New Gear of the 2012 Olympics


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Trek Superfly SL Pro

This summer in London, Trek will debut the lightest mountain-bike frame ever built. The Superfly SL Pro weighs just 31.7 ounces—two less than the lightest 29-inch frame currently on the market. To make the ride stiff enough to handle the Hadleigh Farm mountain-bike course, designers settled on carbon, which Trek product manager John Riley says is “the easiest material to work with.” Then they set about eliminating every possible ounce. The Superfly will be used by Canadian Emily Batty and American Sam Schultz and will go on sale to the public following the Games.

Instead of mounting the rear brake caliper on the seatstay, Trek positioned it between the seat and chainstay, allowing for a stiffer structure.

Because the frame is so stiff, excess material could be trimmed from the seatpost, cutting down on weight.

Most hardtails have open dropouts. Trek closed them up—a lever locks the rear wheel in place—boosting stiffness by 30 percent for further weight savings.

Men’s mountain bike: August 12, 7:30 a.m. EDT

Nike Pro Turbo Speed

A golf ball was the inspiration for the tracksuit that some Nike athletes, including Allyson Felix and Oscar Pistorius, could be wearing in London. Designers at the Swoosh, noticing how the dimples create low-pressure turbulence that reduces drag, applied silicone impressions to the suit. The result is the ProTurbo Speed, which, in Nike’s tests, was .043 second faster in the 100-meter dash. In Olympic competition, that could mean the difference between a medal and defeat.

Men’s 400 meters: August 6, 3:30 p.m. EDT

TYR Carbon Short John

Between 2008 and 2009, swimmers broke 255 world records. The culprit, according to FINA, the sport’s governing body, was the positively buoyant polyurethane suit, which arrived before the Beijing Olympics. So in 2010 FINA banned the suits, including Michael Phelps’ Speedo LZR Racer. For London, triathlon-suit manufacturer Tyr and swimsuit maker Arena turned to a material usually reserved for high-end bikes: carbon. Woven into a Lycra suit, carbon provides increased compression, which reduces tissue vibration without adding buoyancy. Vibration causes drag in water, and decreasing it allows swimmers to glide more easily. Oscillation has also been linked to muscle fatigue, something Arena’s Powerskin Carbon Pro and Tyr’s Carbon Short John should help mitigate. Don’t expect the old records to fall, but keep an eye on Hungarian Laszlo Cseh, who will wear Arena’s Carbon Pro while trying to take down favorites Phelps and Ryan Lochte, both of whom swim in Speedo’s Lycra suits.

Men’s 400-meter individual medley: July 28, 1:30 p.m. EDT

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