As if the first African team to compete in the Tour de France needed any more reason for eyeballs to point in their direction, the riders were all sitting on custom painted Cervelo bikes in a bold silver and yellow paint scheme.
The colors were replicated across the S5, R5 and P5 bikes for the team, and as part of the celebration, 200 replicas of the S5 will be sold through Cervelo dealers. For each one sold, Cervelo will donate a Buffalo Bike to the Qhubeka Foundation’s #BicyclesChangeLives campaign.
Of all the team pits we walked through, none had quite the electricity of these guys. The bikes had their own spark, too, with some clever hacks and prototype products…
The team bikes (and the ones available to public) have “Move Forward” across the top tube, which is the English translation of Qhubeka. These two belong to Tyler Farrar and Steve Cummings.
Custom colored DLC-coated KMC chains and red CeramicSpeed pulleys kept the Rotor/Shimano drivetrain running smooth.
The DLC coating was improved earlier this year to be more durable and minimized chain friction, but adds virtually no weight.
The S5 bikes were lined up on the Lemond trainers prior to the Stage One individual time trial. Must’ve sounded like a hurricane!
For the time trial stages, the riders were on board the Cervelo P5 TT/Triathlon bike.
The P5 includes 3T’s Aduro aero bar system and contains all of the cables, hoses and wires inside it and the fairings for a perfectly clean look. Their silver paint scheme only made it look more like a spaceship.
The bars use various heights for the extensions to fit riders of all heights. Above, the tall version, and below…
…is the flat version that also showcases the shaped headset spacers. Note the different placements the riders chose for their Di2 junction boxes.
All of the bikes had standard Shimano Di2 bar-end button pods on the extensions, but some riders added hacked button assemblies to the base bar. Since the brakes are Magura’s hydraulic RT8, there’s absolutely no provision for buttons on them. So, electrical tape to the rescue!
The buttons likely came out of a climber’s pod, which are easy to disassemble (TRP relies on them for their Di2-compatible Hylex hydraulic drop bar levers, too)
At the back of the bike were these mysterious ENVE Smart full carbon disc wheels. ENVE wouldn’t make an official comment on them, but Simon Smart has been working on full discs for about three years. Smart, the aerodynamicist behind ENVE’s SES aero road wheels, has been testing them with his Drag2Zero team riders and claims they offer the aero benefits and lateral stiffness necessary to perform well, but don’t ride as harsh as other stiff wheels.
UPDATE: ENVE just partially confirmed what one of our commenters suspected. The team is using the HED Stinger Disc Wheels on some bikes, but they’re also using Smart’s Drag2Zero wheels on others.
The designs he’s shown, though, don’t match up with these, so perhaps there’s something new coming from ENVE soon!
MTN-Qhubeka rider Daniel Teklehaimanot was a crowd favorite and had a hard time pulling away from these guys:
The fan fervor was amazing, and these guys were stoked out of their minds to meet the riders. Seriously, the joy was palpable, and it was awesome to witness.
As a partner with World Bicycle Relief, Qhubeka’s mission is to deliver 5,000 of these durable Buffalo bikes to children throughout Africa. The organization provides no funding to the team, instead using the team to help raise funds for the program. Major sponsors like Samsung (their presenting sponsors) help foot the bill as the team has progressed from grassroots to Continental and now World Tour at the mother jumpin’ Tour de France. Check out the campaign and support the #BicyclesChangeLives program here.
Fun fact: To say the word Qhubeka properly, you need to make a clicking noise for the “Qh”.
The backup bikes were locked and loaded for the regular stages, but they lacked the shiny paint.
At least they kept the uniform matching chains.
This team stuck with simple bent metal number plate holders attached the rear brake mounting bolt.
The climbing stages were a ways off when we took these pics, so the new ENVE 2.2 climbing wheels weren’t mounted to the lightweight R5 yet. Other team sponsors include Rotor, 3T, Speedplay, Selle Italia, CeramicSpeed, Elite, EmVit and High5 (nutrition), Gaerne, KMC, Lemond (trainers), Lizardskins, Morgan Blue (lubes, grease), Bicisupport (tools) and Schwalbe…plus plenty more listed on their website.