One ring to rule them all: Tony Martin's Canyon Speedmax

58x11-32 on the world champ's time trial rig

With the Tour de France kicking off Saturday in Düsseldorf, a few German riders are keen to win the 14km time trial, not least among them world time trial champion Tony Martin. We took a look at his rainbow-themed single-ring bike the day before the Tour begins.

Most notable on Martin's bike is his gearing choice. Using a 54t or 56t big ring isn't uncommon for the world's best time trialists, and a 58t isn't unheard of. But those riders will still use a second, smaller ring. Martin has a single 58t ring.

No front derailleur here. Running a single large ring can keep the rear derailleur closer to the wheel, thus reducing aero drag
No front derailleur here. Running a single large ring can keep the rear derailleur closer to the wheel, thus reducing aero drag

At the 2003 Tour de France, David Millar used a similar set-up: a single chainring with the front derailleur removed for aerodynamic benefit. He dropped his chain during the time trial.  

In recent years, however, SRAM has invested heavily in single-ring transmissions, with a clutch rear derailleur that pulls the chain taut and 1x-specific tooth profiles on chainrings.

Tony Martin is using a standard SRAM Red rear derailleur, but has a prototype X-Sync chainring.  

Martin has a prototype 58t front ring
Martin has a prototype 58t front ring

Removing the front derailleur has two aerodynamic benefits. One, getting rid of the derailleur itself eliminates its aero drag. But two, by running a huge front chainring, even Tony Martin will often have to use a larger rear cog, which will pull the rear derailleur a bit closer into the bike's center and thus slightly out of the wind, further reducing drag.

Also remarkable on Martin's bike: Ergon grips instead of the standard handlebar tape and the straight-up grip tape Martin has long trusted on his Selle Italia Tri saddle for keeping him anchored when riding out on the nose.

Click through the gallery above for a closer look at Martin's Canyon Speedmax CF SLX.

Narrow is aero
Narrow is aero

Full specifications

  • Frame: Canyon Speedmax CF SLX, custom paint for 2016 world champion
  • Fork: Canyon F32 Aero
  • Brakes: Canyon B11, B12 integrated aero
  • Brake/shift levers: SRAM Red eTap with Blips
  • Derailleurs: SRAM Red eTap
  • Cassette: SRAM, 11-32T
  • Crankset: SRAM Red cranks — 175mm, 58T customised outer chainring and Quarq powermeter
  • Rear wheel: Zipp Super-9 disc, custom decals for world champion
  • Front wheel: Zipp 808, custom decals for world champion
  • Tyres: Continental Grand Prix TT, 23mm
  • Stem: Canyon V19 AL Aero
  • Handlebars: Canyon H26 CF basebar
  • Extensions: Canyon E192
  • Grips: Ergon Canyon base bar grips
  • Pedals: Look Keo Carbon Blade
  • Saddle: Selle Italia Tri with grip tape
  • Seatpost: Canyon S32 carbon
  • Bottle cages: Tacx Aero
  • Computer: N/A 
Ben Delaney

US Editor-in-Chief
Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
  • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
  • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
  • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team Issue, Specialized S-Works Tarmac, Priority Eight city bike... and a constant rotation of test bikes
  • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
  • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
  • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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