Well, the Tour has been over for a few days now and I am already starting to miss it. I posted a few times early on about bikes of the Tour, but I just want to do a quick post today about the bikes in general. A trend that you probably all have been noticing in racing is the use of more and more aero equipment on road stages. Deep section rims and aero frame shapes are not just for time trials anymore. In a good tech article on that subject, James Huang of CyclingNews points out that the UCI minimum weight limit is the driving force behind some of the aero equipment in the pro peloton. As bike weights continue to decline, the pros are using more “time trial like” aero equipment to add back the grams to get to 6.8kg. The new Felt AR, which I mentioned in an earlier post, is a great example of a TT inspired road frame. Just look at the AR road bikes compared to the Felt time trial bikes and you can understand why a fellow pro rider asked Magnus Backstedt if he was riding a time trial bike in The Dutch Food Classic last month.
Enough about road bikes though, because the time trial bikes are my favorites to see during the Tour. The bikes I liked best in this year’s race were the Ridley Deans (pictured above) that were ridden by Cadel Evans and the Silence-Lotto team. Many other time trial bikes have been inspired by the Cervelo P3’s wheel hugging seattube (the prototype Giants for example), but I think the Ridley frames have the best looking lines of any time trial bike available today. The Giant has seat post that extends straight up from the curve at the top of the wheel (similar to a P3), but the Ridley has a very nice looking curve to make that transition with an angled seat mast. OK, maybe my description is a bit confusing, but just look at the pictures to see what I mean. Aesthetics are subjective, but in my opinion, the Dean is the best looking bike that was ridden in the Tour this year. Others may have been faster, but hey, the engine has something to do with that too, right?
I could go on and on, but I am out of time so I will spare you the rambling and cut this post short. Those of you who want to read more about the Ridley TT bike though can check out Ron’s post about it from a couple of weeks ago.
Update: I forgot to mention Ron’s follow-up post about the Dean. More good stuff for those of you interested in engineering.