It’s no secret that riders in the Tour de France get to ride the very best bikes available. One of the many perks of being a professional cyclist is getting to ride the best road bikes in the world and not having to pay for them.
Of course, it’s probably no surprise to read that such high-end bikes are often very expensive, but the question we’ve been wondering is: exactly how expensive? How much does a Tour de France bike cost?
The answer depends on a variety of factors and will vary from team to team, and even from rider to rider in some cases. The attention to detail of some teams extends down to the most finite of components, such as the material the bearings are made from, the lubrication on the chain, and even the amount of sealant put into the tyres. The more attention a team makes, the more each bike will cost to replicate.
Within the 2023 Tour de France, there are 19 different bike brands, and while they all work in the same market – and thus, their bikes are often priced to compete against each other – each will have a slightly different pricing structure to its range of bikes.
If you’re after a ballpark figure, the cost of a Tour de France bike is in the region of £10,000 – £14,000 (€12k – €15k / $13k – $16k / AU$16k – $22k), but don’t leave yet. Below, we dive deeper to break down the cost of some specific Tour de France bikes, and answer other important questions such as who pays for them, do riders get to keep their bike, and how many bikes a team will take to the race.
Cost of a Tour de France bike broken down
Firstly, it’s important to recognise that a bike is made up of various components. Starting with the frame and fork, there is then a groupset, brakes, wheels, tyres, cockpit components such as the handlebar and stem, and the finishing kit such as the saddle, bar tape and pedals. There are then the small parts such as the bolts, bearings, inner tubes, lubricants, and even the paint. To quantify the cost of the bike as a whole, you need to calculate the sum of its parts.
It’s also worth noting that depending on the terrain of the stage ahead, riders will often be given different frames or different components to improve the bike’s suitability to the course. Lighter wheels might be swapped in for mountainous stages; more aerodynamic wheels will be used for flatter days, and more puncture-proof tyres might get used if there are cobbled roads on the course (although there are none of those this year).
To calculate the true retail cost of a Tour de France bike, we’ve picked a few bikes from the Tour de France and calculated the cost of each.
Soudal-QuickStep’s Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7
On the face of it, calculating the cost of Soudal-QuickStep’s Specialized Tarmac is reasonably simple, since the team’s entire bike comes from the same sponsor and it’s almost entirely off-the-shelf in terms of its specification, but there are a couple of added hidden extras that bump up the cost.
Aside from the paint, which is specific to the team, the S-Works Tarmac SL7 complete with Roval Rapide CLX II wheels and Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset can be bought from Specialized – as well as various retailers. During the 2021 Tour, the bike above (ridden by Mark Cavendish) was fitted with the 11-speed version of the groupset, but in 2023 the team will use the newer 12-speed groupset. With this fitted, the S-Works Tarmac SL7’s retail cost is an already eye-watering £13,000 / €14.500 / $14,250 / AU$20,400.
However, in this example, Cavendish specced a different saddle, swapping the S-Works Romin Evo saddle for the 3D-printed Specialized S-Works Power with Mirror, which is £390 / $450 / AU$750, increasing the bike’s value by £135 / €130 / $150 / AU$330 when taking out the original saddle.
In addition, the team are sponsored by CeramicSpeed, who supplied the team with its pre-treated ‘UFO race chains’. These are basically standard chains treated with a low-friction lubricant to save watts. The cost of one of these chains is €149, around €100 more than standard.
Approx total cost: £13,235 / €14.730 / $14,500 / AU$20,580
Bob Jungels’ BMC Timemachine Road from the 2022 Tour
We’ve chosen to highlight Bob Jungels’ BMC for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we all got a good look at his bike in the Netflix Unchained series when he won on Stage 9. Secondly, we’d put BMC roughly in the middle of the pricing spectrum, so hopefully gives a good indication of the ‘average’ cost of a Tour de France bike. Thirdly, he was later given a ‘Masterpiece’ edition of the bike that was ridiculously expensive by comparison. And fourthly, its groupset sponsor Campagnolo has recently announced a new, even-more-expensive groupset and wheelset, so we can make a rough guess at the cost in 2023.
