Tour de France contender Thibaut Pinot and his FDJ teammates have a new time trial bike for the 2016 season, which has been designed with the team’s performance staff and bike sponsor Lapierre to help the riders go as fast as possible against the clock.
Called the Aerostorm DRS (Drag Reduction System), the bike was unveiled in January and showed its speed at the recent La Méditerranéenne, with the FDJ team winning the opening team time trial – the first TTT victory in the 21-year history of the team. Pinot and his teammates will also use the aero bike in the time trial stage at the Volta ao Algarve this weekend.
The design of the bike was led by Lapierre engineer Rémi Gribaudo, with the FDJ team and especially head coach Fred Grappe involved at every step of the way.
To achieve this goal Lapierre engineers set to work on improving the handling, braking and aerodynamics. Following two years of work the frame geometry has been completely reworked. The frames have been sized down but with an increased top tube, a steeper seat angle and increased wheelbase. All this has created an aggressive race geometry for a fast position on the bike. Lapierre claim the rear triangle stiffness has been increased by 30% to optimise rider power output.
The frame's Airfoil profile tubes and a fully integrated cockpit cut down on cable clutter and make the bike as aero as possible. The frame, fork, stem and handlebar are fully integrated to reduce drag as much as possible. The frame has a new custom-made central pulling brake has been specially developed for the Aerostorm DRS, with improved braking efficiency and aerodynamics. The brake is aligned with the frame and the narrow profile enables a small cover to further reduce drag.
Following input from team mechanics the frame has what Lapierre has called TDT (Trap Door Technology) – first used on the 2016 Xelius SL road bike. This patent pending Lapierre technology places the Di2 Shimano battery low in the frame with a quick and easy trap door for access. The TDT makes the mechanics job faster and lowers the centre of gravity.
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) testing, sessions on the Roubaix velodrome and in the wind tunnel were followed by road testing in the autumn 2015 by Steve Morabito and Thibaut Pinot.
Lapierre say the Aerostorm DRS is one of the lightest time trial bikes in the peloton, with FDJ team version weighing 8.1kg for a 'M' size bike. The frame is fully UCI-approved for racing and comes with three different stem lengths and a saddle position adjustable by 10cm.