Thursday, August 30, 2012

Olympic Games time trial bike setups


This article originally published on BikeRadar

The London 2012 Olympic time trials have been run and won, with Bradley Wiggins (Great Britain) bringing home the gold in the men's 44km event and Kristin Armstrong (United States) successfully defending her 2008 title in the women's 29km test.

Now, while the time trial is considered the purest test of a rider - it's just them against the clock - in addition to a good set of legs and lungs it actually requires a huge amount of time, money and expertise to get it right. By that we mean positioning on the bike, equipment choice and pacing to produce the fastest possible ride for the available power. It takes years of refinement to do it, and clearly some riders have a way to go if they want to finish closer to Wiggins and Armstrong. It's not just the engine.

In this gallery feature, BikeRadar's resident time trial nut Jeff Jones gives his armchair commentary on the setups used by the Olympic stars via the keen lens of Rob Wilmott.

Will we ever see the POC Tempor helmet again?


  • Wiggins was simply the best on the day

    Wiggins was simply the best on the day

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • David McCann of Ireland (the UK competition record holder over 25 miles with 45'54) rides a Trek Speed Concept, Scott helmet and Smart shoe covers. But he didn't have the legs in the TT and finished 27th, nearly five and a half minutes down on Wiggo

    David McCann of Ireland (the UK competition record holder over 25 miles with 45'54) rides a Trek Speed Concept, Scott helmet and Smart shoe covers. But he didn't have the legs in the TT and finished 27th, nearly five and a half minutes down on Wiggo

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Kristin Armstrong of USA uses a linked hand position, much like Wiggins. Both riders would have tested this in the tunnel

    Kristin Armstrong of USA uses a linked hand position, much like Wiggins. Both riders would have tested this in the tunnel

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Linda Villumsen of New Zealand has clearly spent a lot of time refining her position. She's also got all the aero gear (Scott Plasma bike and helmet (with taped up vent), aero gloves and shoe covers, a HED or Enve front and Pro rear disk) and used it to good effect, finishing fourth

    Linda Villumsen of New Zealand has clearly spent a lot of time refining her position. She's also got all the aero gear (Scott Plasma bike and helmet (with taped up vent), aero gloves and shoe covers, a HED or Enve front and Pro rear disk) and used it to good effect, finishing fourth

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Emma Pooley of GB with her UK Sport helmet, interestingly mounted Garmin 500 and chainring mounted the opposite way (you can tell by the chain catcher peg)

    Emma Pooley of GB with her UK Sport helmet, interestingly mounted Garmin 500 and chainring mounted the opposite way (you can tell by the chain catcher peg)

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Shara Gillow of Australia had a very aero looking setup - Scott bike and helmet, Smart Aero shoe covers and gloves and a team issue skinsuit. She was even brave enough to ride a front disc - fast if you can handle it but crosswinds can make it more trouble than its worth

    Shara Gillow of Australia had a very aero looking setup - Scott bike and helmet, Smart Aero shoe covers and gloves and a team issue skinsuit. She was even brave enough to ride a front disc - fast if you can handle it but crosswinds can make it more trouble than its worth

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Emilia Fahlin of Sweden. In general a slippery setup with her Specialized Shiv, HED wheels and Smart shoe covers. She's very low though, which can reduce power, and we're definitely not sure about that POC Tempor helmet.

    Emilia Fahlin of Sweden. In general a slippery setup with her Specialized Shiv, HED wheels and Smart shoe covers. She's very low though, which can reduce power, and we're definitely not sure about that POC Tempor helmet.

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Kristin Armstrong of the USA. A wind tunnel refined position on her Felt DA with neat cabling up front, Catlike Chrono Plus helmet with mini visor, Zipp wheels and bars (no tape), Rotor Q Rings, mechanical SRAM Red shifting and a Pearl Izumi skinsuit with dimpled upper arms. Very aero, which is why she is so hard to beat against the clock

    Kristin Armstrong of the USA. A wind tunnel refined position on her Felt DA with neat cabling up front, Catlike Chrono Plus helmet with mini visor, Zipp wheels and bars (no tape), Rotor Q Rings, mechanical SRAM Red shifting and a Pearl Izumi skinsuit with dimpled upper arms. Very aero, which is why she is so hard to beat against the clock

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Judith Arndt of Germany has a tidy position on her Scott Plasma although her helmet's not sitting that flush here. She's riding HED wheels with Continental clinchers (likely Grand Prix TT) older Dura Ace cranks perhaps for a narrower Q Factor, a Bio Racer skinsuit with textured upper arms and her bottom jockey wheel is larger (possibly a Berner) for reduced drivetrain resistance. Silver medal for the reigning world champ.

