Now that you've decided to get serious about triathlon, you can't keep showing up to events with your decidedly un-aero road bike in tow. But you also know that your bank account won't tolerate an insurmountable price tag. Regardless of the rumors, you don't actually have to drop five figures to get fast, and Ridley delivers that unicorn balance of speed and affordability with its 2017 Dean Ultegra Complete Road Bike. Borrowing inspiration from its top-tier sibling, the Dean Fast, this Dean is designed to minimize drag and comes kitted out with Shimano's venerable Ultegra drivetrain and Dura-Ace bar end shifters for confident gear shifts as you speed towards T2.
By now, you're no doubt aware of the benefits and properties of high-modulus carbon fiber, so it should come as no surprise that a manufacturer of Ridley's standing strategically arranges a blend of 30 and 20 ton uni-directional carbon fiber moduli throughout the Dean RS in order to maximize comfort without sacrificing efficiency or weight. This is a fairly common practice, but what really sets the Dean RS apart from its competitors is Ridley's FAST-Concept design ethos. FAST-concept is a bike-wide application, extending from the aerodynamic teardrop tubes to the paint used on the frame.
The aerodynamics of the Dean RS owe a great debt to the teardrop-shaped tubes. Like the varied moduli of carbon in the frame's layup, teardrop tubes are now a standard feature on aerodynamically-minded frames, so Ridley ups the aerodynamic ante with paint. According to Ridley, the F-Surface paint addresses the tendency of airflow to release prematurely from certain areas of the frame, which in turn creates additional drag in the form of low pressure areas or stalled air in the frame's wake. These low pressure areas result from the tendency for bodies in motion through a surrounding medium (in this case, bicycles through air) to create turbulence in the lamina, or layers, of air through which they're passing.
It's helpful to think of the F-Surface paint as embracing and facilitating that turbulence. We'll forgo the details of laminar and turbulent drag by noting that, basically, the paint's texture keeps the air on the bike rather than letting it release into the low-pressure areas of stalled air that create drag. This results in a claimed drag differential of -4.03% at 50 kilometers/hour, which, in real world terms, means a faster time between T1 and T2.
- Ridley's wind-cheating time trial machine
- Aerodynamic shaping reduces drag when drafting is proscribed
- Carbon fiber blends responsive stiffness and low weight
- F-Surface paint improves aerodynamics
- Shimano drivetrain delivers precise gear changes
- Smooth rolling Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels