The Scott Foil was first launched in 2010 as one of the first dedicated dedicated aero-optimised road bikes and it went some way to setting the benchmark for wind-cheating machines.
Now, five years later, Scott have overhauled the Foil and Pieter Weening is among the Orica-GreenEDGE riders on the model year 2016 version at the
Tour de France.
Consider this a revamp, rather than a subtle upgrade, and Scott say the new Foil’s refined aerodynamic tube profiles contribute to a six-watt saving over its predecessor, equating to a 27-second advantage over 40km at an average speed of 45km/h, which, to be honest, is likely to be far more relevant to Weening and his Orica-GreenEDGE colleagues than the rest of us on the club run.
We stopped by the Aussie team’s mechanics truck at the Tour to check out Weening’s machine. Let’s delve in for a closer look.
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Pieter Weening's Scott Foil
Not only do Scott say the new Foil is more aerodynamic than the previous version, but it's said to be lighter (at 945g), stiffer and more comfortable, too. The 2016 Foil was one of a raft of top-tier bikes launched ahead of the Tour, alongside the likes of the Specialized Venge ViAS, Canyon Ultimate CF SLX, Trek Madone 9-Series - all of which, incidentally, have a distinct aero flavour.
The Foil is Scott's aero road machine and sits alongside the super-light Addict at the top of the Swiss firm's range, with Orica-GreenEdge riders (and those from Scott's other sponsored team, IAM Cycling) able to choose between the two. This version of the Foil is so new that OGE only received delivery of six frames just days before the Tour and Weening is one of the team's riders to get the privilege of using one of them.
In improving the aerodynamic prowess of the Foil, Scott have paid particular attention to the headtube, downtube, fork and seatstays. The headtube has a new 'head-to-toe' aero profile, and the headtube/downtube junction has been lowered to remove the gap behind the fork crown. Meanwhile, the diameter of the downtube has been increased to improve bottom bracket stiffness, but Scott say this also reduces drag by hiding the water bottle from airflow and effectively hiding the seattube, too. Finally, the seatstays have been lowered, and the rear brake moved behind the bottom bracket, to smooth airflow.
Tough act to follow
The original Foil became one of the most successful bikes in the peloton, achieving, at the time of the launch of the new machine, 115 World Tour wins, 16 Grand Tour stage victories and 3 Classics triumphs. Anyway, we particularly like this feature on Weening's bike - a number plate holder integrated into the seatpost clamp.
Scott say the front end of the bike contributes to between 32 and 54 per cent of total drag (at various yaw angles), so paid particular attention to that in the development of the new Foil. The result was a proprietary, integrated handlebar but given that Orica-GreenEDGE have an existing sponsorship deal with PRO, it's the Shimano subsidiary's components on Weening's bike, save for the aero-profiled wedge at the rear of the 131mm stem. How much impact this has on the overall aerodynamic performance of the Foil, we don't know.
Weening's aluminium stem is paired with an aluminium PRO Vibe 7S handlebar with an anatomic bend. The majority of professional riders use aluminium cockpit components for their increased durability in a crash, plus they often need the extra weight to meet the UCI's 6.8kg weight limit.
Weening's bike is equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace direct mount brakes at the front and rear. The rear brake is hidden behind the bottom bracket - Scott say this smooth's airflow around the rear wheel - and this little gadget is an inline barrel adjuster/quick release for fine-tuning rear brake setup.
Tricks of the trade
Professional mechanics have all sorts of tricks to keep things neat and tidy (and in perfect working order) on the bike. Here, the rear brake cable and Di2 wire on Weening's bike have been wrapped together, with rubber bumpers to stop them rubbing on the frame. While the latest round of aero bikes (including the Specialized Venge ViAS and Trek Madone 9-Series) have sought to hide all cables, Scott say the aerodynamic difference is negligible and so have left them exposed at the front end to improve the ease at which the bike can be serviced. The cables still run internally through the frame, though, as this is thought to be the more aerodynamic position, and also improves the stiffness of the downtube as the stiffest carbon fibre is placed on the sides of the tube, not the top, and so this doesn't have to be compromised.
Weening's machine wears a full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 electronic groupset, with the 53-39t chainset paired with an 11-28t cassette. The pedals are also Shimano Dura-Ace.
The old-school aesthetic of this Fizik Volta R1 saddle looks somewhat at odds with the aero tech on Weening's bike but it's still a thoroughly modern perch. It combines a classic shape with a carbon fibre base and rails, in a saddle which weighs just 165g.