Almost a year ago, a UCI rule change on frame design was leaked. At the time, it was hoped this rule change might stimulate a design shake-up, amalgamate the road and time trial bike regulations, allow manufacturers to reduce tube thickness, and increase tube depth, amongst other things. Simplon has now unveiled its new Pride II aero bike, leaning on those relaxed rules to develop a bike Simplon claims is “the fastest road bike in the world”.
We spotted the new Pride II at the IAA Mobility show in Munich last week. Having given the new bike an eyeball wind tunnel test, it certainly looks fast – hardly surprising given Simplon’s stated goal for the new frame was to “develop the fastest road bike in the world.”
As is the done thing now when developing a new aero product, Simplon partnered with the aerodynamic experts and wheel manufacturers at Swiss Side, to assist with the frame development and CFD analysis. The results of this development partnership are clear to see. The Pride II has a much deeper head tube and fork legs, plus a raised bottom bracket /seat tube / down tube interface area compared to the outgoing Simplon Pride 1.
Simplon didn’t rest there though. The Pride II also benefits from a compensation triangle where the seat tube meets the top tube, and a split stem that rises from the stem clamp, which sits in line with the head tube. Of course there are also the obligatory dropped seatstays and truncated tubing.
Simplon claims this somewhat radical new design for a road frame translates into a 30-watt saving at 45 km/h over the outgoing Pride 1, a bike Simplon claims was already exceptionally aero. Better yet, Simplon claims the new design and shapes incorporated into the Pride II tube profiles create a so-called “sail effect” or “negative drag” in crosswinds, effectively pushing the bike forwards. Even better still, Simplon says for all of us who ride less than 45 km/h, this sail effect is more profound at lower speeds.
German magazine Rennrad has somewhat backed up Simplon’s claims, with its recent wind tunnel test showing the new Pride II to be the fastest aero bike on test in a wind tunnel at 45 km/h and 0º yaw. So fast was the new Pride II that Rennrad had the result published before Simplon has updated its own website with details of the new bike.
In another show of confidence in the new Pride II’s aerodynamic prowess, Simplon is offering the new frame in a TT/Tri specific setup, with the handlebars the only change from the road setup. When we first spotted the new Cannondale back in June, we asked if the relaxed UCI regs might mean brands could hit the aero and TT bike markets with one frame, despite differing geometry demands. Simplon seems to think it can.
The TT-going version of the Pride II features FSA’s TFA aero bars, plus TT-specific brake levers and shifters, but is otherwise identical to the road-going version.
While the new Pride II ticks a lot of aero boxes, it’s by no means a weight-weenie with a claimed weight of 7.7 kg sans pedals.
In most new bike stories, this is where I would link to the page for the new bike on the brand’s website. So new is the Pride II, though, that Simplon has not yet added it to its website. But, you can check out the rest of the brand’s bikes at Simplon.com and here you can find a “Simplon magazine” entry with more details on how the Pride II came about.
Simplon body scanning bike fitting system
Simplon also recently unveiled its new body scanning system for bike fitting and frame size calculation. Simplon turned to orthopaedists, physiotherapists, cyclists, and engineers to develop a system capable of providing frame size recommendations and the basis for a more in-depth bike fit.
The system revolves around a 360° body scanner with eight cameras on four towers capable of analysing a claimed three million body points in 3.7 seconds. This scan records biometric data including the rider’s height, C7 vertebra position, top of the hip bone, and other “landmarks”. The scan also captures waist height and circumference, arm, and inside leg length. A smaller scanner built into a small stool analyses the distance between and pressure applied by the sit bones. Lastly, a manual measurement of the rider’s hand lengths is taken.
The system then uses these scan results to create a 3D model of the rider and make recommendations on a rider’s bike saddle height, fore and aft measurements, reach to the handlebars, handlebar drop, lever angle, frame size, and crank length.
The system also factors in the rider’s age, fitness level, and a host of medical information to provide recommendations matching the rider’s selected riding style, chosen from “sport”, “performance”, or “professional”.
Simplon offers body scanning through selected dealers and experience stores but treated me to a full-body scan on day one of the IAA Mobility show. The entire process took no more than a few minutes and, despite needing to wear a figure-hugging 3D scanning suit that left little to the imagination for passing show visitors, the whole process relatively simple. The suit and scanner combination is reminiscent of that used by Japanese clothing brand Zozo a few years back. Let’s hope Simplon’s is more successful than the failed Zozo fitting system though.
Simplon has also created a new bike position tool for transferring the position recommendations to the bike. The tool is basically a fancy tape measure, but damn I want one. Thankfully, Simplon did say it will be available to the public.
Much to my surprise, the Body Scanning system recommended saddle height, fore-aft, and handlebar reach figures almost millimetre-identical to those on my own bike. The scan software did suggest a 2 cm shallower handlebar drop than I currently ride though. Interestingly the system suggested a frame with a 13 mm longer reach and a 10 mm higher stack than my Tarmac SL6 frame, however, this recommendation was for the new Pride II frame, which I suspect has slightly longer and lower geometry with adaptions to account for the inline stem.
The post analysis report can even compute the exact length of exposed seatpost for a large selection of saddles on any of Simplon’s frames. One word of caution on the accuracy of these position recommendations though: I was wearing trainers for the scan which would have increased my height and, I assume, altered the results.
While I have not replicated the recommended position on any of my bikes yet, the system is undoubtedly interesting and beneficial for anyone unsure of which frame size to order and for those needing guidance to get in the ballpark. However, despite its accuracy in comparison to my own bike position, I don’t suspect this system will be a threat to professional bike fitters who’ll inevitably be better equipped to handle the finer elements of a fit.
You can find out more at Simplon.com.
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