Motorcycles Used in Tour de France
During the Tour de France, there are dozens of motorcycles used to control traffic and transport race officials and journalists. They also accompany the publicity caravan and provide support for riders.
There are strict protocols for motorcycles on the road. Only the rear regulator on a moto can grant permission to pass the peloton, and even then only at certain moments.
When you watch a Tour de France stage, it’s hard to miss the huge swarm of motorcycles that accompany the race. These motorcycles are used by the timekeepers, stewards, and medical/first aid riders. The motorcycles are also used to transport bikes and supplies between stages. The motorcycles are driven by professional riders who use a lot of skill to avoid running into the cyclists.
The YAMAHA Niken driver team will be in charge of medical care, delivering drinks and nutritional supplements and assisting with bike and wheel changes during the race. They will also be responsible for ensuring that all riders are equipped with disc brakes, since some pros use larger chainrings to compensate for their high riding speeds.
Riders who don’t have the right equipment can lose a lot of time. This is why it’s important for them to have a bike that can handle the demands of different terrains and conditions. It is also important to have a wide range of gears, which can help them adapt to changing weather conditions.
While there have been a few major crashes, the Tour de France is largely running smoothly this year. In addition to the usual support cars with spare bikes, each team has an elaborate network of equipment and support staff. These include a mechanic, who is ready to jump into action at any moment, as well as a team car with a variety of spares, including wheels.
Security motorcycles are used for scanning the riders’ bicycles, escorting them to and from their hotel rooms and transporting officials and journalists. They also help with race control and broadcasting. The police and gendarmes use Kawasaki Concours 14 motorcycles, while the TV production crew uses BMW LTs with microwave uplink equipment.
The UCI has been rooting out “enhanced” cyclists for years, but now it’s using special technology to find actual motors hidden in bikes. A specialized tablet can scan a complete bike in less than a minute. If a motor is found, it will have to be dismantled for inspection.
In order to keep track of the race’s dozens of riders with 1/1000th of a second accuracy, each bike must be fitted with high-tech timekeeping sensors. These are controlled by radio modules that communicate with digital sensors along the route. These modules transmit the riders’ position to the control bikes, which mark them when they pass each checkpoint, including the finish line.
Maurice Garin won the inaugural Tour de France in 1903 on a steel La Francaise bike that weighed in at 18kg. Later, aluminium frame construction became the norm. However, it wasn’t until 1937 that Henri Desgrange allowed derailleurs on the course. Prior to that, riders had to shift gears by swapping chains – something which was a common infringement of rules.
Bahrain Victorious have opted for the same Merida bikes as last year, with the Reacto, Scultura and Warp TT models all spotted in a Pearl finish (an homage to the country’s pearling history). The team uses Shimano Dura-Ace groupsets, with Vision wheels, Prologo saddles and finishing kit from FSA.
The Tour de France is one of the biggest events in cycling and it requires a lot of work to keep it running. In addition to the hundreds of full-time employees who work to prepare the course, there are also thousands of people who volunteer each year.
The TV production teams need motorcycles to get images of the race and to interview riders. The television production crews use Kawasaki Concours 14s that are heavily modified with microwave uplink equipment to transmit the live TV signal.
The media motos also serve as the escort for the publicity caravan and accompany the race directors, sports directors, and other team officials to the finish line. They can also be used to carry cameras and supplies for the photographers. Some of the motos are assigned to specific outlets, but others circulate among the various photographers. These motos have custom pannier setups that can hold many water bottles. There are typically 15 photo motos per stage.