Race Tech

Specialized, Canyon, Scott and Merida produce custom-painted bikes for Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Specialized paintjob changes colour as the temperature rises

Bike brands rarely need an excuse to fire up the paint booth and produce a custom colourway for a special occasion – and there are few bigger occassions, and bigger audiences, than the Olympic Games.

While riders will swap their trade team jerseys for national kit, they will still ride their regular race bikes, and Canyon, Specialized, Scott and Merida have produced custom paintjobs for their sponsored riders ahead of this weekend’s Olympic road races in Rio de Janeiro. Team GB may be the exception to that rule – they rode UK Sport bikes at London 2012, but have given no indication whether that will be the case in Rio.

Parts of the bike change colour when the temperature hits 22 degrees

Specialized have gone one step further that the standard custom paintjob and developed a scheme which changes colour from red to yellow when the temperature hits 22 degrees, the average daily temperature in Rio in August. You can see how it works in the video below, from Namibia rider Dan Craven.

The paintjob has been applied to the three bikes to be used by Specialized riders at the Olympics: the Tarmac road bike to be used on Saturday by the likes of Dan Martin and Vincenzo Nibali, the Amira road bike to be ridden on Sunday by Lizzie Armitstead, and the Epic FSR mountain bike to be used by Peter Sagan when he swaps the road for dirt to contest the cross-country race on Sunday August 21.

“Almost 3000 years ago, the pinnacle of sport was celebrated with fire. Today, we honour the Gods of Sport by bringing the flame back to competition,” say Specialized. “Spark the torch once again with this limited edition collection of fiery bikes and gear.”

Canyon’s Rio paintjob is inspired by the Brazilian flag

Specialized have also released an Evade aero helmet which gets the same finish. That will be available for the public to buy, along with the bikes and matching kit.

Meanwhile, Canyon and Merida have both produced green designs. Twenty riders from ten nations will ride one-off, custom-painted Aeroad and Ultimate CF SLX frames inspired by the Brazilian flag, including Spanish duo Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez, who ride for the Canyon-sponsored Movistar and Katusha trade teams, and are among the favourites for gold in the men’s road race. As it happens, all five of the Spanish team will ride Canyon bikes – the only complete national squad to be on the same brand’s bikes in Rio.

Merida have also gone for green

Merida’s super-light Scultura Team Edition and aero Reacto Team frames also get a green finish, with hot prospect Louis Meintjes, eighth at the Tour de France, and former world champion Rui Costa among the eight riders who will content the men’s event on Merida bikes.

Moving on and Scott have taken inspiration from the colour of Brazilian culture in the paintjob designed for the Addict and Foil road bikes, along with the Plasma time trial bike. Great Britain’s Adam Yates, fourth at the Tour de France, will ride the Scott Addict if he doesn’t get a UK Sport bike.

Scott have taken inspiration from the colour of Brazilian culture

“When we kicked off the project, we did a lot of research regarding colours, patterns and symbols which represent aspects of Brazilian culture,” said Michael Pinto, who designed the Rio Special Edition for Scott. “It wasn’t until I spent my holidays in Brazil that I found this unique pattern in the streets of Rio which for me perfectly represents the colourful culture and spirit of the Brazilian people.”

Check out the photo gallery below for more photos of all the bikes.


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