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TESTING THE MAGMA

Following their retirement from professional racing, Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso decided to create their own bike brand, AURUM, and gather a select group of experienced, top-level bike industry professionals with the same goal: to create the fastest racing road bicycle in the market.

The essence of the brand, and the objective with the first model, Magma, was to create the fastest racing road bike, on any terrain, whether it’s uphill or downhill, on open flat roads or twisty secondary roads, over smooth tarmac or rough unsealed roads. This was something that had to be ultimately proven in the field, on the roads, not just on paper or in the lab.

MAGMA CHARACTERISTICS

During the development of Magma, both Contador and Basso spent countless hours testing different prototypes. This was a necessary exercise to confirm the numbers drawn for the geometry, for both the handling and fitting, and, even more importantly, to fine-tune the bike’s riding characteristics.

These characteristics are defined not only by the shape and size of the tubes of the frame and fork, but very crucially by the materials used to mold them.

TEST RIDING THE FRAME

Alberto and Ivan test-rode different frame prototypes made of various grades of carbon fiber materials, with different fiber orientations and layups. Of course, the carbon fiber engineers at AURUM already had a good idea of the frame’s behaviour by design, thanks to their experience and data collected in the test lab and the stiffness bench.

By the time the two ex-pro’s threw their legs over the saddle of the Magma, the frame and fork had already gone through rigorous lab testing, exceeding the usual bike industry standards and European norms, to ensure the safety and solidity of the structure. But beyond that, what differentiates a great bike from a good bike is the riding feel, the sublime balance of riding characteristics (stiffness, comfort, light weight and aerodynamics all working in unison) that were set as the main goal for the project – and that, in fact, was the primary motivation for Contador and Basso to embark upon this entrepreneurial venture.

FURTHER DEVELOPMENT

Over the period of a year, Contador and Basso have taken their Magma prototypes, sometimes stealthy black without brand name logos and other times decorated with a feature-disguising “zebra” paint job, to a variety of roads and riding terrains.

The test bikes have been fitted with different brands of components and wheels to isolate the reactions from the frame and to enable the riders to accurately judge and bring valuable feedback to the AURUM engineering team for further development.

One of the most exhausting tests for Magma was the Everesting by Contador, a challenge that he decided to undertake as much as to test himself as for testing the bike.

In a narrow, rough and steep mountain road, Alberto knew that his body’s extreme effort would be important in evaluating the bike’s behaviour; whether he was tackling the 20% gradient uphill or downhill it would be an strenuous test for the bike’s stiffness under power, as it would be to check the stability at high speed, topping over 80km/h, only for having to brake hard to u-turn and ascend again. 78 times.

I thought my body’s extreme effort would count highly to evaluate the bike’s behaviour
Alberto Contador
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Magma’s testing phase has also seen visits to the wind tunnel on several occasions. During the early phases of the design it was used for refinement and tuning of the airfoil shaped tubes generated by CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) on the computer, using 3D printed models for the frame and fork.

Once molded prototypes were finished, AURUM visited the wind tunnel again to validate the aerodynamic prowess of the complete design and to collect data of the fully assembled bike with different brands of wheels and components, different frame sizes and rider positions. This later testing was also used to compare Magma to other top-level bicycles in the market, with very favourable results that were the confirmation of many months of hard work in the design and development of the frameset.

During the 2020 season, the Fundacion Alberto Contador development teams (including the Kometa-Xstra Continental team) also contributed to test and finish Magma’s development phase.

A total of 50 riders, from Juniors to Under-23 to Continental semi-professional riders from all over Europe, along with the team mechanics, helped to bring valuable feedback on the product and start to show it at bicycle races with success.

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