With notable grand tour contenders astride its bikes this summer, it comes as little surprise to see a new Pinarello time trial frame debuting just days before the Giro d’Italia’s early team time trial. The new frame, the Bolide, appears to be a marked step up from the company’s old Graal frame. Although it won’t solve Sky’s leadership conundrum, it could help both Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome against the clock — as if they needed the assist.
Working in collaboration with Sky, Pinarello claims that its new model sees a 15-percent improvement over the Graal in terms of aerodynamics while weighing five percent less than its predecessor. This is achieved with improved airfoil tube shaping and integration of the brake calipers, handlebars, electronic shifting battery, and shifters; its lines are much cleaner than the Graal, with the old downtube “shark teeth” gone in favor of smooth, flowing shapes.
Will it be stiff enough for the wattage cottage that is Sky? Pinarello says it will, and has incorporated a tapered headset, asymmetric chainstays, optimized layup of Torayca 65HM1K carbon fiber, and a BB86 bottom bracket shell, all with stiffness in mind.
Aside from the usual aerodynamic, stiffness, and weight considerations, the Bolide has a few other interesting details, like an adjustable water bottle mount and horizontal dropouts. Interestingly, a removable front derailleur mount provides the option to run a single front chainring on flat courses. We’ll be curious to see if this setup gains traction among the pros — it certainly didn’t work for David Millar in the 2003 Tour de France prologue. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7Tx6MV_XyM)
As of May 1, only a single 55cm version of the frame had been approved by the UCI. It was approved on April 29, suggesting a last-minute push make the bike legal for this year’s Giro; that a 55cm will fit Wiggins is no coincidence, and it may be that he will be the only rider on the new frame at the team time trial on Sunday.
The curious name comes from the Greek “bolis,” or missile, and is today a term related to meteors and meteorites.
With the Giro’s TTT just two days away, all eyes will be on Sky, and the new Bolide. Check back for a closer look at the team’s new machine soon.