AeroCoach is about to launch a titanium chainring with a carbon backplate, aero teeth and a golden polished finish that will cost £950 and is headed for the Tokyo Olympics, according to the British brand's owner Xavier Disley.
Claimed to be 25cm per lap of the Izu Olympic velodrome faster than a regular aero chainring, the AeroCoach Aten chainring is also incredibly stiff and extremely hard wearing with its titanium nitride coating.
The AeroCoach Aten, named after the sun god in ancient Egyptian religion, is being manufactured in the UK, requires five different suppliers and is made in two parts.
Titanium chainrings are very difficult to machine, Disley told Cycling Weekly. “You almost need a new cutting tool for every ring.”
The Aten chainring is thicker than a standard aero ring and has a lenticular profile so that it effectively drafts the chain, keeping the airflow attached as it passes over the chain and over the face of the chainring.
Disley told Cycling Weekly that it was 25cm per lap of the track ahead of a Sugino aero chainring but compared to a Dura-Ace track chainring with holes, the advantage goes up to 37cm.
“I’m not sure anyone’s done titanium rings before, certainly not aero ones,” said Disley. “And I haven’t seen a chainring more expensive than this.
“We tried to improve the teeth on our carbon rings with coatings and spent a ton of money on R&D but couldn’t get the coatings smooth enough. But we do still make the carbon track rings as we don’t want to just make obscenely priced stuff.”
Disley says the Aten is not the lightest chainring, however: the 60t size weighs around 400g, which is around 150g heavier than a big aluminium ring.
He says a pursuit bike with double discs, AeroCoach's Vorzug bars and the Aten ring weighed 7.8kg, while a bunch track bike was closer to 7kg with an Aten fitted (a Cervelo T4, size 56cm).
However, AeroCoach is also making a £180 titanium sprocket which Disley says is one of the lightest available at 24g… “but a normal steel sprocket is 41g so you’re not saving much,” he says.
The Aten is UCI approved and compatible with 144bcd five-bolt chainsets including but not limited to SRM, Infocrank, Power2Max/Rotor Aldhu, Miche Pistard Air. It’s compatible with 1 1/8in chains only.
Last week AeroCoach supplied Mathieu van der Poel with an AeroCoach Aeox Titan front wheel and AeroCoach Ascalon extensions to help him save watts and keep the yellow jersey in the Tour de France time trial - which he did... by eight seconds. Would Van der Poel have lost the yellow jersey if he'd ridden his standard equipment? Disley told Cycling Weekly he couldn't comment publicly on customers, but said, "He really did a ride, didn't he?"
Disley wouldn't reveal who would be using the Aten chainring at the Olympics, just that "we're frantically trying to get some more made in time."
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor on the magazine following an MA in online journalism (yes, it was just after the dot-com bubble burst).
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Shorter fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
And the vital statistics:
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