Exclusive: Sir Chris Hoy's prototype HOY Fiorenzuola track bike
Great Britain's most decorated Olympian returns to the track to test forthcoming HOY bike
by George Scott
Spotted on its maiden voyage being ridden by Sir Chris Hoy, this is the prototype track bike which bears the six-time Olympic gold medalist's name.
Hoy joined a select group of guests, us included, for a track day at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome, organised by his nutrition provider, Science in Sport, in what he said was his first ride on the boards since January.
And Great Britain's most successful Olympian used the opportunity to test the Fiorenzuola 001 track bike - made from triple-butted, heat-treated, 6061 aluminium and paired with a carbon fibre fork - which will be available through Evans retailers later this year.
"I've seen unfinished frames along the way but this is the first time I've been on it," Hoy, who officially announced his retirement in April, told RoadCyclingUK.
"I haven't been on a track bike for seven or eight months and it just feels right. I'm going to do some more testing this weekend, with some full-on efforts, and to see how it handles through the bends.
"But after years and years of riding and racing you can tell straight away if something's right and it feels really good. I don't imagine it's going to change much in terms of frame and fork, it might just be very subtle changes to the spec."
The HOY Bikes brand was launched in November 2012, three months after the Scotsman won his fifth and sixth Olympic gold medals in London, with an initial range which included three road bikes and four city bikes. The Fiorenzuola 001 is named after the Italian track where Hoy won his first senior medal, a World Cup team sprint silver with Craig MacLean and Craig Percival, on June 20 1997.
"The number one aim with this bike is that it has to be strong enough for me to use, as this is what I will be riding for all my public track appearances, so it's not just something I've thrown together," said Hoy.
"It's the geometry that I asked for, it's the position that I asked for, it's the tubing that I asked for, and while I've only been out for the first time today and haven't given it the full beans yet, it handles right, it's balanced and it's stiff."
The HOY Bikes range has been developed with Evans Cycles and chief designer James Olsen, who previously worked with Genesis Bikes before moving to the retailer, where he has also been charged with revamping the Pinnacle brand.
The Fiorenzuola is set to be the latest addition to the range and Hoy has pitched it as a "first serious track bike", capable of being ridden up to national level.
"It has to be affordable, so the components on the final bike are ones that will be perfectly adequate to get you through first track leagues, but the frame and fork are at the centre of it all," said Hoy, who revealed the final bike will sell for approximately £700-750. "You can then upgrade components around it as you progress.
"I'd like to think of it as someone's first serious track bike, that you could race on to a reasonably high level but without breaking the bank. You could race up to national level on this frame."
Hoy said the frame being ridden at the velodrome named after him was almost finished, with small changes planned for the dropouts. The 37-year-old had equipped it with his favourite Prologo Scratch TR saddle, carbon fibre Easton EC90 handlebar and Shimano Dura-Ace pedals with toe straps, and while the final spec of the production bike is "not 100 per confirmed", the chainring, chain, wheels and tyres are likely to be the same or similar to those fitted to Hoy's prototype.
"At this level you have to make some concessions to spec and you can't look at every watt to be saved," said Hoy. "The wheels - the spokes are round, not aero - are where you can make the biggest upgrade but that's the same for almost any off-the-shelf bike.
"But even if you go for really expensive wheels, you train on standard spokes. Even last year at the Olympics, I trained on spoked wheels then put the discs on for the racing, so you notice that step up in performance.
"What we want is a frame which is strong and stiff, so it's not going to bend all over the place, and durable."
Hoy told us he has had the same level of input on the brand's road and city bikes as the forthcoming track machine, but concedes there is no better test pilot than him to ensure the Fiorenzuola is up to scratch.
"If I can get out there and do a full-on standing start, a full-on flying 200, and the bike doesn't flex or bend, then there's no-one else out there who can produce much more than that.
"You know that if it has passed that test then it has my stamp of approval."
The HOY Fiorenzuola track bike was being ridden at a velodrome day with Science in Sport. Sir Chris Hoy is an ambassador for Science in Sport (SiS): www.scienceinsport.com