With the Rio Olympics kicking off in a week's time, it seems 2017 is the year of crazy track bikes. We’ve previously seen USA cycling's 'drivetrain on the wrong side' Felt team pursuit bikes, and now New Zealand has revealed their secret weapon on the boards.
- Can you spot the big difference of Felt's new track bike?
- How to get started at track cycling
- Canyon gets carnival fever for its Rio frame designs
Produced by Kiwi brand Avanti, the Pista Pursuit team pursuit bike features a radical cockpit as well as some less apparent design upgrades to please both riders and mechanics
The key development with the new pursuit bike is the ‘Avanti Wings,’ which the Kiwi brand says not only improves front end stiffness but also reduces drag. By separating the head tube into three separate tubes it shortens the length of each individual section and Avanti say this improves the load path and stiffens the front end considerably.
Despite looking more like an X-Wing fighter than a track bike, the new Pista Pursuit is UCI approved and the new fork was designed to be within the rules
With the fork legs connecting directly to the handlebars, it has also allowed Avanti to significantly reduce the head tube profile, as well as to aerodynamically optimise each structure.
The new design has also allowed Avanti to kick the fork legs out away from the disc wheel to clean up air flow in the area.
“Because the disc is spinning the opposite of the air flow there is a boundary layer attached to the disc, and when the fork leg is close to the wheel no air can flow between the wheel and the fork — and the air is forced to travel around the outside of the fork leg,” explained Stephen James from Avanti. “With the extra space we were able to clean up the air flow and allow space for the air to flow through the fork.”
Avanti says the new frame is 10 percent more aerodynamic than its predecessor ― a considerable advantage in a sport based around marginal gains. That said, there are no wind tunnel figures to compare it to other bikes on the market.
While the bike on display had PRO pad holders and extensions, for the Olympics each of the team pursuit riders will have custom 3D-printed titanium extensions in their preferred length and bend.
A mechanic's dream
While the riders were the main consideration in designing the Pista Pursuit frameset, Avanti also sought feedback from the Cycling New Zealand Mechanics.
As chain tension on track bikes is paramount, Avanti created a clever system for positioning the rear wheel. To keep the wheel in place the stainless steel adjustable dropouts see a threaded bolt and a plate for the axle to rest against to prevent slippage, meaning the axle nuts don’t have to be done up tighter than Robert Fosterman’s jeans. The stainless steel plates are also replaceable
Because pro riders are always travelling to races, Avanti has also come up with a streamlined solution for achieving consistent and correct saddle height.
Instead of the traditional seat clamp, there is a shelf inside the seat tube and an adjustment clamp bonded into the bottom of the seatpost. The seat tube rests on the internal structure, and to adjust saddle height the bolt is turned — one full turn of the bolt moves the seatpost one millimeter, allowing riders to achieve consistent saddle height without the need for a tape measure.
Cycling New Zealand has also partnered with Southern Spars, another Kiwi Company known for designing carbon fibre masts and rigging for racing yachts, to design a disc wheel for Rio.
“We have drawn on our years of experience in the design and manufacture of carbon fibre technology and components. This has led to high performance in yachting, as well as specialist knowledge of windage, stiffness, and strength. In doing this, we have designed a new, superior wheel, which we’re delighted to be supplying to the New Zealand track cyclists.” said Mark Hauser, the Director of Southern Spars, in a press release on the company's website.
Other than the fact that Cycling New Zealand has ordered 30 wheels to be sent to its training facility in France, according to a report by TV ONE News, info about this new wheel is pretty sparse.
We can’t speak for the wheels, but the Pista Pursuit frameset will be available in the coming months. Pricing is yet to be confirmed.