The Great Britain men’s road race team will line up on the Mall this Saturday not on the Pinarellos and Cervelos they’ve been riding all season, but on plain black UK Sports Institute bikes.

The five-man team that consists of Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, David Millar and Ian Stannard will ride road-going versions of the GB track bikes, designed with aerodynamics in mind.

Built by carbon expert and former sprinter Dimitris Katsanis, a version of these bikes was first used on the track back in 2002. They have been developed ever since, especially in the build up to the Beijing Olympics when Chris Boardman spent hundreds of man-hours in a wind tunnel in Southampton testing everything that could be tested.

The bike is stiff enough to harness the power of Sir Chris Hoy, yet aerodynamic with a low profile (see the low top tube) and minimal frontal area (see the narrow head tube and minimalistic forks).

The British team is going in to the race with the sole aim of delivering Mark Cavendish for the sprint and will also wear aero gear. They will ride the filled-in helmets that we’ve seen all season and likely some version of a skinsuit, rather than shorts and jersey.

The men’s road race starts at 10am on The Mall on Saturday morning and will finish around 4pm.


Wiggins knows this bike well having ridden a version of it on the track to multiple medals

The ‘winged’ bars flow in to the stem. See how narrow the headtube is in comparison

UCI approved. Post Beijing the UCI said all bikes at the 2012 Olympics would adhere to their rules

The aim of an aerodynamic bike is to have minimal frontal area


The view Wiggins will have, whenever he glances down


Clean lines. The aim is to have as little as possible to disrupt airflow, even towards the rear


The narrow gauge forks designed to slice through the wind


A bottom bracket area stiff enough to harness the power of Sir Chris Hoy. That should be stiff then

Neat cabling to minimise disruption of airflow

Related links

Cycling Weekly’s Olympic games coverage index

  • Peter

    “You can buy them – on the British Cycling website.”

    I don’t think so, I can’t find any links at the British Cycling website. But you can order them at the UK Sport website by sending an e-mail:
    This page is well hidden and the equipment is only put for sale because UCI requierrs all equipment to be commercially available. They don’t really want to sell anything, otherwise they would have made it much easier to find and order. The lead times and prices are probably so high that they have never sold anything from the website.

  • John


    After working in the factory that used to make these bikes I don’t think you realise just how much R&D went into these bikes. Function over form. That is what these bikes were all about. None of the bells, whistles, nice graphics etc that come from off-the-shelf manufacturers.

    EG the disc wheels can take the weight of the rider and all the forces involved yet you can actually push your thumbs through the side of them. That IS R&D.


  • keefy

    Who cares what it looks liek if you win the gold medal.

  • Readikus

    Love the ignorance levels in all the comments. Do you honestly think the racers would ride a rubbish bike just because they were told to? Do you honestly think they haven’t tested the bike and trained on it?

  • kdawg

    You can buy them – on the British Cycling website. I read somewhere that someone enquired and was told a ludicrous amount – and delivery wouldn’t be until after the Olympics.

  • matthew

    If that’s the future bike to come in the likes of the Tour De France , Giro’ D Italia and The Tour Of Britain
    god help us all!

  • Martin

    Dear God, this thing is just silly.

  • MR

    Usually “If it looks good, it is good” should apply – this is just awful. Didn’t do them much good either – would have been better for them to use their “trade” bikes – even if minus team logos.

  • Englishsid

    Did they use these in the end?

  • IBurdeau

    I agree it’s damn ugly! Isn’t it a UCI rule that all equipment has to be available to the public in some form? I didn’t think bikes and equipment that were totally custom made were allowed?

  • A.yarrow

    Biopace type rings are also intriguing
    they must do something about the front braking system and the gaps in the headset to stem area

  • Alf_bundy

    Es una de las bicis mas feas que he visto en mi vida

  • BG

    Hideous is all I can say.

    I hope this is not the way bike design is heading.

  • BT

    What’s so ugly about it? I for one thinks that it looks all-business and that oozes are certain menacing charm.

    The bike reminds me of a praying mantis dressed in the colours of a Grim Reaper. Team GB for the win!

