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Time trial bikes of the Tour of California

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Before I get started, I will mention an event that I am a bit late in reporting. The Santa Cruz Design + Innovation Center held a bicycle design event last Friday that sounds like it would have been quite interesting. If any of you were there, let me know how the discussion went. The Santa Cruz Design + Innovation Center also has an exhibition going on right now in the Atrium of the in Santa Cruz. The exhibit, which closes on the 22nd, showcases “innovative bicycle design and technology examples from Santa Cruz design studios and manufacturers over the last 25 years.” Sounds pretty interesting and admission is free, so if you are in Santa Cruz today for the 2nd stage of the Tour of California, you might want to stop by and check it out.

Speaking of the Tour of California, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that I have checking out the bikes from this year’s race online. I like time trial bikes in particular, so I was interested in the bikes that were used in Saturday’s prologue. There is no doubt now that Fabian Cancellara’s race winning Specialized Transition was fast, but I think it was also the best looking bike in the prologue. Those new Transitions, used by Saxo Bank and Quick Step, have a distinctive frame shape and I really like the top tube detail as it trails the stem. Of course, it is hard to pick a favorite from all the time trial bikes in the race. Check out the Road bike Action articles here and here to see more TT bikes from the different teams.

It is early in the racing season, so not every team is using equipment from their 2009 sponsors. Rock Racing wasn’t yet on their Kestrel time trail bikes. Instead, they rode Fuji D-6s (which are pretty slick bikes in my opinion). Alex Moos’ BMC featured Zipp wheels that were covered in DT decals. A few Team Columbia-Highroad riders had the nice looking Scott Plasmas that the team will use this year (like the one you saw in the RBA article), but most were still riding Giant TT bikes like the one pictured here (photo by Ken Conley). Well, actually according to the team, those bikes are not really Giants… they are branded “Highroad Techdev”. Hmm, they certainly look like Giants to me. For more on that, take a look at this CyclingNews tech article that aims to clear up any confusion.

Update 2/17/09: Read more about why Columbia-High Road team is not yet using Scott Plasma time trial bikes here at VeloNews.

Finally, I can’t post about time trial bikes without mentioning something that I am sure you have all heard several times at this point. Yes, Lance Armstrong’s Trek with a custom Livestrong paint job was stolen, along with 3 other Astana bikes, out of a team van Saturday night. I am pretty sure that the bike will turn back up. It can’t be that easy to unload a one of a kind time trial bike, especially when the theft is getting constant media attention. So keep your eye out on Craigslist or at you local pawnshop for a black bike with a big yellow “1274” on the seat tube. I am sure that Lance would love to have it back before the next time trial on Friday.

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  1. akatsuki February 16, 2009 at 9:57 pm -  Reply

    It might be exotic and old, but the BMC TT01 is still the hottest TT bike out there, that hinge joint in the front just keeps the lines perfect. The Specialized curved top-tube just isn’t as good as the new Look.

  2. James February 17, 2009 at 8:19 pm -  Reply

    akatsuki, I like those BMCs too, but the Transitions just have a look that I like.

    Anon, YouTube says that video has been taken down. I guess the folks at UCI didn’t like it.

  3. carlos February 17, 2009 at 11:40 pm -  Reply

    I’m just wondering…What would happen if Lance could not recover his bike? Does it really exist a big difference on the frame dimensions between Lance special TT bike and a same size commercial TT Trek? Would it mean a significant difference in the way he will perform?

  4. James February 18, 2009 at 6:49 am -  Reply

    Carlos, Lance has a backup TT bike that he can use on Friday. They just want to make sure that he is not left without a backup for that stage in case of a mechnical issue.

  5. Anonymous February 18, 2009 at 3:05 pm -  Reply

    …Its ridiculous. His highness Lance should just step down back to earth, like every guy in the peleton, and ride normal bikes…instead of having a different, specially colored, 10,000 dollar toy with Livestrong smudged all over it for every occasion. I have nothing against spreading cancer awareness. But this kind of cancer awareness maybe ostensibly for charity, but his real goal is vouching for further popularity and showcasing his magnificence. It is irritable for a cycling fan like me and makes me want to puke. Please Lance. Get on with the race. Just shut up and ride a bike.

  6. carlos February 18, 2009 at 10:38 pm -  Reply

    James. What I was trying to know, is if it really exist any difference between,
    the TT frames that the Pros uses on races and the commercial series that anybody can get.
    I mean…in technical aspects such as tire clearances, angles etc, and if think that could really make an important difference on the performance in the hypothetical situation
    of a Pro using one of these commercial series.

  7. James February 19, 2009 at 6:38 am -  Reply

    Carlos, I don’t know the exact difference on Lance’s bike, so I can’t speak to that. I do know that companies use the sponsorship deals for product development though, so some of the details on pro bikes may make it to high end production bikes down the road. The discussion with Adrian Montgomery of Scott that I posted in the update goes into that a bit. Again, I am not exactly answering your question, can anyone else shed more light on this with specific examples?

    By the way, Armstrong’s bike did turn up as expected:

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