A Love Affair with Speed, chpt. I

The Hour Record is the purest test of speed in the world of cycling. One rider, one bike, one gear, one hour. Some romanticise it, some have tried to quantify it, but the hour is a different beast. To take on the hour is to tackle one of the toughest trials of mental and physical endurance the world knows.

Project Raptor started at the end of 2018 with the sole objective of adding the fastest track bike in the world to our arsenal. As you may have read in our ‘Let Me Explain’ piece last week, things haven’t gone exactly to plan since then.

In December 2018 we produced a selection of high density foam models depicting variations of the initial Raptor concept to test at the Boardman Performance Centre’s wind tunnel against another top-end track bike. With promising results, the project made a flying start before being parked while we prioritised development of the Vulcan – our TT/tri bike, and the Vekta – our road bike.

With time on our hands during lockdown, and with a furloughed workforce unable to push on with other areas of development, we decided to pick up where we left off and produce a functional carbon-fibre effigy of our vision to test in the wind tunnel versus the Argon 18 Electron Pro, choice of the world-record holding Danish Team Pursuit squad. To be the best, you’ve got to take on the best.

We give to you, Project Raptor.

A Love Affair with Speed, chpt. II

Argon 18’s Electron Pro is the most dominant bike to have graced the track in recent memory. Dominating the boards with a long list of records, including most recently, the 4000m team pursuit in 3:44:67 under the charge of the Danish track team. This was where we needed to measure The Raptor.

The Silverstone Sports Engineering Hub allowed us to test both bikes under identical conditions to measure drag forces produced by each bike and thus, aerodynamic efficiency. The facility allowed us to compare each bike under the stress of a multitude of conditions, speeds and angles.

On the day, testing showed that when pitted against the best in the business, the Raptor was nearly identical in aerodynamic performance on each test we ran. Equal with, what is largely considered, to be the fastest track bike in the world.

This would be a victory for most brands debuting their offering to the track bike arms race, for some this would lead to claims of being the fastest bike ever recorded, but we came away confident in the fact that there are still lots of tricks up our sleeves; we have unfinished business.

We never entered the race to share the top step. We have established a baseline, and we are back at the drawing board. The Search for Speed is never ending. Project Raptor continues.

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