The Pinarello Bolide, despite not having the longest lineage in the time trial paddock, certainly has an impressive history already. It’s been used to help pilot Ineos Grenadiers to multiple Tour victories, and, in its track form, has held the hour record too.
Now we have a new version to pore over, the Bolide F TT, which was unsubtly debuted at the Tour de Suisse recently.
It is, according to Pinarello, its fastest bike ever, but as we’ll go into this isn’t primarily down to the increasingly diminishing returns of aerodynamic tweaks, but more thanks to improvements in stiffness and handling.
Disc brakes and wider tyres
The big change over the previous version is that the new Bolide F TT has discs, something which added a 1.4% drag deficit to the package and meant the design team started on the back foot. New tube shapes throughout, which bear a striking resemblance to the Dogma F, improve the aero package, but only to the point that the frameset is now as aero as its forebear (or within 0.04%, to be precise).
Much like the new Merida Time Warp TT, which also switched from rim to discs, the improvements in speed aren’t attributed to aerodynamics, but to the improved handling that comes with disc brakes, thanks both to better braking power and modulation, and the ability of the bike to run wider tyres – 28mm in this case – which also improves rolling resistance.
Stiffer is faster
TT bikes can get away with being harsher than the best road bikes; they’re generally used over much shorter distances, and almost always in a competitive environment. The new Bolide F TT is stiffer at the bottom bracket by 17%, at the headtube by seven per cent, and at the fork by 12% vertically and five per cent laterally.
This should improve the power transfer, and we imagine will also be alleviated somewhat in terms of ride comfort by the addition of wider tyres to the package.
Weight hasn’t been neglected either, though it seems to not have been one of the main aims of the design and engineering departments. Regardless, the new frameset is 170g lighter than the rim brake version, despite the additional material needed to reinforce the calliper areas of the chainstays and fork.
A new cockpit
While the frameset may only be as aero as its predecessor, the base bar and extensions, tested separately, feature a drag reduction between two and three per cent. This does involve a custom 3D printed titanium extensions which will set you back between €17,000-€20,000, and makes the Bolide F TT, as far as we know, the most expensive bike in the Tour de France.
A new headset design too has aided in the slippery nature of the front end; it’s lower profile, and allows for a narrower proprietary stem to be used.
Pricing and availability
The new Bolide F TT is available now for pre-order in black with white decals from Pinarello dealers. The paint job you see here is only available if your name starts with an 'F' and ends with '-ilippo Ganna'. Pricing is as yet unknown.
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