Tour Tech 2013: Ridley Helium SL loses 100g for the Tour
A lighter coat of paint sheds some weight for the Lotto-Belisol team in the Tour de France
Ridley’s Helium SL was already on the light side at just 750g for a size medium frame, but for the Tour de France the company used a lighter paint finish to reduce the weight by a claimed 100g.
The Belgian company used a new painting process which results in a coat of paint that weighs 30g, instead of the regular 130 to 150g finish. The graphics and decals have been stripped back to their bare essentials too in an effort to reduce the weight.
The Helium SL is the go-to bike for most of the Lotto-Belisol riders, with the exception of the dedicated sprinters like Andre Greipel who prefer the stiffer and more aero Noah Fast. The Helium SL is the choice of the climbers and all-rounders.
We’ve seen the weight of carbon frames steadily fall over the years, and now every top manufacturer is keen (and many are able) to offer a sub-800g frame. With the new paint finish, a claimed weight in the region of 650g makes it one of the lightest frames in the peloton. It will have given the team mechanics a small headache as they will have had to fit some extra weight to the bike somewhere, to bring it up to the UCI’s 6.8kg minimum weight limit.
The frame incorporates many ‘standard’ features seen on such top-end equipment. So, up front is a meaty tapered head tube, down below is a huge bottom bracket shell housing a BB30 standard, rounded square down tube, box section chainstays, and pencil-thin seatstays. There’s clear similarities with other frames here. Cervelo’s R3/R5 leaps to mind.
Ridley use a blend of 60, 40 and 30 ton high modulus carbon fibre to allow the engineers to design in the required stiffness and compliance.
The team bikes are dressed in Campagnolo Record 11-speed groupsets, a mix of electronic and mechanical depending on the preference of the individual rider. Deda supply them with handlebars, stems and seatposts, and San Marco the saddles.
Each bike is equipped with an SRM Powermeter, something that has become common in the pro peloton as the weight of the bikes has dropped sufficiently that they are no longer a weight penalty.
Don't forget you can see the full peloton of team road bikes in this huge roundup article.