Track Cycling

Look announces T20 track bike ahead of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games –

Look, the French bicycle manufacturer famous for its use of Mondrian colour palettes, has officially announced the T20, a new top-of-the range track frameset to be used at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Look says the T20 is designed specifically for use by the French national track cycling team. The bike is said to be lighter, stiffer and more aerodynamically efficient than its predecessor, the R96, resulting in a saving of nearly 30 watts at “full speed” — or a bike length in a 200m sprint, according to Look.

As per UCI rules, the T20 is available to order directly from Look, with prices starting at €6,999 / $8,500 for the Speed Version frameset (which comes with drop handlebars) and rising to €7,499 / $9,000 for the TT Version (which, as the name suggests, comes with time trial handlebars).

Look T20 velodrome with rider

The T20 has been made to meet the demands of the French national track cycling team.

If this is the first article you’ve read on equipment for the 2020 Olympics, that price might seem quite expensive — to put it lightly — but in reality it’s on the more reasonable end of the spectrum.

As we reported just before Christmas, the Worx WX-R Vorteq Track frameset, designed for the Malaysian sprint squad, was due to be listed for sale at €28,000, according to the UCI (though as of January 1st 2020, Worx’s website lists the frame and fork at £25,000 and £5,000 respectively).

Following on from the launch of the Hope HB.T, which saw the British brand collaborate with Lotus, Look has partnered with Mitsubishi to develop the carbon fibre layup for the T20.

Unsurprisingly, Look makes a number of bold claims about the performance credentials of the T20 compared to its previous flagship track bike, the R96:

  • 800g lighter
  • 25 per cent stiffer bottom bracket area
  • 12.5 per cent stiffer rear triangle
  • 12 per cent stiffer head tube
  • 11 per cent CdA (coefficient of drag x area) reduction for the bike as a whole (including Corima wheels)

According to Look, that 11 per cent improvement in CdA equates to a two per cent reduction in total CdA for the bike plus a rider and a 29-watt saving at 75 km/h (the average speed of the best individual sprint qualifying time at the 2016 Rio Olympics). That equates to a 0.6 km/h improvement in speed for the same power.

Look’s analysis suggests the average improvement in the fastest individual sprint qualifying times at the previous three Olympic games has been 3.9 per cent, with the aerodynamic advancements on the T20 providing “half of the improvement required to keep performing at the highest level from one Olympics to the next”.

And while weight plays a lesser role in the flat territory of a velodrome, it is nevertheless mass that has to be moved by the rider and Look says the T20 is 800g lighter than the R96, apparently making it possible to hit the UCI’s 6.8kg weight limit.

Look T20 Carbon Fibre

Look says the T20 is built using “very high modulus carbon” from Mitsubishi, which contributes to a claimed 27 per cent increase in power transfer.

That reduction in weight combined with the improved stiffness across the bottom bracket area, rear triangle and head tube adds up to a claimed 27 per cent increase in power transfer, compared to the R96.

Otherwise, Look says it has designed the T20 to optimise the frameset’s performance with Corima’s four- and five-spoke wheels, as well as the Paracular and Lenticular front and rear disc wheels.

Unusually, both the frameset and wheels are designed around a 12x100mm thru-axle, which offers improvements in aerodynamic performance due to the lack of traditional track nuts, as well as increasing torsional stiffness, according to Look.

Lastly, in a nod to practicality (which is even more unusual for bikes at this level), both the Speed and TT versions of the T20 appear to be highly adjustable for fit.

The frames are built around Look’s ZED track cranks ,which offer adjustable crank length in 2.5mm increments, and the stem and handlebar angles are customisable using a torx key.