Faster and lighter than before, a new Time Warp TT is set to debut at the Tour this weekend under Lampre-Merida & Bahrain-Merida. With sleek integration and dropping more than a quarter of frame weight, the new bike hopes to shave seconds off in the World Tour.
Merida Time Warp TT rim brake time trial race road bike
The Time Warp TT was already an efficient & adjustable time trialer for Merida’s pro teams, but now they get a bike that promises to get them faster across the finish line – specifically a big goal of Tour contender Vincenzo Nibali.
From design sketches to race day in just under a year, the new bike aimed at getting more streamlined now with completely internal routing and a significantly lighter frame.
Merida says the accelerated timeframe needed to get the new rim-brake TT bike ready for this year’s Tour de France led to intense CFD analysis of the new frameset and its unique cockpit setup, before they ended up with the bike in the wind tunnel for confirmation. The German-based design team brought in Swiss F1 aerodynamic experts (was that Swiss Side, who also like this GST tunnel?) to keep the project on track.
Unlike the previous Warp bike that relied on stock side-pull brakes, the Time Warp TT uses a new custom made set of fully cowled center-pull brakes, mounted (& hidden) on the front of the fork and under the bottom bracket.
The new Time Warp TT also moves to being electronic shifting only (which anyone who has ever tried to build up a mechanical TT or tri bike can appreciate.) The frame gets clean electronic integration with a control box & charging port located in the easy to reach bridge above the BB in between bottle cage mounts.
You can’t have a modern time trial bike with cables flapping in the breeze, so the Warp Speed tucks everything completely inside the bar, stem and then through the frame.
A big part of that happens by way of a new a full carbon cockpit system co-developed with Vision. It uses an integrated one-piece flat carbon basebar & stem that smoothly transitions to the recessed headtube. Then a set of height & width adjustable aero extensions from Vision simply bolt on top (or even underneath). Two different version of the basebar will offer adaptable fit and positioning to suit a wide range of racers.
With the idea that 1x drivetrains can make a lot of sense for flat & even rolling time trials, the new Time Warp TT also uses a removable front derailleur hanger, so you can pop off the front mech and save some aero drag Watts as well. That’s probably especially useful for electronic setups, where the front derailleurs are exceptionally bulky (and can be easily plugged back in without needing readjustment if you pull the hanger off with it.
Out back the bike offers the option to run a direct mount hanger for stiffer shifting with Shimano rear derailleurs.
Within the integrated wedge seatpost binder, the frame also builds in a small storage compartment for a tube, CO2, or mini tool.
And to top it all off the new bike sheds a claimed 400g over the previous Warp TT frame. Putting that in perspective the old bike was said to weigh 1.50kg, so bringing the Time Warp TT to 1100g is rather impressive for a fully aero time trial frame – some aero road frames weigh as much.
The new Time Warp TT got its stealthy race debut at the 2018 Spanish TT championship where the Izagirre brothers got 2nd & 3rd. Now it will head to the Tour de France in its first UCI-race ready TT time trial form. It will not be available to the public until next summer in 2019, first as a limited edition frame kit. The triathlon-specific version with its own higher cockpit for longer distance races is slated for model year 2020 availability.