The Slipstream team have stamped an early authority on the 2008 Giro. They won the stage one team time trial, and finished an impressive six seconds up on nearest rivals CSC, on Saturday.

David Millar was key in this decisive victory. His tactic, to propel a group of five riders over the finish line after giving his all, in one almighty pull undoubtedly helped secure the result. Also the team had apparently arrived a week early, and had been practising on the course to leave no chance of error.

But what of the hardware they employed to win? The Felt DA is claimed by its manufacturer to be the fastest TT bike in the world. And in common with some other big players on the TT bike market, Cervélo, Specialized and Trek, looking at the bike you can see the evidence of wind tunnel testing.

Perhaps most obvious is the head tube/fork steerer area that?s been rethought to do away with a conventional steerer tube. Instead a monocoque assembly, named the ‘Bayonet’, connects and turns upfront but shaves off millimetres each side of the head tube area. Look bikes have been employing this design for some years, and is a material benefit that comes from the use of carbon in frame building.

As the bearing sits behind the normal point, the fork blades have an inverted form to allow the right amount of trail on the front wheel. The Bayonet fork has a built in stem, where the required angle is obtained with an adjustable clamp.

Felt “DA” TT bike

Next point of interest is the wheel hugging mainframe. It’s customary now, on TT bikes, to see an shrouding seat tube that follows the line of the rear wheel and requires the use of rear facing horizontal dropouts. Felt has accentuated the down tube profile to echo this on the front of the bike also.

Like the most recent Specialized Transition TT bike, cables are guided into the top tube and stashed away internally. Unlike the Transition, the DA is designed for a standard rear brake caliper that sits, inproving aerodynamics, tucked in down by the BB shell. Also present not to compromise aerodynamics, are the Zipp Z99 wheelset. The speed dimples, ceramic bearings, and lightweight tubular tyres show their TT pedigree.

This is where Millar’s Union Jack stickers over his rear wheel must be mentioned. Dave, we know they ‘sort off’ follow the lines of conventional spokes, and they are patriotic, and all that. But take it from us, they look better in black.

EXTERNAL LINKS

Felt Bicycles website