Pro bike: Sam Bennett's Van Rysel RCR

We take a look at the newest bike in the WorldTour from Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale

Clock12:44, Friday 1st March 2024
The RCR Pro is the newest bike in the WorldTour


The RCR Pro is the newest bike in the WorldTour

It was announced at the end of 2023 that AG2R La Mondiale would be teaming up with French sports retailer Decathlon from 2024 as part of a five-year deal. As co-title sponsor, Decathlon is looking to make big ripples in the cycling market by bringing its reputation for good value products to the premium end of the cycling world.

The team are using an all-new bike coming from Decathlon’s premium in-house brand, Van Rysel. The brand will also be supplying the team with helmets, glasses and shoes.

This is not the first time that Decathlon has been involved with the team, with the outfit supporting AG2R La Mondiale between 2000-2007, and Cofidis between 2003 and 20024.

Read more: Remembering the Decathlon pro bikes of the 2000s

Van Rysel RCR

The WorldTour is currently divided between two camps. The first makes use of a lightweight bike and a separate aero bike, swapping between them depending on the needs of a race. The other camp uses a bike that has been designed to act as an all-rounder.

The Van Rysel RCR puts the Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale team firmly in that second camp.

The RCR Pro is an aero road bike designed in collaboration with ONERA, a French aerospace research laboratory. With aerodynamics in mind, it is safe to say that this bike leans more towards aero-bike territory than it does lightweight.

Shimano Dura-Ace with Carbon-Ti chainrings

As one of the 18 WorldTour teams supported by groupset giant Shimano, the team are running almost a full complement of the top-tier Dura-Ace 9200 groupset. The only aversion to this is the Carbon-Ti chainrings.

When we got our hands on Bennett’s bike it was ahead of the UAE Tour, known for its fast and flat stages. A nod to Bennett’s sprint credentials is the 56-tooth outer chainring that has been paired with a 44-tooth inner ring, solidifying the configuration for a fast and furious race with little climbing.

Bennett has opted to use the closest ratio cassette that Shimano offers in the R9200 Dura-ace 12-speed groupset. With limited climbing in the opening stage of the UAE Tour, it made sense to run a cassette that has the smallest gaps between ratios.

Deda one-piece cockpit

Deda worked in partnership with Van Rysel to create the aero profile one-piece bar and stem. The bars have a deep foil profile on the tops that tapers in towards the junction with the stem to increase comfort when riding on the tops.

Swiss Side Hadron 625

The team are rolling around on wheels from aerodynamic specialists Swiss Side. The brand has been tied to some of Canyon’s latest projects including the Speedmax track bike ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The wheels of choice for Bennett were the mid-depth offering Hadron 625 wheelset. The team have use of both the 500 and the 800 wheelsets however, with the potential for crosswinds high in desert racing the 625 manages control and predictability with aerodynamic efficiency.

The Hadron’s rim profile is narrower than some of the latest generation of aero wheelsets with a 20mm internal rim width and a 27mm external width.

This does lend itself to the use of narrower tyres, with a 27mm rim width optimal for a 25-28mm tyre. Mounted to the rims are a set of Continental GP5000s TR set up tubeless.

Bike Specification
  • year


  • model

    RCR Pro

  • Manufacturer

    Van Rysel

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