Pro cyclists are freaks of nature who can extract every advantage from top-of-the-line bikes. Mere mortals like you and I, however, can’t. That’s why I always tell new riders, “Don’t copy the pros.” Too bad I’m terrible at taking my own advice.
I love racing, and like Thanos collecting Infinity Stones, I want to buy every race-winning bike and add it to my quiver. Perhaps that will give me the power to finally dominate the (cycling) universe. For now though, I’ve created a hypothetical dream quiver made up of my favorite race bikes from the last few years. Let’s see who the winners are.
Road bike: 2022 Pinarello Dogma F12 Disc - $6,193.99 (frame)
Biggest wins: Egan Bernal - 2019 Tour de France, Richard Carapaz - 2020 Olympic Road Race
I can’t start this quiver without including a bike that has won the most prestigious race of all: the Tour de France. I’d like to have Tadej Pogacar’s twice-victorious Colnago V3RS, but we only have a Colnago V2R in stock. So instead, I went to 2019 and found Egan Bernal’s Pinarello Dogma F12. Dogmas have won 7 out of the last 10 Tours, making it the most successful Tour de France bike of the last decade. Not only that, Bernal’s teammate Richard Carapaz rode the Dogma to Olympic gold in Tokyo. I’ll have to settle for just a frame for now, but at least it’s the disc version, which Ineos Grenadiers are switching to in 2022.
XC MTB: 2020 Trek Supercaliber 9.8 - $6,399.99
Biggest win: Jolanda Neff - 2020 Olympic MTB Race
Don’t mention her around my wife, but I love Jolanda Neff. She pedals with an absurdly high cadence, attacks descents with supreme confidence, and always fights to the bitter end. These qualities won her Olympic Gold in Tokyo. Plus, that poodle-like puff of blond hair poking out from under her helmet has superhero vibes we haven’t seen since Tinker Juarez’s dreadlocks. So yeah, I want her bike. The Trek Supercaliber is in a class of its own. It uses a minimalist, frame-integrated shock called IsoStrut that provides 60mm of suspension travel to absorb hits while maintaining the light weight, stiffness, and efficiency of a hardtail.
Gravel bike: 2019 Specialized S-Works Diverge - $6,899.99
Biggest win: Ian Boswell - 2021 UNBOUND Gravel 200
This summer, I watched live as Ian Boswell outsprinted Laurens ten Dam to take the win in the 2021 UNBOUND Gravel 200. Both were riding the Specialized S-Works Diverge. That’s a pretty solid endorsement for a gravel bike, if you ask me. Anyone who's put in big miles in the Flint Hills of Kansas know your hands take a beating. To enhance your comfort, the Diverge uses Future Shock technology beneath the handlebars to provide 20mm of bump-absorbing suspension. I personally have unfinished business with UNBOUND Gravel, so if I manage to get in for 2022, this cushy Diverge might be exactly what I need to reach the finish.
Cyclocross bike: 2021 Trek Boone 6 Disc - $3,849.99
Biggest wins: Lucinda Brand - 2021 CX World Championships, multiple 2021 World Cups
For ‘cross, I’d normally copy the likes of Matheiu van der Poel and his Canyon Inflite CF SLX or Wout van Aert and whatever he’s riding (a modified Cervelo Aspero?), but the rider and bike that have captured my attention this year are reigning world champion Lucinda Brand and her Trek Boone. The Boone is unique among ‘cross bikes thanks to front and rear IsoSpeed decouplers that improve traction and comfort during tough races. It’s especially lethal when ridden by Brand who is powerful, technically skilled, and not afraid to ride with her elbows out. She currently leads the World Cup rankings and has a good chance at defending her title in January.
Bikepacking rig: Salsa Spearfish Carbon XTR - $6,699.99
Biggest win: Neil Beltchenko - 2021 Colorado Trail Race
This might be a deep cut for most race fans, but Neil Beltchenko won the 2021 Colorado Trail Race aboard a Salsa Spearfish. The only reason I know this is because I followed two of my friends via GPS as they raced behind him. Brutal weather, bad trail conditions, and broken bikes forced my friends to drop out, but Beltchenko battled on and pedaled the Spearfish across the finish after 4 days and 3 hours of racing. It’s clear that the Spearfish is pretty fast when loaded up with bags, but I’d happily ride it as my everyday trail bike too. With a 68-degree head angle, 100mm rear travel and 120mm up front, it’s a Salsa’s take on a downcountry bike.
Triathlon bike: Ventum One - $6,499.99
Biggest win: Lauren Brandon - 2019 IRONMAN Boulder
Lauren Brandon is one of the fastest swimmers, male or female, in long course triathlon. She’s often first out of the water, and the bike she reaches for in T1 is the wild-looking Ventum One. The aerodynamic Z-shaped frame recalls the legendary Lotus 108/110 and is designed to remain efficient and stable in high crosswinds. Brandon rode the Ventum One to win the last IRONMAN Boulder, which isn’t as big as world champs in Kona, but it’s my hometown IRONMAN, so it’s a big deal to me. Also, just look at this bike. Have you ever seen paint like that? Even the ENVE decals match. It doesn’t get much more pro than this.
Total cost: $36,542.94
This race-winning dream quiver is nearly $40,000. That’s pretty hefty, but think of it this way, it’s less than 1/1000th of Ineos Grenadiers’ 39.6 Million dollar (35 million Euro) annual budget. What a bargain! Jokes aside, if you can afford it, it’s possible to ride the exact same bikes that the pros ride. You can’t do that with an F1 car or MotoGP bike.
If I’m actually going to buy one of these bikes though, it has to be the Trek Boone. It’s the most reasonably priced bike here because it uses a Shimano GRX groupset and alloy wheels (Lucinda Brand’s pro bike is built with SRAM AXS and Bontrager carbon wheels). It’s not as blingy, but if you’re a serious rider who wants pro-level performance at a budget-friendly price, mid-range bikes like this provide great bang for your buck.
Did I make good choices? Would you have picked different bikes? Does a bike’s professional race record even matter to you? Let me know in the comments!