As August draws closer and all eyes turn toward Tokyo, LOOK unveils the new track bike destined to beat the clocks of velodromes across the world: the T20. This technological gem, the result of 4 years of joint R&D between all partners (LOOK, CORIMA, the FRENCH CYCLING FEDERATION and athletes), is lighter (-800g), stiffer (+25%) and more aerodynamic (-12%) than the previous generation. These undisputable statistics and technological promises lead us to the inevitable question: is the T20 the fastest bike in the world?
As the first athletes to ride it, who better to answer this question than the stars of the French National Cycling Team themselves?
We asked them during the first official tests on the velodrome of Saint-Quentin en Yvelines, where all the people who contributed to the development of the new weapon were there to watch as it took to the track in style.
The atmosphere is relaxed as French National Team riders and Federation officials willingly pose for photos and answer interviews… yet minds are already turned toward the track: the athletes and their audience are eager to finally see the T20 in action.
He explains: “Today, I have a feeling of accomplishment. The culmination of 4 years of R&D, made possible by LOOK and CORIMA in what is a unique collaboration in French industry.”
Federico Musi (CEO of LOOK Cycle), picks up the microphone:
“What makes these performances possible, is that this bike has been designed by LOOK as a complete, comprehensive system. Every part of this bike is made in our LOOK and CORIMA factories in Nevers and Loriol. The development of a bike such as this one takes at least 4 years (our engineers are already thinking of Paris 2024!). We have been testing, developing, integrating feedback from the French Cycling Federation for the last two years; the bike was released six months ago and we have been finetuning it since. To see it here on the velodrome today makes me incredibly proud.
How a bike performs is a balance between weight, stiffness, ergonomics and aerodynamics. These 4 criteria have been optimized on the T20: combined, they allow the rider to gain the equivalent of a full bike length over a 200m sprint at 70km/h!
It is probably the best bike in the world today. We also have a 3 month delivery period and several big federations, such as China and Russia, have already ordered it. This is a bike designed to break world records.
It is now time to let the velodrome do the talking.”
The T20 is launched around the 250m of the Saint-Quentin en Yvelines velodrome, fired by almost 2,000 watts.
“In just a few weeks, I broke all my records...”
“I rode the T20 for the first time in November. As soon as I got on it, I could feel how stiff and light it was. This is somewhat contradictory, because normally the two don't go together… and if fact, I immediately broke my personal records. I have never ridden so fast so for me, yes the T20 is the fastest! Visiting the factory made an impression on me : we ride our bike every day, it’s important to know where it comes from. What impressed me most was the whole process of producing a bike. When we get it, it is already built and we don’t really think about all the work behind it. We imagine big machines but in fact, we met people who build them by hand in Nevers… I think of that every time I ride it.”
Grégory Baugé : “It is the first time I feel so light on a bike… even though I am one of the heavyweights! (laughs) It felt fluid as soon as I got on it. I appreciated that our opinions were taken into account, in particular regarding the geometry. All this work has paid off, there is no doubt about it.”
“When you know that more than 60 hours of work have gone into a frame, you look at it in a different light.”
“It felt a little weird to begin with, especially because this bike is longer and much stiffer. But I got used to it very quickly and after a few weeks, I wouldn’t change it for the world! I enjoyed visiting the LOOK factory in Nevers. It was the first time I had been to a bicycle factory. It was a pleasure to meet the employees who make our bikes. When you know that more than 60 hours of work have gone into a frame, you look at it in a different light.”
Cyrille Perrin (French National Team mechanic) : “We did a lot of testing and worked very closely with LOOK.”
“We have been working on the T20 for two years. First it arrived with a new geometry for the front end, then for the rear. It has been a process. We did a lot of testing and worked very closely with LOOK. We are very lucky that the LOOK factory is in Nevers, as this allows us to participate in the development. I have no doubt it is the fastest bike LOOK has ever designed.”
“Much more reactive when accelerating”
The bike is much more reactive when accelerating thanks to its lightness and stiffness. Yet for it to be the fastest bike in the world, it also needs the strongest riders in the world to pedal it… I hope that will be the case at the Olympics! In any case, it is well on its way to beating the clock.”
Tokyo will tell…