Bridgestone Anchor (Tokyo 2020) Review

 

The Japan Cycling Federation and Bridgestone Cycle Co announced this month they would be collaborating on a new sprint track frame for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The Japanese cycle brand Bridgestone has made world-class track frames for the Japanese track team since the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. It seems fitting - with the Olympics coming back to Japan - that they get their own world-class aero frame too.

Two new bikes were recently officially released at a press conference. The first bike is specifically designed for the short distance Olympic events - Sprint, team-sprint and the Keirin, and the second bike designed for the medium distance events - team pursuit and the omnium.

The sprint frame has already been in battle since earlier this year with Bridgestone Cycling rider Riyu Ota winning a Silver medal in the Hong Kong world cup. Now we’re finally getting to see the frame(s) up close.

Pursuit Frame

For a few months now (before the official product press release) the Japanese team have been competitively riding their new bikes at national championships, world cups and for general training. 

“I feel the driving force and lightweight first. I felt a big difference there. Since I started riding this bike firmly in August, I was able to update the new record for Japan and myself as a team. I'm very happy. "

- Kazushige Kuboki (Japaneese Pursuit Cyclist)


“It’s much lighter than the previous one, and the geometry has been modified to match the medium distance, making it easier to ride, including the degree of freedom of the position. I think that the performance of the bike has been demonstrated because everyone who ran has improved their time. " 

- Eiya Hashimoto (Japan Pursuit Cyclist)

The new Bridgestone Pursuit. The frame has a very angular and sci-fi feel - like a stealth fighter jet from the future.

 

Five Bridgestone pursuit bikes hung up in the infield during team training. Interesting to note that the rear disc wheels are Araya’s yet the front discs are unbranded? I’m loving the minor touch of the Japanese flag and the riders name around the front hub.

 

Each riders aero bars are in a different angle and height to suit the riders body shape and fit. I'm interested in the aero stem top cap from a design and innovation point of view. All but one have it.

 

Ryo Chiya giving it everything at the Japan National Track Cycling Championships.

 

The new Bridgestone aero bars have one central blade in the middle that connects the lower base bar to the aero bar extensions. I love the simplicity.

 

On the end of the aero bar are upwards hooks with some finger nooks to lock your fingers into. These pair have a small square of grip tape added on. The tips have the Bridgestone logo engraved onto the surface - definitely has that high-quality appearance.

 

One surprising feature to note is that the pursuit bikes are using Dura-ace R9100 series road cranks with integrated power meters. The 4 bolt 110 BCD cranks require a custom adaptor to fit 5bolt 144bcd track chainrings. The shortest these cranks come in is 170mm.

 

Sprint Frame

The short-distance frame has been introduced in actual battles since last year. Riyu Ota from ‘Team Bridgestone Cycling’ won the World Cup 2nd Silver Medal in Hong Kong on the new frame back in March.

The Sprint frame seems to have had a bit less public appearance than its pursuit sibling. There are very few images floating around on the net.

Very similar to the Pursuit frame, with key differences including the head tube/top tube cutout for the stem, the seat tube seat clamp and the head tube frame fillet. The clearance between the front wheel and downtube is very small. This leads me to believe the wheelbase is shorter and the headtube angle is much steeper than the Pursuit frame. Overall, the sprint frame feels less angular and more organic in form. It reminds me more of a supercar than a jet fighter.

 

The new ride incorporates a custom stem that seamlessly integrates into the top tube of the frame. They seem to be built very bulkily for maximum stiffness. Each rider has a custom made stem to suit their bike fit. This example looks to be about 130-140mm long.

 

A close-up shot of the seat stays and seat tube junction.

 

Japanese Sprinter Tomohiro Fukaya changing gear ratios during training.

 
 

Japan Sprint cyclist Riyu Ohta changing gear ratios during training. Notice how the sprint frame has an integrated seat mast. The seat clamp bolts on top of the frame.