    Judith Arndt of Germany has a tidy position on her Scott Plasma although her helmet's not sitting that flush here. She's riding HED wheels with Continental clinchers (likely Grand Prix TT) older Dura Ace cranks perhaps for a narrower Q Factor, a Bio Racer skinsuit with textured upper arms and her bottom jockey wheel is larger (possibly a Berner) for reduced drivetrain resistance. Silver medal for the reigning world champ.

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Marianne Vos of the Netherlands gets low on her Giant Trinity Advanced SL, HED wheels, Rotor Q rings and Giro Selector helmet. It's a classic time trialist's position but we think she could do better. She's one of the strongest riders in the world but even if tired from the road race her 16th place, 3 minutes behind the winner, indicates that she hasn't got everything right in her TT setup.

    Marianne Vos of the Netherlands gets low on her Giant Trinity Advanced SL, HED wheels, Rotor Q rings and Giro Selector helmet. It's a classic time trialist's position but we think she could do better. She's one of the strongest riders in the world but even if tired from the road race her 16th place, 3 minutes behind the winner, indicates that she hasn't got everything right in her TT setup.

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Emma Pooley of GB went for her usual setup: Cervelo P3, team issue skinsuit and helmet (not quite flush though), a mahoosive chainring, rear mounted Di2 battery and a shallow front wheel. She finished 6th, which was a little disappointing for her

    Emma Pooley of GB went for her usual setup: Cervelo P3, team issue skinsuit and helmet (not quite flush though), a mahoosive chainring, rear mounted Di2 battery and a shallow front wheel. She finished 6th, which was a little disappointing for her

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Emma Johansson of Sweden - a classic TT position aboard her Scott, which at least matches the colour of her POC Tempor helmet. 14th at 3'03 down - we think she could improve that.

    Emma Johansson of Sweden - a classic TT position aboard her Scott, which at least matches the colour of her POC Tempor helmet. 14th at 3'03 down - we think she could improve that.

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Shara "two discs" Gillow of Australia from side on

    Shara "two discs" Gillow of Australia from side on

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Trixi Worrack of Germany rode with a Specialzed Shiv and McLaren helmet, HED clinchers and textured skinsuit. Her forearm position is probably on the limit of what the UCI consider to be "in the horizontal plane" and it's almost certain she's tested that in a wind tunnel. She finished a very respectable 9th.

    Trixi Worrack of Germany rode with a Specialzed Shiv and McLaren helmet, HED clinchers and textured skinsuit. Her forearm position is probably on the limit of what the UCI consider to be "in the horizontal plane" and it's almost certain she's tested that in a wind tunnel. She finished a very respectable 9th.

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Audrey Cordon of France - aero bike and wheels ruined by bad hair and number placement

    Audrey Cordon of France - aero bike and wheels ruined by bad hair and number placement

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Janez Brajkovic of Slovenia has to be commended for his bright colour combo. He rode a Specialized Shiv + McLaren TT helmet with Corima wheels to 10th place

    Janez Brajkovic of Slovenia has to be commended for his bright colour combo. He rode a Specialized Shiv + McLaren TT helmet with Corima wheels to 10th place

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Jonathan Castroviejo of Spain on his Pinarello Graal with Campagnolo EPS TT kit and Catlike helmet. He finished 9th

    Jonathan Castroviejo of Spain on his Pinarello Graal with Campagnolo EPS TT kit and Catlike helmet. He finished 9th

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland on his custom painted Trek Speed Concept, Giro Selector helmet, Assos kit, and Bontrager Aeolus front wheel

    Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland on his custom painted Trek Speed Concept, Giro Selector helmet, Assos kit, and Bontrager Aeolus front wheel

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Winner Bradley Wiggins used O Symetric chainrings on his UK Sport Innovation bike. He can't get much further forward either

    Winner Bradley Wiggins used O Symetric chainrings on his UK Sport Innovation bike. He can't get much further forward either

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Tony Martin of Germany from side on. Uber aero.

