Time Sport are about to launch a new aero road bike called the Skylon, and here it is. Details are scarce at the moment because the new bike has yet to be announced officially.
Every new road bike now needs to be approved before it can be raced in a UCI-sanctioned event so, detectives that we are, we keep an eye on the list of approved models of frames and forks to find out what is around the corner. Admittedly, putting on a deerstalker hat and smoking a pipe while we do it probably isn’t strictly necessary but it helps us get into the part.
According to that list, Time applied for approval for the Skylon in mid-May, and since then the the French brand has stuck a picture of the bike on its homepage and added a few more on its Facebook page. They also had the Skylon on show at L’Étape du Tour (if anyone who went got any pictures, feel free to wing 'em at us). Do a Google search and you’ll find more images scattered around the internet.
So, what do we know about the Skylon?
Well, the tag line on Time’s homepage says that the Skylon is “shaped by the air” so you get the impression from the start that it is designed with aerodynamics in mind.
We’d be massively surprised if Time didn’t make the bike using their resin transfer molding (RTM) process that they showed us when we visited their place just outside Lyon last year, or at least some version of it.
Rather than using sheets of woven carbon fibre that are cut up and put inside a mould, Time weave their own carbon fibre, orientating the fibres for the characteristics they’re after and adding in other fibres to tune the ride, like Vectran which they use to absorb vibration. Go to that story for a detailed look at how Time manufacture their frames.
Time know that if they’re going to compete against bikes that are mass produced in the Far East they need to offer something different, and the manufacturing process is part of that.
The down tube looks like a mighty beast so we’re guessing that Time have tried to go for a high degree of stiffness here.
The fork crown is integrated slightly into the bottom of the head tube, presumably to smooth the airflow in that area and to minimise the bike’s frontal area. The top of the head tube appears to be slightly dropped too.
Those look like skinny but deep fork blades – a key characteristic of most aero road bikes.
The seat tube is cutaway around the leading edge of the rear wheel. That’s actually the case with all of Time’s existing bikes but it’s more pronounced here because the seat tube appears to have an aero profile. It looks like the seatpost does too.
The seatstays join the seat tube fairly low, which is a trick used by many manufacturers to reduce the amount of material stuck out in the wind, and they look to be very narrow indeed.
Rather than going for direct mount or shielded brakes, Time have stuck with standard callipers in conventional positions on the front of the fork crown and at the top of the chainstays. The cable routing is internal and the Skylon is compatible with both mechanical and electronic shift systems.
That’s yer lot for now. We’ll see if we can get any more info out of Time but it looks like they’re holding out for a proper launch. Still, that can’t be too far away. We’ll keep you posted.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.