Gallery: Tour of Flanders tech, part two

New SRAM Red cassettes, saddle positions, and handlebar setups.

Ronan Mc Laughlin
by Ronan Mc Laughlin 02.04.2024 Photography by
Ronan Mc Laughlin
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Mathieu van der Poel may have sucked the life out of the competition in Flanders on Sunday, but the tech scene was very much alive and kicking. As we discovered in part one of our Flanders tech roundup, there was much more interesting tech on show than first met the eye.

In this second gallery, we look at a new SRAM Red cassette, some aero kit, and a host of bike fits that confirm “progressive saddle positions” are currently on trend, as discussed on the most recent episode of Performance Process.

The image shows BMC handlebars with an extreme lever setup.
Picking up where we left off in the first Flanders tech gallery: handlebars. The BMC ICS Aero Integrated bar/stem equipped on Tudor Pro Cycling’s BMC Teammachine R bikes features a 12.5° drop flare and seems to both promote and enable some “aggressive” lever angles without falling foul of the new UCI 10° lever-angle limit. Many of the Tudor riders were adopting similar lever positions as seen here on Petr Kelemen’s bike.
The image shows SRAM Red levers tilted inward and down on BMC handlebars
Sebastian Kolze Changizi had perhaps the most aggressive setup.
The image shows classic round handlebars on Trentin's new BMC.
But Matteo Trentin has never followed the aero handlebar trend, opting to stick with the classic round top, round drop two-piece handlebar and stem throughout his career across various teams and bike manufacturers.
The image shows new Cadex handlebars
Michael Matthews raced Giant’s new TCR with the new Cadex Aero Integrated Handlebar. I’ll have a closer look at Matthews’ bike coming up in a gallery taking a closer look at several bikes that caught my eye in Antwerp.
The image shows carbon aero handlebars with classic round drops.
Cyrus Monk of Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team also prefers the classic round drop but built into a modern one-piece aero-tops carbon offering from Syncros on his Scott Foil.
The image shows a long stem on Tim Wellens bike.
Tim Wellens is racing with the Enve SES one-piece aero bar stem with this lengthy stem option, which is most likely required due to his …
The image shows Tim Wellens Prologo saddle side on mounted to an inline seat post.
… “progressive saddle position,” as discussed on the most recent episode of the Performance Process podcast. Wellens sets his saddle all the way forward on an in-line seatpost with zero setback. That forward saddle position will require a longer stem to maintain the same reach.
The image shows Wellens saddle from above.
Wellens’ saddle is just as interesting and seems to touch on another discussion point of that episode of the Performance Process with a soft, gel nose section presumably designed to reduce soft-tissue pressure. The saddle is Prologo’s Scratch NDR, listed as a Marathon/MTB offering on the brand’s website.

Prologo claims the large flat nose “provides a comfortable base of support even when it is necessary to pedal on the nose of the saddle” and that the cover features a “horizontally textured grip cover … to maximize grip and help maintain a forward position on the saddle.”
The image shows a close up of Tim Wellens' saddle.
The saddle also features a steep drop-off at the nose, presumably helping to get the very tip of the nose out of the way, aiding the rider in adopting more aggressive positions and torso angles without associated increase in soft-tissue pressure.
The image shows Nils Politt saddle from the side highlighting the rear ward position on a set back seat post.
Nils Politt on the other hand prefers the Prologo Nago saddle slammed all the way back on a set-back seatpost. Politt and Wellens essentially adopt polar-opposite saddle positions and – while clearly effective for each rider – the position philosophy is evident just by looking at each rider.

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