This is the Felt TA FRD track bike that the USA will be using at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and at first glance it looks like any other track bike. But wait, something’s not quite right here. Yes, Felt’s engineers have done something that not even the secret squirrel club at British Cycling have dared to do and moved the drivetrain to the left side of the bike.
The reason for this, according to Felt, is that bikes are faster when the airflow is coming from the drivetrain side, so as the air will always be coming from the left when riding anti-clockwise around a velodrome, it switch the drivetrain to that side.
And as an added bonus, Felt also says that this change improves handling as the bike’s weight and centre of gravity is moved to the inside when riding around the banking.
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Another change is that the Felt TA FRD track bike now features asymmetric tube shapes, which basically means that the aerofoil tubes have been reshaped to be at their best with airflow coming from the left-hand side of the bike, while the ability to design the new bike from the ground up and to work closely with HED to design the wheels, has enable Felt to narrow the front and rear dropouts.
The radical bike will be used by USA’s women’s team pursuit squad who finished second behind Great Britain in the 2012 Olympics, while the men’s squad failed to qualify for Rio.