The Tour de France 2022 is under way, with some of the worlds's fittest athletes already winding through picturesque countryside, and blasting down the cobbled streets of historic towns. In their 1983 song Tour de France, Teutonic synth prodders Kraftwerk celebrated the 'camaraderie and friendship' of the riders in the face of hardship. Ironically, however, they failed to mention the most important thing about this and any cycling race: all the cool gear.
We're going to address that now with this guide to some of the best pro cycling gear of the Tour de France. A little known fact about Le Tour is that all equipment used in it must be on general sale to the public. It may not necessarily be easy to find, nor very affordable but if they're using it, you can buy it. The bikes aren't of the type you'll find much of in our more down-to-earth guide to the best road bikes, but you will find a lot of it in our guides to the best bike computers, best turbo trainers, the best cycling helmet and so on and so on. We have a lot of cycling gear guides, but then there is so much cycling gear to buy…
Anyway, let's don our maillots jaunes and get on with the Tour guide. Vite! Vite!
- We'll be expanding the list as the Tour goes on
Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7
Not for the first time, the most ridden bikes this year will be by Specialized – 3 teams use them. Of those, the most utilised model will be the American brands latest iteration of their Tarmac range - the S-Works Tarmac SL7 (opens in new tab). This all terrain workhorse is aerodynamically optimised enough to guide riders to the win on super-fast sprint stages, whilst also being light enough to tackle the treacherous slopes of Alpe d’Huez. With 3,328 kilometres to tackle in this year’s edition, riders will be pleased to know that the SL7 has also been designed with ride quality in mind. Taking comfort into account, the frame is specifically designed to be forgiving in all the right places, whilst still being stiff where it needs to be to transfer all the power onto the road.
Wahoo KICKR ROLLR
Pro cyclists never tire of riding bikes. So when Wahoo-sponsored riders are not taking part in the Tour, they will be pretending to be in the Tour, by riding on the new KICKR ROLLR (opens in new tab) to warm up. Wheel-off trainers are a real faff with disk brakes, which are now finally ubiquitous in pro cycling, and that's why the KICKR ROLLR is now the go-to trainer – good news for the teams' mechanics! As well as removing the need to take off the back wheel, the ROLLR is also very comfortable, thanks to its natural lateral movement. Which must be quite the relief to the riders, we dare say.
The KICKR ROLLR is of course compatible with the Wahoo X (opens in new tab) virtual training system, and to celebrate the 2022 Tour, Wahoo has recreated some of the race's most notorious climbs. So if you've ever fancied taking on the likes of the Super Planche des Belles Filles or the Lacets de Montvernier in the 'comfort' of your own home, look no further. This was done using the Magic Roads feature, a great tool which can recreate any cycling route you enjoy in person, to enjoy again and again virtually.
Le Col Pro Aero jersey
Used by the BORA-hansgrohe team this jersey is packed with more details than meets the eye. Wind tunnel tested for ultimate performance the Pro Aero Jersey (opens in new tab) makes use of the latest material innovations. Carefully placed ‘tripping panels’ help smooth airflow and reduce drag, whilst the lightweight Lycra ensures the jersey will stay breathable during the heat of the French summer. Silicone sleeve and waist grippers makes sure the jersey stays in optimum position even under the most intense of efforts. With practicality in mind the Pro Aero Jersey is completed with three large pockets on the back, to store all the snacks and energy gels needed to survive a stage of the world’s biggest bike race.
Freshly launched for the 2022 edition of The Tour, the new Bollé Avio (opens in new tab) is aerodynamically optimised, well-vented and ultra lightweight at just 234 grams. The helmet utilises MIPS (Multi Impact Protection System) to keep wearers even safer from head injury.
Hammerhead Karoo 2
While the majority of teams will be using Garmin computers, we thought we should give a shout out to the Hammerhead Karoo 2, as we recently gave it a T3 Award – the yellow jersey of tech-related trophies. With a smartphone-like touchscreen, this connected computer is used by Chris Froome's ISN team. Its killer feature, aside from the very lush screen, is Climber. As you might guess, this detects climbs along your route and can deliver information for each one. Data gleaned from the ISN team's efforts will be rolled out to all Karoo 2 owners, so their pain is your gain.
These Rotor (opens in new tab) direct mount power meter cranks let you know when to turn up the pace and when to ease off. As well as real-time feedback, the date it collects will reveal how well you ride – and help you improve too, of course. It's Strava-compatible so you can show off to the cycling community in general, which is certainly a bonus.