After the final time trial of the 1989 Tour de France, when Greg Lemond rode to the closest victory in Tour history, beating Laurent Fignon with the aid of aero bars and an aero helmet, aerodynamics have become an increasingly important area of development for bicycle manufacturers.
The past few years have seen this rate of development accelerate, with many top bike brands now offering an aero bike alongside the more standard road bikes. Scott has always been a company at the leading edge of bicycle design and this year introduces the radical Foil.
Now available in shops, the Foil takes lessons learned from the company’s time trial Plasma 3 bike. Most noticeably, the tube profiles are a partial aerofoil shape with the typical trailing edge removed, similar but not the same as the Kamm tail profiles used by some other manufacturers.
These tube profiles, which force the air to separate at the trailing edge and creates a larger virtual aerofoil, are found at the head tube, on the new fork and around the bottom bracket area, smoothing the airflow as it passes across the frame.
To develop the Foil, Scott brought together a dedicated group of engineers, Scott Aero Science, headed by aerodynamic consultant Simon Smart with the brief to develop the Foil.
They employed CFdesign software to test concepts before models were put in a wind tunnel to verify test data, with over 100 hours logged in the Drag2Zero facility in the Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix wind tunnel.
“Our goal was to be the first to develop an aero road frame without compromise to stiffness and weight,” says Simon. “It was therefore very satisfying to achieve our objectives when it was used on every stage of the Tour in 2010, setting a new benchmark for aerodynamics in road bikes.”
Intended as a road racing frame that will sit beneath the incredibly light Addict, the Foil’s main objectives were aerodynamics, lateral stiffness and power transfer over weight.
“We needed to maintain a high level of lateral stiffness in the frame for maximum power transfer while maintaining a low overall weight. We further chose to prioritise lateral stiffness over weight, because this frame is only slightly heavier than the Addict and yet substantially lighter than other manufacturer’s frames in this category,” states the company.
There will be four bikes available, including the fully Shimano Dura-Ace equipped version which hits the scales at just 6.66kg (14.7lbs). The same frame can be bought with a more affordable Ultrega groupset, with weight only rising to 7.38kg (16.3lb).