The biggest month in the cycling calendar is nearly here as the Tour de France 2023 is only a matter of days away. As the riders, including the rebranded Lidl-Trek team, make their final preparations for the Grand Départ in the Basque city of Bilbao, today’s blog is all about the helmets, shoes and bikes the pros wear and ride. Read on for our pick of the pro gear – all available from Flamme Rouge.
Next-Level Safety: ABUS Gamechanger 2.0
ABUS are making a lot of claims about their new Gamechanger 2.0, not least their choice of name. Available as a launch edition from July in velvet black and shiny white, ABUS have called Gamechanger 2.0 the ultimate helmet for professional cycle racing riders, being developed together with the Movistar Team, who will have this helmet in their locker for Le Tour. A lot of work has gone into the aerodynamics, with airflow optimised for all the angles the head is tilted at during racing. The large air channels, working with the Forced Air Cooling ventilation system, keep your head at a comfortable temperature and the new Multi Shell In Mould is responsible for the excellent ABUS safety. This lightweight helmet comes in as low as 260 grams, also featuring an eyewear dock and being ponytail compatible.
Price: From £239.99. Released in July.
Lightweight and Cool Protection: Trek Ballista
This is an aerodynamic, lightweight road bike helmet that’s fast, cool and comfortable, and will be worn by the Trek-Lidl team as of Saturday’s Grand Depart. The Mips Air system is light, cool and designed to improve comfort and protection while the single-lace BOA® fit system is fully adjustable to provide a custom, 360° fit. The Trek Ballista also features a rubberised sunglasses docking port which provides secure and easy-to-use storage, and a bevelled front edge to improve your field of view while riding on the hoods and in the drops. We often talk about Trek offering the best warranty in cycling and it’s no different with their helmets as the Crash Replacement Guarantee provides a free helmet replacement if yours is damaged in a crash within the first year of ownership.
These are designed for the road racer who wants the absolute best in comfort, performance and style. As any roadie will tell you, fit is key to comfort and endurance and the XXX shoes feature the inForm Pro last which delivers an ergonomically optimised, high-performance fit, complemented by the dual, independent BOA IP1 dials for precise, zone-specific fit adjustments. The 100% OCLV carbon sole is extremely lightweight and stiff for efficient power transfer while the lightweight and luxurious TPU upper material provides supportive comfort and perfect perforation pattern for breathability. Finally, the asymmetrical design and superior lace routing system reduce top-of-foot pressure while providing a more secure fit. This is a great choice if you’re a serious racer or looking for those incremental improvements that add up to bigger time savings and speed gains.
This is a brilliant racing all-rounder but it’s definitely built for climbing above all else. Nimble, lightweight and with a construction that’s designed for quick response and for outstanding performance on the ascents, this is the pro’s bike of choice when faced with a monster climb like Alpe d’Huez. The 800 series carbon frame on the top-of-the-range SLR models is super-light, at less than 700 grams. Émonda’s geometry puts the rider in an aerodynamic position and the frame features aero styling too, all helping to minimise drag. The Émonda is a great choice for riders who want a race bike that’s great on hills and responsive in the turns.
Price: From £1,750 for the Émonda ALR 4 to £12,950 for the Émonda SLR 9 AXS, which Lidl-Trek will be riding. View Trek Emonda.
The Green Jersey: Trek Madone
This is a sprinter’s dream. Madone is the most aero model from Trek's core road bike line-up, not including the time trial machine Speed Concept. Built for serious racers and riders who want the ultimate in speed and performance on the flat and more rolling routes, Madone is great for circuit and road racing or just heading out for a quick blast. The new Madone got a lot of attention when it was revealed in 2022, primarily because of the IsoFlow seat tube design, which puts a diamond-shaped hole where bikes would normally have the tube, offering aero benefits, weight savings and similar ride-smoothing benefits as the IsoSpeed decoupling technology. Trek Madone puts you in an aero position so it cuts through the wind and allows you to carry far more speed, giving you those extra milliseconds over your rivals in the sprint to the line.
Price: From £7,600 for the Madone SLR 6 to £14,500 for Madone SLR 9 AXS, again the choice of the pros. View Trek Madone.
Join our team for race experience and social riding
Come along with the Flamme Rouge Rouleurs and join us on our weekly rides, held every Saturday and Sunday. This is an inclusive club with ride leaders taking groups at four different paces, whether you want a gentler ride or something a little faster. We tend to ride about 30 miles each time, though the faster group may go further.
Our rides include everything from entry-level leisure rides to more challenging chain gangs, taking in and enjoying the roads of Bedfordshire and beyond, and benefitting from the experience and local knowledge of our team.