Major Equipment Changes for Kienle

Sebastian Kienle has a new bike for 2019. New as in, same bike. Same frame. It remains the highly regarded Scott Plasma Premium, maddeningly stingy in fore/aft cockpit adjustment, but if it fits you, great bike. So, no news to be made here.

What's new is almost everything else. Sebi explained it all, via video, in what is a pretty nice workshop inside the shop of his longtime bike mechanic and tech guru.

First thing: He's going 1x. Sebi explained it in weight savings that would only appeal to the weeniest cyclists, but also in grams of drag. Watch the vid for gearing details, but it's SRAM's AXS Red groupset, which gives users the opportunity now to ride an electronic 1x that's road-specific. The way he explained it, moving to a 12-cog cassette and a 10-tooth cog are what sealed the deal.

[Here's more about SRAM's AXS drivetrain, and Quarq's new chain ring PM.]

We're in the middle of taking a reader poll right now on just this, and about 1-in-5 of you say you're moving to 1x on your next tri bike; and 2 out of 3 of you expect to move to electronic. So far, 15 percent of you expect to do what Sebi's done, moving to 1x electronic. (We'll be writing more about this option soon.)

Sebi's not an industrial designer, but he stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night, and waxed philosophic about the Flat Top chain's clean, trim lines and the elegance of the rear derailleur's fluid damping system.

Sebi's going to ride a Quarq power meter in his races, because the weight and aero penalty to do so has been removed. The big change down there is in crank length. He's always been that throwback, riding 175s when the rest of the world has gone shorter. He's moving to 170mm.

As a major German cycling star, he's a Continental rider. At least he was. He's moving to Schwalbe, and to tubeless. This is a major move. In the video he describes in some detail what he's going to do for sealant. He thinks he'll save watts and gain puncture resistance. This'll be interesting to watch.

Sebi's a longtime rider of Zipp wheels, and I've experimented with the mounting and placement of tubeless on Zipp's wheels. The more premium wheel brands - like Zipp and HED - have anticipated the move to tubeless and make their wheels with tubeless in mind.

Sebi did not mention the saddle or the pedals in his video. But it's clear to see he remains on Speedplay and it's remarkable how many top athletes - Sebi and Jan Frodeno inclusive - choose this pedal system when I don't get the sense that it's a money play (or else the pedals probably would've warranted a mention).

He's been a Prologo T-Gale user in the past and I'm not the best identifier of saddles simply by looking at their undersides, it looks like it's still a Prologo that he's aboard. (Please disabuse me of my error in the comments below). I'm riding a bike in about an hour that you all haven't seen yet - you'll read about it in about a week - and it's got a T-Gale.