The Giro d’Italia opening day’s time trial Saturday in Amsterdam brought out the slickest and most aero bikes on the planet. Manufacturers, from Pinarello to Cervlo, introduced new carbon frames for their riders to win the stage and make their first step to an overall victory. Bradley Wiggins’ Pinarello Graal was the best example of this. The result? With his bike, he ruled Amsterdam, winning the 8.4-kilometer time trial and capturing the leader’s pink jersey.
Wiggins’ race winning Graal used conventional mechanical Dura Ace components with an older 7800 crankset. Unlike a lot of riders, Wiggins used a three spoke front wheel on the twisty 8.4 kilometer course.
To meet the UCI’s 3 to 1 rule the base bar on Wiggins’ bike is super narrow and thin. The 3 to 1 rule states that bicycle frame tube, or components on that frame, cannot have a profile that exceeds three times its width. If a tube is perfectly round it has a diameter of 1-inch making its height to width ratio is 1 to 1. If a tube is oval, according to the UCI rules its width to height ratio cannot be more than 3 to 1.
Wiggins’ primary bike used mechanical Shimano components, but the back up bike showed how Pinarello crafted the frame to use the new Di2 electronic gruppo.
Cadel Evans’ BMC Time Machine TT01
BMC rounded out the podium with American Brent Bookwalter and Australian Cadel Evans. Evans, a road world champion and twice second at the Tour de France, raced on the super-low Time Machine TT01. Like all the time trial bikes it is carbon, but the difference is here is that the front fork is integrated with the frame.
Evans Time Machine TT01 used Campagnolo record components, an Easton front wheel and a re-badged Zipp disc. Evans also uses a one piece aero crankset and large chainring.
The front end of Evans’ bike is completely custom to accommodate the Austrailian’s ultra low position. Evans’ handlebars are so low that a custom front brake with side cable routing is used.
Evans uses an Selle Optima triathlon saddle that features a backward extension to hold a water bottle.
Ivan Basso’s Cannondale Slice
Ivan Basso used a smaller sized Cannondale Slice than last year to become more aero. Though the frame is smaller, the cranks are an almost unheard of 177.5mm! Completing the rig were prototype Mavic Comete wheels. Bello!
Because Ivan Basso used a smaller frame, the extensions on his Vision aerobars are longer than most other top riders. Basso is also running a yet to be released Mavic deep section aero front wheel.
To keep his speed high, Basso used a Mavic Comete rear disc.
Basso’s 177.5 cranks with team green Speedplay pedals.
Carlos Sastre’s Cervlo P4
2008 Tour de France champion, Carlos Sastre and several of his teammates raced on new Cervlo P4 frames. The frame offers completely internal cable routing.
The time trial bike of 2008 Tour de France champion Carlos Sastre uses 3T aero bars, Zipp wheels, Rotor cranks and Speedplay pedals.
The P4 uses the internal cable routing, tucked neatly behind the stem.
The P4 was originally designed with an integrated water bottle, but was ruled illegal by the UCI. The team has switched to Elite aero bottles.
The Cervlo team continues to run Rotor cranks and chainrings
Frantisek Rabon’s Scott
Frantisek Rabon (HTC-Columbia) shot out like a missile on his Scott TT bike to provide quick time checks to teammate and Italian Champion, Marco Pinotti. Like Evans’ frame, Rabon’s stem and fork are seamlessly integrated. Though the frame does not have a special mounting point for the Di2 battery pack, mechanics tuck it nicely under the saddle.
The cockpit of Rabon’s Scott is completely integrated with all the wires from the Di2 electric group routed internally.
The battery for the Di2 electric shifting is mounted under the seat with zip ties.
The power cord for the battery pack is routed internally through the top of the seatpost.
The Scott uses a conventional Dura Ace rear brake mounted on the top of the chainstays.
Laurent Didier’s Specialized Shiv II S-Works
The Specialized Shiv II S-Works is as fast as it is stealthy. It should be, World Champion Fabian Cancellara had a hand in designing the frame. Looking at Laurent Didier’s frame from head on, or behind, it is flat and aero. Brake calipers are nicely tucked under the frame at the back and use a center pull up front.
Despite not taking top honors in stage one, the Shiv II looks to be the bike to beat season as it it will be ridden by Fabian Cancellara, Alberto Contador and the Schleck brothers.
Gone from the Shiv II is the original’s nose cone and integrated front brake.
Even without the nose cone and integrated front brake, the front of the Shiv II is still extremely aerodynamic.
Note the small shim at the front of the seatpost. This was added to make the seatpost meet the UCI’s 3 to 1 ratio rule.
Like the original Shiv and Transition, the Shiv II uses an under the chainstay rear brake placement.
Svein Tuft’s Felt
Svein Tuft (Garmin-Transitions) finished second at the 2008 World Championships and deserves a fast time trial machine. He has one, from Felt. It uses hidden brake calipers like the S-Works and a front fork similar to the Scott ? completely integrated and aero.
Felt’s new time trial bike borrows many of the top design elements from other manufacturers and combines them into one package.
The new Felt uses an under the chainstay rear brake along with internal cable routing designed to work with Shimano’s Di2 electric shifting.
While the Scott tucks it under the seat, the Felt features a special seatpost with a cut away section for the Di2 battery pack