Starting with the bike pictured above, Jungels used the Timemachine SLR01 TEAM. The Timemachine is BMC’s lightweight, semi-aero race bike. The SLR01 reflects the carbon fibre layup (01 being the best in a scale that also includes SLR02 and SLR03). The TEAM reflects the spec, so naturally, if you buy the bike, the TEAM spec will be the same as used by the team. It was fitted with a Campagnolo Super Record EPS electronic groupset, Campagnolo wheels and what appears to be a Fizik 3D-printed saddle.
Helpfully, thanks to the ‘TEAM’ spec, you can buy the bike in pretty much the very same spec as Jungels at BMC. It will be yours for the princely sum of CHF15,999.00. Working on today’s currency conversion, that’s pretty much £14,000 on the nose, $17,750 in the USA, or AU$ 26,000 for those in Australia.
Total cost: £14,000 / €16,400 / $17,750 / AU$26,000
Moving onto the ‘Masterpiece’ version that Jungels rode on Stage 12, this is a frameset that takes the same blueprint as the Teammachine above, but in a no-expense-spared approach to the carbon layup, design, and manufacture. The frameset alone is priced at €12,000, and in the image above and videos shared at the time, it was fitted with Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO 45 wheels, Pirelli P Zero Race tyres, and a Campagnolo Super Record EPS groupset. There are also finishing components such as the saddle, bar tape, bottle cages and pedals to consider. All combined, we estimate a full bike with the same spec will be in the region of €21,000. Taking today’s conversion rates, that’s £18,000, $22,750 or AU$33,500.
Fast forward to 2023, and AG2R Citroen are still riding BMC bikes, but over the past few months, Campagnolo has announced a new groupset, Super Record Wireless, and new Hyperon Ultra wheels.
Both have seen a price hike over their predecessors, meaning the total cost of this team’s bike will be higher this year.
Working in GBP, the price difference between the last year’s Bora Ultra wheels and the new Hyperon Ultra is £400, and the price difference in groupset is £500. That brings the total cost up to approximately £15,000 for the standard frame or £19,000 for the ‘Masterpiece’.
Tadej Pogačar’s Colnago V4RS
As one of the hot favourites coming into the race, all eyes will be on Pogačar and his Colnago bike. Unlike the Specialized and BMC above, this is more of a mismatch of components, rather than an off-the-shelf buy.
That makes our job a little more difficult to calculate the total cost, but undeterred, let’s get into it.
He’ll be using a Colnago V4RS frame, fitted with a Dura-Ace R9200 Di2 groupset, Enve wheels shod with Continental GP5000 tyres, a Colnago CC01 cockpit and a Prologo saddle.
|Colnago V4RS frameset
|Colnago CC.01 cockpit
|Shimano Dura-Ace groupset
|Power meter chainset upgrade
|Enve SES wheelset
|Continental GP5000 S TR tyres
|Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 pedals
|Prologo Dimension NACK saddle
|Extras (bar tape, computer mount, bottle cages, etc)
There’s also the additional cost of bar tape, computer mount, bottle cages, and the probable addition of ceramic bearings to add on. We’ll estimate an approximate cost of around £200 for all that.
We’ll waive the added cost of the bottles since that’s peripheral to the bike itself. Likewise his Wahoo computer.
Approx total cost: £14,172.00
Currency conversion as of June 2023: €16,575 / $17,950 / AU$26,400
The most expensive Tour de France bike? Ineos Grenadiers’ Pinarello Bolide F
There’s no greater arms race in cycling than in the world of time trialling, and as such, it’s here that the money really starts to stack up. Nowadays, we have such a deep understanding of aerodynamics, rolling resistance and drivetrain efficiency, and how they all affect the speed at which a rider will travel for a set power. Therefore, the time and research going into developing time trial bikes, components and clothing is growing exponentially as the available gains get smaller and smaller. The result is the cost of the products that are created are pretty damn expensive.
The bike in question is the Pinarello Bolide F; launched shortly after last year’s Tour de France. From the PinarelloStore website, it is priced at £12,000 for a frame alone or a staggering £30,000 with custom-printed time trial extensions. You can bet that Ineos riders will take the more expensive option.
On top of this, based on recent races, riders are likely to use a pair of wheels from Princeton Carbonworks: the Blur 633 rear ($2,500) and Mach 7580 front ($3,950). Total cost $6,450 (Approx £5,250 after conversion).
