When Scott throws a party, everyone is invited. This Sunday, the city of Roth and its Challenge were the host of these festivities, Scott Bikes were providing the candy and Normann Stadler was the Master of Ceremony. At the heart of it all: the brand new Scott Plasma 3. The icing on the cake may have been missing with Normann dropping out at around three quarters of the bike leg, just as he was headed for an improvement of last year’s bike split – which was already just 26 seconds away from a new world record – there was still enough to celebrate.
Stadler himself called the new Plasma three the most aerodynamic tri- bike in the world and ‘the fastest Ironman bike’. For a year this tri-version of the Plasma 3 was one of Scott’s best kept secrets and now that is finally here it seems to be receiving a more than heart-felt welcome.
In Belgium, the new Plasma 3 is already the fastest-selling bike in pre-orders for 2011 and that may or may not have to do with Normann Stadler coming to Belgians small town Aalst in the final stages of perfecting the Plasma 3. Actually, there is a part on this bike that is almost as Belgian as Brussels sprouts or Art Deco.
I call it the ‘John Mauleman Part’. When Scott and Stadler were developing the new Plasma 3, their basic mold was the High Road Colombia Plasma 3. An almost ridiculously fast bike but too aggressive for a four-hour plus race during an Ironman, with its integrated steering ‘pen’ at the same level of the top tube. “Getting the elbow pads up to the right height would have taken centimetres of spacers”, explains John Meuleman. “But spacers that high would certainly cause instability and bad steering behaviour. So I suggested a steering pen that is also integrated in the frame but not at the same level of the top tube. This raises the aerobars and the elbow pads but keeps control, balance and stability intact”.
Did he make any other suggestions when the German tri superstar was visiting his place? John Meuleman: “No, certainly not. You know, Normann Stadler has been racing duathlons and triathlons on a world class level since he was 17 or so. That’s almost twenty years. And in all that time he has hardly had any trouble with his position, just making minor – albeit important – adjustments here and there. When someone like that comes to you for advice, you don’t start a revolution, you mostly listen and try to make improvements by changing as little as you can”.
If everything goes as planned and with Marino van Hoenacker also riding the new Plasma 3, it looks like we’re headed for a very, very exciting Battle of the Bikes at Kona this year.