9

On any given race within the pro peloton, the teams whose sponsors offer both aero and traditional frames (BMC, Trek, Canyon, etc) typically have a mix of riders on each style of frame, but the GC leaders and climbers on those teams are almost exclusively riding a bike with a more traditional frame. Their bike fits look to be just as aggressive and both bike styles can be built to the UCI weight limit, yet you don't typically see Contador on a Venge or Tejay on a Timemachine.

What benefits do more traditional bikes provide that outweigh the watt savings that aero bikes provide (Roughly 28 watts within BMC's line), especially since both aero and traditional bikes can be built to UCI weight limit?

10

GC leaders are generally not out in the wind by themselves or taking many pulls on the front. They often put time on the field on climbs and in individual events like TT (which use bikes focused on aerodynamics). As such, in pack riding GC leader will likely favour a bike that focuses on climbing (light and stiff) and handling (note, aero road bikes are improving here), rather than raw aerodynamics. GC leaders are also more likely to be conservative with gear selection because they are in it for the long run and can't afford any technical issues.

That said, aerodynamics still plays an important role within the pack while drafting. As aero road bikes continue to improve (e.g., less weight penalty) and continue to prove themselves in competition you may very well see GC leaders riding them soon.

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  • Is there a weight penalty anymore for the high-end bikes the pros are riding? It looks like last year's BMC TMR01 comes in below the UCI limit, according to Evan's Cycles – Altom Apr 11 '16 at 20:56
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    @altomnr it may not be. It could be worth surveying the major brands to see if weight is still a consideration. – Rider_X Apr 11 '16 at 21:31

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