road riding in Penang | Malaysia

While sulking over not being able to go for this year's Tour de Langkawi (bah .. ), I thought I may as well come up with a cycling related article. So with that, here is
TheDuh's best looking bikes of the professional peloton
from recent memory and in no particular order)

by Darren Lee | photos as credited


Tom Boonen's QuickStep Time VXR, circa 2004:

Pic ©

I'm pretty much still a traditionalist, so the seatpost-through-the-seattube of the VXRS doesn't work for me. Time's VXR is one of the few bikes that are not colour co-ordinated to the team. Doesn't matter, though, as the red, black and white graphics scheme is simply outstanding. One wishes there aren't so many of the "Fluid Ride with Vectran" decals, though (if you don't believe me, there's even one on the inner fork and one on the inner seatstay … ). Note the 46-tooth inner chainring.

Grégory Rast's Phonak BMC SLT01, 2005:

_Pic © Competitive Cyclist

While I have already gotten bored of the normal green-yellow Phonak colours, the Swiss champion's black/white/red scheme looks awesome and matches perfectly with his red kit. The black down tube (as opposed to white the year before) is an especially nice touch and adds a mean look to the bike.

Nathan O'Neill's Navigators Insurance Colnago C50 HP, 2005 Tour de Langkawi:

Pic © Andrew "Hats" Lee /

Of all the Colnagos seen in the peloton over the years, this, along with Mapei's classic, has to be the best so far. Again, the black downtube (white in 2004) makes the difference.

Domo-Farm Frites Eddy Merckx Team SC, 2002:

Pic © Competitive Cyclist

Domo-Farm Frites, if you may recall, was the team in between Lotto and the current incarnation, Lotto-Davitamon. The team is also famous for having riders such as Johan Museeuw and Axel Merckx in its ranks, not to mention the enfant terrible of Belgian cycling, VDB, for about a year or so. One of the best looking bikes of all time, if you have a chance of get close to one you'll see the devil's face painted on the fork legs and top tube. The blue to yellow flames along the main tubes are a class act. Note also the bikes used by the pros differed a little from the consumer's one in that the downtube has the word "Eddy" in the same size as the "Merckx". You would actually have to pay extra for that on a consumer version.

Mario Cipollini's Domina Vacanze Specialized S-Works E5, 2003 Giro d'Italia:

Pics ©

Following his World Championship win in Zolder (2002), SuperMario got this fantastic looking rig for 2003, which is, in my opinion, the best looking World Champion's bike since the fad for painting your bike in the rainbow colours started (Igor Astarloa's Cofidis Wilier circa 2005 comes a close second …). Now we all know how Cipo goes overboard with the rainbow colours thing - check out the stripes on his headband, helmet, glasses, arm-warmers, gloves, socks, leg-warmers … and that's just his wardrobe - but at least his bike is tastefully done, whether in brushed aluminimum with the Lightweight wheels (at the 2003 Giro d'Italia) or the painted one in white with the Mavic Cosmics.

Danilo DiLuca's ProTour-winning Liquigas Bianchi FG Lite, 2005:

Pic © Anton

Finished in the ProTour leader's colour, the white, blue and celeste FG (Felice Gimondi) Lite looks even better than the already good looking Liquigas team bikes. Needless to say, the Bora wheels helped in the aesthetics department.

Jan Ullrich's Bianchi Bianchi EV3, 2003 Tour de France:

Pic ©

Still on Bianchi, the black and celeste bike Jan Ullrich rode to second place in the 2003 Tour de France looks the part. This is surely one of the black colour-based bikes that stand out. Extremely understated yet classy. The industrial-look hidden headset spoils the lines a little, though, but it seems to be a Bianchi trademark as even the latest Liquigas bikes carry it.

Bobby Julich's Telekom Pinarello Prince SL, 2003 World Championships:

Pic ©

Bobby Julich may have wasted those years at Telekom (now T-Mobile), but at least he looked good while doing it! Yet another classic, the Pinarello is one fushcia (it's not pink, it's fushcia ok?) coloured bike that men won't be embarrased to be on. Plus the Campy Bora wheels makes one weak at the knees. Amazingly and unbelievably, there weren't any spare wheels at Bobby's disposal when he punctured during the race. Gasp.

Dario Frigo's Fassa Bortolo Pinarello Dogma FP, 2005 Tour de France:

Pic ©

Okay, so Dario Frigo isn't exactly what we call a role model (cough), but at least his bike looks great. The 2005 Dogmas had a slight variation in the colour scheme (near the seattube/seatpost cluster), and the combo of a deep section (Bora)/ shallow front (Hyperion) is actually not that uncommon amongst the professionals. And the 14cm (or is it 15) stem!

Oskar Camenzind's Worlds-winning Mapei Colnago C40, 1998 World Championships:

Oscar Camenzind with Michael Boogerd at the Giro di Lombardia, October 1998, one week after winning the Worlds.
Pic © Graham Watson

Just before another Oscar started his Worlds winning era in 1999, 2001 and 2004, there was Oskar Camenzind, postman from Switzerland (and who retired in 2005 after being caught for using EPO). The Mapei "cubes" scheme on the Colnago is now legendary, and thanks to the team's 654 victories over 10 years, everyone knows a Mapei Colnago when they see one. A true classic. Camenzind's bike had Spinergy Rev-X carbon wheels on it, which he continued to use until his transfer to the Lampre team for 1999.

Thor Hushovd's Credit Agricole Look 585, 2005 Tour de France

Pic ©

Credit Agricole's Look bikes from the past weren't really much to shout about (in fact, they looked messy), but this particular one belonging to "The Mighty Thor" certainly is a looker. It manages to achieve Best Bike status using just one colour (white! Plus a smattering of red). Simple, minimal, devastatingly effective.

Lance Armstrong's Discovery Channel Trek Madone SSLx, 2005 Tour de France:

Pic © Anton

For the past 6 years, Lance Armstrong's Trek has never captured my imagination, so it is only apt that his final Tour winning bike did. The Project One paintjob is fabulous - a clever mix of black, white and dark blue. Kudos to the desiger. The white flames is typical American but does bring back memories of the Domo-Farm Frites team bikes.


And finally, Jan Ullrich's T-Mobile Giant TCR Advanced, circa 2004:

Just kidding. Really.



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