Custom Time Trial Tech | Pro Cycling Tech From The UAE Tour 2019

Custom Time Trial Tech | Pro Cycling Tech From The UAE Tour 2019


– I’m here at the UAE Tour,
and there’s a time trial, so you know what that means? Time trial tech! Let’s go and check out what’s
the latest and greatest, and also if there is
anything which is custom. Come on! (smooth bassy electronic music) Alright, check out these
pads or sponges underneath the armrests on this Bianchi, belonging to Jumbo-Visma. I’ve never seen anything like this or certainly not for a long time. Back in the early developments of Tri Bars in the early nineties, these sorts of things were
not quite commonplace, but more likely to be seen then. That rider obviously likes to
be in such an extreme position that this is the only solution for it. Fair play. Right, just having a
snoop around inside the CCC teams paddock because
mechanic’s on lunch, and I’ve just come across a pair of wheels just branded up as Overachieve which I did spot probably
just over a year ago at the Tour Down Under
on the bikes of Sunweb, and well at first I thought, Well, yeah, it’s the same wheels, but it’s a different
team so it wouldn’t be. Anyway, either way I
thought initially that they were from Pro, but they’re
not because Pro don’t make a four-spoke, they make five-spokes
as well as tri-spokes. And looking at it, it’s got
a Kamm tail sort of profile to it so it’s going to get
through the wind nice and easily, and I do like as well the
matte carbon finish on it, the checkered appearance to it. But I still don’t know
anything more about them, other than, well they
haven’t got matching tires, this ones got the Corsa Speed tubular, so slightly less tread on the front there. And then the rear one, well
it takes the same style pattern of carbon, as you can see, and one side’s perfectly
flat on the drive side, non-drive side, it’s got
that lenticular shape, so kind of like a lentil bean cut in half. But the rim is ultra-wide and then it narrows down in slightly
and then bulges out again. And what I really like
about this is the fact that that hub shell is all in carbon there and it’s virtually nothing showing. On a lot of disc wheels you
do see quite a lot of axle but this one, yeah I like the look of it! Wonder if they’ll notice if I take it? This is the Pinarello Bolide TT bike belonging to Michal
Kwiatkowski of Team Sky. Of course Kwiatkowski himself was a former world road race champion, and he’s pretty good
against the clock too. Let’s have a look then at
some of the points on his bike that I think you’re going
to be impressed with. First up we’ve got a Fizik Tritone saddle, so it’s a shorter saddle than normal which is pretty common on TT bikes, and believe me, there are
even riders now putting this sort of thing on their road bikes. Moving forward then. Check out these handlebars. This is new actually for this season, because previously, Michal
and a lot of his teammates were actually using some
custom 3D-printed bits of kit, but the UCI, they’ve actually
banned people from doing that so instead they’re
having to kind of make do with what the rest of us have to do with. But, in doing so, they’ve still managed to customize his position really well. Just check out the angle of
that top spacer in there. It’s cut at about 45
degrees so that he can get his tri-bars just at the right point. What about, then, the
shift buttons down here? These are trick, I’ve never
seen anything quite like it. Well I have, but I do get excited about all these bits of tech, because we’ve got the
Di2 shift buttons but they’re, like, molded out of carbon. The sort of thing that Rob
Hayles would make up in his shed. I love that. Alright, what about the brake levers then? Check those out with those
cut-away bits, reminds me a bit of the olden days of
drillium on components. But these aren’t drillium. I’ve got a feeling they’re
probably 3D printed and made of titanium. They’re nice lookin’, bit
rough ’round the edges but that’s the sort of thing I
like, to be perfectly honest. Now there’s no doubt about it, the squad at Team Sky, they’ll
have spent hundreds of hours in a wind tunnel optimizing their position as well as the frame design, when this bike was being developed. But what is strikingly obvious
straight away is the fact they’re not using a time-trial
specific bottle cage, and they could, from team sponsor Elite. Instead they’re using a
standard bottle cage in there, makes me wonder if maybe
it was slower to use one of those than it is a round one. Anyway, chain ring size: 58/46. A 58 tooth chain ring! I actually might have a look
around the rest of the bikes to see if I can find the biggest
chain ring at the UAE Tour. What do you reckon? Right final couple of bits now. Just check out this war wound here on the surface of the disc wheel. That’s going to be when the
