Take a good long look at the track bike in the picture above. Drink it in. There’s something so different to what’s gone before that it’s making us a little uncomfortable. Have you spotted it yet?
Felt created the Felt Racing Development (FA TRD) team pursuit bike with a left-side drivetrain for the USA Cycling’s women’s pursuit team to race at the Rio Olympics this summer. It comes with a complete “technology ecosystem” from nine partners including Hed Cycling Products, Assos clothing, Stages Cycling, Vittoria tubulars and more.
- How to watch cycling at the Olympics
- How to get started at track cycling
- Delays threaten track cycling schedule at Rio Olympics
The thinking behind the flipped drivetrain is that placing these components on the left as riders go counterclockwise around the track will reduce aerodynamic drag compared to a traditional right-side drivetrain. Over a 4km team pursuit track race, riders will encounter 64 left turns.
The bike also features asymmetrical airfoils to further improve airflow, custom wheels from Hed that can fit in a narrower, aerodynamic fork and rear stays, and a custom version of Vision’s Metron TT Crakset. Oh and Vittoria tubulars that are claimed to beat any rival in terms of rolling resistance and aerodynamics.
The bikes use dual-sensor Stages power meters that capture data at 64hz — meaning 64 times a second — at a wide range of cadences (10-220rpm) and power outputs (1-2,999w).
“Our goal after London  was to assemble the best team in the world and to put that team on the best bike in the world,” said Jim Miller, USA Cycling’s vice president of athletics. “Working with all of our partners, we feel that we have created a game changer that will help deliver us to the top step in Rio.”