A secret no more
By John Stevenson
The rear triangle
Look out for this number
Selle Italia's Max Flite
FSA's RD200 bars
Shimano Dura-Ace brakes
One wide downtube.
You want stiff?
Alpha Q's carbon fork.
One of the mystery protos
For the last couple of months CSC riders have been turning up at races
aboard mysterious bikes bearing only the name of the team or its bike
sponsor Cervelo. At the Tour de France, the identity of those bikes
was finally revealed and as many Cyclingnews readers had correctly
speculated, this is the carbon fiber version of Cervelo's versatile
The carbon Soloist is Cervelo's answer to the "which bike shall I ride"
question that faces its sponsored riders (and those affluent enough
to have more than one Cervelo in their quiver). The choice was previously
between Cervelo's lightweight R2.5 and the aerodynamic Soloist, but
Cervelo says the dilemma is solved: the Soloist Carbon is around the
same weight as the R2.5 and more aerodynamic than the regular Soloist.
According to Cervelo, the Carbon Soloist is the result of several years
work, with a long period of initial behind-the-scenes development of
aerodynamics, stress analysis and materials science.
The first road-testable prototype was delivered to CSC during the Giro
d'Italia in May and subsequent versions saw action at the Dauphiné-Libéré
and the Tour of Switzerland. These were the almost anonymous mystery
bikes that popped up under riders such as Franck Schleck and Christian
Vandevelde. (Spotting a pic of Vandevelde on one of the protos, Cyclingnews
reader Michael Sobray observed that it, "looks like a cross between
a Soloist and a R2.5". Spot on!)
The CSC team now has the Carbon Soloist at its disposal at the Tour,
and Bobby Julich is among the riders using the new frame.
Not surprisingly, the set-up of Julich's Carbon Soloist is very similar
to the set-up of the aluminium
Soloist Julich rode to victory at Paris-Nice.
When you know things work, you don't mess with them too much, so Julich's
Tour bike has the same 130mm FSA 115 stem and 42cm FSA RD200 handlebar
as his Paris-Nice machine, and the same Selle Italia Max Flite seat.
Also common to both bikes are the O.Symetric Harmonic elliptical chainrings
on 172.5mm FSA cranks. Julich's well-used FSA's Superlight cranks were
starting to look, well, used back in March - we're pleased to
observe that the new bike has a shiny new set!
As we mentioned back in March, the O.Symetric Harmonic design isn't
a resurrection of Shimano's Biopace rings of the 1980s. An elliptical
chainring changes the effective gear ratio as you pedal. Biopace reduced
the gear ratio as crank passed through the horizontal; the O.Symetric
Harmonic increases it. The idea is that the sector of the pedal stroke
where the crank is horizontal or nearly so is where you can push hardest,
so it makes sense to increase the gear at that point, then drop it to
get your foot through top and bottom dead center quickly.
This is an idea that's come and gone many times in the last 100 years
or so, but it clearly seems to work for Bobby Julich. It causes teeth-grinding
among the team's mechanics, though, because it's tricky to get the front
derailleur to work properly when the chainring is in effect moving up
and down under the derailleur. In fact, Shimano used to claim that one
of the reasons it abandoned Biopace was that indexed shifting of the
front derailleur on triple chainrings couldn't be made to work well
with elliptical rings.
As always, Julich uses Speedplay Zero pedals in CSC team issue red.
One new piece of equipment for the CSC team this year is team-issue
wheels, developed by wheel sponsor Zipp. Lightweight aluminium wheels
for clincher tyres, the Zipp Team CSC wheels are the result of two years
work between Zipp and Team CSC, and are claimed to weigh just 1500g
The Zipp Team CSC wheels will be a welcome sight for fans of 'traditional'
wheel building. The 95/220 hubs have conventional flanges that take
regular, J-shaped spoke heads, and at the rim we find good old square
spoke nipples. The rear wheel uses 32 DT Aerolite spokes and there are
28 up front.
Zipp says the rims are made in Switzerland and given that the wheels
use DT spokes, it's hard not to suspect that these are a custom version
of DT's RR1.1 rims.
CSC has the full range of Zipp wheels to go at, and Julich is often
seen aboard the company's 404 carbon-rimmed wheels, which is why his
bike is set up with carbon-ready brake pads in its Shimano Dura-Ace
Images by Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com
Frame: Cervélo carbon Soloist
Fork: Alpha Q carbon
Rider's height: 181cm
Rider's weight: 69.5kg
C of BB to C of seat tube: 490mm
C of BB to T of seat tube: 527mm
C of BB to T of seat: 788mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars: 58.2cm
Cranks: FSA Superlight, 172.5mm & 42/52 O.Symetric
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace 10 speed
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace 10 speed
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace 10 speed
Brakes: Shimano Dura-Ace
Levers: Shimano Dura-Ace
Rear sprockets: Shimano Dura-Ace 10 speed, 11-23
Wheels: Zipp CSC Team Issue
Hubs: Zipp 95/220
Spokes: DT Aerolite
Bar: FSA RD200, 42 cm (C-C)
Stem: FSA OS115 130mm
Headset: FSA 1 1/8in
Pedals: Speedplay Zero
Seat post: Cervélo Aero carbon
Saddle: Selle Italia Max Flite
Bottle cages: Tacx Tao carbon
Cycle computer: Sigma Sport