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From the pages of Velo: Time Travelers


The battle between the Shiv and the Speed Concept is a tight one, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. But in the end, Trek’s use of the innovative Kamm tail tube shapes and its better price point allowed it to pull ahead.

The Speed Concept was faster in the tunnel, barely, but added to that victory with its above-average stiffness and comfortable contact points. But it lost out around the corners and took a big hit in user friendliness— it is, without a doubt, one of the most difficult bikes we’ve ever worked on.

The Shiv handled well, produced lower drag figures at low yaw angles, was easier to work on and considerably lighter, but its big price tag and higher non-drive side drag hurt its overall score.

Wind tunnel results

Given the way the numbers played out in the tunnel, if you were riding into a crosswind from your right, ideally, you would want to be on the Shiv TT. For the return leg, with the same wind conditions, (now on your left), switch to the Speed Concept and save 10 watts on the way back. Despite the radical difference in the way the bikes look, with our control wheels, it seems the bikes were created with similar yaw angles in mind.

BMC, Pinarello and Cervelo

The Trek and Specialized are by no means the only slippery bikes that will vie for top TT honors in July. In fact, depending on who you ask, neither of them will be ridden to overall victory. At press time it looked more likely that a BMC, under Cadel Evans, or a Pinarello, piloted by Bradley Wiggins, would take those honors. Cervélo’s new P5 will surely help the Garmin-Sharp team as well. Here’s a peek at those bikes.

BMC timemachine: BMC Racing, Cadel Evans
The timemachine (all lowercase is correct) served Evans well last year. With integrated brakes, complete internal cable (or wire) routing and an internal Di2 battery box, BMC has taken integration to the next level. That also means that it’s very tricky to work on. The massive seatpost is very easy to access though, in contrast to the complex stem setup.

Thanks to its seatpost that features massive fore/aft adjustment, the BMC can accommodate both time trial and triathlon saddle positions.

Pinarello Graal: Team Sky, Bradley Wiggins
The Graal is actually becoming a little long in the tooth. In 2010 it replaced the Montello in the Pinarello line. The curved tube shapes and oddly textured down tube set the Graal apart from virtually every other time trial bike on the planet.

Team Sky produces custom aerobars for its top riders with integrated Di2 shift buttons, increased adjustability and, likely, improved aerodynamics.

With a hidden front brake mounted on the back of the fork crown, the front end of the Graal is pretty tidy. A standard rear brake makes working on the bike easy.

The strange bumps on the down tube of the Graal are likely more about aesthetics than aerodynamics, but the look is great. And with the lanky Wiggins aboard, the Graal has no problem going fast, though it may be the slowest frame used among the favorites.

Cervélo P5: Garmin-Sharp, Dave Zabriskie
Cervélo’s P5 uses a creative interpretation of the UCI’s 3:1 ration rule to build a very aerodynamic frame; in fact, it doubles it occasionally. The P5 was unveiled with Magura’s R8TT hydraulic brakes early in 2012. With two different handlebar setups, one for TT and another higher set for triathlon, Cervélo looks to serve both crowds with the same frame.

The brakes, when outfitted with Di2 or EPS, mean that cable routing issues and the associated kinks are a thing of the past. That’s a good thing on time trial bikes, which often have substandard brakes and shifting thanks to tight cable routing.

Ryder Hesjedal used his P5 to win the Giro d’Italia overall in the race’s final time trial. Days before, Dave Zabriskie also rode a P5 to win the Amgen Tour of California time trial and later defended his national title aboard the same machine.

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