Skip to main content

Pro bike: Bradley Wiggins' Team Sky Pinarello Graal

Image 1 of 32

Pinarello couldn’t have hoped for a bigger debut for its new Graal time trial frameset, with Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) winning the Giro d'Italia prologue in its competitive debut.

Pinarello couldn’t have hoped for a bigger debut for its new Graal time trial frameset, with Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) winning the Giro d'Italia prologue in its competitive debut.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 2 of 32

Wiggins uses different tires from the rest of the team so his wheels are labeled separately.

Wiggins uses different tires from the rest of the team so his wheels are labeled separately.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 3 of 32

The head tube retains Pinarello's trademark shaping.

The head tube retains Pinarello's trademark shaping.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 4 of 32

Wiggins clearly places a very high importance on reducing friction with both the bottom bracket and derailleur pulleys rotating on ceramic bearings and the front hub running without any seals whatsoever.

Wiggins clearly places a very high importance on reducing friction with both the bottom bracket and derailleur pulleys rotating on ceramic bearings and the front hub running without any seals whatsoever.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 5 of 32

Wiggins puts the power down through a pair of Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL pedals.

Wiggins puts the power down through a pair of Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL pedals.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 6 of 32

The curvy seat stays are deep but narrow.

The curvy seat stays are deep but narrow.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 7 of 32

Prologo's Nago Evo TTR time trial-specific saddle is wrapped in Team Sky colors.

Prologo's Nago Evo TTR time trial-specific saddle is wrapped in Team Sky colors.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 8 of 32

The seat binder is neatly integrated into the frame's overall shape.

The seat binder is neatly integrated into the frame's overall shape.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 9 of 32

The seat stay wishbone is intentionally broad, apparently to help divert air around the brake caliper. Mechanics need a very long Allen wrench to access the rear brake mounting bolt.

The seat stay wishbone is intentionally broad, apparently to help divert air around the brake caliper. Mechanics need a very long Allen wrench to access the rear brake mounting bolt.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 10 of 32

Others have already demonstrated that vertical surfaces produce less aerodynamic drag than angled ones and Pinarello looks to have taken the concept to the extreme with even the seat stays adopting a somewhat upright stance.

Others have already demonstrated that vertical surfaces produce less aerodynamic drag than angled ones and Pinarello looks to have taken the concept to the extreme with even the seat stays adopting a somewhat upright stance.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 11 of 32

Wiggins' carbon fiber aero bar extensions are capped with Shimano SL-BS78 shifters.

Wiggins' carbon fiber aero bar extensions are capped with Shimano SL-BS78 shifters.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 12 of 32

Wiggins has not one, but two Pinarello Graal machines, both set up identically with Shimano Dura-Ace 7900, HED-based wheels, and O.symetric chainrings (with the logos blacked out).

Wiggins has not one, but two Pinarello Graal machines, both set up identically with Shimano Dura-Ace 7900, HED-based wheels, and O.symetric chainrings (with the logos blacked out).
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 13 of 32

Wiggins' frame has a small magnet glued just above the bottom bracket shell for when he is using an SRM.

Wiggins' frame has a small magnet glued just above the bottom bracket shell for when he is using an SRM.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 14 of 32

The extended clamp is apparently intended to help smooth airflow coming off the rear of the stem.

The extended clamp is apparently intended to help smooth airflow coming off the rear of the stem.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 15 of 32

Wiggins is using 22mm-wide Veloflex Carbon tubulars.

Wiggins is using 22mm-wide Veloflex Carbon tubulars.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 16 of 32

The top tube is very beefy up front, then tapers to a more tapered shape as it approaches the seat tube.

The top tube is very beefy up front, then tapers to a more tapered shape as it approaches the seat tube.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 17 of 32

The top tube is rather tall and broad, allowing the down tube to be narrower without overly sacrificing front triangle stiffness.

The top tube is rather tall and broad, allowing the down tube to be narrower without overly sacrificing front triangle stiffness.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 18 of 32

Three holes in the bottom of the Pinarello MOst integrated aero bar makes for flexible cable routing.

Three holes in the bottom of the Pinarello MOst integrated aero bar makes for flexible cable routing.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 19 of 32

Wiggins is able to maintain a very narrow position on the bars.

Wiggins is able to maintain a very narrow position on the bars.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 20 of 32

The stem and base bar are one integrated piece but it looks like the upper assembly can be swapped out for different sizes.

The stem and base bar are one integrated piece but it looks like the upper assembly can be swapped out for different sizes.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 21 of 32

Small pieces of tape cover up the bolt holes on Wiggins' aero bar setup.

Small pieces of tape cover up the bolt holes on Wiggins' aero bar setup.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 22 of 32

A new set of Pinarello MOst integrated aero bars is fitted to the front of Wiggins' Graal.

A new set of Pinarello MOst integrated aero bars is fitted to the front of Wiggins' Graal.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 23 of 32

Wiggins' machine is fitted with a ceramic bottom bracket from UK-based Ultimate Ceramic Bearings.

Wiggins' machine is fitted with a ceramic bottom bracket from UK-based Ultimate Ceramic Bearings.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 24 of 32

The front brake is tucked in behind the bulbous fork crown.

The front brake is tucked in behind the bulbous fork crown.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 25 of 32

The chain stays start out very narrow and tall but end up fat and flat at the dropouts.

The chain stays start out very narrow and tall but end up fat and flat at the dropouts.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 26 of 32

Team mechanics installed a set of standard Dura-Ace chainrings prior to our photo shoot - but Wiggins used his usual O.symetric rings for yesterday's prologue win.

