By Simon Smythe
This is the bike Joey Walker would have ridden in defence of his National Circuit Championship title this year – but with the lockdown and cancellation of this year’s event, the 23-year-old son of former pro Chris Walker only rode one road race in France with his UCI Continental team Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK.
“Obviously it’s a shame I haven’t been able to wear the jersey this year but it’s lucky that they’ve extended it so I’ve got next year to show it, which is a bonus,” he says.
“Training is a bit steady – I’m just getting out for enjoyment now that there’s no racing, just enjoying the good weather before it turns grim.
“We were really hopeful a couple of months back but then it’s got less and less likely so I’ve not got anything planned other than a couple of local cyclo-cross races maybe.”
Three new bikes day
Walker moved from the Madison Genesis team to Vitus Pro Cycling for 2020 and was given three Vitus Vitesse Evo bikes – a race bike, training bike and spare bike. “The only difference is that this one, my training bike, has an alloy bar, stem and wheels from Prime instead of carbon.
“Josh, the mechanic at Vitus, set it up for me. It's the 54cm size and he decided that too. I just sent the measurements from the Genesis team bike I was riding last year, he built it and it was spot on straight away. It’s nice – more like an all rounder bike – covers it all, good in the hills and on the flat."
With a zero-setback seatpost and 130mm stem Walker favours an aggressive forward position which lets him put the power down – and this season he gets increased stopping power too.
“This is my first full season on discs, I like ‘em to be fair. Times are changing – soon everything will be disc.”
The Vitus team runs SRAM Red eTap AXS groupsets with Quarq power meters. “It sounds strange but 12 speed takes quite a bit of getting used to,” says Walker. “And a 50/37 chainset – it sounds tiny but 50x10 is actually a pretty big gear. You spend more time in the big ring and further up the block if that makes sense.
“Electronic is great – no cables getting in the way and when your lights flash red you just charge them and you’re away again."
“I’ve got 38cm at the hoods and 40cm at the drops. I’ve gone narrower, I used to be on 40cm all round, but getting a narrower profile helps aerodynamics.
“Pre-season we were booked into the Boardman Performance Centre for testing the Velotec kit on the road bike in the wind tunnel. The aero jersey turned out to be very fast and the bike too, even though it’s not an aero bike.”
The wheels are supplied by Prime, another of the team’s partners.
“For racing we choose between 30mm and 50mm carbon deep sections,” says Walker. We race tubeless – Schwalbe One tan-wall 25mm tyres.”
On his training bike Walker runs Prime Baroudeur wheels, which have a tubeless compatible, 30mm alloy rim, with 28mm Schwalbe One tyres.
“I will never go back to training on 25s again – 28s are so much better.”
However, Walker has inner tubes in the tubeless Schwalbe Ones on his training bike: “I never got round to replacing to the gunk after the winter – I know, it’s just me being lazy.”
Finally, Walker sits on the Selle San Marco Shortfit Racing Pro Series. “We had a choice of three, and I chose this one. I’ve been riding shorty saddles for quite a while now and a cutout is more comfortable. In a race situation, a shorter saddle actually feels as though it gives you more room to move around.”
Although he hasn’t been racing outside, Walker has busy on Zwift, where he rides this bike on a direct-drive trainer.
“I’ve had two second places in pro-amateur races and Zwift races are bloody hard!”
And if you rode the Cycling Weekly Club 10 on September 4, you will have come up against this very bike. Walker rode it to third place with 5.8w/kg.
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