The fastest bike on the planet
By the Silver Fox*
Cycpro 2010 Cyco
It has been worth the wait! As soon as I mounted the Cycpro 2010 Cyco I knew that I was riding something special. Up till now most aero-bikes either sacrifice comfort for aerodynamics or vice versa. Softride came close to designing the ideal aero-frame but the increased weight and unreliable beam construction meant that it never became popular. The Cycpro frame now further improves on the superior aerodynamic characteristics of the Softride frame without sacrificing weight, stiffness, comfort or reliability. The Cycpro Monocoque frame is made of the highest quality composite materials which, combined with an optimal geometry, results in a superior ride. I know, because I was able to get hold of one of the first standard production line models, the Cycpro 2010 Cyco (the name says it all!). My frame came equipped with conventional Shimano Dura-Ace componentry and fully dressed including wheels weighs just on 8 kg.
The Cycpro Cyco brand is the brain child of Marc Battistella, better known by his nickname of “Beamboy” and as Softride's distributor for Australasia in his previous life. With the demise of Softride, Marc felt frustrated that the superior design had not resulted in better sales. But he recognised the drawbacks of the Softride frame and set to work on ways to eliminate them. It has been a 4 year process of trial and error but he seems to have hit the jackpot at last. A breakthrough came when he teamed up with New Zealander Graeme Pearson. Graeme is a multiple New Zealand duathlon champion and an accomplished cyclist, although in New Zealand he is best known for his engineering feats which include outrageous and futuristic bike frame designs. Graeme lives and works in Rotorua. When you visit him you realise that he is as much an artist as an engineer. His workshop overlooks the stunningly beautiful shores of Lake Rotorua providing him with plenty of inspiration. Till now his bikes have been so extreme that few have been willing, or able, to master them, except for some of New Zealand 's elite cyclists. One of the best known is Gary Anderson, who won a bronze medal on the track in the 4000m individual pursuit on a Pearson bike at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona .
On Marc's urging Graeme returned to more conventional geometry in his design and between them they have come up with what I predict will be the most aerodynamic bike frame on the planet. But not only that, the ride is so easy that the bike can be ridden by anyone who masters basic bike skills. The frame doesn't comply with ICU rules and therefore can not be used by registered cyclists or professional ITU Standard Distance athletes. But this frame can give age group and ironman athletes a significant advantage. I obtained the bike a few days before the New Zealand Standard Distance Championships held in Wellington recently and I was only able to squeeze in a couple of short practice rides to familiarise myself with the beast. The bike felt right straight away with only a few minor set-up adjustments required. It also felt fast, very fast. So I ignored the general advice never to use new equipment in a major event unless you have had a good chance to thoroughly test it.
Race day confirmed that I had made the right decision. These days I come out of the water somewhat behind the front group, then, compliments of the inverse relationship between age and strength, I tend to drift back a bit further on the bike leg. But not this time! The bike cut through the air like a knife and I was able to mix it with the front of the non-drafting field. The looks of surprise and bewilderment on the faces of my fellow competitors when they spotted me near the front only matched those of my own. The result was the 6 th fastest overall bike time. The course was flat, winding itself around the bays of Wellington Harbour . But the conditions were challenging with strong swirling winds and a rough road, even for New Zealand standards, with plenty of potholes and residual gravel from a recent poorly executed re-sealing job. Just after the turnaround my rear wheel hit a loose rock and the force of the subsequent jarring somehow forced the tip of my seat to point skyward rather then forward, causing a few anxious moments! But the handling of the bike was not affected one bit and in the end I was able to ram the seat down in a more conventional position to continue my journey. Despite the rough road the bike felt utterly comfortable and responsive. The performance of the teardrop-shaped frame was also not affected by the, at times, violent wind gusts coming from all directions. The Gravity Zero rear disk was locked into the frame perfectly and the combination felt as solid as a rock. A better run than expected (was it psychological or due to the comfort of the preceding ride?) saw me finish in 8 th position overall, winning the ‘old farts' division by a large margin. If I only had this bike 20 years ago….
Further field testing since has shown the Cycpro to be consistently faster then my conventional bike by at least 60-90 seconds over 40 km. The bike does not climb badly either due to its competitive weight.
Besides the standard Cycpro 2010 Cyco frameset, Cycpro Cyco also offers a special edition (SE) frameset which is made of even purer composites. It has special aero-forks integrated into the frame with the front brakes hidden within. Graeme has also found a way to hide the rear brakes within the chain stays. The Cycpro Cyco SE will be the ultimate ride for the pro's and the rich. For me the standard model will do…..for now….
* Silver Fox refers to John Hellemans who is a Sports Medicine Practitioner and ex-triathlon coach based in Christchurch , New Zealand . He is a multiple age-group world triathlon champion. Over the years John has coached many of New Zealand 's well know triathletes, duathletes and multisporters to international success. John won the 55-60 year age group division at the recently held New Zealand Standard Distance Championships by more than 15 minutes. He finished less than 4 minutes behind the overall winner.
Article author John Hellemans on the Cycpro 2010 Cyco.
Website link is : www.cycpro.com
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