Finn Fisher-Black's Colnago TT1: UAE Team Emirates pro bike

New Zealander used a Carbon-Ti chainring to create a 1x version of Shimano Dura-Ace

ClockUpdated 16:39, Monday 2nd October 2023. Published 13:00, Monday 2nd October 2023
Finn Fisher-Black's Colnago TT1


Finn Fisher-Black's Colnago TT1

Finn Fisher-Black was one of 41 Grand Tour debutants at the 2023 Vuelta a España. Of the 176 riders to roll out of Barcelona, nearly a quarter were Grand Tour first-timers.

For Fisher-Black, the opening day team time trial was a tough introduction to Grand Tour racing, his UAE Team Emirates team finishing 14th of the 22 teams. On paper, it was a disappointing finish for a squad packed with plenty of GC potential, including Juan Ayuso and João Almeida. The results belie the full story, with UAE setting off third to last in rain-lashed conditions made even more precarious by the evening gloom, something that irked defending champion Remco Evenepoel whose Soudal Quick-Step team were last to leave the ramp.

Read more: Remco Evenepoel rages against the dying of the Vuelta a España light

On the day, the riders teamed up with Colnago’s TT1 time trial bike to navigate through the tricky conditions. We got our hands on Fisher-Black’s bike ahead of the opening stage.

Colnago’s first disc brake TT bike

Released prior to the 2022 Giro d’Italia, the TT1 had big shoes to fill. It succeeded the Colnago K.One, a name cemented in Tour de France folklore after Tadej Pogačar used it to lethal effect to win the 2020 yellow jersey, overcoming Primož Roglič in the penultimate stage time trial. Okay, it was only partly responsible, used for the flat section before Pogacar swapped to the road bike for the climb, but it still played its part in one of the race’s most dramatic finishes.

A lot has changed over the relatively short time since Pogačar took his maiden Tour de France victory, including the complete acceptance of disc brakes. Even in 2020, many bikes, especially time trial steeds, still used rim brakes. That’s now completely changed. The release of the TT1 was a significant moment for Colnago, becoming the Italian brand’s first ever disc brake time trial bike.

Read more: Behind the scenes with UAE Team Emirates at the Vuelta a España

Shifting to disc brakes doesn’t only improve braking performance; disc-brake bikes use thru axles, which increases the stiffness. When you’re pushing incredible watts like the pros, that stiffness can make a big difference.

Unsurprisingly, the bike’s foundations are dug deep into aerodynamic ground, most noticeably resulting in the 3D-printed bottle cage. This does look suspiciously like an aero fairing, but it’s been passed by the UCI for use in competition.

1x Shimano set-up

As neither Shimano or Campagnolo offer 1x road groupsets, 1x set-ups are usually the reserve of SRAM-sponsored teams. Other teams could technically use non-Shimano or Campagnolo chainrings to create a 1x set-up, but they’re usually reluctant to do this for their road bikes.

Read more: Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Roglič go 1x at Vuelta a España

Time trial bikes are a different story. Compared to road bikes, they are often heavily modified to try to maximise any aero gains. Teams are much more willing to swap in different chainrings to create 1x set-ups too, and that’s the route that was taken for Fisher-Black’s set-up.

For the opening time trial, the New Zealander had a 1x Carbon-Ti chainring - we didn’t find out the exact size, but by our count it’s at least 60t. That was paired with a K-Edge chain guide, in New Zealand colours, designed to stop the chain from falling off the inside of the chainring.

As the opening stage was short and flat, riders didn’t need a wide range of gears, which is why it was paired with a Shimano 11-30t cassette. The rest of the groupset consisted of Shimano Dura-Ace components, including the built-in power meter.

Sync aero cockpit

Teams often have different sponsors for time trial equipment too. That’s the case for handlebars at UAE Team Emirates, with the team using Sync’s aero cockpit which has been specially designed for the Colnago TT1. The team uses Enve handlebars for its road bikes.

Fisher-Black’s bike also had unbranded wheels which, for the rear, appeared to be a Campagnolo Bora Ultra disc wheel. These were paired with Continental Grand Prix 5000 TT tyres in 28mm width.

Finishing touches included a Prologo Dimension Tri saddle and a Wahoo computer.

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