We don’t know a lot about the bike Sir Bradley Wiggins will use in his Hour Record attempt this weekend, and probably won’t until the moment it rolls out onto the boards for his ride, but this very short video posted on YouTube recently provides a glimpse of the Pinarello track bike Wiggo will hope will carry him to a new record.
We can guess he’ll be riding a track version of the Pinarello Bolide, the bike that has taken him to so many notable victories over the past few years. Previous Hour Record contenders have ridden track versions of existing time trial bikes, either specially manufactured where a brand doesn’t have a track version available, or stock bikes that anyone can buy.
Pinarello doesn’t make a track version of the Bolide so it’ll be special build, but it’ll retain the same basic aerodynamic shape as the road version. Key changes will the the removal of the brake calipers - he doesn’t need them - and the rear mech hanger removed - he doesn't need gears obviously. We expect he'll use a Shimano drivetrain, Speedplay pedals and disc wheels of some description, and other than that it's fairly standard Hour Record fare.
One area where we’ve seen quite a lot of customisation on previous Hour Record bikes is in the handlebars. The desire to get the most aerodynamic position possible while also still balancing the need to be reasonably comfortable for the 60 minutes, means most Hour Record contenders have focused on fit and position, and the handlebars are the key component to getting optimum results.
3dprint.com, a website specialising in 3D Printing News, recently revealed that Bradley has developed custom 3D printed titanium handlebars in collaboration with Jaguar for his Hour Record attempt bike. The handlebars look to have given Wiggo a more aerodynamic position than the position he adopted for his recent 10 mile time trial.
Comparing photos with the video, which I realise isn't very accurate at all, does appear to show that his Hour Record position involves a more stretched out position and with a flatter back. He's also using ski-bend extensions rather than the straight extensions fitted to his 10 mile TT bike recently. No doubt Wiggo will have spent some time in a wind tunnel honing his already good position as the Hour Record attempt is certainly the place where even the smallest marginal gains can reap great rewards.
The 3D printed handlebars will also have allowed Wiggins to get a position he couldn't achieve with readily available. Speaking to an expert in 3D printing, it's likely he would have used 3D printed nylon to test different handlebars in the wind tunnel, before settling on the final design which was then printed in titanium. A set of 3D printed titanium handlebars doesn't come cheap, an expert we spoke to said you’d be looking in the region of £3,000 minimum. What cost to set a new Hour Record though.
We’ve slowly seeing the rise of 3D printing in the cycling world, from Garmin mounts to titanium dropouts as seen on Charge’s cyclocross bike. We’ve even seen a complete bike created using 3D printing technology, but we’re probably someway from the stage where such 3D printed parts are commonplace in cycling.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.