They’ll also need a groupset, and it makes sense that they’ll use the same Dura-Ace R9200 as found on their road bikes. When factoring in a power meter, that’ll cost in the region of £4,200, albeit with small differences based on the time-trial-specific brake levers and shifters. They’ll also almost certainly swap the 2x chainset and front derailleur in favour of a 1x aero-optimised chainring. We calculate this to be around £200 cheaper than a 2x setup, so will deduct this from the total.
Beyond these main components, there are other ‘finishing’ components to add on. Continental GP5000 S TR tyres will cost £198 for a pair. There’s also a saddle, for which we’ll use the Fizik Transiro Mistica KIUM saddle – all £165 of it – as used by the team’s best time triallist Filippo Ganna, plus roughly £50 for bar tape, chain lube, tubeless conversion.
Approx total cost: £39,663
Approx currency conversion (June 2022): €46,250 / $50,250 / AU$73,750
How many bikes do teams have at the Tour de France?
Most riders will usually have two bikes available to them on any given day, with key riders having even more. Some teams will also have two different types of bike – one that is lighter in weight for the climbing days, and another that is more aerodynamic for the flatter, faster days. They will also have one or two time trial bikes per rider for the time trial stages.
If you extrapolate that out to eight riders per team and take into account bikes that have been crashed out, it’s not uncommon for teams to have 60 framesets and over 100 wheelsets. Hunt Bike Wheels previously confirmed to Cyclingnews that it supplied 115 wheelsets to Qhubeka Assos for the 2021 Giro d’Italia.
Can you buy a Tour de France bike?
The sport’s governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), has a rule that means any product used in competition must be made available for public sale. Article 1.3.006 of the UCI Technical Regulations states:
“Equipment shall be of a type that is sold for use by anyone practicing cycling as a sport. Any equipment in development phase and not yet available for sale (prototype) must be subject of an authorization request to the UCI Equipment Unit before its use. Authorization will be granted only for equipment which is in the final stage of development and for which commercialization will take place no later than 12 months after the first use in competition.”
To simplify, this means teams can only use technology that is available to the public or prototypes of tech that is planned to make it into the public domain within 12 months. Therefore, you can indeed ride the exact same bikes as the WorldTour pros… just know you’ll need deep pockets.
If you want to go a step further and ride a bike that has literally been ridden in the Tour de France, then this is possible too. Websites like Bike Room sell off teams’ old bikes at the end of the season once they’ve been finished with.
What do Tour de France teams pay for their bikes?
This depends on the sponsorship deal the team managed to strike with manufacturers of the frames and components, but for the most part, teams will not pay a single penny for their bikes.
Understandably, we’re not privy to the ins and outs of these commercial negotiations, but the rough details are no big secret. The bike industry is rife with brands vying for attention, and there’s no bigger stage than the Tour de France. Be they bike brands, kit manufacturers or shoe suppliers, they all want to put their product in front of a worldwide audience, and they all have something to offer that the team needs.
The types of sponsorship agreements vary greatly by team, usually dependent on the team’s success – or likelihood thereof. A winning team is better publicity, after all.
Some deals will be for the frameset alone, meaning the team needs to head elsewhere for a supply of wheels, groupsets and everything else. Others, like Trek Segafredo and QuickStep-AlphaVinyl mentioned above, will get complete bikes supplied by the brand.
In addition, some sponsorship agreements are a simple handover of product in return for the publicity it will garner, while others are fully integrated technical partnerships where the two parties work together to innovate, develop and market their products.
Moreover, rather than paying for the bikes, some deals will actually also involve a cash injection alongside the provision of equipment, meaning these teams are given bikes and money. Hands up anyone who’s ever left a bike shop richer than when they entered…? No, nor us.
Do pro cyclists get to keep their bikes?
Usually not, no. In almost all cases, the bikes are provided to the team by a brand by way of sponsorship. The brand will supply enough bikes to supply the team for the season, and then at the end of the season – or contract period, which often spans a few years – the bikes will be returned.
Exceptions are sometimes made for key riders upon retirement, or bikes that are ridden to special victories, but in most cases, the bikes are returned to the brand and then sold, gifted, or in some cases even discarded.