Race Tech

Wiggins to ride new Pinarello Bolide time trial bike at Giro d’Italia

Pinarello have unveiled a new time trial bike – the Bolide – to be ridden by Bradley Wiggins at the Giro d’Italia.

Wiggins laid the foundations for his 2012 Tour de France triumph on Pinarello existing’s TT machine, the Graal, with victories in both of the race’s individual time trials (although he went on to win the Olympic time trial on this UK Sport-designed machine).

Now the launch of the Bolide comes less than 48 hours before the 32-year-old bids to add a second Grand Tour to his palmares on a route which includes two individual time trials and a team time trial.

Bradley Wiggins will ride the Pinarello Bolide at the Giro d’Italia (© Pinarello)

The Bolide is UCI-approved, of course, but only got the rubber stamp on April 29. Interestingly, only the 55cm model appears on the UCI’s approved equipment list, which suggests only Wiggins will ride the Bolide – for now.

Integration and aerodynamics are the buzzwords as far the Bolide is concerned and Pinarello claim their new flagship time trial machine, which has been in development for more than a year with input from Team Sky,  is 15 per cent more aerodynamic and five per cent lighter than the Graal.

Pinarello say the Bolide is 15 per cent more aerodynamic and five per cent lighter than the Graal (© Pinarello)

The frame is a significant departure from the Graal and is based around new airfoil tube profiles which, according to Pinarello, are designed to offer the lowest aerodynamic resistance in all wind conditions. Pinarello also claim that, in certain conditions, the aero profile of the frame will work to generate a forward thrust.

The Pinarello Bolide has been in development for more than a year with Team Sky (© Pinarello)

The use of a ‘concave back’ on the Bolide’s seattube allows the rear wheel to sit remarkably close, which Pinarello say significantly improves air flow in this area when compared to the Graal, while the use of horizontal rear dropouts (normally found on track bikes) also helps move the wheel closer to the seattube.

The brakes have been integrated into the front of the fork and the seatstays. Both brakes are hidden behind an aerodynamic cover to smooth airflow in an area which has previously suffered from “uncontrollable turbulence”. UCI rule 1.3.011 bans the use of any non-structural fairing designed to purely improve aerodynamics but the Bolide and its hidden brakes have had the seal of approval from cycling’s world governing body and the bike is ready to race.

All cables run internally (to “optimise the interaction between the airfoils and the air flow”, say Pinarello) and, continuing the integrated theme, the Bolide uses an integrated handlebar and stem, and the electronic shifters have also been integrated into the handlebar. Needless to say, the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 battery is hidden inside the frame, which is also compatible with mechanical groupsets.

Both brakes are hidden behind aerodynamic covers (© Pinarello)

The frame is made from the same Torayca 65HM1K carbon fibre as used on Wiggins’ road machine, the Dogma 65.1 Think 2, which helps account for the 15 per cent reduction in frame weight. The carbon fibre layup has been tweaked to reinforce the areas of the frame which come under the most stress. However, while the frame may be packed with new technology, Pinarello’s trademark asymmetric chainstays remain.

Pinarello claim the ‘structural optimisation’ of the tube profiles has allowed them to maximise aerodynamics without sacrificing stiffness. While there is no claim for improved stiffness over the Graal, Pinarello say the Bolide (which has a headtube which tapers from 1-1/8″ to 1-1/4″) offers a similar level of power transfer compared to the model ridden to so much success by Wiggins in 2012.

The integrated handlebar and stem makes for a sleek front end (© Pinarello)

Other details include a new BB86 bottom bracket which has a special area specifically designed to accommodate Wiggins’ SRM power meter sensor. The removable front derailleur hanger allows the derailleur to be removed on flat time trials when only the big ring will be deployed. Otherwise, the water bottle bosses have been lowered towards the bottom bracket – again, to improve aerodynamic performance – and the downtube profile has been shaped to ‘hide’ the bottle from airflow.

That’s all we know for now but expect to hear much more about Wiggins’ exploits on the Bolide over the next three weeks.

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Website: Pinarello

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