The final teams have been selected, the countless hours of workouts have been completed, and the superbikes are built. Now Emma White and the other four riders on the U.S. Olympic team pursuit squad just need to fine-tune everything and head to Tokyo. Here is White’s Felt TA FRD bike, as photographed at the U.S. Olympic Training Center velodrome in Colorado Springs.
Felt created the bike in the lead-up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where the U.S. team took the silver medal.
In 2020, the U.S. team won the UCI world championship, with White, Jennifer Valente, Chloé Dygert, and Lily Williams. The 2021 Olympic line-up, including an alternate, is White, Dygert, Megan Jastrab, Valente, and Williams.
The most notable piece on the TA FRD of course is the lefthand drive.
“The TA FRD was built specifically to be the fastest bike possible on the velodrome for the team pursuit,” said Felt’s Michael White. “We started with a clean slate on aerodynamics for the track. And our engineers learned that if we put the drivetrain on the lefthand side, it allowed for a bit more aerodynamic efficiency than if it was on the right.”
The basebar is part of the Felt chassis, but the aero extensions are from Aerocoach, which also provides extensions for many top Tour de France riders.
Per UCI regulations, the TA FRD is available for sale — to the tune of $26,000. Has Felt sold any since 2016? “I can count the number on one hand,” White said. “We knew it would be a rarified product, and we never expected it to be a revenue generator. This is a project dedicated to fitting the riders with the best possible product on the world stage. We are a longtime sponsor of USA Cycling and are proud of that relationship.”
Check out the gallery below for a closer look.
Wait, a drivetrain on the left? Yep. USA Cycling coaches are guarded about final gear choice for each athlete, and what is photographed (54/13) isn’t necessarily what will be used in racing, as riders train and race with various configurations.
Vision made special lefthand aero cranks for the Superbike, and Stages built power meters into both arms.
White uses an ISM saddle slammed forward. The K-Edge Garmin mount holds a Garmin for data collection from her heart-rate monitor and Stages power meters on the Vision cranks. Riders are not allowed to have a computer on their handlebars, and coaches say that is for the best, as maintaining concentration when in full flight in the team pursuit is of utmost importance.
HED double discs are used for racing, but not always for training.
The stickers will likely be removed for Olympic competition to remove as much as 100g of total rotational weight front and rear.
Vision made a special aero Metron crankset for the Felt superbike, and Stages provided power meters for both left and right cranks.
Aerocoach is a UK-based aerodynamic specialist.
Kelly Catlin was a member of the US team pursuit squad, including at the 2016 Games. She died of suicide last March, and the team keeps her memory alive on and off the bike.
The view from Emma White’s cockpit. Next stop, the Tokyo Games.