rider is in the lowest sprocket and they’re kicking out so many watts that the rear derailleur cage starts rubbing onto the side of the wheel. Wish I could do that. Now, strangely enough as well, probably the only bike
here that doesn’t have one, this bike doesn’t have a
replaceable derailleur hanger because, just check it out down there! If you fall over and crash, well, you are, well you’re lumbered, really. And final bit then on the dropouts, well, they’re rearward facing,
which isn’t that unusual, but they do have little
turnscrews in there which means you can
actually align and adjust quite how far forward or back
the wheel does sit in there. Kind of like what track
sprinters use in order to get the perfect chain
tension and make sure they can’t pull the wheel across
when the going gets tough. I’m here with the Colnago K-One
of the Gazprom-RusVelo team, and check out how the Velon transmitter is held onto the seat post. It’s using some color-coded zip ties to match in with the Russian flag. If you’re going to use zip
ties, make sure they match. That’s one thing you can take away today. Check out that Selle Italia Kronos saddle. That looks really futuristic
but in actual fact, well, it’s aerodynamically
shaped, isn’t it? To try and get through
the wind a bit better. Whilst we’re on aerodynamics, check out where the Velon transmitter is mounted on the BMC’s of Team Dimension Data. Down there on the down tube! That’s ideal, isn’t it? Now the TT bikes of Katusha
Alpecin don’t appear to have the new SRAM
groupset on them, but the Trek-Segafredo team just
down the pits here, they do. I’ve been told, though,
they will be on their way, so in time for Tirreno-Adriatico
and other races like that. But hey, they’re still
going to be rocking along on big old chain rings, 58’s or 60’s. Now the team at Trek-Segafredo, their wheel sponsor,
Bontrager, don’t actually make a disc wheel or a
tri-spoke or a four-spoke or anything like that, so check that out. That’s actually a Pro Tri-spoke there, although it’s just got
the logos blacked out. The team at Trek-Segafredo, they’re using a single ring
on their Speed Concept bikes because this year
they’re sponsored by SRAM and the option is available, so they’re using a
50-tooth ring on the front and then the cassette is a 10-27. And well they won’t be
using the 27 in this opening team time trial here but I think that looks
really nice, really clean. The only thing which
could possibly be done just to tidy it up a little bit is just to remove that front deraillium
out, and all is gonna be, well, even more aerodynamic, I guess. Just over my shoulder the
squad of Mitchelton-Scott are just warming up
for the team time trial and as you can see their rear wheel is one of the lightweight
Autobahn disc wheels, one of the lightest disc wheels
out there at just 780 grams and they’re pretty fragile,
in fact one of the mechanics did tell me on the way over here, unfortunately, one of them
was damaged with the aircraft. So that’s, well, quite
an expensive repair bill, in fact it’s not even a repair bill, because you can’t replace
the damage that was caused, but luckily they bought
a couple of spares. This is the bike of Vergard
Laengen of UAE Team Emirates, and, well, he’s a pretty
tall rider as you can see just by the height of the saddle, so he’s one meter 94, or one meter 95, which is about six foot
four, in old money. So that’s a pretty big guy. And obviously, he’s got a
bit more wind to get through than the rest of the Peloton, because, well, the
average height is probably around five foot 10, let’s say. So, underneath these handlebars, or rather on top of the base bar and in
between the actual extensions he’s got 80mm worth of spacers in there. Years ago riders used to think
getting as low as possible was going to be the best thing to do, but actually as you start to creep up, riders have found they can release just as much power, if not more. So, the interesting thing
about these spacers too, I might just point out, is the fact the mechanic has been nice
and handy with a dremel and actually removed some
of the sensor sections in order to get the EPS wires in them to get them out of the wind a little bit. And then they’ve also
got a 3D-printed cover on top of the stem, which has
got some little cut-outs too just to give those cables
a nice bit of routing. On the end of the handlebars
we’ve got the grip tape, which is pretty much standard,
you do see that on so many riders’ handlebars as well
as down here on the base bar. Then, in between the actual
handlebar extensions, we’ve got this base
plate or mounting plate, I’m not sure what really to call it. Whether or not it stiffens
up the affair, I don’t know but it does have threads in there so you possibly could add a GPS mount. Although, he’s got one fitted
on the front of the stem here, which interestingly enough,
there’s also a little bit of black tape which just
covers up the actual gap in between the lower
section of the stem and the top section, just further