    Tony Martin of Germany from side on. Uber aero.

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland - style to the max

    Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland - style to the max

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • The winner Bradley Wiggins of GB - UK Sport Innovation bike with custom bar setup (as used on his Pinarello Graal at the Tour de France), taped over SRM power meter, adidas shoe covers and skinsuit, surprisingly conventional exposed Dura Ace brakes, Wiggo roundel on his UK Sport helmet and head badge, two energy gels up his shorts and a HED front wheel - all in all, very tidy

    The winner Bradley Wiggins of GB - UK Sport Innovation bike with custom bar setup (as used on his Pinarello Graal at the Tour de France), taped over SRM power meter, adidas shoe covers and skinsuit, surprisingly conventional exposed Dura Ace brakes, Wiggo roundel on his UK Sport helmet and head badge, two energy gels up his shorts and a HED front wheel - all in all, very tidy

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Tony Martin of Germany. A very aero position on his Specialized Shiv with McLaren helmet, extra grip tape on his bars, a taped on transponder, textured Bio Racer skinsuit and what looks like an older Zipp 808 front clincher. He didn't puncture this time and finished with the silver medal.

    Tony Martin of Germany. A very aero position on his Specialized Shiv with McLaren helmet, extra grip tape on his bars, a taped on transponder, textured Bio Racer skinsuit and what looks like an older Zipp 808 front clincher. He didn't puncture this time and finished with the silver medal.

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Taylor Phinney of USA looks good for a big guy: narrow tuck, HED tri spoke and Corsair bars and Giro Selector helmet. His skinsuit doesn't look to be the same as Kristin Armstrong's as there's no textured upper arm.

    Taylor Phinney of USA looks good for a big guy: narrow tuck, HED tri spoke and Corsair bars and Giro Selector helmet. His skinsuit doesn't look to be the same as Kristin Armstrong's as there's no textured upper arm.

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Marco Pinotti of Italy has a fantastic aero position on his BMC but we're a bit bemused as to why he didn't wear shoe covers. He was 5th, only 11sec behind Phinney too

    Marco Pinotti of Italy has a fantastic aero position on his BMC but we're a bit bemused as to why he didn't wear shoe covers. He was 5th, only 11sec behind Phinney too

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Chris Froome of GB doesn't ever look at ease on his bike but he makes up for it with pure power. Unlike Wiggins he stuck with his team issue Pinarello Graal, completing it with UK Sport Innovation helmet, skinsuit and shoe covers. Bronze medal.

    Chris Froome of GB doesn't ever look at ease on his bike but he makes up for it with pure power. Unlike Wiggins he stuck with his team issue Pinarello Graal, completing it with UK Sport Innovation helmet, skinsuit and shoe covers. Bronze medal.

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Michael Rogers of Australia with his trademark wide arm position. He looks to be on a Cervelo P3 with Pro bars, Scott helmet and Smart shoe covers and a bolt instead of a front quick release. He finished a commendable 6th.

    Michael Rogers of Australia with his trademark wide arm position. He looks to be on a Cervelo P3 with Pro bars, Scott helmet and Smart shoe covers and a bolt instead of a front quick release. He finished a commendable 6th.

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Gustav Larsson of Sweden, sporting a POC Tempor helmet instead of his usual BBB. A silver medallist in this event in Beijing, today 16th. Not a great debut for the helmet.

    Gustav Larsson of Sweden, sporting a POC Tempor helmet instead of his usual BBB. A silver medallist in this event in Beijing, today 16th. Not a great debut for the helmet.

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Ramunas Navardauskas of Lithuania (don't confuse with Spain). Although he's on a slippery Cervelo P5, his right brake lever looks a little wonky, helmet's loose and there's not a shoe cover to be seen. 21st at 4'32

    Ramunas Navardauskas of Lithuania (don't confuse with Spain). Although he's on a slippery Cervelo P5, his right brake lever looks a little wonky, helmet's loose and there's not a shoe cover to be seen. 21st at 4'32

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

  • Ashleigh Moolman (South Africa) sporting an aero cover on her Lazer Tardiz helmet - it didn't help her, as she finished last

    Ashleigh Moolman (South Africa) sporting an aero cover on her Lazer Tardiz helmet - it didn't help her, as she finished last

    Photo credit © Robin Wilmott

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