Time trial fans watching Tuesday’s Tour de Romandie prologue might have spotted a new, almost totally unmarked TT rig under EF Education-Nippo neo-pro and rising TT star Stefan Bissegger. The Swiss rider racing on home roads powered around the 4 km course in a little over five and a half minutes, good enough for fifth place on the day.
Bissegger will be a brand-new epithet to many, having firstly grabbed the headlines after winning the time trial stage of Paris-Nice in March. On Tuesday, nonetheless, it was Bissegger’s bike that describe our attention.
While EF equestrians officially use the current SuperSlice in time trial stages, a select few, including Rigoberto Uran, Sebastian Langeveld, and now Bissegger, ought to have spotted this spring on this new, as-yet-unannounced TT frame.
We reached out to Cannondale for comment on the new frame but, as anticipated, the American brand is remaining tight-lipped, simply confirming that it is a new Cannondale and it hopes to make an announcement soon.
With no details from Cannondale, we thought it might be fun to play a game of” I spy” with the new frame.
I spy a SystemSix lookalike
This new TT frame has a lot in common with the rear end of the SystemSix.
Perhaps the most obvious place to start is with this new time trial frame’s striking resemblance to the current SystemSix aero street bike from Cannondale( yes I called it an aero bike ). The SystemSix is widely considered to be among the fastest road-going frames on world markets, so it shapes sense that Cannondale might follow a similar formula for the development of a speed-seeking time trial frame.
Somewhat less obvious is the potential benefits the apparent similarity to the SystemSix presents Cannondale in the specific characteristics and fabricating process of a new time experiment machine. The air-dodging demands for an aero road frame and a time experiment frame are remarkably similar. With all the design and CFD data already gathered during the SystemSix project, Cannondale could save in this area when looking to create this new time trial frame and perhaps even integrate some aero design ingredients left off the final road-specific SystemSix design. For instance, the plunged seatstays on the new TT frame seem very similar on first sight but, on closer inspection, they appear to be more profiled than those on the SystemSix.
Less-obvious things expected are any revolutionary designing ingredients stemming from the recently relaxed UCI regulations on frame design. As one of the first brand-new period experiment frames spotted since the regulations were amended last year, one might have expected bigger airfoil shapes or minimal tube widths. The following regulation permit tubing to be applied to a 3:1 ratio anywhere on the frame and for tubes as thin as only 10 mm. Although difficult to tell from simply the action shots “were having” seen of this new frame, Cannondale does not appear to have utilised this new leeway.
Under the following regulation, the seatpost can also be outlook anywhere on the top tubing. With the seatpost in its traditional posture on this new frame, Cannondale has either decided that moving the seatpost did not provide the gains necessary to justify the assumed restricted adjustment, or this new frame was in designing before the new regulations were announced.
I spy disc brakes
While disc brake Cannondale SuperSlice time trial bikes are nothing new, the EF team has opted for the rim brake option in recent years. In all the photos of the brand-new bicycle spotted still further, the frames ought to have equipped with disc brakes, while equestrians still on the current SuperSlice are still utilize rim brakes.
Given that a disc brake setup for the new time test rigs requires disc brake-compatible variants of the groupsets, race wheels, and spare wheels, plus all the additional truck room and car-mechanics’ period a disc setup for these brand-new motorcycles would require, the decision to have the test bikes led disc brakes proposes a rim brake alternative does not feature for the new bicycle. This makes sense as time trial machines are a small percentage of any brand’s sell, so to develop and present two variants is very unlikely.
I spy different frame shapes
In the photos of the brand-new period test frame that emerged from Tirreno-Adriatico and Volta Catalunya, the new frame seemed to have a steeply sloped top tubing. Both these frames were smaller sizes for Uran and Langeveld. Bissegger is a taller rider and as such goes a larger frame. The top tube on Bissegger’s frame is almost perfectly horizontal, vastly different to that of the small frames. This is again in keeping with the SystemSix frame design, which is progressively more sloping in the smallest sizes.
I spy seatposts
The bikes spotted under both Uran and Langeveld both had very unique-looking seatposts “thats been” either reversible and/ or offered an extreme range of fore/ aft change. However the bike spotted under Bissegger had an entirely different design at the saddle fasten field on the seatpost.
It is difficult say with any confidence from the photos if the seatpost is indeed reversible or even which of the two intends spotted so far is more likely to be the final alternative. Perhaps both options will be available to serve a number of different use suits, rider morphologies, and event/ position rules.
I snoop a new forking
Although I have not spotted any head-on photos of the new bikes, some scouring on the GCN+ feed of Tuesday’s prologue just about reveals what appears to be significantly wider fork legs than are used on the SystemSix. Wider fork legs and an increased gap between the forkings and the wheels is a design feature first spotted on the Great Britain Hope Track bike and is stimulating its way into street designing of late , notably on the new Wilier Filante SLR and Factor Ostro VAM.
The Hope Track Bike is an extreme example, but wide forks are making their way onto outdoor-destined bikes, too.
This design is said to smooth out the airflow between the forkings and wheels and as such generates a faster setup. The thicknes of the forks use here and on other street layouts is not quite to the same level as find on the Hope track bike and as such is not putting the forkings, seatstays and riders legs in one plane, effectively obscuring them behind one other. However, where the SystemSix forks gradually flare out, the forks on the brand-new TT rig appear to be even wider through the entire length of the forking leg.
I snoop a cockpit, but is it only squad issue?
Sticking with the front end of the bike, let’s turn our attention to the cockpit. EF Education- Nippo has a partnership with Vision that realizes the team use the Vision Metron integrated saloon and root rather than the HollowGram Save and Knot System bar the SystemSix and SuperSix are equipped with as stock. This Vision integrated bar on EF bikes has always seemed a little of a mismatch to me compared to HollowGram alternatives which pour more smoothly into the headset and head tube on both bicycles.
