BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - MAY 07: Thymen Arensman of Netherlands and Team DSM sprints during the 105th Giro d'Italia 2022, Stage 2 a 9,2km individual time trial stage from Budapest to Budapest / ITT / #Giro / #WorldTour / on May 07, 2022 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Spotted: New Scott and Wilier TT bikes at Giro time trial

Less is more as two as new time trial frames break cover at the Giro, including one for the weight weenies.

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As reported last week, the new time trial frames from both Scott and Wilier that appeared on the UCI frame approval list have made their competitive debuts at the Grio time trial. The frames are the latest in a long list of new TT and tri machines to break cover over the past month. While not as extreme as the new bikes from Colnago and Cadex, the new offerings from Scott and Wilier have caught our eye in other ways.

Scott Plasma 7 time trial bike

First up is the new Scott Plasma 7 as ridden by Thymen Arensman to tenth and Romain Bardet to 17th in the 9.2km race against the clock. Scott launched the Plasma 5 way back in 2014. While Team DSM has raced on the ‘5 over the past several seasons, Scott has since introduced a Plasma 6 tri-specific bike. When a Plasma 7 appeared on the UCI frame approval list last week, it was both a clue as to this new frame’s name and what to look out for at the Giro.

The Plasma 5 was arguably ahead of its time back in 2014, and featured modern TT design elements such as a deeper head tube and inline stem and top tube at a time when these were less common. As such the new frame isn’t strikingly different, taking a more subtle design similar to the new Merida Time Warp TT announced earlier this year.

Of course, the move to disc brakes will surprise no one, some may raise an eyebrow at Scott’s decision to opt for a more open design with the Plasma 5. As with the Merida, Scott has opened up the gap between the front wheel and the down tube, presumably in an attempt to smooth the airflow over the down tube. The new frame features a notable guide shape where the fork crown meets the head tube and transitions into the down tube, but gone is the front wheel hugging curvature on the down tube. The head tube itself is notably deeper than that on the outgoing frame, a trend we have seen across all the new time trial bikes released in the past year or more.

Judging by my eyeball measurements and the spacer stack on Romain Bardet’s new bike versus the old bike pictured below, the head tube and stack have both seemingly shrunk significantly. Of course, Bardet may have opted for a smaller frame and so we will have to wait for confirmation on the geometry from Scott. Unsurprisingly, Scott retains the horizontal top tube but the much talked about compensation triangle in the top tube to seat tube junction has also shrunk significantly. The seat tube also shrunk, losing the rear wing-like section curving over the rear wheel and now tightly hugging that wheel as it runs from the dropped seat stays to the bottom bracket area. That bottom bracket area has enjoyed a growth spurt since the introduction of the Plasma 5 and is now both taller and wider to improve the airflow over this area.

The rear end of the new Scott design is almost a polar opposite of the new Colnago design. While Colnago’s new TT1 sits firmly on the bigger is aero-er side of the debate, Scott and Merida have gone in the opposite direction. Perhaps the airflow in this area is already so disrupted the two brands believe the weight-saving gains of smaller tubes out-weigh the aero gains of bigger tubes.

Scott’s outgoing Plasma 5 on the left and the new Plasma 7 on the right.

Head on, the updates to the new bike is again very subtle, another testament to the Plasma 5’s ahead-of-its-time design. The forks are now slightly more bowed and house the disc calipers, while the head tube is actually slightly wider, with an almost hourglass-like shape. Interestingly from this head-on angle of the new Plasma 7, we can see just how flared those seat stays are. We will bring you more on the new Plasma 7 as we have it.

Scott’s outgoing Plasma 5 on the left and the new Plasma 7 on the right.
Are those reach-adjustable extensions on Arensman’s new Plasma 7?

Wilier Turbine SLR

Joining the Plasma 7 on both the UCI list and Giro TT start ramp is a new time trial frame from Wilier, and it’s one for the weight-weenies. Wilier’s existing Turbine TT frame was one of the first to adopt disc brakes and Wilier has now moved on to stripping weight for hillier courses. The new Turbine SLR is perhaps best described as Turbine meets Zero SLR, as hinted in the name and immediately clear from the photos.

The entire front half of the bike including the head tube, down tube, top tube, fork and proprietary stem all appear identical, at least in shape. The new bike is said to be the climber’s TT bike and as such may feature a new lighter carbon weave, but Wilier has yet to respond to our request for more information on the new bike.

Wilier has stuck with the bayonet-style external steerer tube fork for a narrower, and seemingly more aero, front end. Again, the forks do appear identical but in addition to the potential carbon changes, there is a slight chance the new forks are ever so slightly narrower. This could be a new weight-reducing design element or it could just be a trick of the light and paintwork on the standard Turbine forks pictured below.

Wilier’s current Turbine on the left and the new Turbine SLR on the right.

Moving back the frame, in the seat tube we see the only major changes and presumably the bulk of the weight saving. Wilier has ditched the aero shaped, rear-wheel hugging seat tube in favour of what looks like a mash-up of the Filante SLR seat tube and Zero SLR seat clamp. While Merida and Scott are seemingly content to dilute the aero design in the seat tube, Wilier seems happy to do away with it entirely. Even the seat stays have seemingly grown taller and, if every other design is to be believed, less aero on the new frame, in stark contrast to every other new TT bike of the past year. There is also a slight change where the seat stay meets the rear dropout.

As for weight savings, Wilier claims the new frame is 300g lighter than the current/standard Turbine, a saving which we estimate was worth about one second on Saturday’s time trial. While we have no way of knowing if/how much knock-on aero penalties are associated with the weight-reducing design elements, it’s likely even a 1% increase in aero efficiency could greatly outweigh the weight saving gains. A point which Aerocoach’s Dr Xavier Disley made on Twitter:

Wilier’s current Turbine on the left and the new Turbine SLR on the right.

It is unclear if the SLR replaces the current Turbine or if Wilier will continue to offer both. As always, we will bring you more on new time trial tech as we have it.

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