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Why Wiggo’s Pinarello is So Fast

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June 5, 2015 – When Sir Bradley Wiggins sets off on Sunday to go as far as he can in 60minutes, he will likely smash Alex Dowsett’s current record, 52.937km, and potentially eclipse Chris Boardman’s best human effort of 56.375 km. For us colonials that’s a mind boggling 35mph… for 60minutes. 

peloton/Images: Pinarello

It’s a combination of talent, experience and industry that will make Jens Voigt, Alex Dowsett and the rest seem like amateurs by the time Wiggins is done. Expect to see a number even Fabian Cancellara and Tony Martin will be unlikely to tackle. Why will he be so fast?

Scroll down for all the details including CFD frame grabs from the bike’s design.

Sir Brad obviously has a big motor, but more than that, he has years of experience on the track. It’s as simple as his ability to ride a straight line. If a rider wanders only a half meter per lap that adds up to a significant distance after the 212 laps necessary to best the record. The rider will need to ride faster than the distance he intends to cover. It’s safe to say that thanks to his track background Wiggins will ride a straighter line than either Cancellara or Martin could manage.


Then there is choice of venue. The brits know the Lee Valley VeloPark, home of the 2012 Olympics backwards and forwards. They know the correct temperature for speed, they know exactly how the column of air the rider creates moves around the track itself, rumor has it they know which doors to keep open and which doors to close based on the wind direction and barometric pressure outside.

Then there is Wiggins’ team. A combination of British Cycling, Jaguar, Team SKY and all of their suppliers. There will be no easy meters to pick up once Wiggins is done with his attempt, no more meat on the bone of the hour.

The bike itself is a modified Pinarello Bolide TT bike and emblematic of just how seriously this record attempt is being taken.

It all starts with a first impression and Pinarello, with the help of Jaguar, makes the most of it.

With the top of the wheel traveling twice as fast as the rider, up to 70mph in this case, the Bolide HR’s fork blade was tucked as close as possible to the front disc. This allows the air flow to treat both wheel and fork as a single airfoil removing significant turbulence.

The fork contour designed to accept a front brake was even smoothed over to save a few precious grams of drag. The track fork is on the right.

The single piece ti bars, another huge aero influence, removed any spacers and unnecessary hardware that could create low pressure zones behind the bars, yet still fit in the 3:1 UCI ratio and put Wiggins in his ideal position.

bradley wiggins hour record bike 3
The final bar was actually 3D printed using a Titanium additive process. 

Pinarello and Jaguar engineers also understood essentially half of the hour attempt will take place in the corners, with a maximum banking of 42degrees. Specific CFD simulations were run to ensure the airflow’s lateral component in the corners was accounted for.

Filed under the heading, ‘no stone left unturned’, Pinarello decided to make the bike out of a single monocoque to avoid bonding of parts and carbon over wrapping. The result should be incredibly stiff and extremely light.

It’s really no surprise Pinarello has gone to these lengths, with a big assist from Jaguar. The brand’s hour record history is well established, with big ‘Mig’ Indurain riding a Pinarello during his successful hour ride in 1994.

Indurain went 53.04km on a ‘best human effort’ bike that would not pass a current UCI inspection. We expect Wiggins to smash that number by up to 2km. Sunday will tell all.

The effort will be live streamed and you will be able to watch it right here. The stream goes live at 1:15EST and Wiggins will begin his ride at 1:30EST.