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Secrets Of Speed | Shimano Time Trial Tech At Le Tour de France 2019

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(loud percussion) – [Blonde Man] I'm here at the Tour de France to see how one of the biggest companies in cycling, Shimano, supports its sponsored teams in time trials Now, Shimano currently sponsors seven teams in the world tour here at the Tour de France

They are Bora, Mitchelton Scott, FDJ, Quick-Step, Jumbo Visma, Sunweb and INEOS (chillhop music) – Now, some of you may be wondering, "What about those other teams that use Shimano?" Like, Bahrain Merida or EF– Education First, or Astana Well, those teams do use Shimano, but they're not technically sponsored by them The ones that are, are the ones that I listed Now before I go and show you the time trial tech that Shimano helps its teams with, make sure you subscribe to GCN if you haven't already and also remember to click the little bell icon 'cause it helps the channel out and gives you a notification when we upload new content

(chillhop music) I've got a superb example for you here of a Shimano sponsored time trial bike used for the Tour de France This is the Pinarello Bolide of Geraint Thomas, the reigning Tour de France Champion It doesn't get much cooler than this Now the obvious thing that stands out about this bike apart from the time trial frame is the wheels and they come from Shimano's subsidiary, PRO Now, we have a disk wheel at the back and a very distinctive tri-spoke at the front

The reason why they use the disk wheel is because it offers lower drag than a normal spoked wheel It doesn't have all the spokes that can catch the wind and effectively slosh around But, the reason why they don't use the disk on the front as well, is because it is too aerodynamically unstable That big disk makes you faster, but it acts like a big sail Which means, if you were to have it on the front wheel, where, is the pivot of the steering, it would effectively– if there a gust– it could knock the steering off and potentially cause the rider to crash or at least knock them off course

So, instead we have the tri-spoke from PRO which is very aerodynamic wheel, but there's other wheels offered from Shimano as well So we have the Shimano C60 and the shallower Shimano C40 And the wheel that the rider will use in the front is very much down to personal preference and also the conditions So on very windy days, you can expect the riders to use a shallower wheel like the C40 or perhaps, sometimes lighter riders as well, they prefer a shallower wheel, as well Another piece of really cool kit that Shimano supplies to the PRO team are specialist chain sets

I love these I think they are really, really cool So, look at the size of the chain set that's on Geraint Thomas' time trial bike It's an absolute whopper I mean, you could eat your dinner off that, it's such a big dinner plate

It's a 58-46 Now, most of us mortals, when we ride bikes, we have about a 50-34 compact chain set or maybe a 52-36, but that chain ring is huge So Geraint Thomas is obviously very, very strong as are many of the pros and so they do push bigger chain rings, but they're not generally using the 58 with the 11 tooth tiny cog at the back They generally ride it in the middle of the block and the advantage of having a bigger chain ring is that it offers a a better chain line and also bigger chain rings create less friction within the drivetrain And the reason for this is that the chain travels through less tight angles And if you use smaller chain rings, well that's less efficient

That's less mechanically efficient because there's more friction in all the little joints in the chain as it bends more through all the tighter angles And by saving this small amount of friction in the drivetrain, they can save a few watts when the driver is pedaling And this is only a small amount of power Something in the region of, you know, three to five watts, but when the winning margins are so small in time trials, this can be significant This can be the difference between winning or losing

The other cool thing about these chain sets is that the inner chain ring and the outer chain ring are matched together in a set So here we have the 58-46 And the reason for that is because, if you have too big a gap between the chain links, you can't mix and match them For example, you can't have a 58 and pair it with a 34, because the gap is then too big and you could potentially drop the chain when you change between the two And so you have really, really intricate and really careful ramping

The shaping of these teeth is deliberate and matches up with the shaping on this inner chain ring, so that when you change, shifts (pop) perfectly And while we are talking about the drivetrain, we need to talk about the cassette because there are different options available there, too And, now, Geraint Thomas has opted on this occasion for an 11-30 cassette Now that offers the biggest range available But, Shimano also does 11-28 and 11-25 cassettes

Now, the choice of the cassette that's fitted depends on rider preference, but also the specific stage or course profile of the time trial they'll be riding Now, flatter courses riders might opt for an 11-25 And the reason for that is because it's a closer ratio to cassette which means that the jumps between each gear are smaller Which means you can kind of fine tune and just have, like, smoother gears and really fine tune your cadence and your gear choice But the downside to an 11-25 is that, if there's a hill in the course, you don't have that bigger 28 or 30 tooth gear for getting up the hill

