IF Lance does win the Tour this year he can rest assured that Trek pulled out all the stops on the development of their latest bikes. This is the Trek press release in full, sorry it’s quite long and suitably ‘on message’. Saw the bike at the Dauphine and the bars look really neat. Bontrager wheels also very snazzy.
The evolution of both the SSLX and the TTX represent Trek’s state-of-the-art approach to designing and building high performance bicycles. They are the truest reflection of Trek’s leadership role of driving new technology in the cycling industry.
The following notes are a breakdown of the steps involved for the production of the TTX time trial bike that Lance raced in the Dauphine Libere.
1. The Center lines: The centerlines are the skeleton of every bike we make, the starting point for every design. These act as the road map. By mapping the hard points (bottom bracket, seat angle, top tube etc), engineers are able to get the geometry that the rider needs and, get an idea as to what the frame will look like.
2. The Concept Sketch: This is the modern version of the traditional napkin sketch, where many great ideas begin. However, Trek industrial designers are using the latest in technology – digital markers and airbrushes as replacements for regular pen and paper. These tools enable designers draw over the centerlines to explore all the possible shapes the bike might take-on.
3. Digital Prototyping: Trek designers and engineers use the same technology as the car and aerospace industries. They can create a fully digital 3D model of the bike. Building right over the concept sketch, they are able to keep the original concept sketch design intent. Once a model is created the designers continue working on shapes and forms while the engineers work on the function and strength of materials being used. Working in parallel they can share data to create the optimum machine.
4. Computational Fluid Dynamics: The latest & greatest tool we have. Also known simply as CFD, this has proven to be one of the biggest breakthroughs in the rapid evolution of concept to prototype. What CDF provides is a virtual wind tunnel simulation using the digital prototype. This provides the initial compass heading to show if we’re going in the right direction or not. AMD technology provides our computers with the horsepower to run simulations so that our engineers can achieve an optimal design without committing to a fully developed prototype. CFD eliminates many of the old time consuming mysteries which in turn help save the team vital seconds on the bike.
5. Tooling: Tooling refers to making the molds and parts we use to produce the OCLV Carbon frames. The tooling is based on digital prototypes and all of the TTX tooling was created in-house at Trek’s Advanced Concept Group prototype shop in downtown Waterloo. Both engineers and programmers use robotic CNC machines that carve the molds out of billet aluminum. Mold making is the expensive part of the process, but once we can mold the frame and assemble it – game on!
6. Graphics: Not as time consuming or expensive to create as the frame itself, but the graphics are nonetheless an important part of the package. Trek designer Chad Bailey created the distinctive TTX graphic to work with the new frame shape.
7. Physical Testing: There are actually four important parts to the physical testing of the TTX. Like every other bike we make, the prototype goes to the test lab where it undergoes a barrage of strength and fatigue tests. Next is simply to get outside and ride the bike. Did it steer well or handle funny? Did we get the hard points figured out correctly with the centerlines? The TTX was sent to the Allied Low Speed Wind Tunnel where we were able to assemble solid figures on how the bike performed. Lastly, and most importantly, the bike goes to Lance. Scott Daubert delivered the TTX in the days leading up to the Dauphine Libere. Lance rode the bike in the prologue. His reaction? “It rolls like a Rolls Royce!” Mission accomplished.
8. What comes next?: Currently, only two bikes exist and the team has both of them. While the future status of the bike remains uncertain right now, the TTX project was important in many ways. Similar to the evolution of the Madone, the TTX forced us to think about bikes in a different way. And to do so we had to rely on new technology like CDF. The result was taking our design and manufacturing capabilities in new directions. The TTX ended up being lighter, faster and stiffer than the current TTT bike.?
In each of his six previous Tour de France victories, Lance Armstrong has always proven the most competitive in the two stages that are the most distinctive and demanding; the climbing and time trial stages. Lance excels when race conditions allow superior talent to shine through. The same holds true for Trek. For the last six years we have supplied Lance with an array of made in America, OCLV Carbon race bikes – the ultimate in race winning technology.
