I’m predicting Lance will take his seventh. His Victory would be more impressive had he actually finished a Spring classic or even attempted another on of the Grand Tours this year but when you have $20 mill in endorsements riding along, well, ya gotta shoot for the one that pays the most.
anyway, since this a design discussion, how much of Team Lance’s, er Discovery’s, er I mean Lance’s success is by design?
Will we see another explosion of cycling media and products? Will the Cycling industry grow another 22% this year like after Lance’s 6th? Will you be the one who gets dropped by that guy on the $5000 brand new Madone 6.0 or will you be dropping him on your Cervelo because Basso did the same to Lance on the Ballon D’Alsace?
Not much else that companies can introduce based on pro racing tech that would make much of a difference. Unfortunately the UCI’s arcane rule set creates a lot of innovation, by necessity. Giro will sell that sleek TT helmet that Disco wears at some point, since they had to make it with EPS and able to withstand a crash. The weight limit has made some companies keep weight where it matters, and reduce it on critical areas like wheels, among other things. And lots more people know about training and training products like HRMs and SRM cranks, since Armstrong & Co. took a very scientific approach to the Race.
I will pay big dollars to see Basso drop LA on the Ballon or anyplace else these next few weeks. I think the organizers are going to keep better tabs on the spectator wild-card - LA was rather displeased by the Alpe D’huez TT last year, and if the upset face he made for the cameras was bad, imagine the hell he gave Leblanc.
Apparently Disco are using a new TT bike this year, called the TTX, very similar to the older one but with better cross-wind performance and better sculpting on the front end, coupled with an integral headset. All the Trek OCLV stuff is very good and I can’t see them making it much better, aside from introducing the newest ultra light-weight CF cloth to save more weight. What those Trek marketers won’t tell you is that a bike made mostly of binder, with less CF, won’t last you a hell of a long time.
From a design standpoint I’d love to see the Phonak guys take some stages, as is likely with Botero and Landis both rocking. The surfacing and details on those BMC bikes are super cool and unlike anything else out there, especially with that seat cluster. Their TT bike is beyond belief.
On the flip side I’d be happy to see a German or Italian or Kazakh win this one, simply because I’m betting the roads will be less used on weekends by people shuttling their new Madones and Giants to the parking lots to ride the paths.
Odds are on Armstrong 1.80, then Ullrich 5.0. I say McEwen gets another green jersey at the end of things, unless Boonen holds up in the hills.
That’s right. Very careful product planning and delivery in order to foil the yearly visits from the vampires and even the day-of-race random check. Could it be smart nano-biotics that can turn themselves off remotely from Bruyneel’s car?
I’m just very slightly on the side of him not being a doper, very slightly. But with an F-1 style approach to every other part of the Tour conquest, I’d be suprised if a couple of his nutrition and health methods weren’t questionable. Sure he hasn’t gotten caught, or tested positive. He contributes money for the testing! Maybe they should invent better tests!
For tech advances the new Oval TT bars are pretty sweet. They get consulting from the Jordan F-1 researchers and are using a double-airfoil handlebar somewhat like a front wing to divert air away from the mass of the rider.
It’s mind boggling what advanced equipment is being used in the peleton. The UCI will need to re-evaluate it’s weight restrictions soon enough…I wonder though, if there is a limit to the weight savings and the use of such light weight materials. That stuff is beautiful, but for the average fred, it’s too fragile. The sleds the pros are riding are good for a few races, but misleading to the average consumer as the need to have gear… for mass production.
I think the comparison to F1 is spot on. There is a trickle down of tech from performance application to the stock bikes but it is incremental and has less immediate impact. For quick turn and impact on the rider they throw on the team paint job, tack on $1000 and the rider will think they are getting faster due to the paint job,…
I think the limit is being reached and without a major overhaul of the UCI regs there is not much room for greater tech advances (i could be waaaay off base here). the only room is in training and prep, often beginning at earlier ages
I know the one of Lance’s advantages is one that has nothing to do with Technololgy and application but with his genetics and training. His heart is “abnormally” large and has a pumping capacity far greater than an “average” Human. This lends him to be able to have a higher cadence an a higher per watt output than a comparibly sized rider. I’m not sure if he was born with it or developed it at an early age but it seems that this advantage is his by design. Much the same way a 5’5" 130 lb rider will climber better, fatser and longer than a 6’0" 160 lb rider, who will often destroy the smaller in sprints.
I think the next advance by deisgn will be the addition of a good intellectual properties lawyer who can argue that the ellipsoidial shape of the handle bars does not violate the “handle bars as fairing rule” because: a circle is technically a 90 degree ellipsoid. Therefore the profile of the handlebars is inherently a circle as required and stated in the regs…
…as a jock in my younger days , it seemed to me that there were always a few who could run like machines and never seemed to tire…i found out later in life that i was born with a heart defect which restricted its ability to cope with high stress levels…i had always been told that atheletes hearts enlarge over time, but it may more a case of the heart making the athelete than the other way around…not to take anything away from what lance has done or will do…he is truely an amazing example of what can be overcome and the accomplishments which can be achieved by a determined human being
…more on topic, like most any other competitive activity, 99.99% of the technology and techique is common to all who participate in cycling at the tour de france level…the difference is that .01% which gives an individual an edge…they find that by design…not by accident
I was just going to ask that same question. You beat me to it.
