All of the top tri-specific bike frames are within a very small margin when it comes to aero performance, so the difference is really how the bike handles in crosswinds. Here the Scott Plasma 5 is A+. I can stay on the aerobars for extended periods, even in strong winds like you see in Kona.
I was involved in the development and a key thing is the integrated ‘nose cone-drinking system’. The Plasma’s aero numbers are actually better with it than without it. It’s also easy to refill, and you can stay on the aerobars while you drink. I love that the bike still looks ‘clean’ if you have it race ready with all the bottles, spare tubes, etc.
The Plasma performs great on every course. The Zipp wheels play a big role here; if the handling’s easy in difficult conditions you can stay longer on the bars and ride a more extreme position.
Of course, I’m sponsored by Scott, and you probably think, ‘He gets paid to talk highly about his bike’, but I’m in a comfortable position when it comes to picking a sponsor. And I choose Scott.
1. The bike is equipped with a Prologo Saddle, SRAM Red E-Tap groupset and Conti GP TT tyres.
2. This Plasma 5 frame has a custom paint job. We’d four different suggestions and I picked this one.
3. My gearing is usually a 11-25 cassette and 55-42 chainrings. In Kona the difference between the lowest speed (up Palani) and the highest speed (descent from Hawi) are quite significant. So you need a wide range but with narrow steps between the gears.
4. The storage is located on the top tube, with an integrated aero bottle on the front, Tacx aero bottle for gels on the frame, and one or two bottles behind the saddle.
5. In most races I’m on the clincher Zipp Super9 and 808. In Kona it’s 808 or, if the wind is super extreme, the 404 in the front. The rim also works well with the Continental tyres in cornering and rolling resistance.