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Diamondback IO harnesses vortex generators to create a faster aero road bike

©Earl Harper
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Considering the wild design of their Andean super bike, it’s not surprising that Diamondback has applied some of that same tech to the dropbar world. Citing a need for a more aerodynamic bike than their Podium series for triathletes to self supported ultra endurance racers, their team again partnered with Kevin Quan Studios to tackle the IO.

Diamondback IO harnesses vortex generators to create a faster aero road bike
©Earl Harper

One of the most noticeable features on the IO (thanks to the polka dot paint scheme) is what Diamondback is calling their vortex generators. Looking for a way to improve ont he classic truncated airfoil design, Diamondback enlisted the help of Dr. Phillipe Lavole of the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies. Pulling from research they conducted on the aerodynamics of helicopter and wind turbine blades, the design works by changing the way that the air leaves the truncated airfoil. Calling it their Wake Control System, the depressions are found on the back of the fork legs and the down tube and seat tube, and are said to create little pockets of counter-rotating turbulent flow which interfere with the natural airflow off the frame to reduce turbulent wake from the bike.

Diamondback IO harnesses vortex generators to create a faster aero road bike
©Earl Harper
Diamondback IO harnesses vortex generators to create a faster aero road bike
©Earl Harper

Adding further to the aerodynamics of the “Speed Core” (the area below the top tube), Diamondback settled for ultralow seat stays. They claim that it is the best compromise between no seat stays at all which provides the best vertical compliance but poor lateral stiffness, and high seat stays which limits vertical compliance but offers the best lateral stiffness. The positioning is said to be the best blend of aerodynamics, vertical compliance, and lateral stiffness for a bike of this sort.

Borrowing a bit from the Andean, the IO also includes internal storage in front of the bottom bracket. While keeping the weight low on the bike, it also is said to improve the aerodynamics of the frame. We’re guessing between all the of aero tricks on this bike that it’s not UCI road race legal.

Diamondback IO harnesses vortex generators to create a faster aero road bike

Referring to the aerodynamic zones in two parts, the Speed Core is everything below the top tube, while the cockpit is everything above. To maximize aero efficiency in the cockpit, the frame will include a removable top tube storage unit, and will come stock with a Zipp SL-70 aero handlebar which Diamondback found to be the best blend of aero performance and fit.

Diamondback IO harnesses vortex generators to create a faster aero road bike Diamondback IO harnesses vortex generators to create a faster aero road bike

The bike also utilizes a completely internal cable routing system to keep the cables out of the wind. To do so, there is a special split ring in the headset that has slots for the cables after they pass through the stem and under the bearing cover. This probably won’t be the easiest bike in the world to work on, but it does look pretty clean. There’s also internal integration for electronic drivetrains, and in spite of all the aero crazinesss, a standard round seat post which means it probably won’t have the issues a lot of aero posts have had in the past.

Diamondback IO harnesses vortex generators to create a faster aero road bikeDiamondback IO harnesses vortex generators to create a faster aero road bikeDiamondback IO harnesses vortex generators to create a faster aero road bike

All together, Diamondback claims from preliminary testing that the IO is 20% more efficient than the Podium, yet only 10% slower than the Serios. Available from 50cm to 60cm frames in 2cm increments, complete bikes start at $3,999.99 with a Force 1x Hydro group, up to the $9,749.99 Dura Ace Di2 build with ENVE SES 5.6 wheels and a SRAM Power Crank. Bikes can also be built up through their online Custom Studio with personalized options.

diamondback.com

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33 Comments
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D-Con
D-Con
5 years ago

I love it. There’s a lot of convention challenging going on here and the price is surprisingly low.

Given the century and ultra endurance target market, I have to ask if 28s or 30s will fit. The moderately-wide aero wheel market shouldn’t be long in coming.

comrad
comrad
5 years ago

I’d love to try this out, although the non-aero seatpost looks so weird against super aero everything else

MB
MB
5 years ago
Reply to  comrad

Yeah surely they’d carry the aero post up, seems a bit odd.

boom
boom
5 years ago

Just read their ‘white paper’ on their website. Zero comparison to other brands’ bikes, their testing methods, protocols, or anything similar. Just read like a longer marketing blurb. If you’re going to make such strong claims, better provide the data to back it up.

Robin
Robin
5 years ago
Reply to  boom

Note that white papers are essentially marketing exercises. Sure some contain more data than others, but it’s key to remember they aren’t peer reviewed scientific reports. They’re not even at the same level as a papers submitted for scientific conferences. White papers should always be read with an extra large heaping of skepticism.

Mechanic
Mechanic
5 years ago
Reply to  Robin

I was going to say, “It would just be a bunch of BS anyway. Just like other brands.” Leave it to independent facilities to release meaningful data.

Hobbanero
Hobbanero
5 years ago

Round post does seem odd. Also, are those vortex generators still effective with bottles and cages? Or are they designed for a bare frame. #junkscience until they disclose more. And mixing SRAM and Shimano on the top build? Heresy! Okay, probably just a result of Shimano not having any power meter supply.

1Pro
1Pro
5 years ago

man that is one funny video. 18sec in when they are obsessing about body hair, look at the 4″ of brake cable poking out of the front caliper.

FFM
FFM
5 years ago
Reply to  1Pro

+1 for tightening up.

The Dude
The Dude
5 years ago

A new mountain bike and a new aero road bike? Diamondback is becoming more relevant than bigger brands like Cannondale.

Marin
Marin
5 years ago

That storage space is perfect for hiding motor.
How long till we see aero ebike that looks like a golf ball?

