IB13: Wild New Falco V Triathlon Bike Leaves UCI Rules Way, Way Behind

Falco V triathlon bike with Tron paint scheme

While we suspect changes may be afoot at the UCI, they’re not likely to come at a swift pace. That leaves manufacturers with the decision to tone down their designs to meet those rules, or go where the numbers are and just make the baddest thing they can. Fortunately, Falco chose the latter.

The new Falco V combined radical shaping with a multitude of deep NACA aero profiles and clever touches to make a real standout bike. The usual touches are here -hidden brakes and cables, integrated aerobars and external steerer fairing- but the the real beauty of the bike is that nothing about the design is watered down…

Falco V triathlon bike with Tron paint scheme

Falco claims it’ll save about 40 watts compared to “traditional” TT/Tri bikes, which translates to 75-115 seconds over a 40km segment (their numbers). Besides the lack of a seat tube and seat stays, the most glaring opposition to UCI rules is the deeper than 3:1 profiles. Several NACA shapes were used across the frame.

The integrated handlebar/stem unit and aero extensions point the cable exits backward to streamline them into the frame port, which is hidden from the wind by your elbows and bars. It’s Di2 and mechanical compatible.

Falco V triathlon bike with Tron paint scheme

The saddle clamping system provides a massive 8º of effective change, the equivalent of a 75 to 82 degree seat angle, plus the additional range of the saddle’s rails.

Falco V triathlon bike with Tron paint scheme

Water bottle shaped into the frame, and the downtube is shaped to move air away from the front derailleur.

Falco V triathlon bike with Tron paint scheme

Thick, angular chainstays should provide plenty of torsional stiffness for seated hammering.

Falco V triathlon bike with Tron paint scheme

These are just some of the highlights, you can check out a full technical white paper here. (PDF) Frame weight is claimed at 1,900g, fork is 550g.

Falco V triathlon bike with Tron paint scheme

The frameset (includes fork, headset, stem & seatpost) is $4,000. TRP brakes as shown add $200, and the handlebar setup is $250. Stock finish is this UD, but you can get a 3K/12K woven exterior layer if you want. As for the Tron-inspired paint scheme, it’s a show bike and their statement was “Why not?”.

Check them out at FalcoBike.com.

Comments

Zap? - 11/11/13 - 12:07pm

I wonder what cycling would be like today if the UCI had focused its efforts on anti-doping measures instead of anti-technology measures. I say run what ya brung!

gravity - 11/11/13 - 12:14pm

Clearly there needs to be a line drawn somewhere, or else we’ll end up watching nerds from MIT riding their HPVs to victory in Milan San Remo. Keep diamond-frame road bikes for road racing.
Formula 1 cars can’t race in Indy, and vice versa.

Steve - 11/11/13 - 12:20pm

Guess Zipp, Trek and LeMond were really before their time in this regard as well. Nothing like digging up a 20 year old design and making it better!!

gravity - 11/11/13 - 12:24pm

On the other side of my “I hate crap like this” coin, I actually don’t understand why companies like Cervelo and Specialized, which made non-UCI compliant TT bikes specifically for triathlon, don’t use the Y-Foil design. It’s demonstrably faster, and if you need not worry about upsetting cycling’s governing body, then why not?

AlanM - 11/11/13 - 12:37pm

@gravity, first I’d be careful about making fun of those nerds from MIT. They have helped make some pretty sweet cycling products!

As for the Y-Foil design, it might be faster (I don’t know if this is true or not, I’m just going off what you said) but there is more to it than just straight-line aerodynamics when building an aero bike. You also have to consider weight, cost to engineer and build, ride quality, etc.

wako29 - 11/11/13 - 12:55pm

I do not believe the claims of how aero the bike is for one simple reason. There are no direct comparison’s (in the form of wind tunnel data or similar) between this bike and anything on the market. That was something that really impressed me about Trek’s Speed Concept – is that they shared a ton of the wind tunnel data, especially comparing to competitors. I felt that the Falco white paper offered no comparisons and was more conceptual than anything.

Slow Joe Crow - 11/11/13 - 1:25pm

@gravity, one consideration is tooling and manufacturing costs. The Trek Speed Concept and the Specialized Shiv use bolt on components to get the extra aerodynamics so that a single frame can be used for both UCI and non-UCI applications. Upsetting the accountants and production planners is a much bigger deal.
That said, in the US there are probably more people using aero bikes in triathlons than in time trials.

Andrew - 11/11/13 - 1:36pm

Where have I seen an angular Y-foil before… http://www.bicycling.com/sites/default/files/images/weld-one-ogre.JPG

Jason - 11/11/13 - 2:44pm

Rock me Amadeus!

alvis - 11/11/13 - 3:01pm

Now we’re cooking!

What’s wrong with different classes for racing? F1 is only one branch of motorsport

Allow this and radical road bikes in a prototype class then have a strict UCI style design ‘Olympic’ class as two possible divisions.
Race organisers can define their event as prototype or Olympic.
We can all argue rider or machine then at worst every four years we get to find out.

