Italian component maker 3T met some last-minute resistance to its Brezza time trial aerobars during the recent Tour of California, when the sport's governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI), introduced an aero 'form factor' rule, nearly thwarting the 3T-sponsored Felt and Cervélo bikes ridden by Christian Vande Velde, David Zabriskie, Carlos Sastre and Thor Hushovd.
As a result, 3T has tweaked its Ventus and Brezza model designs, while adding two affordable options, the Mistral and Zefiro.
"In February, we were about to freeze the design of these new bars and commit to production," said 3T chief executive René Wiertz. "Then the row over aerodynamics blew up at the Tour of California. Our new bars were engineered to the same aerodynamic principles as the Brezza, which was already fitted to the Cervélo and Garmin-Slipstream TT bikes.
"Brezza clearly doesn’t comply with UCI rule 1.3.024, but we were able to re-engineer the designs for the Mistral and Zefiro in time," he added. "We’re pulling out all the stops to get them into production, so quite soon teams should be able to specify a made-for-purpose aerobar that’s fully UCI-legal."
The Mistral bars resemble the Brezzas, ridden by Zabriskie in California. 3T has positioned the bars a lower price point (US$300 for the Pro edition), largely built of carbon fibre composites. Mistral has multiple elbow-pad mountings in the top skin of the base bar. Together with a new ‘deep-S’ extension option, this entry-level base bar affords a wide range of adjustment. It also meets the UCI’s recently clarified rules on aerodynamic ‘form factor’, so can legally be used in any UCI event, according to the company.
"Time was very short to re-engineer these new bars," 3T technical director Richard McAinsh added. "But we are well equipped to do this. 3T has what is probably the industry’s most advanced platform for rapid prototyping and stress-testing of cycle components.
"This experience shows that we can quickly and effectively engineer 3T components to the exact requirements of any code or rider."
For more information, visit www.thenew3t.com.