With Geraint Thomas, Bradley Wiggins and Ian Stannard, Sky are pretty confident of getting a big result in the both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, and sponsors Pinarello and Jaguar have been working on something pretty special to aid the team.
The new Pinarello K8-S is a dedicated bike for the cobbles. Built around a 900g frame, the K8-S employs what Pinarello are calling the world’s first bespoke lightweight suspension system, the Dogma Suspension System 1.0 (DSS 1.0).
While suspension on Roubaix bikes is nothing new – three editions of the race were won with Rock Shox forks between 1992-94, two by Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle and one by Andrei Tchmill – Sky have progressed the idea from simply mounting MTB material on a road bike. The DSS 1.0 is a rear shock with an elastomer insert, rather than using a tensioned spring or compressed air, and while it’ll provide extra comfort, it’ll be a million miles away from the springy back end you get on a full suspension mountain bike. As you’d expect, Pinarello are making some big claims about the new bike, but the most impressive if true is the fact that they rate is as 50% more comfortable over the cobbles.
A lot of research and development went into determining exactly the correct material for the insert, because it had to balance the twin goals of increasing comfort but not sapping power from the rider. The use of direct mount calipers on the rear allowed them to fit the shock into the frame.
For his part, Bradley Wiggins seems keen on the new bike and has been testing it himself on the Roubaix course.
“I’ve never ridden anything like it on the cobbles before, which is the most extreme terrain you can ride a bike on” said the reigning World TT champion. “The way it feels, its aerodynamics, stiffness and improved flex in the rear is game-changing for cycling.
“This is the first time anyone has gone out there, looked at the demands of the cobbles and made a bike specifically for that job. It was really noticeable in testing between the guys on the K8-S to the others that weren’t. It gives us lots of confidence and a huge advantage on the cobbles.”
Sky riders also told Pinarello that while the shock was highly effective on the cobbles, they couldn’t feel it on the flat sections of road, which helped to satisfy the Italian brand that the shock wasn’t inhibiting power transfer.
On top of the new rear shock, the K8-S has another few innovations up its sleeve as well. The chainstays are ‘flexstays’, flat carbon stays that have been designed with as much give in them as possible, without sacrificing the required lateral stiffness needed for power transfer. The front end sees a slacker head tube angle and a 4mm increase in fork rake.
Check out the video about the K8-S below.