For this year’s Giro d’Italia, EF Pro Cycling decided to mix things up by ditching the team’s now-famous pink livery for something more disruptive, more street orientated – a move that got heads turning and opinions flaring.
The idea came to fruition as the result of a collaboration between kit sponsor, Rapha, and skateboard firm, Palace – a brand known for its off-the-wall, polarising imagery and cartoon-style graphics. What initially started out as a radical kit reveal soon morphed into a break-the-internet-style moment when Sean Bennett rolled his Palace-adorned Cannondale SystemSix onto Giro d’Italia presentation stage in Sicily last week.
The bike’s bold design – which adorns both the Cannondale SuperSix and SystemSix – represents a departure for the team but doesn’t look out of place, especially when considering the fact EF Pro Cycling are famous for pushing the sartorial boundaries in the pro peloton.
The bikes started out as a blank white canvas before literally getting sticker bombed in typical skater-style fashion. While somewhat chaotic in execution, the design is playful enough to entice and stands out vividly among the rabble of rolling billboards littering the peloton.
Artists among us will know white and yellow don’t really go in terms of complementing colours but in this instance, the yellow bar tape and fork combination seems to work with the largely white bike – offset by the bold checker-like graphic on the fork and sticker-bombed seat tube.
Ah yes, the duck. Palace, as a brand, is known for its liberal use of cartoon imagery as well its duck logo, a symbol it uses to ‘duck out’ its products. The duck figure shows the playful nature of the brand and doubles up as a symbol that represents EF Pro Cycling and its team – an organisation that never seems to take itself too seriously and always tries and attempts new things.
If anything the bike design you see here is a retro homage to those who enjoyed playing with skateboards and riding BMX bikes as kids. It’s tasteful yet bold, never tacky and symbolises the fundamental ethos that defines the bicycle.
Under the paintwork
Unsurprisingly, the bikes that have been given this polarising design come from the team’s bike sponsor Cannondale. Flatter stages see the riders use the brand’s best aero road bike, the SystemSix, while mountainous days call for the lightweight SuperSix Evo.
You’re probably not here for a rim vs disc brake debate, but nonetheless, the team have committed to the latter for the 2020 season, which are praised for their high power and better modulation, especially in weather better suited to ducks.
Another debate you didn’t sign up for is the tubular vs tubeless debate. EF have been a team to play around with their tyre choices throughout recent racing, but it seems they’ve returned exclusively to tubular technology – for better or worse – for their time in Italy.
The remainder of the bike remains unchanged from the usual (comparatively boring!?) purple/pink checked design. There’s a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, a one-piece bar-stem integrated cockpit from Vision – although Kangert’s bike foregoes this in favour of the more traditional bar and stem approach.
Vision also supply their Metron tubular wheels, and power measurement comes from German company Power2Max.
Finishing touches come from Prologo, who supply saddles and bar tape, and Tacx who provided the bottles (which are also given the same high contrast design) and cages.
Sadly, as far as Cyclingnews understands, the EF x Palace design is unavailable for purchase. The Rapha kit, however, will be made available to Rapha RCC members only.
If you’re a fan of the crazy, polarising design, you can sign up for Rapha RCC here.
Tanel Kangert’s Cannondale SystemSix: Full specifications
- Frameset: Cannondale SystemSix Disc
- Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Hydraulic Disc caliper
- Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 Hydraulic Disc caliper
- Brake/shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9170 Hydraulic Disc Dual Control Lever
- Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
- Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace, 11-30t
- Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace
- Crankset: Cannondale SISL2 HollowGram w/ FSA Chainrings 53/39t and Power2Max NG Eco power meter
- Bottom bracket: FSA PressFit30
- Wheelset: Vision Metron 55 Disc tubular
- Tyres: Vittoria Corsa G+ tubular
- Handlebars: Vision Metron 5D, 38cm
- Handlebar tape: Prologo Onetouch 2
- Stem: Merton Vision 5D, 130mm
- Pedals: Speedplay Zero Aero
- Saddle: Prologo Dimension Nack
- Seat post: Knot SystemSix
- Bottle cages: Tacx Deva