First Look: Radical Culprit Legend Disc Brake Triathlon Bike Unveiled

Culprit Legend Triathlon Bike with Ashima hydraulic disc brakes

 

Looking for the seatstays? You won’t find them on Culprit’s new disc equipped Legend Triathlon bike. Triathlon is no stranger to crazy looking bikes, all designed in an attempt to cheat the wind while offering as much comfort as possible considering you still have to run a marathon after riding the thing 112 miles.  The no-seat-stay concept goes back to at least the Zipp 2001 and 3001 frames, which are still considered some of the fastest tri bikes ever made. Along with various SoftRides, Zipp imitators, and bikes like the single-stayed Quintana Roo, the seat stays seem to be the first thing to go. The Culprit may however, be the first bike without seatstays that employs a somewhat traditional seat post.

In addition to the radical frame design, the Legend also features a host of compatibilities that might just make this bike, well, legendary.

FRAME DETAILSCulprit Legend Triathlon Bike with Ashima hydraulic disc brakes

Culprit Legend Triathlon Bike with Ashima hydraulic disc brakes

To build the frame, Culprit uses a full carbon monocoque design fabricated from Toray 800 carbon. If you haven’t figured it out already, the Legend is not UCI legal, meaning it is a triathlon specific bike. The Legend was developed in cooperation with Trigon Cycles and Josh (Culprit) has worked closely with them to develop a new stem, aerobar and seatpost. In order to make the Legend as accommodating as possible, it is both rim and disc brake compatible with the front fork able to run discs or TRP TTV rim brakes, and the rear compatible with TRP TTV, Shimano Direct Mount rim brakes, or disc brakes which are mounted via carbon post mounts. Like most of the tri bikes today, the Legend has completely internal cable routing including the ability to run hydraulic hoses inside the frame.

Rear frame spacing is set at 135mm, though it will include alloy adapters to run 130mm spaced wheels. Most tri bikes are equipped with adjustable horizontal dropouts so you can tuck the rear wheel in as close as possible to the frame and accommodate different wheel and tire set ups, and the Legend includes that ability as well. Although the Legend seems to only offer two different offsets, rather than full adjustability.

TRIGON COCKPIT COLLABORATION

Culprit Legend Triathlon Bike with Ashima hydraulic disc brakes

To design the front end of the bike, Culprit collaborated with bike and component manufacturer Trigon, to out fit the Legend with a slick aerobar set up. The Trigon aerobar/stem that was developed for the Legend will be available for sale aftermarket at some point, though you can use the Shimano PRO stem/bar on the bike as well.

Culprit Legend Triathlon Bike with Ashima hydraulic disc brakes

In order to eliminate the use of a compression plug, or a headset top cap of any kind, the Legend will be speced with Acros’ The Clamp. The Clamp is an upper headset assembly that uses a reverse expanding wedge design to take out the slack in the headset rather than using a standard top cap mounted design.

A COMPLETELY NEW BIKE

Culprit Legend Triathlon Bike with Ashima hydraulic disc brakes

Culprit Legend Triathlon Bike with Ashima hydraulic disc brakes

Obviously, one of the big design features of the Legend are the disc brakes. The Legend is certainly one of the first to do so, though we just found this Matrix F18 that was supposedly released a year ago with discs, so it’s not the first.

Culprit Legend Triathlon Bike with Ashima hydraulic disc brakes

Somehow, the brake hose is making it from the frame, through the fork, and to the front disc brake caliper. Even though that’s not all that difficult to do, it is made even easier since you can bend hydraulic lines however you want without affecting their performance. There were a lot of questions after the original post about the aerodynamics of disc brake on a tri bike – to which it was noted that both Orbea and Cervelo have had promising results with aero testing tri bikes with disc brakes, and it’s only going to get better. Factor in the easier hose routing, better rim designs, and better modulation during braking and you can see why disc brake tri bikes have potential.

HYDRAULIC BRAKES REPURPOSED

Culprit Legend Triathlon Bike with Ashima hydraulic disc brakes

Since there aren’t any dedicated tri-bike-disc-brake-levers on the market (we’re not sure if Magura’s RT6TT Hydraulic levers could be hooked to one of their disc brake calipers), Culprit looks to have modified some Ashima PCBs to fit.

