Tour de France: What makes a climber’s bike?

Among the flashy colourways of a pro team’s stable of Tour bikes, you’ll always find one that’s simply raw carbon.

Sometimes it’s an unreleased prototype, but more often than not it’s the steed of the team’s top climber or GC contender. Paint alone doesn’t add a huge amount of weight; it’s the aggregate of many small weight-saving concepts that 
see a climber’s bike tip the UCI scales at the minimum bike weight of 6.8kg.

The Orbea Orca here was built specifically for Euskaltel-Euskadi team leader Sammy Sanchez for the mountain stages at the Giro. The stripped-back finish is partnered with shallow rims, Vittoria’s finest tubular tyres and super-lightweight titanium Tune skewers – all helping to keep the bike svelte.

Selecting Alligator i-Link brake cable outers cuts down a surprising amount of weight over a standard set, while the carbon number mount.

Riding up mountains is all about power-to-weight ratio, so the all-important SRMs are present to keep track of numbers, but one less-expected addition is Di2.

Although heavier than its mechanical brethren, Di2 allows the nifty addition of a satellite electronic shift button on the tops, meaning that Sanchez can change gear without changing position or interrupting his climbing rhythm.

This article was first published in the June 20 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!