Project 1t4i – formerly known as Skil-Shimano – announced Felt as its bike sponsor back in September but we now have a first look at actual team bikes and livery, along with a more complete look at some of the rest of the equipment the riders will use in 2012 and beyond.
Light-and-stiff Felt F1s for the road
Project 1t4i riders will have their choice of Felt's F-Series or AR carbon machines on the road but at least for now, they're sticking with the former's tried-and-true formula of light weight and high stiffness.
Given the team's close association with Shimano, it's no surprise that the Osaka component giant will supply virtually all of the finishing kit, including a wide range of tubular and clincher wheels for racing and training, Dura-Ace Di2 electronic transmissions and brakes with SRM power measuring crank arms, carbon bodied Dura-Ace SPD-SL clipless pedals, and aluminum and carbon fiber bars, stems, and seatpost from affiliate PRO.
Italian company Elite supplies bottles and cages and compatriots Vittoria are in the process of equipping the team with an army of tires – including some prototypes. Topping things off are Selle Italia saddles with specific models based on rider preferences.
Not only is the componentry electric but so is the paint job. Project 1t4i mostly sticks with Felt's matte clearcoat base finish on the F1 but jazzes it up with a bit of neon green. It's at once understated yet highly visible – and seems perfectly suited for a 'team replica' model to be offered to public later.
Sleek DAs for time trials
For time trials, Felt is supply Project 1t4i with its proven DA platform, dressed up in similar neon green highlights and wearing similar build kits – albeit in corresponding aero variants, of course. Key changes include deeper front wheels and disc rears in most cases, Elite's more aerodynamically friendly Kit Time Trial carbon fiber cage and bottle package, PRO's Missile Evointegrated carbon fiber aerobar, and TRP-made linear-pull brakes tucked under the chain stays.
PRO also goes a step further, machining its own custom stems that specifically work with Felt's DA front end and profile perfectly with the rest of the Missile Evo setup. Custom machined aluminum bridges on some bikes also tie the rear extension ends together for additional stiffness and stability.
Vittoria again provides tires though in contrast to the ultra-skinny rubber many are used to seeing on time trial machines, Project 1t4i may be moving towards noticeably fat, 25mm-wide tires depending on wind tunnel data.
As for the wind tunnel testing itself, we'll have more on that later. Stay tuned.