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The British Olympic Bikes

sosidgesosidge Posts: 16
edited March 2009 in Track
I've noticed that the British Olympic competitors are all running with non-branded bikes.

I have heard briefly before that they develop them in-house, the special bars on the woman who got silver in the time-trial being an example.

To a trained eye, what are they doing with the bikes that is special? And how much time do you think they are worth compared to the off-the-shelf bikes other competitors are using?

Posts

  • Chris Boardman helped develop those bars IIRC
    The wheels on the Olympic bikes are Mavic I think
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  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    Don't know an awful lot about the bikes in general. But are the bikes making a huge difference at all? At the worlds all the riders rode their own bikes and still won the medals.

    Granted some of the times are amazing, but how much of that is down to the training and preparation of the riders, and possibly a very fast track?
  • unclemalcunclemalc Posts: 563
    Can one of you trackies tell me the gearing used for the sprints and/or pursuits. Is it bigger than 54/11 for example...?? :?
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  • andypandyp Posts: 8,709
    unclemalc wrote:
    Can one of you trackies tell me the gearing used for the sprints and/or pursuits. Is it bigger than 54/11 for example...?? :?
    It'll be a lot lower than that. I race at Herne Hill and ride a gear of around 83-88 inches depending on my form and the weather. I'd imagine the Team GB riders are on a slightly higher gear than that but not much more as you want a gear that you can spin to enable you to accelerate up to speed quickly.
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    hammerite wrote:
    Don't know an awful lot about the bikes in general. But are the bikes making a huge difference at all? At the worlds all the riders rode their own bikes and still won the medals.

    Granted some of the times are amazing, but how much of that is down to the training and preparation of the riders, and possibly a very fast track?
    At the worlds they were riding the all black unbranded Team GB bikes like they are now. They've been developing them for years, so the bikes they're riding now will be different to the Worlds ones.

    Emma Pooley's bike was built specifically for her to ride that particular time trial.

    Chris Boardman has talked quite extensively about the equipment work they've done. He says he's deliberately stayed clear of cycle manufacturers, as they have a pre-conception of what a bicycle should look like and how it should be built. They've worked with companies with expertise in Formula One, and companies like BAE Systems who are doing cutting edge things with materials and composites, but who know nothing about bicycles. Even their skin suits are new for the Olympics and made out of some sort of rubbery material. One of the Beeb presenters said it felt like touching Batman's suit.

    One thing I found a bit weird was in the points race this morning Rebecca Romero was riding a red and blue Dolan track bike rather than one of the black Team GB bikes.

    As for how much time these things are worth, in isolation probably not a lot, but when you add it all up you get a big improvement. In the cycling team they talk about "the aggregation of small gains" or something like that. They leave no stone unturned for every place they can find a few tenths of a second, and the result is times like the Men's Team Pursuiters posted today. Apparently they took 11 seconds off their time in Athens 4 years ago :o
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    andyp wrote:
    It'll be a lot lower than that. I race at Herne Hill and ride a gear of around 83-88 inches depending on my form and the weather. I'd imagine the Team GB riders are on a slightly higher gear than that but not much more as you want a gear that you can spin to enable you to accelerate up to speed quickly.

    Would I be right in thinking that the sprinters will ride a bigger gear than the pursuiters? Or do they just spin at a higher cadence?
  • unclemalc wrote:
    Can one of you trackies tell me the gearing used for the sprints and/or pursuits. Is it bigger than 54/11 for example...?? :?

    Chris Hoy uses a 52 x 14 in the sprints

    http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=5792
  • andypandyp Posts: 8,709
    tomashford wrote:
    Chris Hoy uses a 52 x 14 in the sprints

    http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=5792
    That's in the team sprint - I'd imagine he gears down for match sprinting.
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,696
    Pooley discusses her special TT bars in this article.

    Here's a short piece on Nicole Cooke's Boardman branded road bike.

    An article back in May in The Times about the Secret Squirrel project here.

    I'd bet the changes to the bikes are tiny, and would suggest that the biggest effect they have is psychological - both for the GB riders but also for other nations' competitors. It can't help you to believe the other b*gger you're racing against has got something ever so slightly better up their sleeve/in their frame than yours....
    :)
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  • SamWise72SamWise72 Posts: 453
    If that's Boardman's approach, he really should be talking to Graham Obree as well. Seriously.
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  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    Graeme_S wrote:
    hammerite wrote:
    Don't know an awful lot about the bikes in general. But are the bikes making a huge difference at all? At the worlds all the riders rode their own bikes and still won the medals.

    Granted some of the times are amazing, but how much of that is down to the training and preparation of the riders, and possibly a very fast track?
    At the worlds they were riding the all black unbranded Team GB bikes like they are now. They've been developing them for years, so the bikes they're riding now will be different to the Worlds ones.

    Emma Pooley's bike was built specifically for her to ride that particular time trial.

    Chris Boardman has talked quite extensively about the equipment work they've done. He says he's deliberately stayed clear of cycle manufacturers, as they have a pre-conception of what a bicycle should look like and how it should be built. They've worked with companies with expertise in Formula One, and companies like BAE Systems who are doing cutting edge things with materials and composites, but who know nothing about bicycles. Even their skin suits are new for the Olympics and made out of some sort of rubbery material. One of the Beeb presenters said it felt like touching Batman's suit.

    One thing I found a bit weird was in the points race this morning Rebecca Romero was riding a red and blue Dolan track bike rather than one of the black Team GB bikes.

