I thought you might like a closer look at the new ‘special edition’ version of the Matrix tandem I’m now using.
We were really happy with the previous frame supplied by Matrix and it served us brilliantly in winning the European championships. Unfortunately this had to be replaced prematuly after our heavy crash during the National championships at Nottingham in May.
I had already been thinking about one or two possible design tweaks for the future to better suit our particular type of racing and respective body sizes. I had even discussed these with Owen Watkins, the UK distributor for the Matrix. I wasn’t in any hurry though, as the ‘old’ bike was pretty damn good!
When we crashed, Matrix where so supportive and were more concerned to know if everyone was OK. Owen contacted Tank cycles in Taiwan who manufacturer the brand and they basically said “Don’t worry, we will sort it out”. BIG relief!
Owen also raised the prospect of modifying the existing design for myself and London-bound Paralypic cyclist James Brown who also wanted something Special. A mazingly, just 6 weeks later Tank had redesigned, produced, and dispatched the new frame which was now sitting in my garage…unbelievable!!
Like the previous ‘standard’ version, it’s still super light and exceptionally stiff with no frame flex. It still uses a mix of aluminium and carbon tubing. So what makes it special?
Well, there are a couple of key differences. Firstly the rear of the tandem is much shorter (about 8cm’s). I can now achieve a much better position and not be too stretched out as I am only quite short! This should help me better engage some of the larger muscle in my lower back and legs meaning more power should be generated. It should also improve aerodynamics by cutting out space between pilot and stoker by reducing our combined surface area and subsequently decreasing air resistance.
Secondly, The frame angles appear to be quite a lot steeper, more like a time trial frame. Again, this should allow for increased power over the 20km we usually cover in sprint distance Paratriathlons. Always useful! It should also stop us from gradually shifting forward on the saddle, so helping us to keep a comfortable and more cosistent position on the bike.
If you read my Maldon tri report you will know it’s already been built up into a bike and tested to the max. It shaped up really well and although I need to fiddle with my own position a little further, it felt really comfortable. It seemed easy to put the power down too with the bike feeling really responsive. Good Job Matrix/Tank Cycles!!
Can’t wait to test it out some more!