Your next bike? Maybe. Continuation in the trend of redesigning current aero road bikes? Absolutely. Ever since the UCI dumped the 3:1 rule on professional bike racers, bicycle manufacturers have been hard at work trying to create bikes that are as aerodynamic as possible, are just as stiff as a regular bike, and after all that, are still UCI legal.
After UCI dropped the bomb that many of the frames and components companies had already spent years developing were now illegal, just about everyone had to go back to the drawing board and figure out a way around the issue. The result: many companies began adopting the Kamm Tail design which was popularized in the automotive industry. The Kamm Tail is basically a large truncated airfoil, which measures much shorter than it actually performs. In theory, the air moving around the airfoil can’t tell if the tail is there or not, therefore the Kamm Tail acts as a very long airfoil, when in fact it is very short and just the nose section is actually there.
To counter this trend, Scott has developed the F01l, which was previously known as the F01. After tons of real world testing and tweaking the original F01, Scott has released the F01l which will be available to buy next month. Scott seems to think their F01 Aero design is superior to the Kamm Tail designs on the market, find out why after the break!
When Scott set out to build the F01, they started with clean slate at first measuring the drag on a round Addict tube. From there, they experimented with anything from a 3:1 to 16:1 NACA profiles, all of which were computer simulated both with, and without a truncated tail. This resulted in their own unique tube shape, which is sort of a reverse Kamm Tail.
Tyler just had a chance to speak directly with Scott regarding the final profile, and reported back that they found that a 9:1 ratio profile with a truncated tail was indeed the fastest, lightest, and most stiff. According to Scott, Scott Aero Science engineers began with various tubing shapes first in CFdesign programs to identify shapes before producing prototypes that would then be validated in the wind tunnel. Over 100 hours of wind tunnel validation time was invested solely in the F01 project using Drag2Zero facilities in Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Wind Tunnel. Starting with raw tubes, shapes were identified and built into complete test mules, and then analyzed against current competitor designs. Over 60 tube shapes were tested in order to identify the optimum “cut ratio”. The engineers selected tube shapes that are wider than normal NACA aero tubes. They were designed with a “leading edge” and a ratio of height to width that complies with UCI regulations, while still maintaining the lowest air disturbance vis-àvis both individual tubes and the overall frame structure. The ratios of the aggregate tubes are between 6:1 and 12:1 resulting in a 9:1 average ratio, well within the UCI limits and actually going the opposite direction in relation to other manufacturers in this regard. The result is a virtual tube shape, a tube that is not NACA shaped but a truncated cross section, which acts in the same way. Each and every tube in the frameset is analyzed for cut position along the “chord”, or length of the tube profile. Most tubes are cut retaining between 25-35% of the overall chord length. This science of tube shape is a contrast to the Kamm tail designs that emerged 80 years ago in the auto industry in that we use the leading edge of the tube rather than simply cutting the trailing edge like some competitors practice.
In short, while Kamm Tail designs have a blunt leading edge and a truncated tail which offers limited drag, the F01 Aero design utilizes a leading edge designed to force air separation which contributes to a much larger airfoil shape, and still utilizes the truncated tail design. If you’re having trouble wrapping your head around the whole virtual air foil idea, hop on over and check out this video, in which the computer modeling clearly illustrates the effective airfoil shape in red.
So apparently, it is very aero, but keep in mind that this is to be a road racing frame, not just a time trial frame, so weight and stiffness were a key factor in its design. Not only is the Scott F01l lighter than any other aero frame on the market at 840 grams (1227g for frameset including frame, fork, seatpost and clamp), it is also more stiff than the Scott Addict.
The Scott F01l will feature a tapered head tube (1 1/4 lower bearing), integrated bottom bracket (most likely something similar to BB86 or BB90), integrated seat post clamp with aero seat post (0 and 25mm offset versions available), and fully internal cable routing with completely hidden cable guides to keep the cables from rattling against the inside of the frame.
Four versions of the F01l will be offered from the F01l R2 at $3,999, all the way up to the Di2 equipped F01l premium at a whopping $12,999 and a scant 14.7 pounds(claimed).