This article originally published on BikeRadar
One-time team Sky rider Russell Downing will be back racing on the UK domestic circuit in 2014, riding for a team that's intent on cycling domination: NFTO.
Since the squad was formed at the back end of 2011, NFTO – Not For The Ordinary – has grown from a local trade squad offering youngsters a chance to ride competitively to capturing high calibre riders such as Russell Downing, who rode for NetApp-Endura in 2013, his brother Dean from Madison-Genesis, and Adam Blythe, picked from BMC Racing.
It's an indication surely, that the team means business.
Last week, most of the squad gathered at The Shed bike shop near Hereford – which also doubles as the service course – for the dreaded pre-season ramp fitness tests. BikeRadar went along to watch the torture, and between sessions, we saw 35-year-old Downing's brand new Swift Ultravox TI being built up.
It's an impressive, WorldTour-level ensemble with a custom paint job. The 11-speed Shimano Dura-Ace handles the braking and transmission so there'll be no problems on that front.
The riders are allowed to pick their choice of finishing kit, hence the mix 'n' match approach to stem, bar and saddle on Downing's Swift.
There's some relative exotica in there too, such at the cultish deep-section ENVE tubulars rolling on pro-issue Continental tyres and a Stages Power Meter left crank.
But it’s the artwork that sets the bike apart. There a great big nod to Downing's status at National Criterium Champ and it constantly references the new squad.
BikeRadar is indebted to Larry Hickmott at VeloUK for the great photos – they really are worth a look.
Complete bike specification:
Frame: Swift Ultravox Team Issue – 490mm XS
Fork: Swift Ultravox Team Issue
Stem: ENVE 130mm -6 degrees
Handlebars: Deda Newton Anatomic 400mm c-t-c
Tape/grips: Pro Microfibre White
Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000
Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000
Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 ST-9070
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-9070
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 RD-9070
Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 ST-9070
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 11-25
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000
Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 170mm 53/39
Bottom bracket: Praxis Works PF30/BB30 Converter
Pedals: Speedplay Zero Stainless
Wheelset: ENVE SES 6.7
Front tyre: Continental pro issue tubular
Rear tyre: Continental pro issue tubular
Saddle: Prologo Zero II
Seat post: ENVE 27.2mm with 25mm Layback
Bottle cages: Arundel Sport (2)
Computer: Garmin 510
Other accessories: Stages Cycling power meter, Shimano Dura-Ace Sprint Shifters
Rider's height: 169cm (5ft 6in)
Rider's weight: 67.4kg (148lb)
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 673mm
Saddle setback: 37mm
Seat tube length, c-t: 49mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 607mm
Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 49mm
Head tube length:107mm
Top tube length: 521mm
Total bicycle weight: 7.25kg (15.9lb)
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