Adam Hansen is currently in the process of designing and manufacturing his own radical-looking time trial bike, which he hopes to race in Ironman events this season. The self-designed, self-made frame will measure just 28mm wide excluding the forks, and feature custom-made wheels and derailleurs, as well as a 'floating' chainring that optimises chain line.
The 39-year-old Australian retired from professional cycling at the end of the 2020 season, deciding to focus on triathlon and Ironman events in 2021.
As a result, Hansen is taking advantage of the freedom afforded in a sport without UCI rules, and despite seeking outside help surrounding aerodynamics, the aim is to design and build the bike entirely by himself.
"I'm going to do everything in-house," Hansen told Cyclingnews. "For me, if I just design it and give it to another manufacturer to produce, then I would never say that I made the bike. I really want to do it all by myself.
"I'll 3D print the plugs for the mould, then I'll make the mould from the 3D-printed piece. Then from there, I'll make the bike from the moulds. I've got all the equipment."
The former Lotto Soudal rider is well known for his innovations and meticulous approach to equipment choice. Whether it's shaving weight from his bike to meet the 6.8kg UCI limit or designing and manufacturing his own custom carbon fibre shoes, the recently retired Australian is regularly thinking outside the box.
"I'm trying to make it as narrow as possible," Hansen explained. "The widest part of the bike, excluding the forks, will be as wide as the front tyre, at 28mm.
"As for components, I'll make my own rear derailleur, my own front derailleur, my own brake levers and I'll do the electronics myself," he continued.
"I'm not going for the traditional derailleur design, it will be internal in the frame. The rear fork will have the derailleur hidden inside, so you won't have this big derailleur hanging to the side. Then the front derailleur will be inside the frame also."
Prioritising efficiency, Hansen is also rethinking chainset design. "I want to have a straight chain line at all times," he explained. "To achieve that I'm going to try to have a front chainring that's floating, so as you shift to the bigger sprocket at the back, the front chainring will follow the chain line as well."
With such a narrow design comes various complexities, which Hansen has been hard at work overcoming. Stiffness if the primary concern for a bike that measures a little over an inch in width, so to overcome this, Hansen has looked to the strengthening properties of a honeycomb structure built as part of six different carbon layup processes.
In addition, a reduced q-factor has been considered, too. Hansen's testing with Leomo confirms that the most powerful q-factor position is for legs to extend in parallel, rather than inwards to account for a narrower position. However, he does plan to test the CDA of a narrower q-factor versus the expected drop in power to calculate speed.
How long will it take?
As for Hansen's hopes for when his new bike will be ready, he's putting no pressure on himself to finish the project in a certain timeframe. He currently rides a Ridley Dean Fast, which Lotto-Soudal gifted to him at the end of his season.
"The aim is to race, but with the option that I can use my own bike"
He admits he's always wanted to make his own bike, but that the project is only a few months old, beginning in November 2020 since his announced retirement, and that it's likely to be completed in a "crazy short time".
However, those excited to see a finished product will have to wait, as an upcoming training camp will derail progress somewhat.
"If I had three months of solid work, I'd be able to complete it, but depending on my training and travelling, it's going to be longer."
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Originally from Bude but now based out of Exeter, Josh is the former eCommerce manager of the Bike Shed in Devon. After racing cross-country with friends as a youth, he soon turned to road cycling. Nowadays, 27-year-old Josh is a Cat 1 road racer for Team Tor 2000. While he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium. He dabbles in fair-weather cyclocross and will happily slog out a century if you reward him with cake. Oh, and in his spare time, he writes about tech and deals for Cyclingnews and BikePerfect. Rides: Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL6 Disc, Trek Emonda ALR, Specialized Crux.
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