All the new period experiment bikes spotted so far have been equipped with Vision TFA bars and TFE expansions. As such we have no confirmation if a HollowGram integrated cockpit is in development for the new hour trial frame, but the Vision setup and the brand-new frame do have that same aftermarket upgrade look to them.
Could we see a dedicated cockpit for the purposes of the final frame present from Cannondale? Time trial cockpits have advanced tremendously in recent years, with many producers, including Vision , now offering aerodynamically optimised extensions with plentiful adjustability and some astronomical price tag. Cannondale would have a job of work to create similarly fast cockpits to conciliate the w/ Cd-Ahungry time-trialling fraternity.
I snoop the future of aero bikes?
All the topics covered in this article have been based on what I could see from picking through the photos that have surfaced of the brand-new bicycle. I am now going to look into a crystal ball and indulge in pure speculation. I pose the following point: is it possible this new TT frame is in fact the next generation SystemSix in masquerade? Stick with me on this one.
The similarities between the SystemSix and this new frame are undeniable. Compare the brand-new frame to the current SuperSlice and many other TT frames and you’ll see this new offering from Cannondale is much more akin to an aero street bike than a occasion test bicycle. So much so that many questioned whether this was indeed a SuperSix hastily built up as a TT bike when, for whatever reason, the team saw itself short a TT bike. That myth has been dispelled now with the proof from Cannondale that this is indeed” a brand-new Cannondale”, but note there was no mention of a brand-new TT bike or framework identify.
If we then likewise assume that Cannondale would have been at least aware of new regulations coming from the UCI, coupled with the fact this frame layout seems to be a step closer to a street frame rather than the step further away from what the new regulations would permit, then questions do certainly start to arise as to why Cannondale would dilute a dedicated occasion trial offering.
The UCI recently revised a number of technical regulations, and time-trial and road motorcycles now fall under many of the same regulations. In many cases time-trial framesets now simply fall under the “road” guidelines.
The brand-new frame does feature a much larger head tube/ top tube/ down tube interface and so-called ” compensation triangle “. Previously this “wouldnt have been” permissible on a road-racing machine, but with the brand-new UCI regulations now in play, this is perhaps legal in street racing. Perhaps this is one area Cannondale has used the new regulations aimed at improving already aero designing of the SuperSix.
This is all speculation and it could easily be argued these are simply design elements of a new time experiment frame. But I belief I have spotted a number of other intimates this could actually double up as a road-going machine.
As mentioned previously, the current SystemSix is known to be one of, if not the fastest road bicycle on world markets, however, we are now pushing three years since the SystemSix launch and one of the criticisms of the SystemSix is its weight. As such, many Cannondale fans are keen to see an updated SystemSix. Other than reducing load, at which point the SystemSix starts to infringe on the SuperSix’s territory, how does Cannondale improve on the current SystemSix?
Modern aero road bikes are already insanely fast, but all-rounder lightweight semi-aero style frames are rapidly eating up clods of the dedicated aero frame sell. Many of these bicycles are now offering relatively low weight, incorporation, aero gains, and versatility with wider tyre permission, building these an virtually go-anywhere bike.
How does Cannondale improve the dedicated aero bike? Just getting faster may not be possible or even enough to retain the platform’s relevance. Perhaps it could be improved by targeting the only area of road racing the do-it-all bike has not: day trialling!
While undoubtedly not for as big-hearted a market as the do-it-all modern bike, a bicycle that could be used to double up as a road racing machine on the weekends and a hour test bicycle at the golf-club TT on a Wednesday night would certainly have its fans. Yes, we would be stuck with plunge barrooms and road levers unless there was some sort of quick and easy brake hose decoupler, but with SRAM eTAP wireless options and rumoured Shimano and Campagnolo wireless alternatives on the way, the addition of extensions and bar-end shifters would be relatively easy. Also, consider those brand-new Vision TFE( The Fastest Extensions) modern TT expansions we understood Bissegger using are available as a clip-on bar merely.
Arguably the biggest market for an aero road/ hour trial bike might be in triathlon. Athlete could have the option of a draft-legal and non-drafting bike in one.
Then we have that seatpost. Regardless of whether the seatpost is reversible or not, it clearly offers a large amount of adjustability. Given one of the major differences with a occasion test machine is a steeper seat angle, this adjustability would give a greater range of effective seat angles to perhaps cater for both setups. That might also explain Cannondale’s commitment to the standard seatpost positioning even now with the new UCI regulations.
Looking at the front end of the new motorcycle, the root and top tube are inline for an aerodynamically improved flowing through the field. This setup is common on time trial bikes but less so on street bikes, presumably because the plummeted branch would greatly alter the frame stack. However, if we liken Bissegger’s point on the brand-new and age-old frames, it appears this dropped root is is compatible with a raised top tube.
Also, Bissegger is seemingly apply the same positional setup. However, to achieve this same position the new frame necessitates much fewer rooms under the armrests than on the current SuperSlice, presumably of the same size. This would suggest the stack has been significantly increased despite the dropped branch. Is Cannondale scheming a similar setup and greater integration of the front end as an improvement for the current SystemSix?
Let’s stick with the cockpit and turn( no pun planned) to steering for a few seconds. This is one area where my conjecture might prove problematic. The cover on a road bike and TT bike vary greatly as geometry at the front end differs also. Unless, of course, Cannondale develops a structure like the Wolf Tooth GeoShift headset. I did warn you I was going to indulge in pure speculation here.
Could Cannondale be obscuring its new aero street bike in plain sight and testing it along the road, at UCI races, disguised as a occasion test motorcycle? Stranger things have happened.
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