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Giro101 Tech: Canyon Ultimate, Aeroad, Speedmax race bikes of Katusha

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The Giro starts in Jerusalem with a time trail today, and we are on the ground checking out pro bikes. This morning we detail the range of Canyon bikes being ridden by Team Katusha Alpecin, and find a number of small tweaks by their pro mechanics to get ready to race…

Canyon Aeroad & Ultimate CF SLX carbon road bikes

Canyon’s top-shelf Aeroad CF SLX carbon aero road bike is apparently a pretty good all-around race bike, but has been around for a while, with us featuring the bike last year in the Spring Classics, as well as at the last couple Tours down Under. It seems to be the general race bike of choice for most of the team, but at least one rider is holding out for the lighter & more forgiving Ultimate CF SLX.

Canyon Speedmax CF SLX carbon time trial bikes

The Canyon Speedmax is the weapon of choice for today’s starting time trial, minus the triathlon specific add-ons that we normally see bolted to the bikes. Canyon’s TT bike uses its own carbon basebar, topped by ergonomic extensions developed with Ergon, who also supply arm pads & foam grips. SRAM eTap Clics give shifting options on the tips of the extensions, while team mechanics have electrical taped another set of eTap Blips to the stock carbon S-990 aero brake lever that don’t include a shifter.

The TT bikes use a hidden seatpost clamp in side of the enlarged seat cluster. The team look to be using more electrical tape to hold the cover in place on some bikes…

…while others get tape to secure the little, easy-to-lose rubber wedge that otherwise holds that black cover in place. (The rubber wedge only holds the cover in place, the clamp that fixes the seatpost is inside.)

Pro Team Bike Builds

SRAM is a main Katusha sponsor, so all the bikes are kitted out with Red eTap groupsets. Look pedals put the power down.

The team are also running the new Zipp 454 NSW wheels that are finally available in tubulars. Of course, glued up to those new biomimicking carbon hoops are some more 25mm wide Continental Competition Pro LTD pro-only tubular tires.

With the SRAM sponsorship also comes a Red carbon crankset, with most riding the newest iteration of the Quarq DZero power meter spider. The team has opted instead of the standard Red road chainrings for some larger gearing combination.

Specialties TA provides some older, well-worn 54T big rings for the road bikes, paired with standard SRAM 39T small rings – not sure how much that affects shift performance without ideal ramp & pin alignment.

On the TT bikes the team sticks with the solid aero SRAM 55T big rings.

Presumably the Israeli parcours are pretty flat to get that big gearing, but most bikes look to still pair the big rings with wide 11-32 cassettes out back – in more affordable and quieter-running PG-1170 versions instead of machined steel Red Powerdome cassettes.

Pro Team Kit

Like Dimension Data, we see that Oakley sponsorship has given the team the new Oakley Aro helmets. While we had already seen the Aro 5 (below) with its mostly closed sides and two main top venting channels when Oakley debuted helmets last fall, this is our first real look at the more traditionally vented Aro 3 (in the brown crates.)

Also of note here is the team’s use of the latest Scicon Rainbags for organizing their gear in the team cars – like we reviewed in its original form. These actually look to be a new 3rd generation, using a newer sealed fabric vs. their latest refresh, and also get Oakley branded handles besides the typical printed on graphics.

Jerusalem Transfers

Like all the other teams, logistics for the time in Israel is a bit tricky. Sometimes it means piling everything from drinks to rider kit to TT bikes into the back of a sprinter van.

Then at the end of the day all the team bikes get packed up back into the standard issue box truck to await their day of racing.

Check out all 2018 Giro team bike coverage here!

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