Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Detour: "Tour de France" Bicycles

Every once in awhile we detour from Italian cycling to another subject area...

I read earlier this year that the Tour de France organization had contracted with a U.S. company, Cycle Force Group, to market and provide Tour de France logo'd bicycle computers, helmets, water bottles, and those sorts of things. The Force Group is an Ames, Iowa, USA, based importer of bicycles (can you say Smith&Wesson, Nascar, Polaris branded bicycles as examples), parts, and accessories.

However, the announcement that I received today that the Cycle Force Group would be supplying "Tour de France" branded bicycles surprised me. I am sure it must be a very interesting story as to how the world’s most recognized bicycle race has teamed up with an Ames, Iowa company to launch a Tour de France bicycle brand.

However, the biggest surprise are the bicycles. Let's just say that they don't bring to mind any bicycle that you would actually see being raced at the Tour de France; see the catalog.

I have wondered if Director of the Tour de France Christian Prudhomme has seen any in person? Or, what does Bernard Hinault think about them?

At least the Giro d'Italia went to Cervelo for a "Giro d'Italia" (admittedly, it was a special edition for the 100th anniversary).
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  1. These products remind me of souvenir shops all across the US, where everything is "Made in China". At least the Tour is still held in Europe...we haven't yet outsourced the riders or the scenery.

  2. Ridiculous. The "Elite" version of the roadbikes has the Shimano 2300 group which is the cheapest available road bike group Shimano is building. No carbon anywhere, freakishly shaped handlebars - the list goes on and one. Ridiculous.

  3. Yeah, I saw these at Interbike and they are horrible. They are a big joke.

  4. Sadly the "branding" game creates all kinds of (usually cheaply made in China) crap with famous brand names scrawled on them. Why should LeTour be any different? The Giro bike, while not exactly cheap, is still an Asian product.

  5. True, most of the bikes in the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France peleton are Asian products.