Is a climber’s bike or an aero bike best for a mountain stage in the Tour de France?

You’d think a climber’s bike would have the edge, but an aero machine just might be a better choice

Joachim Rodriguez is a pure climber who chose to ride an aero bike (Photo: Sunada)

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Climber’s bikes are getting lighter and lighter; last week we covered the launch of the 5.9kg Look 785 Huez RS and all brands will have a climber’s bike that dips significantly below the 6.8kg UCI weight limit, requiring added ballast to bring it up to the minimum.

But many aero bikes are now grazing the 6.8kg limit too. Merida says that with a few small changes such as carbon bottle cages and lighter skewers, a team build of its new Reacto would weigh 6.8kg. A stock build of the Scott Foil RC with alloy wheels weighs just 7kg. So the weight penalty from riding an aero bike is negligible.

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Paul Norman

Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.

He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.