Robbie McEwen, Cadel Evans and the rest of the Silence-Lotto team will find no excuses in their machinery for the 2008 Tour de France, as their bike supplier Ridley handed over some brand new bikes just before the start of the race.
Say hello to Ridley’s new time trial bike. Isn’t it a stunner? It’s the result of Ridley’s Aero Project, a case study of close examination of the effects of aerodynamics and these findings have resulted in both the redesigned Noah and the brand new time trial bike, the Dean.
Ridley has licensed ‘Jetstream’ technology from Oval Concepts and the Dean’s deep section forks and slim seat stays both feature R-Flow technology, “slotted airfoils” designed to pull air through and away from the wheels and create an area of lower air pressure for the wheels to spin through, reducing drag. According to Ridley, spinning wheels produce eight times more friction where they pass through the frame and fork due to the drag created by turbulence as two air masses collide.
Additionally, Ridley’s time in the wind tunnel produced R-Surface. Ridley engineers used oil-mapping to identify areas of turbulent airflow caused where brakes, cable routing and frame junctions compromised the frame’s aerodynamics, and allowed the engineers to resculpt the frame.
Where resculpting isn’t possible though, Ridley developed “textured surface treatments” for those areas limited by structural restrictions or UCI regulations. This special treatment, or paint, allows Ridley to introduce to a measured amount of turbulence at exactly the right place on an airfoil to energise the boundary layer, which re-establishes laminar airflow around the frame and measurably reduces drag. This painted-on surface texture to control airflow is used on both the Dean and Noah.
Ridley call the Dean “the fastest bike in the world.” We’ll have to wait until the first time trial before we know that for sure…
Super sprinter McEwen will do battle on the sprint stages on the brand new Noah, which has been redesigned to be as aerodynamically efficient as possible. It’s the product of the same process that has brought about the bold looking Dean, and as such shares some central design features key to both bikes’ hoped-for success. Both the fork and seat stays feature the slotted R-Flow airfoils and the entire frame pushes the UCI regulations to the last millimetre.
A huge deep section downtube, flared head tube, swoopy top tube and a seat tube curving around the rear wheel all contribute to the bike’s increased slipperiness. As seems to be the latest trend sweeping the bike industry, a 1 1/8″ to 1 1/2″ headtube features up front. Expect a weight of around 1.1kg and for McEwen to be doing his utmost best to propel it across the line on the sprint stages of the Tour.
While McEwen gets a bike that’s incredibly aero, the Helium is the company’s lightest frame on offer, and it just got lighter, which will make Cadel Evans happy in the mountains. Ridley went back to the drawing board and figured out it could remove carbon fibre in a way that wouldn’t impact on the frame’s performance, aside from reducing the weight.
There’s less carbon around the bottom bracket and the headset bearings now fit directly into the carbon headtube, with the aluminium bearing races now gone. Like the Noah, the Helium has a 1 1/8″ to 1 1/2″ headtube and integrated seat mast, but it weighs considerably less with about 900g claimed for a medium.
Head over to www.thefastestbikeintheworld.com for more info about the technology in these latest bikes.