Continuing with my look at the rigs the pros ran in Kona (click on pics for full size):
Faris Al-Sultan: I ran across Faris’ bike at the Powerbar breakfast. The Abu-Dhabi team all had these interesting matching Storcks with Di2 shifting. You can see the battery mounted behind the seatpost. The rear brake on these bikes is integrated into the rear stays and uses a carbon leaf spring. The front brake is also hidden within the fork, but unfortunately the cable routing is pretty ugly. The headset is set down low into the top tube so that with the right stem it provides a clean flat transition from stem to bike. Faris however uses a conventional stem. His Xentis aerobars are anything but – very cool looking, but I wonder if all those sharp edges are really a good idea for aerodynamics. Since the brake levers are integrated, Faris does not get the benefit of using Di2 brake levers with a second set of shifter buttons. For a hilly course like Placid for example, you would really want these shifters on the base bars. Faris also chose a very simple but aerodynamically questionable two bottles on the frame for hydration.
Andreas Bocherer: Faris’ lesser known teammate had the same bike, but chose to use the integrated stem and Di2 brake lever/shifters. But he went low tech with the duct tape spare tubular mount (I wouldn’t want to have to remove that adhesive after that bakes in the Kona sun). Plus – who need compression socks? Drug store compression hose work just fine thank you!
Andreas Raelert: The runner up rode a fairly unremarkable Blue Triad with full Di2. He used an aerobar cage and one frame mounted cage for hydration. Note how the Triad’s bayonet front end is similar to that pioneered by Felt, but Blue’s system results in a fairly high stack and short reach whereas Felts tend to fall into the low stack long reach category. The Triad combines a conventional front brake with a hidden sub-BB rear brake, and the very low seat stays are a unique design element of this frame.
Andy Potts: Potts’ Kuota also had Di2, but Andy is one of the few pros using a ski-bend aerobar. The Kueen-K is a very long-low frame geometry, and we can see here that Potts is using a good deal of lift to get his front end high enough: up-turned stem, 3cm of steerer spacers, and 2cm of spacers under the elbow cups. I talked to Andy after the race, and he had switched down a frame size this year to bring the reach more in line with his needs. And even though he has also worked to get lower in front, the smaller frame resulted in a low stack requiring all these front end spacers. Assuming he is at the optimum drop setting now, a higher stack frame would work better. He did use a Fuel Belt Fuel box to fill in the gap behind the steerer. Once again, we see the frame mounted bottles, but he also has an aerodrink mount on his aerobars. Note that Andy chose to run the easier-to-handle-in-crosswinds 50mm deep rims vs Raelert’s 75mm.
Linsey Corbin- The Scott Plasma 3 was one of most interesting new bikes in Kona. Certainly it has proven itself in TT’s with Columbia HTC on the Pro Tour. The frame looks very aero with the integrated stem, hidden rear brake, and broad aero section frame members. The one “disappointment”: a conventional front brake. Corbin chose conventional SRAM shifters and a set of Zipp 808s, which may have been a lot of wheel to handle for her around Hawi. I give up on the frame mounted bottles.
Part 3 coming soon…