We are avid bike collectors here at KOMRAID with at least a dozen bikes of varying vintages periodically brightening up the office (or “littering it” according to our operations director – what does she know!).
So we thought we’d take a look back at some of the bikes that have graced the pro peloton over the last 20 years and pick out some of our personal favourites. You might think that, at the very top level, all pro bikes are basically a couple of expensive carbon triangles with some identikit bling wheels and finishing kit and are pretty homogenous and interchangeable. However, a bit like that girl you never had the courage to date but you later found was keen on you, some machines just stick in your mind and evoke a wistful smile in a quiet moment!
We have limited the list to road bikes not TT bikes and our choices are entirely subjective but the benchmark is this: did I genuinely consider selling a car and/or kidney in order to get my hands on one at the time!
1998 Bianchi Mega Pro XL Reparto Course (Mercatone Uno)
The bike that Il Pirata rode to Tour glory and Giro infamy in 1998. The Campagnolo record equipped aluminium frame bike apparently weighed in at just under 7kg including pedals and bottle cage. Even accounting for the tiny frame size this is light even by today’s standards. The slightly odd yellow and celeste paint job wasn’t the most subtle in the peloton but is now part of cycling history with the sad death of the great climbing talent Pantani.
2003 Giant TCR (Once)
When Giant launched the Mike Burrows designed TCR (total compact road) in the late 1990’s it genuinely changed bike design forever. The sloping top tubes and smaller front and rear triangles seem normal now but back then they really stood out in the Peleton. The Once team had been riding them for a few years by the 2003 season but that iteration of the TCR stands out for us. Matt black carbon with small white and yellow accents and deep section carbon wheels they looked the business storming up the Alps under class riders like Laurent Jalabert and Joseba Beloki. We wanted one. A lot.
2012 Cannondale Supersix Evo (Liquigas Cannondale)
This semi-compact dream bike was ridden by stellar talents Ivan Basso, Peter Sagan and Vincenzo Nibali in 2012. Equipped with SRAM red and some ridiculously expensive Mavic Carbone Ultimate wheels, the predominantly white colourway with lime green and blue accents just oozes quiet US-Italian class. We are big Cannondale fans here at KOMRAID and this bike is still very much on our wish list (size 52 please!).
2009 Focus Izalco (Milram)
Whilst Dave Brailsford was dreaming up his black and blue Skytrooper domination plans, German bike brand Focus were producing their stunning black and blue Izalco for Team Milram in 2009. There was something teutonoically efficient and pleasing about Focus, one of the first German brands to enter the predominantly Italian, US and French monopolgy on probike supply. OK, we couldn’t afford the white-spoked Lightweight wheel porn but we could dream about tapping out 400 watts up the Galibier on the Focus, unblinking eyes behind Oakley M Frames!
2012 Orbea Orca Gold (Euskatel Euskadi)
This bike was ridden by some of the finest climbers of a generation and was given some major airtime in 2012 by one of our favourite riders Samuel Sanchez. The classy black and orange paint job and deep section Dura Ace wheels looked so good that eventually, we did actually get our hands on an ex-Euskatel team bike and are still riding it 6 years later. It’s awesome and a lot quicker than we are!
2011 Colnago C59 (Europcar)
Another bike we’re still holding out for (although we do own the stellar C50), we love the luminous green chrome accents against a predominantly black frame and the colour-matched Campagnolo Bora Ultra carbon wheels. Ridden with distinction through 9 days in yellow in 2011 by the gurning maverick, Thomas Voekler. What we really like is the fact that someone senior at Europcar, in a moment of self awareness rarely seen in senior marketing executives, decided to not match the bike to the frankly disgusting forest green Europcar team kit that year. Good call!
2011 BMC Impec
It’s rare that a new road bike really stands out and sometimes when it does it’s for all the wrong reasons. However, in 2010, Swiss manufacturer BMC introduced the Impec the world. Ridden by powerhouse George Hincapie and future (2012) tour winner Cadel Evans, the Impec manages to walk a very fine aesthetic line between awesome and awful. Tubes were bonded with carbon lugs with the top/down tube lug open like a scaffold bracket to create a sort of triple triangle effect (last seen on 1990’s GT mountain bikes), and lowered seat stays to allow the seat tube more flex made for a very old-meets- new school look. It actually sounds terrible doesn’t it?! We loved it, especially in the smaller frame size as ridden by Evans. It's a piece of pro bike history and one of our regular searches on eBay!