This is the machine on which John Degenkolb made his name. The Argos-Shimano prodigy won five stages of the 2012 Vuelta a Espana aboard this Felt F1.
In fact, the 23-year-old racked up a string of impressive results in 2012, including fifth in Milan-San Remo, fourth at the World Championships and overall victory in the UCI EuropeTour. It was at the Vuelta, however, that Degenkolb burst into the headlines in what was only his second Grand Tour.
Degenkolb’s Argos-Shimano team have been awarded a WorldTour licence for 2013, moving up from Pro Continental status. Let’s take a closer look at Degenkolb’s machine.
The team remains on Felt bikes for the new season, and chiefly the American firm’s flagship F1. The top-of-the-range frame is unchanged for 2013, boasting a low claimed weight of 800g and a clean, understated aesthetic thanks to its round tube profiles. Note the huge saddle-to-handlebar drop on Degenkolb’s machine.
The frame uses Felt’s InsideOut internal molding process, whereby polyurethane inserts are placed inside the frame during moulding to eliminate excess material, and therefore weight. Otherwise, there’s a full-carbon BB30 bottom bracket, internal cable routing and an oversized headtube which tapers from 1.125″ to 1.5″.
Degenkolb notched up five wins at the Vuelta a Espana, on stages two, five, seven, ten and 21, and each victory was celebrated with a new star on the sprinter-cum-Classics rider’s top tube. 1T4i, by the way, was the team’s name before Argos (a Dutch oil company) and Shimano stepped up as headline sponsors.
As you’d expect from a team which has Shimano as co-sponsor, the Japanese firm’s kit features heavily across the bike. Last year Degenkolb was running Dura-Ace Di2 7970, which has since been replaced by Dura-Ace Di2 9070 as the top-of-the-range groupset, an upgrade which has seen it go 11-speed and gain an extra sprocket. The new 2013 group has been slow to come to market so expect teams to make the switch when the new machinery starts to become available in time for the spring Classics.
Cockpit components are from PRO, Shimano’s in-house components brand. Like many professionals, Degenkolb prefers an all-aluminium setup up front, with the PLT stem paired with a Vibe 7S handlebar. That stem, by the way, is a huge 15cm long! Carbon fibre is still the material of choice for seatposts, though, with Degenkolb using PRO’s Vibe model.
As well as unveiling new editions of their Dura-Ace mechanical and electronic groupsets in 2012, Shimano also debuted an updated wheel range. Degenkolb was running Shimano’s new C50s in their prototype guise for much of the Vuelta. The updated wheels have a wider rim for improved comfort and performance. Shimano also supply the team with C35 and C75 wheels, and the PRO Disk TeXstreme for time trials.
Vittoria supply Argos-Shimano’s tyres, with the ever-popular Corsa Evo SC 25mm pictured here. Otherwise, expect to see Argos-Shimano bikes equipped with Vittoria Corsa Evo CX 25mm tyres, or Vittoria Pave 25mm and 27mm rubber during the Spring Classics.
But what makes this bike go really fast is the rider on top. Here’s the view afforded to Degenkolb’s rivals at last year’s Vuelta a Espana.