Culprit Legend Triathlon Bike with Ashima hydraulic disc brakes

The lever mounted to them looks huge, and may offer bigger leverage for better braking. Seeing as how the bike is not available yet, we’re betting the production version will see something different (they certianly don’t look very aero) – we’re told there may be a rideable sample of the Legend

as early as this year’s press camp.

Culprit Legend Triathlon Bike with Ashima hydraulic disc brakes

Radical Culprit Legend Disc Brake Triathlon Bike Unveiled

By the end of the year, the Legend should be available in 5 sizes – 49, 52,54,56, 58cm frames.

Comments

Dan - 03/20/13 - 5:35pm

*immatators

Pancakes - 03/20/13 - 5:51pm

The calibre of bike it takes to render the commentariat speechless.

Justin! - 03/20/13 - 6:28pm

They did all this, and didn’t do a lefty-like fork?!

Brendan - 03/20/13 - 6:34pm

I was figuring it’d be a full fairing enclosing the wheel. I think technically I couldn’t have been more wrong.

harrochan - 03/20/13 - 7:23pm

you’re gonna need monster hands to be able to brake. the tips of the levers are like 8 inches from the bars, lol.

Jordan - 03/20/13 - 7:40pm

I’ll leave all judgement aside for now, but I’m wandering what their reasoning for leaving a big hole in wheel fairing thing is.

Podi-ummmmz - 03/20/13 - 7:57pm

I appreciate that they are innovating and filling holes in the market, but wow. Just wow. I hope they don’t loose credibility because of this.

1) When did braking become an issue for triatheletes to begin with?
2) Who really thinks spinning brake rotors and a couple calipers were more aero than a normal brake and/or seatstays?
3) The stem-cable interface is terrible, the cap doesn’t even close all the way with normal looking housings.
4) The stem is clamped above the top of what I assume is a carbon steer tube. Thats a gigantic carbon steer tube faux pas and blatantly dangerous.
5) They didn’t even have bar tape on the ends of the extensions or the base bar. Ive built hundreds of tri bikes and only a specific few bars are awesome without tape. This is definitely not one of those bar combos.

Bmanx - 03/20/13 - 8:08pm

Could have done so much more and made this a true legend. While this “LOOKS” cool it fails on so many levels.

fredzor - 03/20/13 - 8:37pm

Innoventing?

harrochan - 03/20/13 - 9:37pm

you lose credibility when you don’t know the difference between lose and loose

Pete - 03/20/13 - 9:38pm

As usual, they should have consulted with us first!

yesplease - 03/20/13 - 9:52pm

*I dont think the chainstays could hold a 180lb+ person with watts without flexing and hitting the tire. Have you seen the QR illicito? Their BB and arm is humongous to hold up.

*Why do so many subtle aero tricks and ruin it with huge levers and disc brakes?

*It feels like this bike was designed by pulling features out of a hat mixed with heavy amounts of alcohol.

Culpritbicycles - 03/20/13 - 9:54pm

Everyone, Thank you for your comments so far. I would like to address them here to clarify things.
The frame is currently in prototype stage. It is an RP plastic bike. All the new parts are very fragile at the moment. I will have a carbon version by sea otter show. This release to release the design and concept. The stem/cable interface cannot be tightened further as the bolts thread into a plastic part. to avoid damaging/breaking first sample building was precarious. In production, of course this will be resolved.
Rear derailleur shift cable could have been cut shorter, my personal failure in assembly. Regarding bar tape, I chose not to use it on the show sample to show the cable routing on the aero-bar and to see the hydraulic brake lines. Of course, in racing and riding, I personally as a racer use them and am sure other riders will as well.

About brakes. I am working with Ashima to develop the brake, this brake lever is a first prototype and will be modified to be more aerodynamic and refined by Sea otter’s showing.

I do believe disc brakes are the future even in tri as even triathletes have difficult courses and require strong braking. All know that tri bikes have the weakest brakes of all the road bike genre’s. This is why magura and the P5 have the hydraulic rim brakes. With carbon braking walls, there is always fear of heat failure as well as bad braking performance. by moving to disc brakes it will allow more aero rim profiles to be developed with no braking track, lighten rims and ensure more carbon clinchers are safe with guaranteed braking performance. In respect to aerodynamics I will spend time in the San Diego wind tunnel in April. Being the only brand with a bike with 2 brake systems(Both Croz Blade and Legend). I can build the bike both ways and run testing and see the drag results.

