Last week Adam Hansen told RIDE Media that his successive Grand Tour record is to end. Today he explains his thoughts on Campagnolo’s disc brakes…
Beyond his Grand Tour record, Adam Hansen is an intriguing cyclist for many reasons. We know about his shoe company and propensity to experiment with equipment: narrow bars, long cranks, and an unorthodox cleat position are just some of his curiosities (see sidebar below).
As a board member of the CPA (Cyclistes Professionnels Associés) he holds a position of responsibility to ensure safe working conditions for his colleagues, amongst other things.
One element of road cycling that has been under scrutiny in recent years is the introduction of disc brakes. Now in a “trial phase” in the pro ranks, it seems as though it will soon become more prevalent.
Hansen posted this photo on Twitter last week: new shoes and, interestingly, no traditional brake callipers in sight. This is, in fact, the Ridley bike he’s been training on for over 4,000km – and it features disc brakes by Campagnolo.
For his part, Hansen has been doing his research. On a recent training ride he ticked over 4,000 kilometres on a road bike equipped with disc brakes – and he likes what he’s tried.
“Campagnolo gave me a disc brake bike in April to test and I have been training since then only on disc brakes,” Hansen told RIDE Media on 4 August.
“Actually today I have now completed 4,000km testing the Ridley bike with Campagnolo disc brakes.”
His plan was to debut the product when he lined up for his 19th successive Grand Tour in a couple of weeks… but it seems he won’t get that opportunity: Lotto-Soudal recently advised him that he isn’t selected for the 2017 Vuelta a España.
He is, however, wary about endorsing something that could be considered even a little bit controversial, especially considering his position with the CPA. But the testing has gone well and Hansen believes there is merit in this product development.
Campagnolo’s disc brakes were launched by the company earlier this year but they are yet to be seen in competition…
He explained his thoughts on the Campagnolo disc brakes, and why he believes the product is suitable for professional use.
“Well,” he told RIDE, “first my role in the CPA is to represent the riders and speak for the riders, not myself.
“Personally I think training on disc brakes is super nice.
“It would be wrong of me to have a strong opinion against them if I have never tried them and, with completing over 4,000km with the system, I can now say a thing or two.”
Lotto-Soudal is one of three teams in the WorldTour which is supplied by Campagnolo and while Shimano disc brakes have been used at the recent Tour de France, the Italian brand’s product is essentially still in the early days of public release.
That said, Hansen is full of praise for Campagnolo’s system, the only disc brake option he’s been able to trial on a road bike. But, it’s worth pointing out, he has a long history in the MTB scene and he knows what kind of sensation disc brakes can provide.
Disc brakes offer a the rider reliable stopping power, no matter what the conditions and, according to Hansen, this is most appealing.
“The brakes are great, especially the Campagnolo system.”
It’s not just the sponsorship arrangement with Lotto-Soudal that evokes a glowing appraisal, as he gets into some of the finer detail during his commentary.
“For training the Campagnolo arrangement is a great system,” said Hansen.
“They have made a great product: it’s very modular – it’s not like your typical MTB Shimano set-up which, I believe, is ‘on’ or ‘off’.
“The Campagnolo system is really gradual and, from the start, you think they are not very powerful – that was my first reaction… but when you take a decent pull on the levers, then the power really comes.
“Campagnolo did a really amazing job. The brakes work amazingly well on my Ridley bike and I can assume with all disc brake bikes are far more stiffer due to the fact that frames must be more reinforced to handle disc brakes with the new thru-axle design and considered quick-release arrangement, which is far stiffer than the previous system.”
Hansen attaches cleats to his Hanseeno shoes with Kevlar lacing instead of bolts to save around 55g.
Developments for Hanseeno shoes
The other obvious talking point from Hansen’s tweet of last week was the new shoes. He explained his innovations to RIDE Media earlier this year at the Tour Down Under but the product continues to evolve.
Beyond the Kevlar lacing instead of bolts to fasten the cleat, he is now working with a different kind of material to save even more weight.
He’s using a ‘honeycomb sandwich’ between the carbon layups which brings the complete weight of a shoe down to around 55g.
“There is nothing new using honeycomb sandwich material with composites,” he told RIDE, “but currently there is no shoe on the market using it in their soles.
“Part of my latest shoe design is made with it and with this. I was able to keep the same stiffness and reduce weight 40%, if my math is correct, and I use the honeycomb material throughout the whole sole and side.
“I believe I can get each shoe to a weight of around 55 grams or even less.”
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The Grand Tour record may have reached its limit but that doesn’t mean Hansen is laying about being idle. He’s training, innovating and getting ready for whatever races are next on his schedule.
– By Rob Arnold
Click here for an extended interview from several years ago in which he talks about building his own altitude tent, his computer programming, his product innovations and a whole range of topics…
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Hansen’s logistics system
Before becoming a pro cyclist, Adam Hansen was a computer programmer. He has created a system that has been adopted by his team and several others in the peloton.
“It’s an online database,” he told RIDE in 2013. “It has fields for all the staff: the soigneurs, mechanics, directeurs sportif… so, when we get our programs, we don’t get just a basic email as happened in the past, we can log on and see the full calendar.
“We know what our races are, who will be there with us, what hotels we’ll have, and it also includes our ‘Whereabouts Program’.
“It’s like a central meeting point. There are also message options so if there is any need for communication between the relevant staff, it can be done in one location. All the information is there, including all the smaller details like if phone numbers change… that sort of thing. It’s also got the contact details of everyone on our team.”