Don’t miss our gallery of images from the second day of action at Eurobike 2011.
Thursday was LAVA’s second day at Eurobike in Friedrichshafen. And it was the day senior gear editor Jay Prasuhn sought out—and found—many of the product engineers for several pieces.
BMC Time Machine TM01 and TM02
What’s the ‘ol saying, “win on Sunday, sell on Monday?â€ It’s a true one, whether talking NASCAR or bike racing. See Trek with Lance, Kuota with Normann, and for BMC, see Cadel Evans’ Tour de France win—and of course, perhaps come October in Kona, Andreas Raelert.
But building a bad-ass bike, apart from the win, helps too.
While Cadel Evans helped vault BMC’s popularity with the newly-launched Time Machine TM01 time trial and triathlon bike (see above), the Swiss brand was keen to show that the bike is adept for triathlon as well by hiring two of the hottest guns in the sport in Andreas and Michael Raelert, along with short-courser Jenny Fletcher. (We deftly swept out of the BMC booth just before Evans was there for an autograph signing today.) And while Kona runner-up Andi is the first to have recorded a big result at Roth this year, the world will get to see him on on stage with the TM01 come Kona. To this point, BMC said, Michi may have to eschew a place on the start line in Las Vegas for the 70.3 Worlds due to that nagging hip injury, though he is going to be present for events around the Interbike bike show.
OK, back to this new bike. We had only seen what you’d likely seen on TV during Tour coverage, which wasn’t much. Our first look left us very impressed that it’s no token effort, and with incredible fit variability, it’s perfectly applicable for triathlon utility.
The frame is the first visual draw for consumers, and there’s a lot going on. Like Trek has done, BMC created a tubeset design that features a knocked off trailing edge (akin to Kammtail, but to a slightly lessened visual degree) on of all its truncated, wind-facing tubesets (downtube, seatstay and fork blades), creating an “effectiveâ€ trailing edge that has better separation at a greater range of angles. And like Ridley has done in the past with its time trial bike, BMC added a leading edge flow adherence element. BMC calls the boundary layer interruption line Tripwire. BMC contends the combination of the minimized layer separation at the front end of the tubeset, combined with the truncated tubeset produce a frame that’s faster at a great range of yaw angles.
Fit is an interesting element on the TM01. BMC calls their fit p2p Concept, or “position to perform.” The seat tube is pretty standard; a hidden wedge bolt fixes a standard aero seatpost within the frame. We love that the bike’s central seat tube angle is 77 degrees, not the reserved standard of 76 degrees. The saddle clamp has a fairly unwieldy crescent wrench head adjust. However, its fore-aft from that 77-degree seat angle has four set position options, two four and two after that can move the clamp back to .7cm or 2.1cm behind 77, and .7 or 2.1cm in front of zero. We’re trying to determine what those effective seat tube angles would be, but needless to say, it’s plenty of fore; we’d guess about 80 degrees. It’s clearly made to fit triathletes and our fit requirements.
To make that statement, we have to look at adjust in the cockpit to determine whether the thing can move up and down in concert with the fit needs of a triathlete riding 112 miles. And they do address it well.
The integrated stem is actually a collection of “piecesâ€ that can be arranged in a variety of lengths and rises, creating a range of up to 30 fit options. The angled piece closest to the frame is built to be “flippable” to provide a bit of rise (or drop) as needed. After that, a collection of “spacer modulesâ€ permit for stem length adjust. The way it looks, length-adding “spacersâ€ are added, and an accordingly long or short bolt is cinched horizontally from the front of the stem’s de facto “faceplate (which is a misnomer, since the aerobar is clamped top and bottom). We will be working to determine the length of rises and stem length pieces as we learn more about the bike.
Looking over the frame, we note that the brakes are very firm (no flimsy setup here) and very cleanly integrated. The bayonette-style headtube is quite narrow frontally as well. On the top-shelf Shimano Di2 version, the battery is cleanly hidden away into a seattube covering.
Sizing ranges include small, medium short, medium-long, and large, with the short and long medium sizes referring to the top tube lengths—49.6cm on the short and 53.7 on the long. BMC also provides complete stack and reach numbers on the frames. It’s finished with horizontal rear dropouts.
The prime specification, with Shimano Di2, Profile Design Prosvet aerobars and Zipp 808 tubulars, will retail at $13,000. There will be a SRAM Red spec version (with DT Swiss R-1650 road tubeless wheels) at $5999, and a Shimano Ultegra mechanical group (with a Profile Design Ozero basebar) at $4,999. Colors for the frame will include BMC team red, and blue on the matte carbon.