Its this kind of technical war that will drive true science and engineering and not the marketing bs we get now

Saris - 11/11/13 - 3:03pm

Tron Bike!

- Saris

heatwave23 - 11/11/13 - 3:39pm

I love the way a lot of people in the bike industry cry about R&D cost to justify high prices…. Lets say they paid the engineers $150,000 US (I am not sure what the going rate for engineers in China but Falco is a Chinese company and I felt generous) per year for the 1,700 hours of R&D? I small group of 4 guys/gals working 40hr a week would burn that up in ~2.5 months and cost ~$122k. It will cost them ~$600 to manufacture in China and that leaves a $3,650 margin. So they only need sell 33 frames to recouple R&D.

dsdalton - 11/11/13 - 5:43pm

Softride?

greg - 11/11/13 - 11:45pm

cervelo n others didnt go with a V-style frame because they found that the seat tube does not contribute to a lot of drag. on the contrary, the seat tube helps to fair the rear wheel with a leading edge that is custom tailored as opposed to tire-shaped.
that, and the losses of torsional and bb stiffness, etc…
not that this is a bad design, i actually like this and most of what this guy does…
i do wish the di2 wires were more cleanly run around the handlebar…

FALCO BIKE - 11/12/13 - 3:22am

Thanks for any input, yays and nays included.

Heatwave, I just want to quickly point out you are assuming all the following are free:
1. Dealers margin;
2. Elite bottle kit and TRP brakes;
3. Molds;
4. Non R&D staff;
5. External R&D resources (super computer/CFD software);
6. Manufacturing a complex structure with many curved and angled surfaces vs. a conventional round tubed bike.
7. Rent and utilities;
8. Advertising and bike shows.
Unfortunately “MSRP – material cost = profit” really doesn’t work in any industry. We need to sell a few hundred of these to recoup the costs.

Gravity — We also have other conventional diamond design road bikes, and we sponsor a UCI Continental Team with one. Don’t be too surprised if one of these shows up in MSR.
See: http://www.biketo.com/d/file/racing/internal/2013-11-03/958b514eacb4ddee474873bb033eb347.jpg
http://www.falcobike.com/static/css/images/p_gallery/eleonora-4.jpg
http://www.biketo.com/d/file/industry/exhibition/2013-11-11/9ca05d15e1193f2899058e4556a20d59.jpg

Greg — yes, absolutely valid points re di2 cables. I am not happy with that part either.

Kevin - 11/12/13 - 7:32am

The UCI needs to open the rule book to new technologies. If they did not, we would still be racing Penny Farthings. I say “let people race using the latest technologies” instead of feeling the need to dope to go faster, as long as they are still human powered machines of course.

King County - 11/12/13 - 9:16am

I thought it would be more expensive.

Heatwave23 - 11/12/13 - 10:04am

@ Falco Bike, Okay your point is well taken and I did over simplify what it would take to recouple the R&D costs but in the grand scheme of things 1,700 hr’s of R&D is nothing to developed what is claimed to be the ” fastest TT bike ever made” and I knew I really over estimating the cost of R&D to help cover those costs that you listed.

Average and Median Monthly Salary Comparison in China in Engineering
Maximum: 50,000 CNY
Average: 27,160 CNY
Median: 23,000 CNY x 12months = ~$45,306.12 US
Minimum: 10,000 CNY

China has a long history of stealing intellectual property and selling it then once they have gained enough knowledge they start to develop great products at a price point that is hard to beat. In my opinion the scale is starting to tip and It looks like the bikes coming out of China are improving in quality and is only a matter of time before they drive bike prices down. If your product is as good as you claim, I recommend lowering the margins and flooding the market with a product equal to or superior than whats currently available at a much lower price. Greed is what will eventually hurt the big players in the game that have been charging ridiculous prices for way too long. It is only a matter of time before a Chinese manufacture releases a product that drives prices down.

everyone and agree or not this in my option and everyone is entitled to them so time will tell…. That is all

heatwave23 - 11/12/13 - 10:15am

The last line should have said
Everyone is entitle to there own opinion and time will tell who is right….

FALCO BIKE - 11/13/13 - 12:13am

Heatwave — 3 R&D team members make more than US$100K p.a. —- good people are never cheap. Molds alone cost over $30K. Our margin is already significantly below average in the bike industry (classic ti road frame $900; carbon road frame is $1500-ish).

The market is ALREADY FLOODED with cheap knockoffs — just search ebay. I personally know many “knocker-offers” — they will be happy with a $50 margin per frame but are never going to innovate or have proper testing/QC. Once you are cheap, you cheap out on everything.

Greg — I agree with your comment partially. You will notice a front fairing in the mid section of the rear wheel. But the higher portion of the wheel already has an ecliptical cross section that resembles an airfoil leading edge hence no front fairing is needed.

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.