In 1988 the Belgian Bio-Racer was one of the first companies in the world that used computer models to develop individually fit bicycle frames. This stunning white Oria chromoly steel race bike, was one of the very first computer designed bikes that left the factory.
For those who wonder: “Isn’t Bioracer a cycling wear manufacturer?”, I refer to a previous blog post I wrote on a 1993 Bio-Racer bike for the answer.
The first Computer designed bicycle frame
Bioracer’s founder, Raymond Vanstraelen, noticed that a lot of professional and amateur cyclists were not performing at their best because they didn’t have a good riding position on their bikes. This convinced Raymond to develop the Bioracer Bikefitting system in collaboration with the Dutch Harry Janssen, that was later on acquired by Shimano and widely distributed as the standard bike fitting system throughout the world.
It was this bike fitting system and Raymond’s vision that led to the first ‘computer designed’ but hand crafted steel race bike frames. While Raymond focussed on the measuring, Harry took care of the development of the measuring system, the software, and the production of the frames in Elsloo (Netherlands).
How do we know it is a first generation Bioracer frame?
Firstly, because Raymond told us. But moreover because of the logo used; This specific logo with digital number style font was used only on the very first generation Bioracer frames. From the second generation of frames onwards, Bioracer used a new version of the logo (bottom picture) which is, still today, actively used on the cycling clothing.
- Frameset: Bio-Racer Oria CrMo
- Size: 55cc
- Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace 7401
- Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace 7401
- Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace 7400
- Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace 7401
- Downtube shifters: Shimano Dura-Ace 7400
- Headset: Stronglight Delta
- Stem: Modolo Equipe
- Handlebar: Modolo Equipe
- Handlebar tape: Fluorescent cork
- Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace 7400
- Brake calippers: Shimano Dura-Ace 7400
- Seatpost: Shimano Dura-Ace 7400
- Saddle: Rolls
Interesting article. What comes to mind was an announcement by the Merckx bicycle firm to fund some research to the handling qualities of racing bicycles. At the announcement it was stated the results to be made open source.
Never heard of anything, not that there was no report.
The FCI, a few decades previously did research that from what I could tell, validated and hastened the exploitation of the shorter top tube, and longer stem design paradigm.
My world view on the subject is that when comparing video of the pro peloton from the 70’s to today, the participants in general just cannot seem to ride a straight line.