The bikes that Ivan Basso has been riding in the Giro d’Italia are the subject of the latest e-newsletter from Cervelo. It seems that several people have emailed the company to find out why Basso has been alternating between his Soloist Carbon and an R3 during the mountain stages of the race. In the mountains, the most likely advantage of the non-aero R3 would be weight, right? Well, not exactly. Thanks to the good old UCI, Basso had to add weights to the R3 to bring it up to the minimum weight of 6.8 kg (15 pounds). That is the same weight of the Soloist Carbon that he normally rides, so the usually lighter frame gave him no real advantage. As it turns out, Basso was just experimenting with the different bike. Cervelo explains that the R3 is better for rough conditions, so Basso was most likely testing the bike for today’s stage, which was supposed to end on a rough, graveled road. The last minute decision was made to not include that section due to weather, but from the pictures I saw, it appears that Basso was ready on the R3 once again.
Cervelo explains the reasoning for the plan to use an R3 on an upaved road on their website:
“In very rough conditions such as Paris-Roubaix, we can create better tire & mud clearance on a non-aero frame. Especially with the new R3 and R3 Bayonne frames, the increased tire clearance allows Team CSC to run their 27mm pavé tires. In fact, you can even run narrow 28mm cyclocross tires on these frames should you desire to.”
Pretty interesting stuff. While I am on the subject of the Cervelo website, check out the engineering section if you haven’t already. They have some great articles there for anyone interested in bike design.
Photo from Cervelo newsletter