    As for how much time these things are worth, in isolation probably not a lot, but when you add it all up you get a big improvement. In the cycling team they talk about "the aggregation of small gains" or something like that. They leave no stone unturned for every place they can find a few tenths of a second, and the result is times like the Men's Team Pursuiters posted today. Apparently they took 11 seconds off their time in Athens 4 years ago :o

    I could remember a lot of riders riding Dolans, but just looked at a couple of photos and it seems a mixture. Maybe those riding Beijing events were using the unbranded bikes, and the others were riding Dolans (just looked at pics of Shanaze Reade and Jo Rowsell who were on Dolans).
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    Romero rode a dolan in the points race as it is not a pursuit :D
    The pursuit bike would have different geometry than an endurance event bike, the bars will also be totally different.
    Aerodynamics do not come into play so much in bunch events such as points, maddison etc.
  • juankerrjuankerr Posts: 1,099
    Re: Cost

    Boardman has said that each one costs around £20,000 which doesn't include money spent on design, development,wind tunnels, testing etc etc and that if all that was included it would be nearer £200,000 per bike.
  • oldwelshmanoldwelshman Posts: 4,733
    juankerr wrote:
    Re: Cost

    Boardman has said that each one costs around £20,000 which doesn't include money spent on design, development,wind tunnels, testing etc etc and that if all that was included it would be nearer £200,000 per bike.

    You could make a bike from Gold for that money !! What an earth would it be made of to cost £20k? I cannot see how that is even possible. In an interview I heard with Boardman 4 months ago he quoted the cost of entire bike as £8k which is far more realistic.
  • inseineinseine Posts: 5,785
    I've no idea what the bikes cost, but the money goes into develoment time, not the materials. £10,000 a day in a wind tunnel..............
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    Romero rode a dolan in the points race as it is not a pursuit :D
    The pursuit bike would have different geometry than an endurance event bike, the bars will also be totally different.
    Aerodynamics do not come into play so much in bunch events such as points, maddison etc.
    Didn't Chris Newton ride one of the black bikes in his points race though? Cav and Wiggins certainly rode the black bikes in the Madison. So why a Dolan rather than a black bike for Romero?

    Might be because she was just riding it for experience, they didn't want to have to manufacture a Romero-spec endurance black bike.
  • I think I can shed somne light on this. The bikes were made by Advanced Composites Group, I know this because I work for them and saw them being made. there is some info on the company website www.advanced-composites.com The reason they are unbranded is because although we made them the design is owned by Dimitris Katsanis the Head Engineer.
  • unclemalcunclemalc Posts: 563
    :shock: 20k....... :shock:

    Anyway - it worked! :D

    Thanks for the gearing info...
    Spring!
    Singlespeeds in town rule.
  • andyp wrote:
    tomashford wrote:
    Chris Hoy uses a 52 x 14 in the sprints

    http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=5792
    That's in the team sprint - I'd imagine he gears down for match sprinting.

    Probably not as Michael Hubner used a 44x12 at Maebashi.
  • I'd like to add a small correction here. ACG (Advanced Composites Group) used to make all the bike related components for British Cycling up about the end of 2007.

    The frames, forks and seat posts used in the Beijing Games were NOT made by ACG. Instead, a different UK company manufactured them. These were the second generation ones with some improvements implemented. You can tell the difference by looking on the seat post. The MK1 version has a round seat post (transitioning into an aero shape) whereas the MK2 version has an aero post all the way (to match with a commercially available one).

    Dimitris
  • Romero's points race bike: because it was a late decision for her to enter the race. Thus a 'black' bike had not been made for her for this race. So she rode what she usually races on - a Dolan.
  • PokerfacePokerface Posts: 7,960
    However - they often share components with other riders, etc. I've seen some of the Paralympians riding the Olympic riders' bikes.

    Each bike costs in the neighbourhood of £10,000. Wheels alone are about £2K! But those are stiock Mavics.

    We call them the 'SI' bikes - but I can't remember the name of the company that makes them.

    As for the different bikes that were ridden in the Worlds - it sometimes just comes down to rider preference - and who needs a bike at the time. Not EVERYONE at British Cycling gets their own bike - usually just the best of the best. So at the Worlds - some of the riders were still proving themselves, and thus still had their regualr bikes.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,678
    The rear disc wheels aren't stock mavics I am reliably informed, but BC developed wheels with Mavic stickers on...
  • MichuelMichuel Posts: 269
    Pokerface wrote:
    Each bike costs in the neighbourhood of £10,000. Wheels alone are about £2K! But those are stiock Mavics.

    RadioFiveLive came from ManchesterVelodrome this morning. They interviewed either (RossEdgar or JamieStaff) who said his bike cost £60,000.
  • torintorin Posts: 102
    not all of the bikes were black none branded ones some where marked dolans and of course the olympic road bikes were chosen buy the riders nicole cook was riding a boardman but i believe emma pooley was riding on a specialised
  • Boardman has said that each one costs around £20,000

    Not stupidly expensive as IIRC, Steve Hegg's pursuit bike in the 1984 L A Olympics cost £15,000 - and that was in 1984!
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  • PeteinSQPeteinSQ Posts: 2,292
    I think to build any carbon component you have to build a mould. So if you are Specialized or Trek and are going to be make 2000 Roubaixs or Madone's in each of the different sizes the cost of building the mould gets spread between all of these thousands of bikes. However, if you are building a one off carbon frame the cost of designing and manufacturing the mould are all on that one frame.

    I saw an article on this about Tom Boonen and his Specialized that they had to custom build because the off the shelf bikes did his back in.
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