The bar for receiving a custom-painted bike seems to sit fairly low these days – who are we to stand in the way of a prime marketing opportunity? But if there’s anyone who deserves to show off a bespoke ride all year it’s the world champion.
This year’s men’s champion Remco Evenepoel has been handed a distinct bike by his Soudal - Quick-Step team to compliment his rainbow jersey, debuting it at his first race of 2023, the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that there’s little change in the build of Evenepoel’s Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 compared to last year’s bike, which we took a closer look at during the Vuelta a España.
While their name may have changed, Soudal - Quick-Step haven’t made any alterations to their bike equipment suppliers, so Evenepoel’s setup remains mostly intact. It looks as though one of the key changes is the tyres, switching from the S-Works Turbo RapidAir 2Bliss Ready to what looks to be Specialized Turbo Cottons, perhaps just because the tan wall pops against the white frame.
Those with a keen-eye for bike tech may have noticed glimpses of some new Roval integrated bars doing the rounds recently, first spotted on the bike of Fabio Jakobsen, Evenepoel’s team-mate. It hasn’t tempted Evenepoel clearly, the 22-year-old electing to stick with the Shimano provided Pro Vibe Aero SL handlebar mounted to the chunky SL7 stem. The only noticeable change up front is the custom rainbow K-Edge out-front Garmin mount, which compliments the other rainbow touches featured on the bike.
The nods to the rainbow jersey are subtle on Evenepoel’s bike. In fact, from side-on, you’d hardly know it was a tribute to his win Down Under, save for the small ‘Legends are built not born’ wording on the seat stay. There’s no glaring rainbow sweeps across the top tube and down tube or fade in rainbow colours, as we’ve seen in recent iterations.
The main change to the clean white livery is featured on the back of the seat tube, where the rainbow colours descend from blue to green. The final nod to his Worlds win is slightly more on the nose, with a top tube decal displaying a small design alongside the words ‘world champ’, plus the year of his victory inscribed in Roman numerals.
Evenepoel will be hoping this is the bike to carry him to a second Grand Tour victory, just nine months after his first in Spain last year. He’ll be targeting an overall win at the Giro d’Italia in May, and the road to that race begins in Argentina. He’ll then take on a fairly minimal programme in the build-up, riding the UAE Tour, the Volta a Catalunya, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège to prepare.
Check out our previous write-up of Evenepoel’s Tarmac setup, or see the full spec below.
Frame: S-Works Tarmac SL7
Groupset: Shimano Dura-Ace R9200
Wheels: Roval’s Rapide SLX II
Tyres: Specialized Turbo Cotton
Handlebars: Pro Vibe Aero SL
Stem: S-Works Tarmac SL7
Bar tape: Supacaz Suave, Black
Computer mount: K-Edge Garmin Specialized Future Mount
Saddle: S-Works Power with Mirror
Bottle cages: Tacx Ciro
Chain catcher: K-Edge Pro chain catcher with power meter magnet