Road Gear

More Tour Tech! From Giant, Pearl Izumi and Look

We ran out of time during the Tour to cover every bit of the latest and greatest. But never fear, we saved some of the best for last. Giant Bicycles announces production model aero bike Giant Bicycles, sponsor of Rabobank and Giro winner Denis Menchov, had to wait until the penultimate stage on Mont Ventoux before celebrating a win at the Tour. But within the first week, before the team time trial, the company already had good news, in in its release of an aero/time trial bike to the public.

By Zack Vestal

2009 Final TdF Tech: Giant’s new Trinity Advanced SL aero bike incorporates all the features of its predecessor.

Photo: Zack Vestal

We ran out of time during the Tour to cover every bit of the latest and greatest. But never fear, we saved some of the best for last.

Giant Bicycles announces production model aero bike

Giant Bicycles, sponsor of Rabobank and Giro winner Denis Menchov, had to wait until the penultimate stage on Mont Ventoux before celebrating a win at the Tour. But within the first week, before the team time trial, the company already had good news, in in its release of an aero/time trial bike to the public.

More than a year in development, the Trinity Advanced SL 0 is the production model of Giant’s fifth generation prototype TT bike. Menchov rode a final version of the bike to win the Giro, and the bike is now headed for production. Trinity Advanced SL models will be on sale this fall.

Development of the bike began when Giant sponsored the Highroad team (now Columbia-HTC) in early 2008. Formula 1 engineer Simon Smart was enlisted to help create the most aerodynamic bike possible, and the radical innovations virtually redefined what aero bikes would look like. When Giant and the team parted ways, the company retained all the technology and continued developing the bike for Rabobank riders.

Now, the bike is ready for the public, and includes all the original aero features, plus a range of fit options to suit road time trial and triathlon use alike.

  • The stem remains in line with the top tube, and connects the top of the head tube with the fork crown via an aero protrusion in front of the head tube.
  • Fit options include three different base bar sizes, three different stem sizes, and incremental height adjustment for the aero extensions and elbow pads.
  • The front brake caliper hides behind the fork crown, in a proprietary arc that matches the fork perfectly.
  • The rear brake caliper is under the chainstays, with cable pull reversed so as to not interfere with chainrings.
  • Internal BB86 bearings on a wide but sculpted BB shell maintain stiffness.
  • The seat post is like the reverse of a seat mast — the post is cut to fit in a short receiver, and spacers under it help hold it at the correct height.
  • Multiple seat clamp positions permit a wide range of fore-aft adjustability, a key benefit for triathletes who typically use a more forward position.
  • All cable routing is internal, with an entry point on the down tube and exit points at the BB and right rear chainstay.

2009 Final TdF Tech: Giant pioneered the 2-part stem in front of the head tube.

2009 Final TdF Tech: Giant pioneered the 2-part stem in front of the head tube.

Photo: Zack Vestal

Giant marketing manager Andrew Juskaitis pointed out that although ProTour racing drives development and provides a grand stage for cutting edge product, triathlon is the major market for aero bikes. He emphasized that the bike is meant as an aero bike for both triathlon and road time trial.

The flagship model is the Trinity Advanced SL 0, which will retail for about $14,000 equipped with a Shimano Di2 group. However, additional models with appropriate spec will be available at much more reasonable price points, yet to be determined.

LOOK pedals onto the podium

On the first day of the Tour, LOOK Cycles marketing manager Arthur Espos showed us the new Keo 2 Max pedal, and pointed out that no fewer than six teams, including Astana (except Lance Armstrong), were riding the new pedal.

2009 Final TdF Tech: The Keo 2 MAX pedals were newly released at the Tour, and successfully so, with the yellow jersey wearer.

2009 Final TdF Tech: The Keo 2 MAX pedals were newly released at the Tour, and successfully so, with the yellow jersey wearer.

Photo: Zack Vestal

To commemorate Contador’s triumph in Paris, LOOK painted a special set of yellow pedals for his ride down the Champs Elysees.

The new Keo 2 Max has a harder contact surface area for better durability and efficiency. Cleat platform area increased by 12 percent over the original Keo Carbon, and weight remains very low — LOOK claims 120 grams for the carbon version and 125 grams for a composite Keo 2 MAX pedal.

Pearl Izumi makes a round of custom jerseys

Just in time for the start in Monaco, Pearl Izumi delivered a new jersey design to the Garmin-Slipstream riders, which they then wore for various stages of the three-week race. Dubbed the P.R.O. (Performance and Race Optimized) Speed Jersey, it was inspired by the skinsuits worn by Dave Zabriskie and Bradley Wiggins in previous road events. Pearl Izumi’s “Speed Shop,” an advanced product development group, works closely with the team to create apparel catered to any requirement in pro racing.

2009 Final TdF Tech: To prevent bunching, the front of a Speed jersey is extremely short.

2009 Final TdF Tech: To prevent bunching, the front of a Speed jersey is extremely short.

Photo: Zack Vestal

The Speed Jersey has been in development since the 2008 Tour, and employs an aggressive anatomic fit combined with P.R.O. Transfer Aero fabric to offer significant aero benefit. At the Tour start in Monaco, Pearl Izumi V.P. of Marketing Cache Mundy said, “It really looks just like a jersey, but then all the patterning and everything is fully anatomic, for the best fit possible.” Mundy had flown in three days ahead of the event to deliver just-built, custom-fit jerseys to each rider on the Garmin team.

“It’s literally designed to not fit when you are standing up,” said Mundy. The front of the jersey and seams are curved and extremely short, to precent bunching up when a rider is leaned forward over the handlebars. Additionally, the arm holes are moved to the front of the jersey, said Mundy, to help eliminate bunching and wrinkles in the sleeves and back. Three different materials are used, including strategic placement of aero fabric, to fully maximize the aero benefit of the skin-like jersey.

The P.R.O. Speed Jersey that Mundy showed us at the Tour won’t be available at retail until spring at the earliest, but Pearl Izumi is already offering the 2010 P.R.O Limited Edition Black Star kit. It’s the same P.R.O Aero jersey and bib short as those used by Garmin riders when they are not using the brand new Speed jersey or other P.R.O model apparel. Other Pearl Izumi Speed Shop apparel will also be available in limited numbers.

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