Thanks to years of in-house research that led to the development of several patent-pending technologies, the new Felt TA FRD is a distinct advantage for the USA Cycling Team. Realistically, we should be able to save around 3.5 seconds over the course of the women’s team pursuit event, which is monumental.
Head of Aerodynamics for FELT BICYCLES
Yaw is the angle of wind direction relative to the direction of motion. Because there is no wind inside an indoor velodrome, one may assume that the yaw angle would be zero. However, FELT BICYCLES engineers discovered that there is a consistent yaw angle due to the relatively rapid rotation of the bike around its vertical axis. More importantly, FELT BICYCLES engineers found that the yaw occurs predominantly from the left-hand side of the bike, which means that the airflow is not symmetric.
Because the airflow inside the velodrome is asymmetric, the primary tube shapes of track bikes frames therefore do not need to be symmetric. The downtube and headtube of the TA FRD were designed to be more efficient from the left-hand side than the right-hand side in order to optimize aerodynamic efficiency.
During the research and development process for the TA FRD, FELT BICYCLES engineers found that most bicycle frames are aerodynamically more efficient, or faster, when airflow comes from the right-hand side (typically the drivetrain side), as opposed to the left-hand side. But because FELT BICYCLES engineers discovered that airflow on the track occurs predominantly from the left-hand side, then it is a logical decision to design a bike that will compete in a track environment with the drivetrain and crank on the left-hand side. This left-hand drive system is made possible with proprietary components developed in partnership with HED, FSA, Stages Cycling, Phil Wood and Vittoria.
Because the TA FRD is a pure race bike designed for the world’s top track racers, its airfoils were developed for the specific conditions of the velodrome, meaning at a very low yaw angle. The airfoils have been optimized to have as little aerodynamic drag on the track as possible while still possessing an efficient shape for maximum stiffness. The TA FRD’s revolutionary aerodynamics were achieved within UCI regulations, and every part of the TA FRD frame was optimized using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and finite element analysis (FEA) both individually and as a complete package to create the most advanced bike in the history of FELT BICYCLES.
FSA adapted its most aerodynamic crankset specifically for the left-hand drive system of the TA FRD, and FELT BICYCLES engineers optimized the TA FRD frame to integrate with it in the most aerodynamically efficient way possible. To meet the training demands of the athletes of the USA Cycling Team, Stages Cycling enhanced the TA FRD’s crank with a dual-sided power meter, the final component in track racing’s most advanced crank package.
FELT BICYCLES collaborated with leading wheel manufacturer HED to design and develop the TA FRD’s wheels in conjunction with the frame, giving the bicycle uncompromised performance and aerodynamic efficiency. The wheels by themselves are the fastest track racing wheels ever tested. The combination of the TA FRD frame and HED wheels provides the USA Cycling Team with the ultimate aerodynamic advantage.
Since FELT BICYCLES engineers were not limited by any preexisting standards when developing the TA FRD, they chose to use narrow front and rear hub widths. The front hub and fork combination is 30% narrower than a conventional front hub and fork combination. The rear hub is asymmetric, and its drive side was optimized for the perfect chain line while the non-drive side is significantly narrower than conventional designs in order to improve aerodynamics.
Traditional track dropouts are often fitted with set screws to prevent the wheel from slipping under heavy pedaling forces. FELT BICYCLES engineers developed an aesthetically cleaner and more structurally sound solution that eliminates the need for set screws. The drive side face of the dropout is tapered that, when coupled with a proprietary aero washer, eliminates the possibility of the wheel sliding forward. This design allows for the use of incredibly low profile, aerodynamic shapes.
Utilized in cutting-edge aerospace equipment and on Formula One race cars, TeXtreme® has been the preferred choice of FELT BICYCLES engineers for all of the company’s high-performance bikes. And the TA FRD is crafted from more high-modulus TeXtreme® carbon fiber than any other bike in the history of FELT BICYCLES. This means that the TA FRD is as lightweight as possible per UCI regulations, yet still provides the stiffest platform possible for the athletes of the USA Cycling Team.