aiding the air flow over it. These mechanics, they’ve really looked at aerodynamics I reckon. Now, sticking with aerodynamics
then, the bottle cage. I know there’s no bottle
in there at the moment, I have been rooting around
trying to find one to go in there but that’s the Elite
Kronos CX bottle cage, so it looks totally different
to any other bottle cage you’ll see, the reason being it’s got an aerodynamically shaped bottle which is going to go in there, and it’s going to fit in nicely with the actual frame profiling too. Now a pretty common thing these days on time-trial bikes is
to use a shorter saddle. This one here, the Prologo TGale, is about between four or
five centimeters shorter than a standard saddle, which means a rider can
get into a position and unleash the power just a little bit more, because their hips are managing
to open up a little bit. And on the front of the saddle
we’ve got something called CPC technology, which is
tiny little rubber grippers, or suckers if you like,
which stops a rider from slipping forwards off
of the nose of the saddle. And this technology, I have been told, comes from Formula One which is quite appropriate where I am right now, because the drivers actually
put it on their suits and it stops them from moving
around inside of their seats. Wonder if they’re using it. Now the grippers, they do
allow you though to move when you want to but try
to prevent you from moving when you shouldn’t be. Right, the time-trial
bike now of Gianni Moscon, the Italian TT champion and
rider, of course, for Team Sky. Just noticed a couple
of things on his bike. First up, we’ve got a carbon
fiber stem cover here, which is a nice bit of kit. On the other bikes I’ve
seen, they don’t tend to have that carbon sort of
finish, but that one does. Which is, well, nice for a
carbon addict like myself. Also the fact that the actual
TT extensions aren’t done up with allen keys or anything like that, except they’re done up with big, almost like plumbing fittings on there. He has been playing around
with his position as well, just like Kwiatkowski
has, because of course the previous handlebars are
not allowed by the UCI anymore, so we probably will see
this change slightly during the season. Right, just like Michal
Kwiatkowski, Gianni Moscon, he’s got a pair of
3D-printed brake levers too, looking to be made out of titanium. They’re not quite as cut away though, but they look just as great. Now it’s just a case of getting my order in for a pair, I suppose. Now some of you out
there may well remember the old Campagnolo water
bottle on time-trial bikes years gone by, they were
either white or gray and they had kind of a
funny little handle, almost, to get them in and out of the cage. Well, these days, aerodynamics
is slightly more advanced, hence the inclusion of
things like this from Giant, this new water bottle and cage. As you can see the cage,
really minimalistic and the actual bottle
itself helps to follow the tubing profile to help the wind just flow over it a little bit easier. And it just simply clips in and out using a couple of handy little tabs on the bottle and cage, respectively. Now it would appear, my latest
obsession within cycling is aerodynamic water bottles because I can’t help but spot them on everybody’s bikes here. And while most of them are taking kind of a square-ish profile to
them, so narrow and deep, so more rectangular, I suppose, these ones are still taking
the traditional circular shape, but are probably just over 2/3 the size in terms of diameter or circumference. So Elite did make something like this back in the mid 2000’s, when I think there was 66 mm diameter, as opposed to 74. This one is the Kit Crono TT, keep an eye out for them because, well, I can imagine people using
these in criteriums too. Now Ruben Fernandez of the Movistar team has got a pretty interesting TT bar setup. Look how far back the
actual forearm pads are on top of those spacers! I’ve never seen any quite
as far back as that. I’m going to have to
keep a close eye on him in the time trial here because that is really, really interesting. The squad of AG2R La Mondiale
for 2019 are sponsored by Eddie Merckx, but if
we look on the car behind on the roof there, you can actually see there’s only one Eddie
Merckx time trial bike there. Because well, it doesn’t
appear like they’ve actually got the full delivery
yet of their bikes for 2019, because they appear to be using the old Factor time trial bikes from 2018. They’re just covered up
with some Gaffa tape. I’m sure, though, that
they are on their way. But it’s good to see they’re
still taking to the start line. There we are, some absolutely
cracking bits of tech on the TT bikes. Let me know what your
favorite bit of tech is down there in the comments section. Mine? Well, it’s got to be those
aerodynamic water bottles. As ever, like and share this
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