The all-new British-built track bike was used for the first time at the Commonwealth Games. Chris Hoy’s gold in the Kilo was won on the track bike branded as a ‘UK Sports Institute’ machine.
The UK Sports Institute Technology and Innovation strategy is a stream of government-funding for the development of sporting infrastructure and equipment.
The track bike – of which there are only ten in existence so far – is part of the ‘Athens Project’, a specialist development project run by British Cycling to produce top-notch machinery in time for the next Olympics.
The Athens Project is also funded by the GB Cycling Team’s own lottery funding. The project is managed by the GB Team’s performance director, Peter Keen.
Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Nicole Cooke (gold in the road event, not the TT) will probably ride an Athens Project time trial machine at the Athens Olympics in 2004. Wheels and a forkset are also being developed as part of the ‘Athens Project’.
The bikes are designed by Dimitris KatSanis of the Derbyshire-based Advanced Composites Group (ACG), a resin, carbon-fibres and composites specialist which produces kit for Formula 1 cars, aerospace use and top-end sporting equipment such as tennis rackets and wakeboards. According to Philip Ingham, PRO of British Cycling, ACG produces carbon fibre frames of superior quality.
"It’s hard to get commercially-available carbon fibre frames of this high standard," said Ingham.
"When it comes out of the mould, the frame is smooth and shiny and needs no remedial painting or filling common to many other carbon fibre frames."
Design work began in December 2001 and the first frame was delivered in June. The ten frames built so far are still in the prototype stage.
The bikes (and wheels and forks) will be offered to the public "in the medium, not the short-term," Ingham told Bikebiz.co.uk.
BBC1’s Tomorrow’s World on Wednesday night will feature the design work of Dimitris KatSanis of ACG as he measured the stresses and strains put on track bikes by riders. Sprinter’s bikes were found to need extra strength on the chainstays so ACG added honeycombed stiffeners.
No doubt even more stiffeners would be needed if the bike was ever sat on by John Prescott, the deputy prime minister. He is shown above at the Manchester velodrome with
a bevy of Manchester worthies and BC folk.
Left to Right:
Richard Lees, leader, Manchester City Council; Colin Gardner, chief mechanic, British Cycling; Peter King, CEO, British Cycling; John Scott, UK Sport; John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister; Richard Callicott, CEO, UK Sport; Richard Caborn, Minister for Sport; Brian Cookson, president, British Cycling.