Pit walk: Critiquing the 2024 WorldTour bikes with JP Ballard of SwissSide

Which teams are optimising and which are compromising their 2024 performance?

Ronan Mc Laughlin
by Ronan Mc Laughlin 21.01.2024 Photography by
Dr Tim Podlogar
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The 2024 World Tour season is under way at the Tour Down Under and Escape Collective is on the ground all week bringing you the latest news, tech, and Escape podcasts. Today we’ve got a combined Geek Warning and Performance Process tech special episode as Jean Paul Ballard of SwissSide joins us for the first of two podcasts with the former F1 aerodynamicist.

In this episode JP takes us on a wandering roam around the Tour Down Under pit zone talking us through which teams and manufacturers are optimising and which are compromising. JP breaks down some aero myths, explains the true benefit of aero bikes, wheels, helmets, critiques some of the latest tech, and whether a “do-it-all” all rounder can really do-it-all as we discuss each team’s setup.

The Geek Warning special episodes and Performance Process are members-only podcasts from Escape Collective. If you’re not a member, you’ll need to become one (insider or supporter level both apply – monthly or annual both apply) to listen to the full show. There is, however, a preview of this episode right here …

If you are a member already, you can subscribe to your personal member-only podcast feed. All the details regarding the one-time subscription sign up are available on this page for signed-in members.

Time stamps for the episode:

07:06 – SwissSide’s AG2R partnership and a conflict of interest.
12:12 – Bora Hansgrohe & Soudal Quickstep setups from Specailized.
14:59 – Arkea’s dedicated aero and do-it-all bike choices.
16:08 – UAE’s Colnago V4RS, handlebars, wheel, and tyre choices.
19:38 – Do wider tyre rolling resistance savings offset the increased aero drag?
21:05 – Cofidis team bikes and their “catastrophic,” double digit watt penalty tyre choice.
23:31 – Jayco’s bikes and why rider preference isn’t always best.
27:06 – Are hookless rims more aero?
28:37 – Aero versus vented helmets.
30:05 – The counterintuitive effect of helmet visors.
31:58 – One of the best aero bikes on the market and handlebar sail effect.
33:52 – Varying rim depths and tyre widths front to rear and a common mistake.
34:51 – The “detrimental for performance” design elements of the Ineos Pinarello Dogma F.
37:54 – Is there an aero gain from smaller front brake rotors?
39:58 – The importance of textiles.
41:55 – The other “aero interesting” design element of the Trek Madone.

There are plenty more insights in the full podcast with JP Ballard.

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