The excitement of getting a new Fondriest model out into the world is never the same. We always listen to our riders’ feedback and suggestions early on in the development process. In fact, our new models come about because we feel something is missing in our lineup.
This is how, for example, the TF1 1.4 was born. We applied the TFZero‘s design principles, found ways to save on production costs, and created a high-end racing model at the price point a serious racer or enthusiast could afford.
Like in previous years, we have been talking to riders, keeping an eye on the recent developments in frame design, bouncing our own ideas back and forth, drawing, modeling. This is an important step in the frame development process. We encourage everyone involved to share their ideas about what they want from the new model. It helps us to narrow down the most important, practical, achievable objectives. No point about dreaming up an aerodynamic frame only to find out at the production stage it won’t pass the UCI technical rules.
After months and hundreds of late hours at the Esperia’s headquarters, the TF2 Aero started to take shape. And the shape is where we focused the most. We could, if we wanted to, speed up the process and have an aero frame on the floor much earlier, but then, we would compromise on one of the core principles of our brand — thoughtful, balanced road bikes for discerning riders. From day one, we wanted to produce the best bikes possible because we understand, we know from experience, a good bike is necessary to enjoy cycling as a sport.
We went through and tested several options. Once we knew what we wanted, we started experimenting with computer modeling. We play with things like Computational Fluid Dynamics and Finite Element Analysis to see what effect bike components and wheels will have on the overall design. You could have a great aero frame but what good is it if it loses its aero qualities when you attach everything else on the frame? We need to know how the complete package is going to work, not just the frame.
Then comes the frame geometry analysis. Aero is great, but how well the bike will ride? Nobody wants a fast frame with awkward, unpleasant riding characteristics. Can we keep the aero qualities and have a great-riding frame at the same time? If not, what can and can’t be compromised? Where’s the perfect balance?
It’s a complex relationship where tube diameters and carbon layout options have to be explored and tested to produce the end product we can be proud of.
Well, here’s what I can tell you — we are proud of our Fondriest TF2 Aero. The bike many of you have been asking and waiting for is now ready to go.
I have enjoyed testing it, that’s for sure. I spent the last few months in the saddle of the TF2 Aero and I’ve had a great time on it.
It’s true I take it easy on the bike these days. With no one to race, I like to spend a few hours on the bike for the scenery and fresh air. I have to say I found myself pushing hard on TF2 Aero more than once. I had to. The bike begs you to go fast. It’s a bit stiffer than our TF1 1.4. It was designed that way. And because it’s stiffer, you feel compelled to get a little aggressive on it, sometimes without any reason you can explain. You just want to go hard and enjoy the cooperation between you and the machine. Strange, I know, but that’s what I felt sometimes testing this baby.
Satisfied with the success of our new model, I turned my attention to my favorite winter activity — skiing.
From Wheels to Skis
Here in Trentino we have hundreds, yes hundreds, of kilometers to ski on great slopes. Val di Fassa with its magnificent panoramas or Madonna di Campiglio with its high-tech lifts and international competitions. The list can go on and on.
I always enjoyed skiing even when I raced. I believe you need to take your mind away from what you do for a living from time to time to stay motivated. Too many people bury themselves in what they do and forget to take a break. It’s counterproductive. It’s counterproductive in sport and other occupations.
I knew professional cyclists who wouldn’t stop riding all year around. They thought the more they ride, the better they become. I never agreed with that. Doing your job this way is not going to work on the long run. You’ll burn out. Your job will become a chore and then you won’t enjoy it anymore. Or at least won’t enjoy as much as you used to. I’ve seen it happened to professional cyclists and I see it happens today to others too.
Take a break. It doesn’t have to be skiing. Do something different. Take a short holiday and go hiking, or fishing, camping, whatever you like. Break up the routine. Enjoy the outdoors. The world outside is beautiful no matter where you live. It’s easier to do than you think.
As for me, I’m already thinking about a new bike we can build. Flying down the slopes, I have thought of something.
You too might come up with something interesting in your life, and then we compare notes, okay?