First Look: Cervelo Soloist Carbon
The SR71 flies in the Giro d?Italia.
The SR71 flies in the Giro d?Italia. No, I?m not talking about the famous high flying spy plane. I am talking about Cervelo?s new prototype Soloist Carbon race frame that was unveiled at the Giro d? Italia for team CSC. Roadcycling.com was given a personal invitation to view the unveiling when Gerard Vroomen of Cervelo flew into Reggio di Calabria to deliver the first ever prototype to team CSC.
The lightweight R2.5 is a fine machine in its own right, but the new Aero Soloist definitely suits the riding style of team CSC racers like Jens Voigt. Essentially, the Soloist is a blend of the lightweight R2.5 and the extreme aerodynamic properties of a soloist. Cervelo actually initiated this project in 2001. It is amazing that they have produced a frame with the typically larger tubing associated with an aero bike, yet with approximately the same weight as the R2.5.
In house testing can only produce limited results. Credit goes to Cervelo for making this ?stealth? project visible to the world of professional cycling so they can obtain real world feedback from the CSC professionals.
Take a look at the new profile of the down tube and head tube. In addition, the horizontal, teardrop shaped, the sloping top tube provides even further state of the art design. The head tube may look round from the front, but this is an illusion. The ultra thin head tube in only one millimeter wider than the P3 carbon head tube. Also notice the oversized area around the bottom bracket, which provides greater stiffness to withstand the power of the team CSC racers. However, the contours of the bottom bracket remain smooth and the carbon fibers have a continuous path, which transfers the load better. The wolf seat stays have an asymmetric air foil design for optimal airflow around the fin portion of the frame member that interacts with the wheel. The chain stays are stiffened laterally, which again ties into the stiffness at the bottom bracket are and torsional rigidity.
As feedback from the racers is brought back to the Cervelo factory, you can certainly expect various tweaks - and final specifications including weight and stiffness will ultimately be determined.
There is no doubt that changes will be made before the 2005 Tour de France and by the looks of it, team CSC is likely to have an advantage with this exceptional frame. Unfortunately, it couldn?t prevent Basso from getting the flu when leading this year?s Giro. Regardless, this writer is amazed at the technology and style that has been put into development. As with many technological advances, it can only trickle down to help those of us who need any possible advantage we can get!