Regarding the rear opening/window. I like the way it looks and is very unique, if wind tunnel testing shows it creates high drag numbers, I will remove it and make it solid instead.

I hope this addresses and answers your comments and questions. Any further questions, feel free to email service@culpritbicycles.com

flaberbusteropolis - 03/20/13 - 10:19pm

That’s some sweet stuff, especially with those disc brakes!!
Now I might consider getting me one of those if they put a whole Sram XX1 drivetrain on it.

Reid - 03/20/13 - 10:30pm

Sorry it took so long for me to comment, I was busy cleaning the vomit of my laptop.

Aero gains made by removing seat stays probably completely lost by the hideous brake levers. Disc brakes are fine, whatever, but have fun building all of your cool race wheels up with new hubs, I guess that powertap mountain disc hub might finally see some action. Wheel fairing is stupid. Filling it in would be functional, as it is right now it adds leading edges (and non vertical ones at that).

I agree, with all that design crap, they should have made it lefty.

Bayard - 03/20/13 - 11:14pm

I can just see the to guys tri guys tinkering with disc brakes now.

Mindless - 03/21/13 - 12:37am

Ashima rotors SUCK BALLS.

anon - 03/21/13 - 12:40am

No Tiso?

Antipodean_G - 03/21/13 - 1:06am

@Mindless: “Ashima rotors SUCK BALLS.”

I love profound, thoughtful and well reasoned comments such as this one.

I have ASHIMA rotors on ALL my bikes. They are solid, work great and have not, not once, warped or gone ‘off’. And before you ask, no I do not weight 50kg’s, I am 95, so do not use the ‘they are great if you’re a whippet’ line.

Alex - 03/21/13 - 1:19am

@Culprit – I built a few ‘Lotus 110-style’ carbon fiber TT and track frames back in the mid 1990s. It’s really hard to get the chainstays stiff enough to keep the wheel from rubbing the frame over bumps (1 was 165 lbs at the time) and the other problem was that the whole back end was pretty unstable (twisting) when standing and out of corners. I eventually added some biggish gussets to help the vertical problem, but the twisting of the rear wheel as the chainstays move opposite each other was not curable without chainstays. For what it’s worth, the people I knew who had Hepptech (sp?) frames had similar issues and the chromoly Yamaguchi Z-Aero frame had enormous steel gussets welded in, but the twisting problem didn’t go away. While the design is elegant looking, it’s pretty hard to beat a truss and I would have a hard time believing that the drag from a couple of properly shape seatstays would cause much aerodynamic performance deterioration. Hope my historical notes are of use. Cheers.

pete - 03/21/13 - 1:27am

haters be hatin’…

iperov - 03/21/13 - 6:02am

epic fail bike

NASH - 03/21/13 - 7:41am

Should have removed the downtube as that causes some drag as well.

Adam - 03/21/13 - 8:47am

At least he’s trying a unique approach. It’s hard to stand out in the crowded room called the bike industry. But as riders we need more options than the standard fare of S-Works, Madones, etc. This isn’t simply a Trigon with integrated brakes and I appreciate this next step more than Culprit’s first. Good luck to the folks at Culprit. Looking forward to watching it develop.

plum - 03/21/13 - 9:09am

Those handfuls of front brake are going to be Youtube GOLD

Paul - 03/21/13 - 9:09am

I’m a disc brake hater of the worst kind for road and cross and I have no idea why they would be needed for tris. At the same time I like innovation and forward thinking. ANYTHING can work for the right application and for the right customer. There doesn’t have to be a good reason for some things, there just has to be willing buyers. More power to Culprit for the seat stay idea and disc brakes on this concept, it might be just the thing for some people. Keep thinking of different ideas, keep pushing the envelope. It keeps things interesting and gives us haters something to grumble about:)

plum - 03/21/13 - 9:19am

“With carbon braking walls, there is always fear of heat failure”

On a TT bike

That will never, ever descend anything resembling a mountain in its lifetime

Come on.

Ed - 03/21/13 - 9:19am

I remember Cervelo having really terrible wind tunnel results with disc brakes. I feel like this is what happens when a non-engineer designs a bike. And extending the fairing back over the rear wheel is probably more than countered by the big hole in the fairing!! In cross winds that thing is going to be a major wind brake. I hope they put a big enough safety factor into those chain stays… I have never seen a bike with no seat stays with such small chain stays. Can you imagine the back end of your bike falling off on a descent when you hit a crack in the road?

