British track riders on the endurance and sprint squads are back riding the Cervélo T5 bike at the track cycling World Championships in the Netherlands this week. Cervélo came on board as sponsor of the British team ahead of the Rio Olympics in 2016. They won 11 medals on the track in Brazil but afterwards the team returned to the trusted UKSI bikes and admitted that every Cervélo frame had broken.
British Cycling and Cervélo then went back to the drawing board in their joint project to create the ultimate track bike for the 2020 Games. It’s taken just over a year to get the new T5 in to production as they came up against several ‘challenges’ in the build process.
The T5s are currently coming off the British production line one by one and the speed of that process made it a race against time to get them all ready for this year’s championships.
The latest T5 is similar in look to it’s predecessor and the British coaches were confident this version would be up to the task of harnessing the sprinters’ power. Jason Kenny rode his in the first round of the team sprint on day one, although Phil Hindes and Jack Carlin were on UKSI bikes.
British company Hope Engineering team up with British Cycling
While the frame is similar in look to the Mk1 version of Rio there are some new additions. Most notably the tri bars from British company Hope.
The carbon base bar is a Cervélo product and is nicely integrated with the frame; the adjustable aluminium Hope bars bolt on top with a single aerofoil mount. This being different to the carbon bars tailor made for each rider by Chris Boardman’s Secret Squirrel club which were essentially two separate elements sat on top of the base bar. Whether or not they will be brought back for the 2020 Olympic Games remains to be seen.
The only addition to the all-carbon base bare is a chalk paste for grip. One of the biggest changes is the team’s recent switch to dual-sided Verve Info Cranks having used SRMs pretty much since Lottery Funding first came along back in 1997.
Other technology that can be seen on the bike includes the speed sensor zip-tied to the left side chain stay and a pitot tube in the head-tube to measure air speed. The new £2.5k Campagnolo Ghibli disc wheel remains a favourite among pursuiters, with the British riders using them on the rear, but their in-house disc wheels on the front.
By the end of day one, the new bikes had already carried the team to a medal in the men’s team sprint and set the men’s and women’s teams up for a medal ride on day two.