As a keen recreational cyclist, I love the story of McLaren working with British cycling champion Mark Cavendish and the Specialized cycle brand to produce a killer road bike on which he can compete this season in the great cycling classic events. It had a winning debut with Cavendish’s team mate Matthew Goss this weekend.
Road bikes are all about being light and stiff at the same time. The S Works McLaren Venge, as it is called, is made using state of the art carbon fibre layering techniques and the frame weighs just 930 grammes!
Cavendish who has been 15 times a stage winner on the Tour de France in the last couple of years, rode the bike for the first time yesterday in the Milan-San Remo classic. It wasn’t an auspicious start for Cavendish as a puncture split him off from the lead group and so he wasn’t in the sprint at the finish, his speciality.
There is a precedent; Lotus developed a bike which Chris Boardman used to win a gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.
McLaren Applied Technologies is doing some quite interesting stuff with athletes in the run up to the 2012 London Olympics, working with UK Sport on a wireless system for storing data and telemetry information for athletes in cycling, rowing and sailing. If British athletes hopefully pick up some gold medals next year, McLaren will be an important part of the story.
Cosworth is very active in this area as well, applying F1 data gathering technology to help sports people from many areas.