Many of you have probably already seen Armstrong’s latest custom painted time trial bike, a prototype version of the Trek TTX. If you didn’t notice it in the proloque, you may have spotted it somewhere else on the web as it has garnered quite a bit of attention lately. Here, here, here, and here are just a few of the places that I saw it in recent days. As he did in the Giro, Lance Armstrong is continuing to ride bikes with graphics and paint schemes by famous designers and artists. All of the different bikes will be exhibited in Paris later this month at an event called “STAGES” with benefits going to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. The bike pictured here, by well-known industrial designer Marc Newson, features a “Stoboscopic” rear disc pattern, which appears to pulse as it spins. Newson has designed a range of products throughout his career, but is probably best know for some of his furniture creations like the Lockheed Lounge or the Embryo Chair. He also designed the MN series of bikes for Biomega, which I have previously mentioned on this blog.
Enough about the paint job on Lance’s bike though. VeloNews has a great tech article about the design of the TTX prototypes that Astana is currently using in the Tour. They explain how the new design employs the Kamm effect concept to get the benefits of an 8:1 aerofoil shape with a tube profile that meets the 3:1 UCI rule. Basically, the article explains that the shape of 8:1 profile is used, but the tail is cut off just past the widest point, effectively tricking the air into following the pattern of a longer airfoil. In addition to improved aerodynamics over current TTX models, Trek points out that the wider cross section results in an overall stiffer frame. Read more about it in the VeloNews article; it is quite interesting.
In addition to VeloNews, I have been following the CyclingNews Tech and Road Bike Action Tour Tech articles since the Tour kicked off on Saturday. There are quite a few good Tour bike related articles in those places already, but I will stick with the time trial bike theme of this post and just mention one more. CyclingNews points out that a consumer version of Giant’s UCI legal TT bike is on the way. Based on the UCI’s vague rule that in additional to meeting the measurable requirements all bikes used by teams must be “marketable”, this announcement doesn’t really come as a big surprise. I guess we can expect to see more new TT bikes hitting the market soon on top of the ones from Trek, Specialized, Scott, and now Giant. Great! With all these new bikes coming out, maybe I will be able to find a great deal on a used TT bike. It certainly doesn’t matter to me whether or not it meets the UCI requirements; I just want to go a little faster in the local time trail series.