Strolling the pits of the 2016 the Tour Down Under, the one bike that’s impossible to miss is Graeme ‘Brownie’ Brown’s custom-painted SwiftCarbon. The gold paint is there to commemorate the Drapac riders’ record 14th Tour Down Under. However, beneath that trick paint is also the first sighting of Swift’s new aero road bike – the HyperVox.
Until now, SwiftCarbon has noticeably lacked an aero-road frame to serve the number of sprinters within the Pro-Continental Australian team.
The SwiftCarbon HyperVox
SwiftCarbon were previously never a firm believer in creating an aero road bike just to meet its competitors. However, demand from the team forced the South African brand to change its approach.
Speaking with SwiftCarbon’s marketing manager Neil Gardiner about the HyperVox – “we wanted to build a bike without the typical compromises of an aero bike. The brakes had to work, and our signature ride quality had to be there”.
The boss himself, Mark Blewett rode three versions of carbon prototypes of this bike, and according to Strava, he personally has over 500 hours on the frame. We’re told Graeme Browne first started testing the frame in June 2015.
"We wanted to make it affordable; we could see these ultra-premium aero bikes and didn’t want to be there. However, we went with a new vendor (manufacturer) who hold serious expertise, but such knowledge comes at a price”.
Familiar aero profiles are used
Bringing in the aero elements, the frame features popular Kammtail-type tube shapes and sleek internal cable routing. The top tube is kept horizontal to reduce frontal area. Looking at the seat clamp that holds the aero post, it’s sleekly integrated into the top tube.
We’re told the frameset hasn’t been tested in wind tunnels, however, its design comes from extensive computational analyasis.
That seat stay connection doesn't look very aero, but it shows Swift's focus on ride quality
Once past the front of the bike, the rear is extremely similar to Swift’s Ultravox Ti and is designed to promote ride compliance. Also borrowed from the Ultravox Ti are the geomtry numbers, with the HyperVox measuring extremely close.
Construction wise, this is no doubt a high modulus bike using a mix of Toray T700, T800 and T1000 and T1100 fibers. Helping keep frame stiffness high with wide crank compatibility is a BB386 bottom bracket.
SwiftCarbon are claiming a medium HyperVox complete frameset to weigh in at 1320g. With the frame alone claimed at about 900g.
The HyperVox will officially launch in March. This premium frameset will sell for approximately US$4,000.
'Train, Eat, Sleep, Race'
In addition to a new frame, SwiftCarbon are soon to roll out a custom paint program called Swift*ID, not too dissimilar to Trek’s ProjectOne program. With this, customers will be able to order bikes to their aesthetic desire. The brand’s owner, Mark Blewett, was the first to reveal such a program when he rode a custom-painted Ultravox Ti across Africa in the fastest human-powered crossing of the continent.
Now it’s Brownie’s turn, with a luxurious gold paint to commemorate the 36-year old’s Gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics in Team Pursuit and Olympic Madison. Additionally, it’s the Perth-based riders’ record 14th Tour Down Under, having only missed four in the races' existence.
A former rider with Rabobank, Brown has stage wins at the Tour Down Under, Tour of California and Tour of Langkawi among others.
Due to last minute preparations, this paint was laid down by Australian painting company Sun Graphics, but the promotional aspect for Swift’s paint program still stands.
Graeme Brown’s setup
Drapac's bikes are built with a whole host of components from SRAM
Sitting on this new frame is a host of SRAM Red 22 and Zipp componentry. Compared to Martin Kohler’s Swift Ultravox Ti of 2015, the team has made the move to Maxxis tyres and Tacx bottle cages for 2016.
A true sprinter, Brown uses Zipp's hugely stiff carbon Sprint SL sprint and alloy SL handlebar.
Speedplay 'V4' pedals look the same as standard the 'V2', but offer a tighter hold for the sprinters
Sponsored by Speedplay, Drapac use the Zero Stainless model. We’re told Brown has a special pair of ‘V4’ pedals, where the pedal’s retention clip is taken from a track version that makes for a tighter release.
Perhaps the only component on this build that isn’t belonging are the white Tacx bottle cages that don’t quite match. Limited supplies brought to the race meant mechanics were looking to buy black versions at a local retail store.
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: SwiftCarbon HyperVox , size medium
- Fork: SwiftCarbon HyperVox
- Headset: FSA internal tapered
- Stem: Zipp SL Sprint, 120mm, -12 degree
- Handlebar: Zipp Service Course SL-80 42cm
- Tape: Zipp Service Course
- Front brake: SRAM Red 22
- Rear brake: SRAM Red 22
- Brake levers: SRAM Red 22 DoubleTap
- Front derailleur: SRAM Red 22, with chain catcher
- Rear derailleur: SRAM Red 22 WiFLi
- Shift levers: SRAM Red 22 DoubleTap
- Cassette: SRAM PowerGlide 1170 11-28T
- Chain: SRAM Red 22
- Crankset: SRAM Red 22 Quarq 53/39 172.5mm
- Bottom bracket: SRAM PF30 (non-ceramic)
- Pedals: Speedplay Stainless ‘V4’
- Wheelset: Zipp 404 Firecrest tubular
- Front tyre: Maxxis Campione tubular, 25c (115-120psi)
- Rear tyre: Maxxis Campione tubular, 25c (115-120psi)
- Saddle: Fizik Aliante R3, K:ium rail
- Seatpost: SwiftCarbon aero, 15mm set-back (approx)
- Bottle cages: Tacx Deva (2)
- Computer: Garmin 510 (not pictured) with SRAM out-in-front mount
- Rider's height: 1.80m (5ft 11in)
- Rider's weight: 76kg (168lb)
- Saddle height from BB, c-t: 764mm
- Head tube angle: 72.6 degrees
- Seat tube angle: 73.3 degrees
- Saddle setback: 70mm
- Seat tube length (c-t): 520mm
- Tip of saddle to midpoint of bar: 563mm
- Saddle-to-bar drop: 120mm
- Head tube length: 148mm
- Top tube length (effective): 553mm
- Total bicycle weight: 7.43kg (16.38lb)