This series covers things that caught my eye at the Toronto Bike Show, spring 2017. First of, triathlon/time trial bikes.
This new version of the BMC timemachine, particularly with the SRAM Red eTap, was an absolute stunner. Obviously, the bright yellow paint featured in making this a noticeable bike, but I was also struck by the sharp geometric lines. Where teardrop patterns abound on TT bikes, while BMC keeps this aero profile where necessary, everywhere else you get sharp edges and diagonals. Check out the aero bar stacks for example:
With Zipp 404s and 808s, this bike truly fit the “race ready” description. The design is more congruent with current triathlon geometry that tends to sit the rider a bit higher versus slammed flat to the level of the top tube. Although fully aero and integrated, the engineers have also taken into consideration the needs of mechanics, as demonstrated by the removable fairings over the front brakes integrated smoothly into the front forks. Hidden brakes can otherwise quickly become an absolute nightmare.
Take a look at that seatpost. If there is a wider seatpost in cycling I have yet to see it. Photos don’t even do justice to just how wide it is. Although Felt claims that it is made of vibration reducing carbon, I do suspect that there will be a comfort sacrifice…but boy does it look aero! Felt serves as a great example of roll-down technology. For $3,700 you get reasonable components but the absolute same frame design as their top end IA FRD, which costs a jaw-dropping $17,000. A set of race wheels on the IA14 and you can compete with most top-end bikes.
I really just wanted to highlight the integrated fluid storage on this one. You see this on the Scott Plasma as well, but it fits a bit more seamlessly than the giant, which simply looks like it has a gigantic nose. Now, that said, I fully recognize the value of integrated systems and would happily buy and ride this bike, but it does stand out quite a bit. So much so that the non-triathletes with me at the show were…um…puzzled by it.
Confession, this is my dream bike. While I understand the value of the P5x for those racing long distance and looking for storage solutions, as I focus on Oly distance I still would prefer the P5 to avoid the weight disadvantage of the P5x (approx. 1.5kg heavier). I kind of regret not taking a picture of the whole bike, but wanted to point out some of the engineering going on in the front. You’ll note the relatively clean mounting of the Di2 shifter with all cables hidden from the wind, the spacers that match the front end while also sheltering the TORHANS storage box, and the front brake and brake cable fairings. It’s great seeing a bike that is completely purpose built and unconstricted by limitations such as UCI regulations.
Ok, so this bike wins for the longest name. However, it also wins for the greatest visual appeal of TT bikes at the show. In spite of the controversy surrounding Team Sky at the moment, you can’t ignore the quality of the kit. From the Continental Competition tubular tires and PRO components including a tri-spoke front wheel, to the Sky branded seatpost and full Shimano Di2, everything was on-point with this bike. Want to talk fairings? Look at the design that has gone into that rear fairing! The thing is probably worth as much as a department store bicycle. Every millimeter of this machine is wind tunnel tested and re-tested. The front-end deserves a full size picture of its own:
That full front end pivots together. Fully integrated, fully carbon, and fully aero. Although limited by UCI regulations and therefore perhaps not the ultimate triathlon machine, this was the most eye-catching of TT bikes at the show. It was clear from the number of Team Sky branded products that the team still has great reach and clout internationally.
This is just a snapshot of the triathlon bikes on offer, but hopefully presents some of the most interesting pieces.