Do tubulars have to be vulcanized? For a little factioid courtesy of Discovery Channel themselves: Team Disco’s Cheif Tech buys tires and lets them sit for six years in a basement in Belgium before he mounts them on Disco’s Rims so the oil evaporates out of them giving a better grip wet or dry.
But why use such an oil based rubber? Could there be a possibility of more natural rubber tires? Howabout using air blown rubber, the lightweight TPR used on the soles of running and sprinting shoes? If it lasts for a few hundred miles of running on pavement why can’t it last for a few hundred km on a wheel?
But I also guess that the head of the UCI will not be making a mysogynistic comment to Vikornov on the color of his lycra and where he should be spending most of his day either…
Are you serious about that “6 years in a basement” tech tip? Meaning, they’re using the best rubber compound available when LA started winning, and sticking with it to the present day??? That’s the most crazy thing I’ve heard of since the Shimano pedals and Concor saddle revelations, and I’m sure it’s true, too.
Continental has for years used natural rubber for their tires. I’ve noticed on their tires a quicker wear trend, and somehow more likelihood of flats. But they feel great.
Goodyear I think was experimenting with solid auto tires, right? An air-blown product, essentially, with no air to pop. If you could do a self-skinning foam tire, with thousands of tiny pod-like contact patches on the surface, that would eliminate the blowouts, pinch flats, and gradual loss of pressure that have lost races in the past. Granted they’d have to stick on a new pair every night, but I think the wrenches do that already.
The bike industry pays tons of attention to wheels and rotating mass and the latest carbon rims, but considerably less to the rubber, which is strange and the opposite of F-1. Continental pushes the envelope a bit with a front/rear specific road tire, and Specialized have good anti-flat measures, but I’m with supernaut - lose the air entirely and get a consistent rolling resistance from a quality (and doubtless expensive) new tire product.
Here’s some more stuff to ponder. The last time anybody rode a suspension bike in a race was Greg Lemond in the Paris-Roubaix. If F1 is always working on their suspension, why don’t the teams also work on this.
The question is whether the energy loss due to excess mass carries more weight (ahem) than the losses due to un-suspended wheels?
PS: As a recumbent builder, I don’t ever have to be reminded of the archaic UCI rules on acceptable bike design.
I think pro test riders in a race situation have found the Specialized Epic to reduce perceived exertion, with an increased weight due to the shock, rear triangle, etc. Less RPE means more energy and a willingness to go harder.
There were FS bikes used in Paris-Roubaix even after Lemond; Bianchi made a really funky FS machine a few years ago, and riders have used Ruby and Indy forks too. None of the winners, though, were riding suspension, which means being a Belgian tough-guy flahute beats high technology any spring day.
Full-suspension could make stages safer…or more dangerous. A small amount of positive travel could have saved Beloki that monster crash back in 2003, and this year’s Giro also could have gone better for Simoni and DiLuca with rear shocks to absorb some of the punishment. However if people can suddenly start hooting down the Alps even faster there will be some horrendous crashes.
I guess I’d have to chalk it up to the )&$!&! UCI and their rules, the two triangle design, the width-to-length ratios of tubes, etc.
I couldn’t agree more about the UCI and their stupid rules. I miss the days of when seeing the Tour prologue was akin to the Detroit Auto Show with all the concept cars. It was cool to see the crazy bikes. I still think the 1994 Tour when Boardman whipped everyone on his Lotus was freakin’ incredible. I’m amazed at the speeds these guys are going right now. The team time-trial was insane.
And the whole hour-record thing…kinda cool, kinda stupid. I think, if anything, Rominger’s record should stand since he used a standard double-triangle Colnago. Yeah, he was juiced (Ferrari), but dang that was a fast ride! Boardman had to use the Superman position to beat him and when they changed the rules, Boardman only beat Merckx by 10 meters. 25 years later and the difference was only 10 meters! Whoa.
For an industrial designer, I think the only really interesting way to be involved in cycling would be helmets. Having done some of those little eggs for Giro/Bell before, it seems pretty fun.
I’ve been cycling for 25 years and I’ve never heard that term before. Checked Google and could only find one reference to Fred as a novice or geeky cyclist.
While everyone agrees that constraint breeds innovation, it’s also possible for invention to happen when there are no limits…
Vector (Versatron), Varna (Georgiev), Hydroped (Shutt), Flying Fish (Abbott), Gossamer Condor (Macready) and Musculair (Rochelt) are best of breed examples of the cutting edge in human power. Both Vector and Varna do not conform to UCI specifications at all.
Then there’s the original story of the Mochet Velocar and the hour record that was taken away by the UCI.