Tour de France Tech July 4, 2005, part
Edited by John Stevenson
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Part one of today's tech round-up is here.
Bontrager's super hoops
Tim Maloney-European Editor in Nantes
Bontrager Race Lite XXX climbing
Carbon fibre rear hub
Bontrager's deep dish aero
prototype Aeolus wheels
Bontrager Aeolus hub
Aero is good where wheels are concerned, and so is light. But not too
light, as fragile wheels simply can't hold up to the pounding they take
in a race like the Tour de France. For the 2005 Tour, Lance Armstrong
and the Discovery Channel team will be equipped with several new wheel
prototypes, created for Trek in collaboration with in-house wheel guru
Keith Bontrager and go-fast wheel designer Steve Hed.
Trek's Scott Daubert told Cyclingnews, "Last year, the USPS team
rode the tubular version of our Bontrager XXX Lite carbon fibre wheels
and will use them again this year. Last year at the Tour's l'Alpe d'Huez
TT, Lance used an even lighter one-off set of XXX Lite wheels made with
a special aerospace 55GSM carbon fibre that weigh less than 900g without
skewers. This year, we have 10 pairs on hand for the Tour's mountain stages."
Another new wheel for Discovery is the Bontrager Aeolus, named after
the keeper of the winds in ancient Greek mythology. Daubert said, "With
the Aeolus prototype, we've collaborated with our wheel aerodynamics consultant
Steve Hed to develop this new wheel to create an efficient aero shape.
With plenty of wind tunnel and rider feedback, Aeolus has a 60mm rim diameter,
coupled to the DT spokes and hubs we've been using for several years."
Daubert explained that Bontrager had used a special high temperature resistant
silicone adhesive to bond a carbon fibre 'skin' to the carbon fiber rim
used in the Race Lite XXX wheel.
Aeolus was designed, Daubert said, to "address the need for a fast race
wheel for rolling terrain; the Discovery Team has found that a heavier
aero wheel provides kind of a flywheel effect and is more efficient to
maintain a steady speed." Aeolus prototypes weigh in at 1600 grams / pair
and are still under development, but both Aeolus and XXX Lite climbing
wheels may be available to the public in 2006.