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David Zabriskie's Garmin-Slipstream Felt AR

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The top tube stays reasonably wide to maintain good front triangle stiffness.

The top tube stays reasonably wide to maintain good front triangle stiffness. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Zabriskie uses 3T's Ergosum bend.

Zabriskie uses 3T's Ergosum bend. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The fi'zi:k dual:tape includes a layer of padding to provide a bit of cushion.

The fi'zi:k dual:tape includes a layer of padding to provide a bit of cushion. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The heavily sculpted bottom bracket area is shaped for stiffness as usual but also to smooth airflow.

The heavily sculpted bottom bracket area is shaped for stiffness as usual but also to smooth airflow. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The internally routed rear derailleur housing pops out of the frame just ahead of the bottom bracket.

The internally routed rear derailleur housing pops out of the frame just ahead of the bottom bracket. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Arundel Mandible's foam core construction yields a lightweight cage that still holds tightly on to bottles.

The Arundel Mandible's foam core construction yields a lightweight cage that still holds tightly on to bottles. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Zabriskie's Felt AR uses a complete Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 group.

Zabriskie's Felt AR uses a complete Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 group. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Carbon dropouts are used both front and rear.

Carbon dropouts are used both front and rear. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The deep-profile down tube features a shallow cutout to smooth airflow coming off of the front wheel.

The deep-profile down tube features a shallow cutout to smooth airflow coming off of the front wheel. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The aero down tube is narrow through most of its length before flaring out at the bottom bracket shell.

The aero down tube is narrow through most of its length before flaring out at the bottom bracket shell. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 front derailleur uses a plate alloy cage to save a few grams.

The Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 front derailleur uses a plate alloy cage to save a few grams. (Image credit: James Huang)
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New internal bladders make the 2010 AR frame weight closer to that of the F1, according to Felt.

New internal bladders make the 2010 AR frame weight closer to that of the F1, according to Felt. (Image credit: James Huang)
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An increasing number of companies are considering aerodynamics for road frames, not just for time trial bikes.

An increasing number of companies are considering aerodynamics for road frames, not just for time trial bikes. (Image credit: James Huang)
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David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) has opted for the aerodynamic Felt AR for some of the flatter stages in this year's Tour de France.

David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) has opted for the aerodynamic Felt AR for some of the flatter stages in this year's Tour de France. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Felt uses a straight, non-tapered 1 1/8" steerer tube for the AR.

Felt uses a straight, non-tapered 1 1/8" steerer tube for the AR. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Shimano's Dura-Ace PD-7810 pedal isn't the lightest around but its wide alloy body and stainless wear surface is stable and durable, and the bearing system is ultra-smooth.

Shimano's Dura-Ace PD-7810 pedal isn't the lightest around but its wide alloy body and stainless wear surface is stable and durable, and the bearing system is ultra-smooth. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The new Dura-Ace rear derailleur uses a carbon fiber pulley cage.

The new Dura-Ace rear derailleur uses a carbon fiber pulley cage. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Dura-Ace rear brake caliper is fitted with Swiss Stop Yellow King carbon-specific pads.

The Dura-Ace rear brake caliper is fitted with Swiss Stop Yellow King carbon-specific pads. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Dura-Ace rear derailleur is bolted to a meaty alloy hanger.

The Dura-Ace rear derailleur is bolted to a meaty alloy hanger. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Felt AR's rear end closely resembles that of the company's DA TT/Tri bike.

The Felt AR's rear end closely resembles that of the company's DA TT/Tri bike. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A bit of electrical tape around the valve prevents rattling.

A bit of electrical tape around the valve prevents rattling. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Zabriskie's Zipp wheels feature the company's new 88/188 front/rear hubs.

Zabriskie's Zipp wheels feature the company's new 88/188 front/rear hubs. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The internally routed derailleur lines are fully guided within the frame for easier servicing.

The internally routed derailleur lines are fully guided within the frame for easier servicing. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Zabriskie's fi'zi:k Antares saddle is mounted atop an aero carbon post.

Zabriskie's fi'zi:k Antares saddle is mounted atop an aero carbon post. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The seat stays are extra-narrow to minimize frontal area.

