Leopard 2018 Cockpit Concept
Bikeradar doesn't post it as a separate article because we don't have pictures of real products yet. I respect their decision, so I post our ideas of the Leopard 2018's cockpit in SpeedX Forum. Actually, we don't have the final name yet. It could be a new series, not the successor of Leopard 2016. Anyway, let's call it Leopard 2018 first.
SpeedX Leopard 2018 would be the first racing road bike without a stem. A forward-swept handlebar is designed to pursue the extreme aerodynamics.
1. Stem disappears
In a regular road bike, the handlebar and the stem create a T shape, when you overlook. Two major air vortexes horizontally exist in the two right-angle corners, mainly because the stem stay in the same plane with the handlebar, and it’s not easy for the air in the two right-angle corners to escape. In addition, the exposed part of a stem usually leaves an air vortex behind, which you could refer to the Cervelo P5’s CFD image. Leopard 2018’s handlebar eliminates these air vortexes completely.
Case Study #1 Cervelo P5
CFD images from Cervelo P5 technical paper. Leopard 2018 achieves the same aerodynamics effect without aero storage box (XLAB Stealth Pocket 300), because the stem bump on the top tube is gone.
Case Study #2 Boardman Air TT vs Air TTE
2. No acute or right angles in the front face
An obtuse angle structure creates much less wind drag, compared to acute-angle or right-angle. When you take a front facing look at Leopard 2018, it’s a Y shape, consisting of the head tube and the handlebar. Thus, you don’t see any acute or right angle. Specialized S-Works Aerofly ViAS handlebar shares a similar aerodynamics theory, but not in such an aggressive way.
3. Forward-swept design
An air vortex exists on the two sides of a handlebar. They interfere with rider’s body and create a more complex wind resistance. To lower that wind resistance, the air vortex should stay as further as possible to rider’s body. As a result of no stem, the handlebar becomes forward-swept, and that design pushes the two wingtips to the extreme. Thus, the rider has less wind resistance at the two sides of the handlebar. A similar example, though not in the cycling industry but in the environment of supersonic speed, is the experimental Su-47 jet fighter’s forward-swept wings.
Image courtesy of Eindhoven University of Technology
4. A wide range of position adjustment
Vertical adjustment is easy with adding or reducing spacers, exactly like how you adjust a regular handlebar. The challenge is about backward and forward adjustment. In a regular bike, you could choose stem length from 90mm to 120mm, which is 30mm range, and achieve a better bike fitting. In Leopard 2018, the handlebar would be able to move 15mm forward and back at different screw positions on the top tube, and that is the adjustment range of 30mm in total.
To better fit pro riders, a pro version handlebar will be offered to SpeedX’s pro team with a maximum 20mm reduction in the stack.
5. Di2 junction box integrated into bar endReference for a Di2-compatible bar end.
Just like its predecessor Leopard (Pro) 2016, you will see the full internal routing as well in Leopard 2018. To push the internal routing to further, it follows PRO Vibe aero handlebar with Di2 compatible bar ends. Di2 Junction box could be placed at the drop end, replacing a bar plug. The cockpit is more sleek now.
The 1st prototype has arrived in our office for three weeks. It's right next to me!!! It's hard to resist not to share more now, but my boss will kill me for sure if I do it. I will post the development progress regularly and it would be great to have your input.