(chillhop music) Come over to group Groupama-FDJ to have a look at their time trial equipment Now, they're a really good example because, Groupama-FDJ were a team that would quiver and have nightmares at the prospect of a team time trial They'd often lose a lot of time to their rivals but they've turned it around and they did this by, well, by looking at their training, but also their equipment So, let's have a look (chillhop music) – From your perspective as a mechanic working on bikes such as this which have incredible amounts of integration, how is life different when you are using an electronic group set like DI-2 compared to the traditional cable group sets from– you know mechanical group sets, from older days

– [Jurgen] I think we are a little bit spoiled because we have all the nice equipment and especially the DI-2 because as you can see we want to have everything inside With the mechanical group set that's probably a little bit easy to have such a clean set-up For us, for aerodynamics, DI-2 is what you need – [Blonde Man] And so, I know as well, on the front that's quite an interesting, well it's quite unusual What's going on with the shifters on the tri-bar extensions of Stephan's bike? – [Jurgen] Well, it started in the beginning of the season, you know, where we did the fitting with Stephan and he really wanted something, you know, like really specific set-up of the bike and we decided that we wanted to use the sprint shifters which is maybe sounds a little bit strange, but the sprint shifter you can use just by connecting to the normal brake shifter

– [Blonde Man] And I guess it's also useful that you can shift both in the base bar and on the tri-bars as well whereas on mechanical group sets– – [Jurgen] Exactly, exactly That's what– You have to be in the arrow position to shift That's very important but if you come to a turn, or like a short hill or something, you have to be able to react immediately It's all about seconds and that's how you do it with DI-2 (chillhop music) – [Blonde Man] To change gear and brake on a time trial bike uses different shifters and the reason for this is that the time trial shifters are designed to be smaller, and more aerodynamic and, well, they're ergonomically different because they are in a different position

Completely different orientation to a normal road bike and so Shimano makes special ones So you can see here that the Dura-Ace time trial louvers that go in the base bar with their smaller levers and also these buttons on the extensions Which means you can change gear both in the base bar and on the extensions And the cool thing here of the Groupama-FDJ team crook is we have examples of three different types So on Rudy Molard's bike, he's got the previous generation extension shifters

Then on Stefan Kung's bike, he's actually got a hat This is really cool He's got some sprint shifters on the end of his bar ends And they work exactly the same way and that's one of the beauties of Dura-Ace, is the wires can simply be routed into the junction box and, well, it works And then, moving back here onto one of the other riders bikes we've got the latest model of extension shifters on the end here with these simple buttons

Very nice One of the cool things about Shimano DI-2 being electronic is that you can actually program it And that's actually easier to do than you might think Theres's an E-tube app which you can get on your phone or tablet And using that you can connect it to the group set and you can do a number of things such as you can program what the functions of specific buttons are

So, normally you'd have the standard set-up of this button shifts down and this button shifts up But, you can switch it round if you wanted to or you could even make these buttons control the front de railer if you really wanted to But it's cool to have that customization for the riders You can also tune the gears with the system as well So, for example, certain gear combinations aren't as efficient as others

You can set the system to avoid these for you automatically So, for example, the big chain ring at the front and when that is paired with big sprocket at the back, that's a cross chain and it's a sub-optimal gear and it creates a lot of additional drivetrain friction and isn't very efficient and so you can set the system so that you can never enter that gear which is kind of useful And, finally, a really important piece of tech that Shimano provides is its power meter Now, this is also found on the road bikes that the sponsored team will use, but in time trials, power meters are hugely important Many riders ride to power now because it allows them to gage and pace their effort very effectively and not go out too hard

And going out too hard could mean you blow up and hemorrhage time before you even get to the finish and, well, lose I hope you have enjoyed this behind the scenes look at how Shimano provides specialist equipment to help support its teams in time trials and if you have, then please give it a thumbs up and share it with your friends And to see how Shimano helps support teams in the Cobbled Classics with specialists bits and pieces, then you can click over here I really love the time trial tech I'm a bit of a time trial nerd

And in case you'd like to buy one of these brilliant France-themed GCN T-shirts, well got them for sale in the GCN Shop You're in luck So, click down here

Source: Youtube

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