Azizul won his first medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics, and now carries the hope of winning the gold at the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Winning his second Olympic medal, Azizulhasni Awang struck silver at the Tokyo 2020 men’s keirin event that had Malaysians over the moon with his phenomenal achievement. Only bested by British track cycling champion, Jason Kenny, Azizul narrowly beat the Netherlands’ Harry Lavreysen, who took bronze.
Nicknamed ‘The Pocket Rocketman’, Tokyo 2020 is Azizul’s fourth straight Olympics since Beijing 2008. He won his first medal (bronze) at the Rio 2016 Games, and now carries the hope of winning the gold at the Paris 2024 Olympics.
In his moment of victory, many tech enthusiasts have zeroed in on the machine used by Azizul that helped him win silver medal: his bike.
Malaysian drone expert, Richard Ker, wrote a concise and informative post on the features of the wonder bike — a Vorteq WX-R.
Costing approximately US$80,000 (RM338,000), the Vorteq WX-R is one of the most expensive cycling machines in the world.
INTELLIGENT DESIGN ENABLES FANTASTIC HUMAN FEATS
It’s developed by a UK-based sports performance company called Vorteq that specialises in aerodynamics for cycling and skin suits. They designed the bike using extremely high-end testing methods, including a wind tunnel and computer simulation techniques.
The Vorteq WX-R’s futuristic features include a full-carbon saddle, integrated handlebars and stem, and various other components made to be as lightweight as possible. Ker also explained that the shape and size of the grips were made specifically to place the rider in the most aerodynamically advantageous position possible – almost to the level of precision found in high-level motorsports.
The bike was designed and created as part of a collaborative effort between the National Sports Institute (NSI) and Vorteq, born out of the necessity to keep Malaysian riders technologically on par with other more established cycling nations like the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands.
“Track cycling has become like Formula 1, where the fight is about marginal gains,” said Azizul back in 2020.
“It’s like preparing the best car and then it depends on the driver to produce the result. You can imagine what will happen if Lewis Hamilton does not have the best car prepared for him.”
The decision for the project was propelled after Azizul’s bronze medal win at the 2016 Olympics which led to the production of the WX-R.
Unlike standard road bikes that are used for multiple types of terrain and changes in elevations, track bikes are designed purely for speed. This is evident in the way their frames are made of extremely lightweight material like carbon fibre, and they come without gears or brake levers.
Track bikes are also designed in such a shape which needs the rider to fit into a very low position in order to increase aerodynamic efficiency. Equipped with solid carbon fiber disc wheels and aero bars, these bikes have only one main function and that is to operate at optimum speed.
One thing’s for certain, all eyes will be on Azizul’s next bike for Paris 2024.
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