For the 2005 Tour de France, the last chapter in Lance’s seven year odyssey on the roads of France, Trek has supplied Lance with two wild new bikes; the Madone SSLX climbing bike and the TTX time trial machine. Both have proven to be lighter, stiffer and faster than anything we’ve built before.
The SSLX is based on the production Madone SSL which uses our lightest OCLV 55 Carbon. However, for the SSLX we’ve introduced the newest member of the OCLV family, OCLV Boron. By hand laying Boron strips at the bottom bracket, we’ve created a frame that is 15% stiffer. To offset the weight of the Boron material, the designers at our Advanced Component Group have also created a special SL hardware kit – anything that could be drilled or milled was; from the downtube shifter bosses to the headtube inserts and rear dropouts.
Just like the Madone SL that Lance raced in the Tour last year (with the Plata Negra flame scheme paint job), the blue flame scheme on the 2005 SSLX was chosen from the Project One menu by Lance himself.
As with every other bike Lance has raced, the Trek TTX was developed with the aid of hours of wind tunnel testing. However, the TTX was the first bike we’ve built with the aid of computational fluid dynamics. Our CFD process has not only taken hours out of the development process, but it has also empowered our designers and engineers with the most accurate tool yet to produce cutting edge frames that will cut through the air and shave seconds off the clock.
Like all OCLV Carbon frames, the TTX was born and bred in Waterloo, Wisconsin. A modern bike, handcrafted one at a time in the traditional style that has always defined the art of frame building. It’s not just a bike, it’s a Trek.
One-piece head tube/top tube borrows from the signature Madone frame design.
• Shaped design makes front end of bike stiffer when accelerating or climbing out of the saddle.
• Deep cross section helps create lift in cross winds yet is very aero in head-on winds. Lift is good.
• Narrow/necked down center section of head tube decreases frontal area therefore decreasing drag.
• Improved aero shape – more like a double sided axe than an airfoil – helps air bridge from the front wheel on the downtube.
• Deep cross section helps create lift in cross winds while remaining aero in head-on winds.
Bontrager TT Aero fork
• Narrow cross section compliments the broad leg depth of the fork leg to maximize efficiency.
• A specified cant to the fork leg’s air foil shape reduces low pressure that accumulated behind the fork legs.
• Aero shape helps air transition from the back of the fork, across the front wheel and onto the aero tubes of the frame.
• Deep section, foil shaped seat mast helps eliminate turbulent air between rider’s legs.
• Cut-out helps air transition from the frame tubes to the disc/rear wheel.
• Deep cross section helps with lift in cross wind situations.
• OCLV Carbon Honey Comb used at the top tube and bottom bracket junctions to save weight and provide lateral stiffness to the frame.
Bontrager aero bar
All new design, delivered to Lance right before the Dauphine Libere. Used by George Hincapie to win the Dauphine TT prologue.
• OCLV Carbon make is light and super stiff.
• One-piece design eliminates drag caused by excess seams and joints.
Bontrager Aeolus wheels
The Bontrager Aeolus, named after the Greek God of Wind, is a joint project between HED wheels and Bontrager. The Aeolus begins with a Race XXX Lite tubular rim made in Waterloo, Wisconsin. The rims are shipped to HED in Minnesota where they have the expertise and equipment to add on an aerodynamic and structurally enhancing deep section to the XXX rim. 16 gauge DT butted and bladed spokes are wind tunnel proven to be fast. The Bontrager Race X Lite Aero Swiss made hubs.feature torque sharing technology, cartridge bearings, star ratchet aluminum freehub body, and titanium skewers.
TTx bike – Main features:
1. The TTx frame tests stiffer torsionally and laterally for more secure handling, faster cornering, better power transfer
2. 10% less aero drag than 2004 Team Time Trial bike
3. 2% (33 grams) lighter than last year’s bike
4. 15mm Longer wheelbase for stable high speed handling
TTx aero bars – Main features:
1. Lower drag than last year’s bar
2. Wider bar than last year (42mm vs. 38mm) still aero but more comfortable
3. More aerodynamic cable routing
4. Weighs less than last years bar
Contact: Trek UK 01908 282626