A 13-person startup in Des Moines, Iowa, claims that it now makes the fastest bike in the world.
“We don’t just say it, we actually proved it,” Ethan Davidson, chief operating officer of bike manufacturer Rüster Sports, told FoxNews.com. “We took [the bike] to a wind tunnel… and we were actually able to yield some data that proved that the bike was between 4 percent and 28 percent faster than any of our competitors.”
Aaron Ross, director of technology and biomechanics at Faster Speed Lab, the wind tunnel company where the bike was tested, confirmed the claim and said that the bike yielded faster times and beat out competitor bikes.
Cyclist anecdotes back up Rüster Sports’ claims. Matt Zepeda, head coach of an endurance coaching company that trains triathletes, said that he’s seen triathletes competing in half “Ironmans” – competitions involving a grueling 56 mile bike race – improve their performance by five minutes using the Dimond.
“I would say that if it’s not the fastest bike on the market, it’s going to rival any bike out there," Zepeda said.
He considers the Dimond, along with the Cervélo P-5 and a top of the line Felt, to be the top superbikes.
The Dimond was first created in 2013 by TJ Tollakson, a professional triathlon athlete, who joined forces with his friend and bike engineer Dave Morse to make the Dimond when he realized that his old bike – made back in 2001 – felt faster than many new bikes.
Tollakson’s old bike used an unconventional design called the beam frame bike, the same design the Dimond uses. This design allows engineers at Rüster Sports to smooth out the design and reduce weight. The beam frame eliminates the seat tube, which runs down from the seat to the pedals, as well as the seatstay – the part of the frame that connects the seat directly to the rear wheel. By getting rid of these sections of the frame, the bike is lighter and smoother, reducing wind drag and making it more aerodynamic.
The Dimond’s unusual beam frame design was popular back in the 1990s. Then, in 1999, bikes without a seat tube were banned from bike races by the UCI (Union of International Cyclists), causing them to fall out of the mainstream for over a decade. But beam frames are back in business, in part due to the rise in popularity of triathlons, which allow more bike designs. In the past two decades, USA Triathlon increased membership from 127,824 members in 1999 to 495,330 members in 2013.
Dimond bikes are also made from carbon fiber, an extremely strong, lightweight material. Sheets of carbon fiber are layered on each other to make up individual parts, with the fibers running in different directions to make the part stronger.
“Its strength-to-weight ratio is really high, so we can use less material and make a lighter product,” Matt Cymanski,Rüster Sports’ manufacturing and design engineer, told FoxNews.com. “We can also form almost any shape you can imagine. With traditional steel and aluminum, you’re limited to a tube shape.”
The carbon fiber is molded to form parts. Once they’re cast, Rüster Sports drills holes and puts together the parts to make up the frame, then ships out the frames to be painted.
The lightweight Dimond is engineered to be easily disassembled and Rüster makes a “bikepack,” the Hen House, which can carry the Dimond and is small enough to check onto a plane just like a standard suitcase. This saves hundreds of dollars on oversized baggage fees.
The speed and versatility comes at a price – the Dimond starts at $5,950 just for the frame, going up to $12,997 for its “premium build” with all the bells and whistles.
Dake Kang is a Fox News College Associate.
Originally published Aug. 10, 2015, on FoxNews.com.