Service Course: Paul Matthews' Blue Triad SL
article & images by Nick Salazar
Nov 8, 2014  hits 63,218

Specs
  • Blue Triad SL
  • Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
  • Smart Enve System Wheels
  • TriRig components:
    Omega brakes
    Alpha aerobars
    Gamma extensions
    Sigma stem

Paul 'Barney' Matthews may be one of the most overlooked guys in the sport of triathlon. You might say he 'flies under the radar.' But with multiple 70.3 wins, a wicked run, and multiple Ironman finishes at 8 hours and single-digit minutes, he's undeniably a force to be reckoned with. And after being disappointed with his luck at Kona this year, he's back in action to tackle Ironman Arizona on Sunday, Nov. 16th. We took a close look at Paul's bike back at the Hawaii World Championships, and I noticed that his front end setup looked like it could stand to lose a bit of frontal area. So I bent Paul's ear and let him know I'd like to work on the bike a bit. He was all over it, and brought his Blue Triad SL to TriRig Headquarters for a full Service Course customization.

The Fit Puzzle

Paul's position is relatively straightforward. No crazy bar tilt, no wacky accessories. The weird thing about his Kona setup was the combination of components he was using to achieve his required fit coordinates. Specifically, he had a stem with about 30mm of rise (to get higher), then a bar whose handholds would drop down (to get lower), extensions mounted under the base bar (to get lower), a 20mm spacer under the pads (to get higher), and a massively high-stack extension (to get the shifters up to the right spot). It was a case of up and down, components acting against each other's purposes in a way that simply added extra material not needed.

Before ...
... and after.

So my goal was simple: get a flat stem and a flat bar, then simply add pad spacers to get to the appropriate coordinate. Sounds easy, and it should be. But in this case, it wasn't.

You see, the stem that was on his bike was an integrated component to the Blue Triad. Its positive-rise stem is the only option available for the bike, and is meant to bolt into the bayonet fork. So it took a bit of creativity to find the right solution. I actually hacked into his bayonet fork, leveling it off so that it would accept our Sigma XF stem, and even modified the Sigma to bolt directly into the fork. It was a very delicate task, and one that clearly would void the warranty of anyone attempting to replicate it (don't try this at home, kids!), but it put the bar clamp exactly where we wanted.

Before ...
... and after.

From there, the job was very straightforward. An Alpha aerobar replaced the ENVE SES bar on there, in order to maintain his base bar position, and the Alpha's spacers got his pads up to the right spot. Then, as a result of having the extensions clamped just under his pads (rather than 70cm below them), we could use a much shallower extension to get his shifters into position, in this case the Gamma extensions that come with the Alpha.

And with Omega brakes front and rear, Paul is completely kitted out in TriRig livery. Unfortunately, we couldn't take advantage of the Sigma's integrated cable stop, due to the bayonet fork getting in the way. But careful routing of the housing means there's no added frontal area, so things remain nice and clean. Finally, I installed a custom M5 top tube boss in order to attach a TorHans Aerobento which hides the cables and Di2 junction box, and also provides a little aero storage. The custom M5 boss was a bit of a job too, as the Triad SL doesn't have top tube bosses stock.

We're incredibly proud to have him in our corner, and are looking forward to the race next Sunday at Ironman Arizona. Enjoy the gallery below, and good luck, Barney!


Paul Matthews' Blue Triad SL 

Here are some before-and-after shots of our Service Course treatment on Paul's Blue Triad SL. His previous setup was a bit schiczophernic in the fit department, with some components aimed at adding stack, others at reducing it. The resulting up-and-down nature of his cockpit cost some frontal area, so with the right choices of components and some careful customization, we achieved the same fit with a dramatic savings of frontal area and a cleaner cable situation.

  • Paul Matthews with his newly-tricked-out Blue Triad SL. I have to say I just love the look of this bike with the Alpha, Gamma, Omega, and Sigma all playing together so nicely.
  • Paul Matthews with his newly-tricked-out Blue Triad SL. I have to say I just love the look of this bike with the Alpha, Gamma, Omega, and Sigma all playing together so nicely.
  • Paul's Blue Triad SL, with the full TriRig Service Course treatment.
  • The front end of Barney's Blue Triad SL.
  • The front end of Barney's Blue Triad SL.
  • TriRig Omega Standard up front. There is an Omega SV in the rear.
  • The front end of Barney's Blue Triad SL.
  • The front end of Barney's Blue Triad SL. The TorHans Aerobento behind the stem acts as an aerodynamic fairing, and also hides the cables and Di2 equipment.
  • Paul's Dura Ace 9070 Di2 drivetrain is as good as they come. I'm a huge fan of Di2.
  • Paul's Dura Ace 9070 Di2 drivetrain is as good as they come. I'm a huge fan of Di2.
  • Paul's Dura Ace 9070 Di2 drivetrain is as good as they come. I'm a huge fan of Di2.
  • Paul's Dura Ace 9070 Di2 drivetrain is as good as they come. I'm a huge fan of Di2.
  • TriRig Omega Standard up front. There is an Omega SV in the rear.
  • Paul's TriRig cockpit includes the Alpha/Gamma/Sigma combo, as well as the Alpha's integrated BTA mount to keep things as clean as possible.
  • A single bottle cage in the rear hides a SECOND junction box to make it super easy to charge the bike.
  • Di2 components, ENVE wheels - nice!
  • There's the Omega SV tucked under the BB30 bottom bracket.
  • Sigma XF, Alpha, Gamma, and still room for Barney's Salt Stick.
  • Bontrager Hilo saddle.
  • SES Enve wheels.
  • The front end of Barney's Blue Triad SL. The TorHans Aerobento behind the stem acts as an aerodynamic fairing, and also hides the cables and Di2 equipment.
  • Paul Matthews' Blue Triad SL

Comparison Shots 

Here are some before-and-after shots of our Service Course treatment on Paul's Blue Triad SL. His previous setup was a bit schiczophernic in the fit department, with some components aimed at adding stack, others at reducing it. The resulting up-and-down nature of his cockpit cost some frontal area, so with the right choices of components and some careful customization, we achieved the same fit with a dramatic savings of frontal area and a cleaner cable situation.

  • The side-on shot shows what's going on here: the Blue Triad stem adds about 30mm of rise. Paul couldn't run his extensions over the bar because that would have made his stack TOO high, so he had to sling them under. But the pads couldn't be directly on top of the bar, because that would be too low. So he had a 20mm spacer beneath them. To cap it all off, he then needed to use the entirety of his super tall-stack ENVE extensions to get his hands in the right spot. To make matters worse, that put his BTA bottle well BELOW the level of his arms, a big aero no-no. And that Di2 junction box hanging out in the wind isn't helping things either.
  • Our post-customization shot solves all the problems mentioned in the previous image: We hacked up the front of his Blue Triad SL bayonet fork, so that it could accept the TriRig Sigma XF stem. Onto that we bolted our TriRig Alpha aerobar, Alpha's integrated BTA mount and Gamma Carbon extensions. This allowed the exact same position, without any of the unnecessary frontal area caused by the up-and-down components of the previous setup. A TorHans Aerobento tucked right up against the Sigma acts as a lovely fairing, as well as hidden storage for the brake cable and Di2 wiring/box, and has plenty of room left over for gels, keys, etc.
  • The situation behind the stem certainly wasn't bad, but there was room for improvement.
  • Post-customization, everything is clean as a whistle. And we even added a little storage capacity with the TorHans Aerobento.
  • The frontal shot, pre-treatment - there's just way too much wasted frontal area woith those cockpit components.
  • And of course, my favorite view of the finished bike, with precious little to see.

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