The WARP TT has been a staple in the race bike arsenal of the MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAMS of Lampre-MERIDA and now BAHRAIN-MERIDA. For years an ultra-adjustable, reliable and efficient time trail companion, it is now time to arm the team and in particular Tour de France contender Vincenzo Nibali with the new benchmark in time trail armoury.
With the Tour de France just around the corner, the race to get the new TIME-WARP TT ready for action was not an easy one, and the MERIDA R&D engineers faced a very tight time-frame of just 12 months for the complete development of the new MERIDA TT-bike from initial sketches until its availability for racing.
The main target for the TIME-WARP TT was to offer a state-of-the-art TT-bike with a significantly reduced total weight, minimised aerodynamic drag thanks to full brake-cable and shifting environment integration and an overall aerodynamic performance coming closest to the requirements of the tight UCI regulations. On top of that, the new bike should visualise high-speed and is intended to look as sleek and fast as possible as emotional factors influence the mental performance of GC-riders during their preparation for the time-trial stages.
In short, to create a new TT-bike which enables BAHRAIN-MERIDA captain Vincenzo Nibali on the material’s side to end up on the 2018 Tour de France podium.
Due to the limited time-window during the concept phase, MERIDA R&D used intense CFD (computer fluid dynamics) analysis of the frame-set and unique cockpit-concept with the help of Swiss aerodynamic experts who brought 15 years of formula 1 aerodynamic experience to the table. The final results were confirmed by intense wind-tunnel sessions using state of the art test equipment.
Different to its predecessor MERIDA WARP TT introduced in 2013, the new TT-Bike was consequently designed around fully integrated centre-pull rim-brakes. Furthermore, it is ‘electronic shifting’ specific, with easy access to the charging port, located in front of the seat tube. For fewer air-turbulences, both brake cable housing and electric Di2 shifting cables run completely internal from the shift-lever all the way through the bar, stem and frame. The new TT-frame can be combined with 2 different full-carbon cockpits with stem integration which were developed together with aero–specialist VISION. Different reach and slope of the drops, plus multiple ways to mount extensions and armrests above and underneath the base-bar’s wings allow a wide range of adjustability.
In summary, the TIME WARP TT redesign led to an overall advantage of 9 Watt at 50 km/h and an impressive weight saving of 400g compared to the predecessor.
For further sleekness, the bulky electronic front-derailleur including the FD-mount can be removed for 1 x 11 Speed use during less profiled race courses. This saves weight and improves the projection surface.
The new TIME-WARP TT proved its potential at the first trial in race conditions during the Spanish TT championship 2018, where the brothers Gorka and Ion Izagirre ended 2nd and 3rd, just three days after the new bikes were handed to them.
To start with, the TT-version is actually ‘for race only’ and dedicated to the World-Tour racers of our BAHRAIN-MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM. By the summer of 2019, it will be available as frame-kit in limited numbers.
A more commercial triathlon version based on the TT-frame featuring a higher front end and cockpit position for longer distances is scheduled for initial availability in MY20. As interesting additional features, the TIME-WARP TRI has an integrated storage compartment, located in front of the seat tube that offers space for an inner tube, CO2 cartridge or mini tool as well as a matching nutrition storage-box.