bank account seriously worried.
Israel Premier Tech is also quite an interesting team when it comes to components. They buy in their Shimano groupsets and while that does mean that they’re yet to upgrade to the latest R9200 12-speed stuff, it does give them the freedom to source components from elsewhere.
Rotor is a new partner for 2022 and they’ll provide the dual-sided power meter chainsets along with the aero chainrings.
Tucked away on the non-drive side is another interesting sponsor. SwissStop used to be a common sight on pro bikes when rim brakes ruled the roost. Their yellow brake blocks were instantly recognisable and once something is rumoured to provide pro-level performance, everyone wants yellow brake blocks. These days, disc brakes are in and SwissStop is a less common sight, but we’ve reviewed the rotors and pads that Israel Premier Tech are using here and they work really well.
BlackInc supplies the wheels and sleek, integrated carbon bar while Maxxis tubeless tyres provide grip.
Pretty much every year, there is one team that just nails its kit design and bike and this year, that team is Canyon SRAM. Well, we should really say that once again they take the prize because they seem to have the nicest looking kit and bikes every year.
This paintwork on the team’s Canyon Aeroads ties in with the jersey design and the theme is titled ‘Capturing the chaos of the elements’. Now, that might seem a little arty for a bike racing team, but this is what happens when you let a great designer loose with the crayons. Ultan Coyle deserves a rather larger chapeau for designing the team’s kit and bikes since 2016 and this one is a really fresh take just when it seems that all women’s pro team kits are going to a washy pastel fade design.
Back to the actual bike and the Canyon Aeroad CFR disc frameset is, as the team’s name might suggest, decked out in a SRAM Red eTap AXS groupset. The riders will be using 50/37T chainrings with a 10-33T or 10-28T cassette at the back depending on terrain.
SRAM also owns Zipp so the riders will use the 303 S for training and the 454 NSW or 303 Firecrest for racing. All of these are set up tubeless with Schwalbe Pro One TLE tyres.
A brand that we don’t see a lot at the top-end of cycling anymore is Time. The French pedal brand supplies its X Pro 10, 12 and 15 models.
One thing that we’ve seen become a common sight on pro bikes- sort of because they’re not actually visible - are tubeless inserts. We took a look at them to see if they’re worth running on a road bike if you aren’t a racer. For a more detailed look at the groupset that most of the teams are using this year, have a look at our review of Shimano’s latest Dura-Ace. It really is rather tasty.
Which is your favourite pro bike this year? Let us know in the comments below.
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. After joining the road.cc staff in 2016 as a reviewer, Liam quickly started writing feature articles and news pieces. After a little time living in Canada, where he spent most of his time eating poutine, Liam returned with the launch of DealClincher, taking over the Editor role at the start of 2018. At the weekend, Liam can be found racing on the road both in the UK and abroad, though he prefers the muddy fields of cyclocross. To date, his biggest race win is to the front of the cafe queue.