Cycling NZ have revealed the Avanti Pista Sprint and Pursuit Team bikes its track athletes will ride at this summer's Olympic Games in Rio Janeiro, Brazil. Following New Zealand's bronze medals on the track at the 2012 London Games, Cycling NZ, High Performance Sport New Zealand, Avanti, wheelwrights Southern Spars, aerodynamic experts Kinetic Simulation, and Auckland University's wind tunnel collaborated on the bike in secret to provide its athletes with a winning edge.
The Pista Pursuit was designed by David Higgins, largely in secret from the riders and majority of Cycling NZ staff with the New Zealand track riders first riding the bikes back in December during closed sessions on Cambridge's velodrome after the UCI Track World Cup round.
In the design phase of the new sprint specific bike, it was decided the Avanti pursuit bike was outperforming the sprint bike and became the basis for the new Pista frame. In designing the sprint frame, Higgins explained he was looking to cut aerodynamic drag and lighten the frame, while retaining the required level of stiffness. This was ultimately achieved by using Avanti's ILO (Internal Laminate Optimisation) mould system.
Integrated handlebars that pockets into the head tube also ensure a stiff front end and contributes to a bike that is 15% more aerodynamic than the previous sprint frame.
Each sprinter, Ethan Hawkins, Sam Webster, Eddie Dawkins, Simon Van Velthooven and Matt Archibold, all underwent 3D scanning with each rider receiving a custom designed handlebar set up for maximum aerodynamic performance.
"We don't want to go to Rio and be beaten by equipment, so for us to have the ability to put our knowledge, as well as the team's knowledge into the frame, it's been a really cool project," Mitchell said of new bike.
For the pursuit bike, the front end load distribution led the design process with the previous Avanti Pista Evo2 bike deemed too inefficient. By moving the handlebar 'bullets through to the axles and out through the wheels' the designers created a front end with a 10% improvement in drag reduction without compromising stiffness.
"With the pursuit bike, the main design feature is the wings. They are part of a new fork design. The fork load pass is attached to the handlebars rather than the frame. That makes a more direct attachment to the wheel which reduces the weight on the front," Higgins said of the titanium printed bars and front end.
"Each set of handlebars is customised for individual riders and the new design provides substantial aerodynamic and stiffness benefits after honing in the wind tunnel."
Cycling NZ was allocated $17.5 million by the federal government for the Olympic cycle.
The next challenge will be ensuring the bikes arrive safe and sound in Rio where they will be put to the test on the Velódromo Municipal do Rio.
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