Trick New Swedish Road Bike Brand A2J – Aero, Lightweight & Custom Electronic Shifting!
A2J is a new brand out of Sweden “born from a shared passion for cycling” whose stated mission is to build top-end, no-compromise bicycles.
Their first creation, the A2Z shown above, looks like it’s well on its way to accomplishing just that. Designed by a team of folks with backgrounds in F1, aerodynamics and, well, here’s how they put it in on their website: (NOTE: Their website has been updated with a better description, which is copied here, replacing the original text)
Light. Stiff. Aerodynamic. Comfortable. Durable. We did not design a bike to excel at one of these metrics. We wanted to build a frame that would be outstanding at all five, simultaneously. Our R frame features full internal wiring (complete with fully hidden bespoke lightweight battery option) for both mechanical and electronic shifting, modern geometry and aerodynamic architecture, one of the highest stiffness to weight ratios available, and a guaranteed maximum frame weight under 850 grams for a size 56 including headset, seatpost clamp, front derailleur bracket and rear derailleur hanger. The frame is designed for a rider weight limit is 150 kg. (cont’ at bottom of post)
But that’s really just the beginning…
A2J has wind tunnel testing planned for the frame and a complete bike with rider in the Toyota Wind Tunnel down the road. Regardless of the outcome, aesthetically, this bike is on the right track (our opinion). Technologically, it’s trying to get ahead of the curve. With the frame design nailed down, they moved on to cable routing and functionality. Since their goal is to build dream bikes, why not try to hit it out of the park?
Thanks to Shimano’s intentionally easy-to-hack Di2 system, they’ve built custom programmed shifting controls, electronics and battery inside the frame. Rather than traditional shifters, it’ll have simple up-and-down shift buttons that’ll automatically select the next best gear, combining whatever chainring and cassette cog makes the most sense. From there, they integrated cadence and speed sensors into the frame, too. All this creates a slick, clean frame with nothing strapped to it to mar the lines…or air flow.
The frame is made to accept either traditional mechanical shift cables or Di2, and you can upgrade to the electronics after the fact if you want to get started, uh, on a budget. I write that half chuckling because the base frame starts at €6,000 to 6,500, which includes an Acros integrated headset and MCFK seatpost clamp .
A frameset is available for €8,000 to 8,500 and includes a THM Scapula F fork, THM Clavicula M3 crank and spider, THM Fibula rear brake and MCFK non setback seatpost. Other parts are available and yes, you read that correctly, only a back brake is included because the Scapula fork has an integrated front brake. Complete bikes are also available with whatever you want on it.
Each frame is hand built in Sweden to order with the statement that nothing they make comes from a “low cost environment.”
The frame shown here is the first one out of the mold and comes in under 850g, and it’s only a proof of concept. Production models will have full carbon rear dropouts and carbon front derailleur mount from MCFK. Word is they get one under 700g with bespoke carbon layup, and their “normal” frames have a 150kg rider weight limit (330lbs).
Thanks to Jason at FreshBikes for the tip! All photos from WeightWeenies forum.
The rest of the manufacturer description follows:
How did we achieve this ambitious goal? Firstly, we assembled our development dream team, ensuring we had all the available knowledge to deliver a class leading design. With the team?s experience and backgrounds, we had ready access to the most sophisticated and advanced computer aided engineering (CAE) and a thorough understanding of the most advanced composite materials and resin systems. Our first decision was to make a monocoque frame rather than tube to tube because of the freedom and customization options it would afford us. We had a clear understanding of how to develop the frames structural requirements that would primarily be geometry, not materials driven.
Among other things, this choice allowed us to optimize the frame?s sectional and transitional geometry as well as the lay-up and thicknesses, placing material where needed, giving us freedom to tune our pre-determined metrics. This also allows us to tune the metrics and ride characteristics to personal specifications. A personal frame tuning service is therefore available for the most demanding clientele.
With the monocoque frame decision made, we set about the aerodynamics. Our frame was not designed specifically to be an aerodynamic frame but our aerodynamics engineer spent around a hundred hours on a supercomputer optimizing the sectional geometry. We have been able to achieve a frame with a significant watt savings over a conventional round tube shape. The CFD numbers will be verified in the wind tunnel with a rolling floor, a real rider and fully equipped bike later this fall.
The frames carbon layup system is based on a mix of UK company ACG unidirectional and twill prepregs with resin-weave system and Swedish company Oxeon?s Textreme weave. The 3 piece frames are made by hand, laid over a preformed bladder into polished aluminium and carbon clamshells and baked in an autoclave in Linköping. Thomas Mertin from THM is overseeing the layup correlation testing at their facilities in Alt Duvenstedt, Germany. Finished frames are being tested at Zedler Institut für Fahrradtechnik und -Sicherheit in Ludwigsburg, Germany.
As part of the initial specification, our engineers designed the frame to include complete internal cabling, which needed to work with both mechanical and electronic shifting., as well as integrated sensors, internally packaged battery pack and our in-house developed and patented e-shift control system. Nothing was to be an after thought.
If you run an electronic group, the e-shift system will allow you to operate the gears as a full sequential gearbox with optimized shifting, eliminating, recovery shifting, cross-chaining, and unnecessary shifts on the chain rings. Select to shift up or down and the ANT+ ? compatible system will ensure you are in the next available gear.
We do not paint our frames as standard. We feel it is a shame to hide the artisan craftsmanship required to create each frame, however if you prefer a paint finish, we can of course tailor a bespoke colour scheme for you and our master painters will execute a top class durable finish.
We manufacture entirely in Sweden, under our full control, by hand and to order. Quality and performance are paramount to us.