  • Realitycheck

    It seems like Chris Boardman has ignored all the technological advances of the biking world since 2000. This so-called “aero” bike uses a conception of aerodynamics as seen 10 years ago. Pretty much everyone accepts now that wheel cutouts in the back are useless if they’re not close to the wheels, and that having a bladed fork doesn’t do anything if the fork cutout and the downtube are so damn far from the wheel.
    Not to mention the really weird headtube section.
    I agree with Stephen Connor that real companies probably have a lot more experience refining the aerodynamic property of their bikes in their wind tunnels. See the likes of Cervelo, Scott or Felt for a decently shaped aerodynamic bike.

  • tedi

    This bike is ugly i ever see! Maybe is fast but that bike looks like grandma in Playboy.

  • pete matthews

    I Hope one of these bikes goes on show in a British museum with a sign that says ” This bike was ridden by Mark Cavendish to win the GOLD MEDAL in the 2012 Olympic Road Race “. Pete Matthews.

  • oz!

    I can just see all those ‘Loadsamoney’ exec’s queueing up to by one , anxious to clip a few seconds off their ride by use of the super-duper aero bits and bobs ……..whilst their GUT rests on the top tube !

  • Arthur Franks

    I wish them all the best, but I wager they would prefer their own bikes and saddles

  • lee

    I find these strange in the way of this: beneath BW it is small – now ok, small is lighter BUT – handling could be twitchy to say the least; OK these guys are pro’s but by god – Im sure some of them will be happy to go back to their regular bikes…

    If that stem wasnt so ‘bulbous’ then it wouldnt be too bad…

    Still an ugly…

  • Susan Luhrs

    So they will be riding without cyclometers, power meters, etc? No way any of those could be mounted on those bars. Plus, the meters would disrupt the aero component they are pushing for, but it just looks odd for a road bike to be missing them.

  • Huw Watkins

    Hell’s teeth! Fugly!

    Where does the power meter head unit fit?

  • Mike T.

    Yeah I guess it’s better that you correct your gaffe’s than to print my sarcastic comment. :o)

  • john tierney

    bike looks ok.the best athlete always wins.

  • CML

    All that aero and yet a front mounted brake?

  • Mike T.

    Apostrophe’s in the name’s of the bike’s? Cummom CW, you can do better than that!

  • Adam S

    Wow, the little evidence presented here has convinced me that the needs of track cyclists and road cyclists are exactly identical, which is why I’m glad that the road team are using the track bike. Great idea.

  • Stevie Marco

    The frame looks fine but the stem sure is ugly, aerodynamic or not, its damn ugly.

  • Alastair

    It’s odd that they’re going to be using a bike they’ve not ridden on for a season. Isn’t that inherently risky? It’s ugly. The track bike looks okay, but in road guise it’s not a good looking bike.

  • Nigel Rue

    I think the entire field should have to use “Boris Bikes”.

  • Darren C

    Good to see that finally that smaller headset diameters are coming back. I could never understand why they were getting bigger and bigger while at the same time the frames were so called more aero. Surely the stiffness of the front end and steering crispness is more to do with the forks than the extra 3 to 6mm in headset size.
    I’m old enough to remember when ALL ‘racing’ bikes had 1″ threaded stems, and no-one had any issues with flexing, so what’s changed?

  • beev

    That bike has a look that only it’s mother could love, but it’s not about the look, it’s about whether it medals! Here’s to winning ugly….

  • Giulio Napolitani

    Saw these in various Box Hill training photos and had assumed at first glance that the bikes had been de-branded because of sponsorship issues. Not sure I would want to change bike for such a big race, but.

  • Stephen Connor

    That is pig ugly. UCI should step in and ban this atrocity on esthetic grounds. On the other hand it may turn out to be a secret weapon for team GB as the rest of the peloton will most likely be vomiting with the sight of the bike (I use the term bike in the loosest sense of the word). That’s my rant over.
    In reality, surely the bikes used by the team members while riding for their trade teams (Pinarello and Cervelo) have had more money, scientific research and real-time development put into them than any bike which is developed by the UK Sports Institute. How much time have the team members using these bikes had training on them?