A group of self-proclaimed bike nerds in the USA have combined to create what they’re calling the “first bike to truly take advantage” of the new UCI rules on frame design. Under the brand name Stromm Cycles, they have built the infrastructure to create one size, and today they’re launching on Kickstarter to fund the rest of a size run.
“We are confident that we have the fastest track bike design and by July will have the fastest track bike available,” said one of the engineers, Dave Koesel, whose experience includes 14 years at Felt Bicycles, plus two years each at 3T and Roval. “Once the rule changes were announced, I knew we could make a considerably faster bike.”
However, in order to qualify for use at the Paris Olympics in 2024, the bike which currently exists in a quantity of one must debut at the Track Worlds in August of this year.
Over the past few years, the rules governing bike design have evolved at a fairly significant pace. Where previously frame tube cross-sections were bound by a 3:1 ratio limit that meant no tube could be more than three times wider than its depth, nowadays they can be designed up to an effective maximum ratio of 8:1, bound by minimum and maximum overall dimensions of 10mm and 80mm respectively. In addition, recent changes to rider position have doubled the amount of reach a rider can have in bunch races, bringing it from 50mm to 100mm and in line with the reach previously only allowed in track sprint races.
The team of engineers are all keen track cyclists, with Koesel himself racing both the 2022 UCI Master’s World Championship and the USA Cycling Elite National Championships.
“The reality is that you can’t seem to actually buy an FES and the $25,000 price tag for a Hope or a Felt TA meant the three of us would have to invest $75,000 collectively to have the latest bikes on the market today,” Koesel added. “But those that were designed before the new UCI rules. We can make a faster bike for less than $75,000 out of pocket. So we did.”
Luckily, the team, which also includes professional aerodynamicist Ben Rothaker, accomplished pro cyclist Daniel Holloway, and long-time bike manufacturer Stephen Doll, can all ride the same size frame, so they all invested their own money to create the tooling and moulds for that one size.
According to the team, the UCI’s switch to 8:1 rules allow 600%+ lower drag sectionally than before. Exactly what that translates to for the final performance of…
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