The fastest bike at the Tour de France? An American-born $17,400 hyper-aero machine

Daniel McMahon/Business InsiderTaylor Phinney’s Cannondale SystemSix at the Tour de France.

LES HERBIERS, France – This year’s Tour de France has seen an extraordinary number of new-bike launches, including from Specialised, Trek, and BMC, but perhaps the most discussed has been the SystemSix from Cannondale. It’s the company’s first aero bike, and the Connecticut-based manufacturer claims it to be “the world’s fastest road-race bike.”

That’s great news for the US’s Taylor Phinney, who rides for the EF Education-Drapac p/b Cannondale team. Over the next three weeks the 6-foot-5, 187-pound Coloradan will spend a lot of time in the saddle on his big 60 mm machine, so good thing for him that Cannondale data suggests it’s freaky fast. The company claims it will save a rider the most energy and time of any bike in the peloton.

“The SystemSix is super fast – a noticeable difference from any other bike I’ve ridden,” Phinney said. “For a rider my size the stiffness of the frame is awesome … And it just feels like you’re almost cheating, which is a beautiful feeling.”

See more photos of Phinney’s SystemSix from the Tour below:

Like all the Tour riders, Phinney got a fresh bike built up the day before the race’s start.

Phinney is one of the biggest riders in the Tour this year, at 6-foot-5 and 187 pounds. He rides a massive 60 cm frame.

This is Phinney’s second Tour de France.

He’ll be riding No. 15.

The dropped seat stays make for a more compact rear triangle, making for stiff, efficient power transfer. Clean lines and tight, smooth curves enhance the aero profile.

A telemetry sensor is installed under each Tour rider’s saddle; it provides real-time information that is sent out to followers of the Tour worldwide.

Each Tour rider’s bike must have two transponders — one on the fork and one on the chainstay — so the race organisers can track each rider’s exact time, to the hundredths of a second.

Phinney will benefit from the nice aero profile.

The cockpit is fairly aero with the Vision Metron handlebar.

Phinney opts for a superlong, 150 mm FSA stem.

Cannondale says the oversize aero head tube makes the front end extra stiff for better power transfer when sprinting.

Phinney’s cockpit isn’t the most aero we’ve seen at the Tour, but it gets the job done.

The junction box for the Shimano Di2 electronic groupset is built into the down tube for easy access and charging.

Tacx has been a team sponsor for water bottles and cages for the past few years.

Phinney rides 26 mm Victoria tubular tires, but you could go much wider with all this clearance.

Lots of tire clearance in back too.

The drivetrain features a mix of brands: The derailleurs are Shimano Dura-Ace Di2; the chain and pedals are Dura-Ace; the power meter is made by SRM; the chainrings are by FSA; and the cranks are Cannondale’s in-house HollowGram brand.

Phinney was running 53/42 chainrings this day, but riders often change them up depending on the day’s stage profile.

The pink derailleur hanger adds a pop of colour.

The big Shimano cassette allows for a wide range of gear combinations, and the hydraulic disc brakes provide Phinney with a lot of stopping power.

Ready to race.

Phinney’s SystemSix at the Tour de France would retail for about $US13,000 ($AU$17,400).

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