Team mechanics installed a set of standard Dura-Ace chainrings prior to our photo shoot - but Wiggins used his usual O.symetric rings for yesterday's prologue win.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 27 of 32

Wiggins' usual Dura-Ace front derailleur is mounted to the aluminum tab - and the extra spacer sandwiched in between is further evidence that O.symetric rings are usually in place.

Wiggins' usual Dura-Ace front derailleur is mounted to the aluminum tab - and the extra spacer sandwiched in between is further evidence that O.symetric rings are usually in place.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 28 of 32

Wiggins' Dura-Ace rear derailleur is hopped up with full ceramic bearing pulleys from UK-based Ultimate Ceramic Bearings.

Wiggins' Dura-Ace rear derailleur is hopped up with full ceramic bearing pulleys from UK-based Ultimate Ceramic Bearings.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 29 of 32

The blue swatches on the down tube are meant to highlight the surface shaping - which is presumably there to reduce aerodynamic drag.

The blue swatches on the down tube are meant to highlight the surface shaping - which is presumably there to reduce aerodynamic drag.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 30 of 32

The down tube is fairly narrow but not overly so to retain good front triangle stiffness.

The down tube is fairly narrow but not overly so to retain good front triangle stiffness.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 31 of 32

The scissor-type front brake is well hidden behind the fork crown.

The scissor-type front brake is well hidden behind the fork crown.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 32 of 32

Wiggins' 'PROtotype' front wheel is actually a HED H3.

Wiggins' 'PROtotype' front wheel is actually a HED H3.
(Image credit: James Huang)

Current British national time trial champion Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) wasted little time in this year's Giro d'Italia, winning the opening prologue through the streets of Amsterdam on a brand-new Pinarello Graal time trial machine. It's so new, in fact, that Pinarello has still offered up virtually no official information, but it looks to be a further evolution of the company's current FM1 time trial flagship with a touch of Dogma tossed in as well.

Like the FM1, the Graal top tube starts out distinctly large and blocky up front to promote front-end rigidity before tapering to a more flattened shape out back. The new seat tube is even more radically shaped than before, with the upper half – and the seatpost – now adopting a perfectly vertical orientation to help reduce drag. As some other companies have already suggested those more upright edges lead to better efficiency through the air and the seat stays have also been propped up a bit before taking a slight jog forward prior to the seat tube junction.

Pinarello has clearly made efforts to smooth airflow around the usually 'dirty' brakes with a side-pull caliper mounted behind the blocky fork crown. A standard Shimano Dura-Ace caliper is used for the rear wheel but even that is well hidden behind an enlarged upper seat stay assembly.

The radically shaped chain stays – which start out tall and narrow at the bottom bracket then effectively twist 90 degrees at the dropouts – are slightly dropped and more horizontal than on the FM1, presumably to reduce their frontal area. Of course, cable routing is mostly internal throughout, including through the carbon aerobars.

The Graal down tube is particularly interesting with its five angular 'cuts' along each side. Without official information, we can only assume at this point that it's an effort to improve airflow and improve surface adhesion, similar to what Ridley has done with its Noah and Dean aero bikes, but we'll report back when more details are available.

Naturally, aero wheels were installed front and rear for Wiggins' successful run in Amsterdam. Both were conspicuously labeled as 'PROtotypes', but a closer look revealed them to actually be a standard HED H3 up front and a modified HED Stinger Disc out back, built around a Shimano Dura-Ace hub instead of the usual HED Sonic model.

Wiggins isn't only concerned about aerodynamics as his build kit shows an obvious emphasis on reducing friction, too. Ceramic bearings from UK-based Ultimate Ceramic Bearings are fitted to the bottom bracket and rear derailleur pulleys, and the front hub does without hub seals altogether.

Other non-standard bits used during Wiggins' maglia rosa-winning ride include a set of O.symetric chainrings (which the mechanics replaced with standard Dura-Ace ones prior to our photo shoot), a Team Sky-colored Prologo Nago Evo TTR time trial-specific saddle, and Pinarello's own integrated carbon fiber aerobar setup.

Total weight as pictured is 8.35kg (18.4lb) – quite respectable when you remember that time trial bikes generally aren't all that light and the Pinarello aero bar setup looks to use an awful lot of carbon. Moreover, Team Sky mechanics stressed that Wiggins' machines (he has two!) are still pre-production prototypes and the custom paint job also adds a chunk of weight.

Not that any of this mattered on Saturday, though, given the pan-flat parcours. Needless to say, Pinarello couldn't have wished for a more successful competitive debut.

Complete bike specifications:

Frame: Pinarello Graal, 55cm
Fork: Pinarello Graal
Headset: Pinarello integrated
Stem: Pinarello MOst FP integrated
Handlebars: Pinarello MOst FP integrated, 42cm (c-c)
Tape/grips: Prologo Plaintouch
Front brake: TRP T922
Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7900
Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace BL-TT79
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace FD-7900-F
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace RD-7900-SS w/ Ultimate Ceramic Bearings full ceramic pulleys
Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace SL-BS78
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7900, 11-23T
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7900
Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace FC-7900, 177.5mm, w/ O.symetric chainrings
Bottom bracket: Ultimate Ceramic Bearings
Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7810
Front wheel: HED Stinger 9 (labeled as 'PROtotype')
Rear wheel: HED Stinger Disc w/ Shimano Dura-Ace FH-7900 rear hub (labeled as 'PROtotype')
Front tire: Veloflex Carbon tubular, 22mm
Rear tire: Veloflex Carbon tubular, 22mm
Saddle: Prologo Navo Evo TTR
Seat post: Pinarello MOst
Computer: SRM PowerControl 7