American gravel racer, track rider, moustache connoisseur and individual pursuit specialist, Ashton Lambie, has just broken the world record for the individual pursuit.
Covering 4km in under four minutes, he has cemented his place in the history books as the first person to ever break the four-minute barrier, with a finishing time of 3:59.930. As was Lambie's motivation for the attempt, his achievement provides something of a cycling parallel to the achievement of Roger Bannister, the first man to run a four-minute mile in 1954.
To achieve such a feat, Lambie would take advantage of as much technological advancement as possible when it came to his equipment.
As was highlighted during the recent Tokyo Olympics, equipment optimisation is a key area of focus for track riders and their sponsors. Whether it's the radical Lotus x Hope HB.T bike or the small-pitch chains worth £450 each used by Team GB, or even the much less expensive 'shin tape' saga that followed the Danish team throughout the Games, the segment is clearly rife with innovation as riders, teams and brands look to go faster than ever before.
For his record-breaking ride, Lambie was aboard an Argon 18 Electron Pro Pursuit frameset, the same frame used by Denmark, Canada and Australia at the recent Games and ridden to both silver and bronze by Denmark and Australia respectively. The bike was unveiled in early 2020 at a reported cost of $18,000 (circa £13,000) for the frame, fork and Zipp wheels.
It's paired with components from his Huub Wattbike trade team sponsors, Wattshop, who have supplied not only the integrated cockpit - more on that later - but also the aero chainset with its enormous 64-tooth chainring. The chainset in question is the Wattshop Cratus, a custom-made aero offering with a starting price of £1,595 (circa $2,200). Such is its expected use case, it's not available with anything less than a 58 tooth chainring. For your money, you get a chainset with a 144mm BCD, an extremely narrow 132mm q-factor, as well as inserts that allow you to adjust your crank lengths between 160 and 175mm.
Despite the enormity of the 64T chainring, it was paired with a 15T sprocket, which means the gear that Lambie used is actually smaller than many road riders have access to. It is the equivalent of a 47T chainring paired with an 11T sprocket, or very close to a 52 x 12. The assumed reason for this is that the larger (in this case 15T) sprocket means the chain doesn't need to articulate around quite such a small sprocket, therefore the links needn't bend as tightly, and friction is reduced.
Lambie's attempt was streamed live by Zippspeed, so it's unsurprising to see that it was Zipp's wheels he used for his attempt. He opted for the Zipp Super-9 Track Carbon Tubular Disc, to give them their full name, complete with fixed-gear track-compatible axles and wrapped in Vittoria's Pista Oro Graphene 2.0 track-specific tubular tyres. These tyres have a pressure recommendation of between 130 and 217psi - more than double what the best road bike tyres require.
Argon 18 suffered some unwanted press during the Olympics when Alexander Porter's handlebar snapped on the same bike, but it was later revealed that the component at fault was an aftermarket option constructed by Australian brand Bastion. Lambie also used an aftermarket cockpit instead of the stock option provided by Argon 18, but in this case, like his chainset, it was made by Wattshop. He used the 'Anemoi Olympic Edition Pentaxia Cockpit', which is available for a cool £8,500.00 (circa $11,500).
They feature a hooked two-finger grip to maximise height under the UCI 10cm regulation and have been designed to take full advantage of the UCI's dimension restrictions, the resulting product claims to save 36w at 64kph - a speed that Lambie would no doubt have hit during his attempt.
Despite the shortness of the event, Lambie opted for the ISM PN1.1 saddle, which is designed with extra padding for increased comfort. Look provided its Keo Blade Carbon Ceramic pedals, and the build is completed with a KMC X101 Gold Track chain, coated with Wattshop's Cratus Wax.
In terms of his clothing, Lambie was also supplied by his trade team sponsors. The canvas for his patriotic helmet design is a POC Tempor.
His skinsuit is a custom-made option from British brand, Vorteq, whose suits are designed specifically to be optimal at a chosen speed, so while this might have been the fastest option for Lambie, it wouldn't necessarily be the fastest for him riding a longer, slower event.
His overshoes are also custom-made by Vorteq and are similar to those seen on the feet of Alex Dowsett in recent months. Together, the two items of clothing fetch an asking price of £3,250 (circa $4,500).
All in, a lot of money went into Lambie's setup, with our rough calculations spiralling in excess of £25,000 / $35,000.
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