photo credits @ cinemargot.com
Factor Bikes and AG2R-La Mondiale’s Romain Bardet took the British brand’s new Slick time trial bike to the wind tunnel in Geneva last week for testing, but not without enlisting the help of world renowned time trialist, David Millar and expert bike fitting consultant, Mat Steinmetz.
With Millar’s 18-year professional racing experience and his passion for the time trialling discipline, the retired pro joined the session with the hopes of rubbing off some of his experience on the young Grand Tour hopeful.
“I have been helping Romain adapt his position and share my experience and love for time trials. Trying to put a little bit of that on him, because obviously, time trials are not something that he loves quite as much as me,” said Millar. “This is a great bike and that has excited him a bit because I think generally he didn’t enjoy riding time trials.”
Steinmetz and his company, 51 SPEEDSHOP, has been collaborating with Factor Bikes on the new Slick, as a means of optimizing Barbet and his new time trial machine.
”Factor and 51 Speedshop have worked on a collaborative project to create a proprietary front end for the Factor Slick. We are here [in Geneva] trying to figure out how to position Romain so that he is comfortable, powerful and aerodynamic on the Factor Slick because the ultimate goal is speed,” said Steinmetz.
Finding that fine balance in time trialing between comfort, speed and aerodynamics can be difficult, however, as Millar explained to Bardet, time trials are not meant to be comfortable.
“I think a lot of people make the mistake that they don’t like time trials and they think that it has to be comfortable in order to for it to work and generally it is not. It’s a very uncomfortable position and one that you can only use at threshold – when you are already hurting. Normally you are going so hard that your body hurts so much you forget about the uncomfortable position. So there is no real secret to it, you just have to get what works biomechanically and face the fact that it is not going to be comfortable.”
Steinmetz added, “It is definitely a balance because the whole time I have been working with Romain, I am just saying ‘lets get information’ because ultimately he is the deciding factor. I define comfortability as sustainability, so the ability to maintain your position for the duration of your event. I just need to make sure he can adapt and hold that position.. We are here in the tunnel so we are getting objective feedback but we are also getting subjective feedback from Romain to tell me ‘this feels good’ and not just cramming him into a position.”
According to Factor Bikes, Bardet experienced significant gains during the ssesion, and had this to say about the new Slick:
“I am very satisfied with my first contact with the Factor Slick. During the wind tunnel tests, I really felt at ease and the gains are really obvious. It is really an amazing bike – performance and aesthetic. I enjoyed the presence of David and Mat. David was a huge reference on time trials during his career and it will help me improve my skills in that particular discipline.”
Factor Bikes is the official sponsor for AG2R-La Mondiale for 2017, and the French WorldTour team will be riding the brand’s Factor O2, Factor ONE, Factor ONE-S and the soon-to-be released Slick time trial bike.
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