Over the weekend, we had the distinct honor of being the first bike enthusiasts to see the new Time Skylon road bike in the flesh – here on American soil. And, it didn’t disappoint !
The Skylon represents Time’s first real foray into the "aero" bike segment. However, unlike most bikes vying for that distinction, my first impression of the new bike, above and beyond the French brand’s usual, exquisite attention to detail and fit and finish, was the handsome stature and elegant lines of the Skylon.
In the past, I’ve expressed my druthers about the whole "aero" trend, as being more of an exercise in marketing for want of more sales, than it was a necessary execution of bike design. Frankly, I found many of the so-called "aero" bikes that I’ve ridden in the past, to be nothing short of harsh, unnecessarily heavy and "brutto" to look at.
However, the Skylon’s frame construction appears to strike a more moderate balance between the "aero" thing, and a traditional approach to bike design. Yes, there are obvious clues that the Skylon is targeting greater aerodynamic properties, in terms of enhanced tube profiles and shapes. But, with a good deal less emphasis on kammtails, airfoils and "NACA-macawalla".
The Skylon capitalizes on the benefits of an oversized BB386 bottom bracket, asymmetrical monobloc chainstays, and an integrated fork, which according to Time, has yielded a frameset with 30% greater torsional rigidity and a 45% stiffer bottom bracket area. In addition, the new frame features compatibility with both electronic and mechanical groupsets – a first for Time this year.
Additionally, there was some discussion about how Time incorporated the use of Vectran fibers in various and sundry places throughout the frame and fork, in order to further reduce road vibration and unwanted feedback. Moreover, the Skylon uses dry carbon during the molding stage instead of the typical pre-peg process. According to Time, this has allowed them the freedom to use more distinct and complex tube shapes for the benefit of less material, better aerodynamics, while maintaining excellent ride quality.
Unfortunately, we did not have the chance to test ride the new Skylon during it’s vernisage, as our meeting was limited to just unbridled fondling and groping. And, we have the photos to prove it. 😉
Stayed tuned for a detailed test ride of how the Skylon performs out on the road.
Special thanks to Gilles Lalonde of Time USA, and ATA Cycle (aka "The Mansion"), for availing the Skylon to us.
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