New Tech at the World Cup

The 2019 UCI Track World Cup series saw a flurry of new technology being released leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games. 

Before racing any new technology at the Olympics, all teams must have registered their equipment and have it approved by a body of UCI officials. The designs are 3D scanned for three-dimensional records so the UCI can refer back to them for further analysis if the design is sceptical. The last opportunity for registering any new tech before the 2020 Olympics was the Cambridge World Cup over the 6-8th of December. 

UCI 3D scanning new track cycling technology before the 2019 Cambridge World Cup.

A couple of weeks ago at the Hong Kong World Cup, The Italian team showed off their new Pinarello track bikes. The Press releases and promotional images all showed their new ‘MOST’ endurance handlebars, but what about the sprint bars? 

The Pinarello sprint bars feature an integrated bar stem combo that matches the aesthetics of the Pinarello frame. One thing i noticed were that the grips on these bars appeared to be quite narrow in diameter. This mike may have been used by one of the female sprinters so that the bars are easier to grip.

The Auzzie Team have been in the news quite a bit lately with their new titanium 3D Printed components by Bastion Cycles. Bastion is manufacturing new cranks, stems and bars for the team. 

The titanium endurance bars were first brought out into the public earlier this year at the Oceania champs in Invercargill (New Zealand). They certainly turned a few heads.

The bars feature a double drop - where the flat section helps the rider hold onto the centre of the bars for a madison sling. The first drop gets the body aero when the rider is in the hoods.

Upon enquiring about the design with Bastion Cycles, the bars will be available to the public from January 1st with a lead time of 120 days for AUD$4585.

Bastion Cycle’s 3D Printed titanium endurance bars (Image by Eugene Bonthuys).

Bastion Cycle’s 3D Printed titanium endurance bars (Image by Eugene Bonthuys).

Nathan Heart and Matthew Glaetzer debut a new set of sprint bars at the world cup. The carbon finer bars feature a bulb in the drop and a flare at the top of the bar distributing the airflow around the rider’s hands and arms. 

The UCI rules state that no farings may be used to improve aerodynamics, so I am unsure how these features are even legal. They had passed the UCI approval and have been out on the track no sweat.

Matthew Glaetzer’s Sprint Bars.

Argon 18 and Zipp has supplied the Aussies with a custom fork and disc wheel combination. Australia has gone for the narrow approach which is the complete opposite to the thinking behind the Hope/Lotus bike. The narrow wheel and forks are designed to slice through the air as finely as possible. There were two versions of the front end that were ridden on the sprint bikes. Between races, their fork was swapped to a wider version for match sprints when using a tri-spoke.

Matthew Glaetzer's Argon 18 Sprint bike fork assembly (Image by Eugene Bonthuys).

The New Zipp wheels don’t have any dimples like most of the Zipp products, but does have a rough(ish) texture that spirals around the surface. The fork has an integrated mount to attach the UCI timer in line with the fork for maximum aero. All the other teams crudely zip tie them onto the side of the fork.

For just one race in the 1/8th sprint final, Nathan Hart brought out a Tri-spoke with some innovative aero features around the axle assembly. See how the aerofoil fits around the fork and bearing shell of the hub. The axle nuts are recessed into the fork for a low profile and aero fixing. Once that race had finished, the wheel went straight back into a wheel bag away from prying eyes.

In this image, you can also see how the aero bulbs in the bars direct the airflow around the rider’s hands and the UCI timing sensor fixed onto the tab that protrudes out the front of the fork.

Nathan Harts Tri Spoke (Image by Eugene Bonthuys).

The New Zealand Sprinters have an updated version of their previous Avanti bars 3D printed in Titanium. The bars have been printed in three pieces and welded together. Most titanium printers have a print bed size of around 250mm cubed - too small to print the bars all in one piece. The join has been placed in the area where the profile is at its thickest for the least stress concentration.

Ethan Mitchell's 3D-printed titanium bars.

The Japanese Bridgestones are my technology pick of the world cup. They are built aero, stiff and stealth in matte black. Bridgestone has taken advantage of the 10cm rule for sprint bikes: where the front of the bars cannot hang over the axle by more than 10cm.

Yudai Nitta's Bridgestone Anchor sprint bars.

The two Japanese sprint riders Tomohiro Fukaya and Yudai Nitta that made it through to the final rounds of the individual sprint events rode a set of low profile velcro straps beneath their shoe covers. A coach had to catch them when they came off the track and un-zip the shoe cover before the strap could be removed. 

Yudai was riding a 65x12 gear combination… that’s over 141 gear inches for a match sprint!

Yudai Nitta's low profile straps.

Yudai Nitta's aero shoe covers (Image source: https://morecadence.jp/keirin/50760).

We have been developing a new set of bars for the New Zealand endurance team. The bars are specifically designed for Campbell Stewart and Aaron Gate for the Madison event. The horns provide support for the rider leading out the pack and the resting rider to relax and sit up comfortably before being swung in. George Jackson from the Southern Spars trade team debut them in the scratch race.

George Jackson Riding the Velobike Endurance bars in the Scratch race (Image source: https://www.instagram.com/p/B54k1W9lYLZ/)

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