Still too rich for your blood? BMC has you covered with a full range. As Trek had wisely done with the successful launch of the Speed Concept, BMC brings what will be a highly sought after bike to the masses by substituting the bayonette mast for a standard fork and stem front end on a second-tier model called the TM02. It’s the same carbon fiber frame, same geometry and same technologies—for much less and the downgrade of a standard fork. The prices are awesome; a TT02 complete with Shimano Ultegra will price complete at $3,699. Still too expensive? They have a Shimano 105-spec’d bike, retailing at $2,999. These bikes will have a gloss white or silver paint option.
3T Wheels, Aerobars and Stems
The most visible items at the 3T booth for the company’s 50th anniverary was with the debut of their wheelset, specifically for the triathlete, the Mercurio 50 60 LTD tubular wheelset, which features not only a crossing straight-laced hub design on a patent borrowed from Cane Creek, but more interestingly, a rim hub bed that, instead of being loaded from the center of the rim, is installed into a molded “pocketâ€ located on the lateral edge of the rim, with the spoke set into a conical seat. A band of reinforcing carbon extends up from the spoke interface up and over the brake track. The straight-pull hub design makes for a the straight pull from either end (with no j-bend spoke weakening) and a stronger, truer wheel.
“Instead of having a thick spokebed all the way around the rim as is done on conventional carbon rims for reinforcement, we can put it only where it needs to be,â€ McAinsh said. The wheelset is slated to retail at around $2,400.
Two new aerobars caught our eye. The first was the ultra-narrow 30cm wide Brezza II Nano which is 25 percent narrower than a standard bar, thus cutting frontal aerodynamic profile and exists for courses like Kona with few turns.
The one we were really taken by was the revamp of the famously fast Ventus. Gone are the integrated brakes, in comes a 35mm sweeping drop in the basebar, and a much lighter weight at 730 grams with the 100mm stem, which is 15 percent lighter than the original Brezza. Cables port now out of the back of the bar instead of under the basebar. “We went to the Mercedes tunnel to test the Ventus II,â€ McAinsh says, “and while it falls between the Ventus and the Brezza aerodymically, it’s much closer to the Ventus.â€
Another stroke of genius came in the clever integration of bike data into the stem. In this instance, the new Integra stem is a boxy, sturdy carbon fiber stem with a nice standard faceplate. But 3T is now building computer data into the stem. For now, 3T partnered with PowerTap to integrate the new Joule computer head into into the stem, with a Shimano Di2 integrated version due out soon. 3T will likely work with most interested major manufacturers to create an integrated solution.
Taking the PowerTap union a step further, 3T will be offering a complete e-integration power kit consisting of the Integra stem, a Mercurio tubular or Accelero clincher wheelset set up with a PowerTap G3 hubset, as well as the soon-to-debut Meta crank that will house electronics for cadence.
Personally, we’re keen on the new Integra stem; it’s a simple solution that actually puts the computer head in line with your field of vision, and will likely work smoothly with many standard aerobar setups.
Reynolds RZR and…
… and we’re gonna leave you hanging. The RZR 92 has been the flagship tubular wheelset with its insane weight and stiffness on a carbon-spoked super-deep race wheel for the last three years. In fact, several pros including Kelly Williamson, Tom Lowe and Ian Mikelson will be running it in Kona this year. Nothing new there … a fast wheel is a fast wheel.
There was one running change that began recently and will roll into the 2012 Reynolds, and it has to do with the Swirl Lip Generator, that fine line that stretches around the periphery of the inner rim and serves as a tripline for wind as it passes off the rim at the trailing edge, helping it adhere to the wheel longer for greater aerodynamic advantage. “Since the spring 70.3 at Oceanside, we spent 40 hours in CFD and decided to move the Swirl Lip generate a millimeter farther out, toward the tire,â€ Lew told LAVA. “We determined we can get about two watts at 10 degrees by moving it out. It seems the deeper the rim, the farther toward the tire it can go to benefit—in small increments, as the vacuum begins a bit earlier. It proved to be worthwhile for the 81, so we made that change.â€
But apart from those two items, engineer Paul Lew took us past the stripper curtain and into the murky, secretive catacombs of the Reynolds booth for a look at a prototype. He hauled out two wheel bags, and…
… that’s all I can say without risking a beating at the hands of Lew. All I can tell you is that he is bringing top-shelf technology to the masses. Think RZR, at a price point level. “It’s going to be totally unique product, not an addition to any other existing line,â€ he said. “We’re making good on our promise to take Razor technology, and trickle it down. A lot of people wonder why we make such an expensive, highly technical wheel in the Razor, but really, it’s where trickle-down starts, and we’re working on that right now.â€
From what we saw, the slated 2013 product is gonna put some folks on their back heels, because it was pretty impressive, even in this early iteration.
And NDAs nothwithstanding, that’s all I’m gonna say. Y’all run with it.
For more from the show, check at lavamagazine.com later this weekend.