'It will turn the market upside-down': the bike ready to punch above its weight

The WorldTour bike you can afford has gone down a storm with at least one pro rider

Decathlon AG2R riders in the Tour Down Under 2024
(Image credit: Getty Images / Tim De Waele)

Classics hitter Oliver Naesen has been talking about his new Van Rysel bike, calling it "the best I have ever ridden."

The Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale rider was speaking to Het Nieuwsblad about the upcoming season. But it was his comments about the team's new bike – manufactured by the French sports retail brand Decathlon – that really raised eyebrows.

"If you ask me," said the Belgian rider, "this bike is going to turn the market upside-down."

The Van Rysel RCR, as ridden by the French team, is set to retail at £8,500 (est $10,000), making it the cheapest WorldTour bike out there by some margin and for the majority of us, the only one we could ever hope to afford.

Van Rysel's RCR bike for 2024

(Image credit: Future / Adam Becket)

It's already on sale in Decathlon in France for €8,500, in a version that sees it kitted out with SRAM Red Etap AXS and Zipp 454 wheels.

The bikes aren't the only Decathlon AG2R kit that's relatively affordable either – its aero helmets retail at £69.99 at Decathlon – considerably cheaper than the WorldTour opposition.

"It's brutal," said Naesen, who has been with AG2R since the beginning of the 2017 season and taken numerous Classics podiums in that time, including second at Milan-San Remo in 2019.

"It is truly excellent. A brutal machine, by far the best I've had," Naesen says. "Light as a feather too. On other bicycles they use shallow wheels and lighter pedals to limit the weight. Mine has heavier, deeper wheels and standard pedals fitted, and it weighs only 100 grams over the limit."

It's high praise indeed, even coming from a rider who is contracted to ride Van Rysel bikes.

The bikes are fitted with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 components and SwissSide wheels. They also feature a purpose-built integrated Deda cockpit. Designers have kept the weight low while also paying a good deal of attention to the bike's aerodynamics, to the extent that they worked with French aerospace firm Onera.

The blue and black colourway is strongly reminiscent of the old Team Sky, and matches the team's new kit, which has ditched the divisive brown shorts in favour of the more traditional black, matched with a brand new look blue and white jersey.

"No compromise has been made. If you ask me, that bike is going to turn the market upside down," said Naesen.

Van Rysel's RCR isn't Decathlon's first venture into the top echelons of the sport – the same team used the retailer's bikes back in the early 2000s, from 2000 to 2007.

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