The seat stays are extra-narrow to minimize frontal area. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The AR's deep-section seat tube more closely resembles that of a time trial frame than a typical road bike.

The AR's deep-section seat tube more closely resembles that of a time trial frame than a typical road bike. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A Garmin Edge 705 GPS-enabled computer is strapped to a 3T ARX Team stem.

A Garmin Edge 705 GPS-enabled computer is strapped to a 3T ARX Team stem. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Vittoria Corsa EVO-CX tubulars remain one of the most popular choices in the pro peloton.

Vittoria Corsa EVO-CX tubulars remain one of the most popular choices in the pro peloton. (Image credit: James Huang)

As a four-time US national time trial champion and former prologue winner of the Tour de France, David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream) is no stranger to the benefits of aerodynamics. In fact, his exceptionally slippery body position in races against the clock so epitomizes the ideal that former team bicycle sponsor Cervélo actually commissioned a life-sized model of him for use in its wind tunnel testing.

Zabriskie doesn't limit his use of low-drag equipment to only time trials, though. While the majority of his teammates have generally opted for the tried-and-true F1 platform from team sponsor Felt, the Utah resident has instead occasionally reached for the more aerodynamic AR for road stages.

Indeed, relative to the AR the F1 SL is lighter and the F1 Sprint is stiffer, making them the respective go-to choices for GC contenders Bradley Wiggins and Christian Vande Velde, and team sprinter Tyler Farrar. But according to Felt road brand manager Dave Koesel, new internal molds for the AR have narrowed the weight gap – a bare AR1 frame is now said to be just 1,050g – while also improving overall frame rigidity. More importantly, the AR's reduced drag is claimed to save up to a minute per hour at typical race speeds.

Many of the frame's slippery features are actually borrowed from the company's dedicated TT/Tri machine, the DA. The narrow deep-section down tube is slightly lowered and includes a shallow cut-out to smooth airflow coming off of the front wheel, the seat tube shields the rear wheel from the bottom bracket shell to the seat stay bridge, and aero profiles are also used for the wispy seat stays and the straight 1 1/8" head tube.

More drag reduction comes from the matching fork with its neatly integrated crown and aero profile blades. The cables are internally routed as well with both derailleur lines entering the top tube just aft of the stem and the rear brake running through the top tube.

Otherwise, Zabriskie's bike is standard team-issue. Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 componentry is used throughout, 3T provides the ARX Team stem and Ergosum Team handlebar, fi'zi:k handles the seating duties in the form of an Antares k:ium saddle, and Zipp provides the usual array of carbon wheelsets – in this case, the versatile 404 tubular complete with ceramic bearings. Up front, a Garmin Edge 705 provides upcoming stage information and also displays power data when Powertap-equipped rear wheels are used.

Total weight as pictured is 7.21kg (15.9lb).

Ok, so if the AR is slightly heavier and softer than the F1 but still faster (at least outside of the big mountains), that begs the question: why aren't more Garmin-Slipstream riders using it?

According to Koesel, "We didn't finish the new AR1 frames until right before the Giro and guys like [David] Millar, Vande Velde and Wiggins were not going to risk adaptation injuries on a new bike."

However, he also suggested that the situation is likely to change moving forward and a stiffer variant might be developed as well based on rider feedback.

"I think in 2010 you'll see 40 percent of the guys on the AR, 40 percent on F and 20 percent on Z," he continued. "[Will] Frishkorn, [Timmy] Duggan and [Chris] Sutton are all using the AR1 now and I think [Julian] Dean and Farrar will use it more next year as well. It isn't quite as stiff as the F1 Sprint, so Farrar wanted to wait until after the Tour to do more testing to see if he'd prefer an 'AR1 Sprint'."

Even so, Garmin-Slipstream team physiologist Allen Lim offered up a far simpler explanation as to why Zabriskie has decided to be an early adopter of the AR frame: "He thinks the aero bike rides better. That's all."

Complete bike specifications

Frame: Felt AR Team Issue, 58cm

Critical measurements

Rider's height: 1.82m (6' 0")

Saddle tip to bar center: 605mm

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