Dan Bigham's epic Ribble TT machine
Dan Bigham has become the go-to guy when it comes to aerodynamics, so his own TT rig should be pretty efficient – I chatted to him to see what's what
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Ribble's recent overhaul of its range has certainly attracted attention, with many of its new bikes looking far better than previous ones.
It has all been part of a drive to rebrand and lift the Ribble name from cheap happy-go-lucky to desirable and I think Ribble has done just that – something that its latest time trial bike, the Ultra TT, epitomises.
Here we have Dan Bigham's TT machine that he rides with Ribble Pro Cycling, which looks amazing in custom blue sparkle.
Multiple national track and time trial national champion Bigham has famously used his expertise in aerodynamics to find crucial extra watts both for himself and his teams – he rides for Huub-Wattbike on the track and Ribble Pro Cycling on the road – so you’d expect his own TT rig to be something special, and it sure is.
Being Bigham, he's fine tuned it to be as aerodynamically efficient as possible via a number of key features.
For starters, the fork here is not UCI legal: "I have two forks," says Bigham. "This one is for CTT races. It is off the Ribble Ultra TTR [triathlon bike] and is slightly more aerodynamic than the my UCI fork set-up. The UCI fork has a shorter chord so fits within the UCI 80mm legality box."
Bigham is running a tubeless setup here using the latest Continental GP5000 TL tyres. The width is 25c and as you can see below there isn't much clearance for anything bigger.
The chainring is probably one of the most impressive things on his Ribble. Custom made by UK firm Pyramid, it has 60 teeth and, as the missing front mech suggests, is one-by.
This is paired with a SRM Science Track power meter.
"The Pyramid chainrings are literally the best chainrings in the world," says Bigham. "We've used them on the track since our very first track race.
"The gains are pretty big from removing the front mech, having a smooth chainring aero surface, having a larger chainring for better drivetrain efficiency and also holding the chain on with the narrow-wide tooth profile."
To prove it, the Ultegra rear derailleur Bigham runs is, apart from the CeramicSpeed OSPW oversized pulley upgrades, the standard non-clutch version and Bigham says he hasn't suffered a single chain derailment.
Despite those aero time trial bars looking custom, Bigham says they are actually "very much off the shelf.
"The base bar is a TriRig Alpha One. I've fitted a WattShop one-piece arm rest for CTT races. This will be switched out for a two-piece arm rest for UCI TTs. The extensions are USE 30° with custom hidden Di2 buttons. I have a set of custom aero extensions in the pipeline ahead of British TT Nationals at the end of June. A small detail is the Notio Konect mounted just underneath the extensions to allow me to collect aero data on the open road."
I asked the question that many of us surely want to know the answer to: how does he get into that super-aero position?
"Good shoulder and neck flexibility is key. This is something I'm naturally lucky to have, although it has meant I've dislocated my shoulders a few times over the years! It does take persistence to develop the range of movement and muscular endurance to sustain a tight and tucked position, but it is just another part of training."
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Symon Lewis joined Cycling Weekly as an Editorial Assistant in 2010, he went on to become a Tech Writer in 2014 before being promoted to Tech Editor in 2015 before taking on a role managing Video and Tech in 2019. Lewis discovered cycling via Herne Hill Velodrome, where he was renowned for his prolific performances, and spent two years as a coach at the South London velodrome.
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