Cycling’s BMC And F1’s Red Bull Advanced Technologies Hint At Cycling Revolution

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Swiss cycling brand BMC and U.K.-based Formula One motor racing team Red Bull Advanced Technologies have released a teaser video promising a “cycling revolution.”

In the video, former professional sprint cyclist Fabian Cancellara rides—fast—on an obscured road racing bicycle and ends by claiming that “if this works it’s going to change everything.”

BMC has been working with Aston Martin Red Bull Advanced Technologies for two years and the teaser video released on October 6 is the first communication about the collaboration since it was announced in 2018.

“After almost two years of intense research and development, Red Bull Advanced Technologies and innovative Swiss bike brand BMC have moved into the prototyping phase of their technology partnership,” said a joint announcement.

Red Bull Advanced Technologies’ Vehicle Science team has been helping BMC technicians with simulations of bike behavior based on data from Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) models.

The companies are enlisted Cancellara—an Olympic and World Champion—to validate and evaluate some of the first hardware developments produced by the partnership.

“It’s been fascinating to see what Formula 1 development techniques can bring to the field of bike design,” said Christian Horner, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing Team Principal.

“We have developed some hugely innovative concepts and now it’s time to step up the pace of our collaboration and take those enormously exciting ideas to the next level in pursuit of the next generation of performance cycling.”

David Zurcher, CEO of BMC, agreed: “The ideas we’re working on truly have the capacity to significantly improve the entire experience of performance cycling.”

It’s unlikely the collaboration will see any actual products for some time but, interestingly, the UCI, the world governing body for cycling, has recently admitted it will be loosening some of its restrictive design rules next year.

Confirming parts of a leak sent to CyclingTips.com, the UCI said it will be amending parts of its technical regulations handbook which, often to the consternation of the bicycle industry, restricts what can and cannot be done in bicycle design.

The UCI has a minimum weight restriction for racing bicycles even though modern technologies and frame materials could be made far lighter than the 6.8kg minimum. Aero frame shapes—and rider positions—are also strictly policed.

“Art 1.3.020 will enter into force on 1st January 2021 and will provide an opportunity to use one frameset in road, track cycling and cyclo-cross disciplines at UCI events,” confirmed the UCI in a statement. The changes, said the governing body, will “allow the industry more flexibility to offer bikes without departing from the UCI’s fundamental principles that guarantee equity in our sport.”

Cycling has been collaborated closely with F1 motor racing for some years. In 2018, Specialized of the U.S. unveiled the Venge, an aero bicycle made in partnership with F1 racing team McLaren.

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