Maybe there is some segment of the market that they identified that is SO wants more braking power that they are willing to give up a minute or more per 40k to get it? I’ve never felt like my TT bike needs more braking power – it even did ok descending passes in the Alps and Dolomites.

satisFACTORYrider - 03/21/13 - 9:21am

Without the stays there it will now only take a triathlete a quarter of the time to ruin the drivetrain and corrode the wheel. It’s a brilliant money grab to target any triathlete. Props.

ChrisC - 03/21/13 - 10:11am

@Alex – Has carbon fiber technology not improved in the last 20 years? I know that the Lotus frames were absolutely cutting edge for their day, but we’re talking about two decades of engineering advancement in aerospace, auto racing, and sports equipment applications for carbon fiber. Is it possible that one CAN NOW make a frame that does not need seatstays? Cervelo seems to think so as they have often said that the R series bikes (as much as I personally dislike their characteristics) would be just fine without them. Maybe that’s just marketing hype and I’m certainly not any kind of expert, but comparing “mid 90s” carbon tech with “mid 2010s” doesn’t seem 100% fair.

Mindless - 03/21/13 - 10:13am

@Alex: This is curable with a through axle. 142×12 removes a lot of twisting.

Mindless - 03/21/13 - 10:14am

@Antipodean_G: If you have Ashima rotors on all your bike path bikes, (deleted).

Bad design.

Shoprat - 03/21/13 - 10:30am

Triathletes with disc brakes….

Shop, “We close in five minutes.”

Tri Guy, “But…but… I only squeezed the lever without the wheel in it once!!! I have a race tomorrow!”

Shop, “I am sorry, but that is a great way to get air in the line.”

Tri Guy, “But, I flew in for this race and I need this fixed.”

Shop, “I understand, we have no connection to the race, we close in 5 minutes and my mechanics have worked a full day and they would like to go home; but we can do it for you. It will be $25 for brake bleed.”

Tri Guy, “That is outrageous! $25 to bleed a brake!!!!”

Greg - 03/21/13 - 10:37am

Alex’s criticisms are constructive, and spot on. carbon cannot sidestep the engineering problem of rear wheel twist or tire rub under compression.
an idea as a workaround would be a second “chainstay” or very low seatstay (depending on perspective) that attached to the seat tube directly over the front derailleur. it could be parallel to the ground, yielding a very small frontal area. it wouldnt be the best solution structurally, but it may be enough.

Independent - 03/21/13 - 2:48pm

Since when do triathletes use brakes?

Zach Overholt - 03/21/13 - 2:55pm

When skidding through $$$ tubular tires in panic stops. Maybe not experienced triathletes, but I’ve replaced enough destroyed tubbies on tri bikes to know it happens.

Antipodean_G - 03/21/13 - 11:55pm

@mindless, clearly you are an expert of outstanding proportions and knowledge. Thank you for your shared wisdom.

Mindless - 03/23/13 - 4:31am

@Antipodean_G: You are welcome. I am glad you have learned something. Maybe next time you will provide slightly more useful commentary.

diehipsterdie - 03/23/13 - 9:17pm

this made me dumber, i mean if disc brakes are better for tri athletes why dont mountain bikers run aero bars on downhill courses

Zeb - 03/24/13 - 6:37pm

this is dumb. disc brakes look so ugly on road and tt bikes.

EM - 03/25/13 - 12:46am

Progress is what keeps the bike industry exciting rather than all the copycatting going on. Need to keep things in perspective here, a Moto GP bike produces around 250hp with a single sided swing arm, a human produces one hp at 745 watts, well above what a triathlete produces in the course of an event. There will be an engineering solution to make this work if it doesn’t already. Cannondale produce a single sided fork, Pearson have a tri bike with no seatstays or seat tube, don’t chock innovation

Vladimir - 03/26/13 - 1:53pm

Ukraine has been doing a similar frame. http://alkatrion.com/?p=20560

Alex - 03/26/13 - 9:08pm

If you look at the alkatrion bike, you can see a potential solution to the structural concern that’s been expressed – note the gussets that fair the rear wheel.

Namath - 03/29/13 - 4:18am

Can you fill that head tube with gatorade?

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