How Olympic Track is Leading The Pack
CYCLING WEEKLY|November 04, 2021
The Tokyo Olympics was a carnival of exotic carbon, cutting-edge fabrics and rarefied parts. Some of that tech will be finding its way to you, the regular consumer, in some way in the future. We run down the most exciting developments we spotted and ask how they’ll apply to us

KINESIOLOGY TAPE

PRICE: £3.50

When the Danish team pursuit team got a sudden case of simultaneously injured shins, onlookers wondered what was up. They were using the tape to create a trip on the front of the leg to smooth the airflow around it. The UCI swiftly banned it before the Danes’ next ride.

At one point British company Aerocoach sold strips for precisely this purpose in the UK TT scene, where UCI rules don’t apply. However, with the advent of higher aero socks they haven’t stuck around.

One of the problems experts we spoke to identified with trying this yourself may be getting them in the right position; everyone’s legs are slightly different in shape and may present to the wind at subtly different angles too. Will you see them on a Wednesday night 10 near you?

CW tech editor Michelle ArthursBrennan says: This reminds me of images of amateur riders covering themselves in k-tape, trying to achieve the same benefits obtained from application by a qualified physiotherapist. Research into different materials for skinsuits has shown that the optimum positioning of texture varies per the rider as well as according to wind conditions. Unless you know the conditions you’re facing and have a detailed mapping of your own shins and their profile, I’d stick with generic aero socks.

LOTUS X HOPE HB.T BIKE

PRICE: £21,770

COMPLETE PURSUIT BIKE

Team GB’s Lotus x Hope bike didn’t so much roll onto the boards of the Izu velodrome as it did swagger with its cocksure flared forks and blinging titanium junctions. Heads turned as they might towards a 70s rock star prancing onto the stage. With seven medals, including three golds, now on its palmarès the HB.T put on a real show. The most striking thing about the bike is the 8cm wide forks and seatstays. The idea is to smooth the airflow around the rider’s legs - and therefore go faster.

At the bike’s launch, Hope design engineer Sam Pendred told CW: “The largest effect on aerodynamics comes from the rider. If you address that issue from the start – turning the question on its head to ‘how can we make the rider more aerodynamic?’ – you design a package.”

The disc wheels are completely new in their construction using a one-piece design that cuts down on having to bond different sections of carbon together.

CW tech editor Michelle Arthurs- Brennan says: The theory of wide fork and seatstay legs makes a lot of sense when resistance is coming from a head-on angle. Hope is working on a time trial version of the HB.T and it has been ridden in anger by GB riders, but there’s some interesting debate regarding its performance in a crosswind. Only the makers know the numbers for sure but Ribble released some data when launching its new Ultra bike that suggested outboard forks lost all advantage outside of a zero degree yaw chamber.

10 MM PITCH CHAINS

PRICE: £162-CHAIN ONLY

No fancy Olympic track bike would be complete without some blinging accessories. So it’s fitting that British Cycling specced Renold 10mm pitch chains on their rigs – virtually all bikes use a pitch of 12.5mm.

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