Team Raleigh’s Dan Fleeman has been evaluating this new frame from the American arm of the company during this week's Tour of Britain. After finishing in the top 10 in 2008, Fleeman is arguably the squad’s brightest hope for a headline finish, and is using the race to put the new rig – which will become the team issue chassis for 2011 – through its paces.
The most obvious difference from the rest of the squad’s mounts is the colour scheme, but next year’s team machines will come in the historic red, blue and yellow finish. Other changes are subtle, but important.
At the front, the 2011 fork reverts to a classic bend instead of the current straight blade, which improves the handling, and the tapered 1-1/2 to 1-1/8in carbon steerer tube makes steering more precise and confident. This turns on an FSA headset, which is topped off by an ITM Pathom CNC aluminium stem with 3K carbon wrap and carbon faceplate. The handlebars have been customised by the rider, and are Deda Newtons, which have had 2cm cut from the drops to suit Fleeman’s preference.
Top and down tubes continue to have a rounded triangular cross section for rigidity, and flow into the oversized bottom bracket area. This houses a BB30 shell, and makes a significant contribution to the extra stiffness of the new bike. Mated to this, and building on the added stiffness at the front, are very deep chainstays.
The down tube flows into the oversized chainstays with plenty of room for the new BB30 shell
These no longer have the pronounced kink of the current model, but are oversized in the vertical plane along their length, ensuring maximum power transfer. Their subtle curve is echoed by the seatstays, which gently bow outwards between seat tube and rear dropouts to provide some vertical compliance and shock absorption.
The drivetrain is almost a full Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 group. Shift levers plus both derailleurs and brakes are from the Japanese giant, the only deviations being an Ultegra cassette and the unusual chainset. This consists of SRAM crankarms attached to a Quarq Technology CinQo instrumented crank spider.
Containing strain gauge devices, this is said to be as accurate as similar power measurement systems from well-known competitors. But a major difference is the adoption of the ANT interface, allowing Fleeman to use a Garmin 500 for data collection and conventional bike computer duties. The SRAM cranks and BB30 shell necessitate the use of a SRAM compatible bottom bracket to spin the Quarq unit.
A Quarq CinQo power measuring system is fitted to Fleeman's SRAM Red cranks, with a SRAM 53t outer ring and Mavic Race Ti pedals
Wheels are Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimate SSCs, and are the rider’s own. These super-stiff and light carbon flyers are shod with fast Schwalbe Ultremo tubulars. Brake pads are Mavic’s own carbon-specific units. Fleeman prefers the rarely seen Selle San Marco Concor saddle, mounted atop a full-carbon ITM Pathom seatpost, and pedals are team issue Mavic Race Ti.
Fleeman says the new frame sprints and climbs really well because it's ultra stiff – in fact, it's probably the stiffest frame he has ridden. The surefooted handling provided by that beefed-up front end inspires confidence but, it seems, with no loss of comfort, the new bike being at least as forgiving as the previous model when racing all day. All in all, Fleeman finds it to be an excellent balance, and would only change the colour scheme – a wish that will soon be granted.
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: 2011 American Team Raleigh
- Fork: 2011 American Team Raleigh
- Headset: FSA
- Stem: ITM Pathom alu –carbon, 125mm
- Handlebars: Customised Deda Newton
- Tape/grips: ITM
- Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace w/ carbon-specific pads
- Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace w/ carbon-specific pads
- Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace 7900
- Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace 7900
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace 7900
- Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace 7900
- Cassette: Shimano Ultegra 11-23T
- Chain: KMC X10L Gold
- Crankset: SRAM cranks with Quarq Cinqo spider, 53/39T
- Bottom bracket: SRAM BB30
- Pedals: Mavic Race Ti
- Wheelset: Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimate SSC
- Front tyre: Schwalbe Ultremo, 22mm
- Rear tyre: Schwalbe Utremo tubular, 22mm
- Saddle: San Marco Concor Light
- Seat post: ITM Pathom full-carbon
- Bottle cages: Elite fibreglass (2x)
- Computer: Garmin 500
- Rider's height: 1.80m (5ft 11in)
- Rider's weight: 63kg (139lb)
- Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 765mm
- Seat tube length: 520mm (c-c); 553mm (c-t)
- Head tube length: 150mm
- Top tube length: 549mm
- Tip of saddle nose to centre of stem: 567mm
- Saddle setback: 58mm
- Total bicycle weight: 7.07kg (15.67lb)