DRC
DRC
5 years ago
Reply to  Marin

I honestly don’t understand why this hasn’t been done yet. Zipp has had dimpled wheels forever. Mythbusters kinda proved a dimpled car would be pretty aero efficient. An aero bike like this with deep tubes would be perfect for dimples.

kaufmc
kaufmc
5 years ago
Reply to  DRC

The french brand HEROÏN is already offering frames featuring dimples on strategic surface areas.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
5 years ago

The industry has engineers working night and day to defeat their triathlon bike that almost nobody is buying.

JNH
JNH
5 years ago
Reply to  Veganpotter

Tri Bikes are the Hypercars of the cycling world, they aren’t made to sell in numbers, they’re made to make the entire world look in your direction. The Andean certainly achieved that.

RCSpeed
RCSpeed
5 years ago

The UCI just eliminated the 3:1 rule for frames and forks so it is possible this could be raced

Greg
Greg
5 years ago
Reply to  RCSpeed

but what about non-structural elements? Would the storage box make it illegal?

Fork Dork
Fork Dork
5 years ago
Reply to  RCSpeed

The UCI rule change did nothing. The maximum and minimum dimensions for frame elements are unchanged so you can’t really do anything different than you could before.

Volsung
Volsung
5 years ago

WELCOME TO SKIDSVILLE.

Woody
Woody
5 years ago

Belly’s gonna get you!

skip
skip
5 years ago

I came here to hate on ebikes. Turns out this bike is just insanely boxy….

FFM
FFM
5 years ago

“I need to go SUPER FAST but not in an actual race though.”

edge
edge
5 years ago

I’m always angered by the sight of a riderless bike in the wind tunnel. About as pointless as tits on a bull.

PabloE432
PabloE432
5 years ago

Wow that video. Amateur hour at DB or business as usual?

Mike M
Mike M
5 years ago

The only purpose I could ever see for this bike is for a triathlete rider on courses where the road has a bit more tilt than a dedicated triathlete bike would want. Even if its the most aerodynamic road bike ever, comfort looks far from promising with the weight likely being on the higher side of its cadre. The latter will only lend to a typically poor ride quality that often plagues aero road bikes.

I don’t mind aero road bikes, but for myself, I prefer it be a road bike first with aerodynamics integrated. Otherwise its a very limiting design from outset and so will its market appeal.

Tom
Tom
5 years ago

personal opinion, but the geo is a fail, at least in the larger sizes – 57 cm top tube on the largest size? With a 190mm head tube? Might as well put suspension on the thing.

Enter-net
Enter-net
5 years ago

Here in Southern California, specifically North County, this bike will do super well.

Local Try-geeks are going to be p$$sing themselves (vs on their bikes) to chat this one up at the endless amount of stop lights on the coast.

Can’t wait .

King County
King County
5 years ago

The ‘vortex generators’ theory has been proven in other areas. Without getting technical, a similar method is on a gold ball. All the scalloping helps air flow. TV program ‘Mythbusters’ scalloped a car and found it got better gas mileage. Goofy, but it is what it is.

Mike M
Mike M
5 years ago
Reply to  King County

Vortex generators is well beyond theory or more so in concept and has been proven in CFD and wind tunnels. This is a different implementation which seems similar on goal but varied on implementation. A typical vertex generator will often be location on the leading edge of an shape to create a trip in the laminar flow and create small rotational vortexes on the surface of the shape. Its rotation creates a suction from surrounding air and when the shape ends, the pressure created reduces the size of the trail left on the kamm tail shape here. These happen to be on the trailing edge and is a somewhat different form. My guess is the air falls into those shapes and creates a swirl in the low pressure area behind the tube. This should in theory provide pressure to reduce the size of the air separation behind it, thus reducing drag.

Reynolds does something similar on their wheels. On the lower series its called an SLG and is close to trailing edge and the Aero series has a somewhat similar line at the top of the rim, between the tire and brake track (or where it would be in case of disc wheel). This little shapes will likely have notable affect on the frame performance, but until you take into an FEA app and model it through, you won’t know the end result.

Also, in the TDF, team Sky had vortex generating dimples as part of their TT skin suit. Something that was considered to be in question in terms to the UCI rules. It was approved so expect some aero kits to begin to appear like golf balls. I can’t wait to see someone screaming down the hill in one so I can yell “PAR FOUR!”.

Technician
Technician
5 years ago

UIHMUNUBHLA is at it again.

Sark
Sark
5 years ago

Proven aero test? Without the biggest drag generating object on the bike? Reductionist testing of every object seperately is ok.

Yet, What about the dynamic interaction with the moving rider? A rider, who is never a “standard” issue.

Maybe diamond back, or anybody else, should do an integrated man-machine speed cycling unit.
Designing from bike to helmet to dimpled attire? …ahhh, why am i telling you this? I would have loved to have done such a project….it’s a pity in am not in the cycling industry.

Technician
Technician
5 years ago
Reply to  Sark

Well, it is hard not to agree with your arguments here, but truth is: they, actually, have dummy athlete made for aero tests. Being bicycle luddite myself (and owning 4 old school steel steeds from 80’s-early 90’s), I love the way Diamondback shows its middle finger to UCI regulations. Without those stupid rules who knows where we could get with all those crazy concepts like Lotus or Cheetah from mid-90’s.

The problem is Diamondback has wrongest marketing department ever. Who in his mind preaches no-nonsense approach and then writes the wall of bullsh*t claims?

Jack Liu
Jack Liu
5 years ago

Perfect!

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