Michael Morkov, Denmark’s former world madison champion and winner of the six days of Fiorenzuola, Grenoble, Gent, Berlin and Copenhagen with countryman Alex Rasmussen took delivery of a brace of new Dolan track bikes for the six days of Gent.
Previously, his Saxo Bank team’s bike sponsors, Specialized had been happy for Morkov to remain faithful to his Principia but with Specialized soon to enter the track frame market, they asked Michael to ride an ‘anonymous’ frame for winter 2010/11.
Michael took time to talk to PEZ about six day bikes.
PEZ: Have you always been an equipment fanatic, Michael ?
Michael Morkov: Yes, it started when I was a schoolboy, I was always looking at the equipment in bike shops and saving up my money for nice things.
My dad helped me but generally I paid for my equipment myself.
PEZ: What do you look for in a six day bike.
MM: It has to be stiff and you must have a bike you can trust.
For the Worlds I might fit some lighter wheels, but that’s only for one hour; in the sixes you have to be able to trust your bike 100%. You want a bike that will last the whole season with no problems. And you want grippy tyres, maybe not the fastest but again tyres you can rely on.
PEZ: Why Dolan?
MM: That was Specialized’s choice.
PEZ: And how do they compare to the Principia?
MM: They’re pretty similar and built along the same principles – stiff and aero.
I think that some of the fine detailing is actually better than it was on the Principia. And what I liked was that everything fitted, there was no need to face the bottom bracket or file the ends,or anything like that.
PEZ: You used to ride aluminium Pinarellos, how does carbon compare?
MM: The Pinarello was a nice bike, aluminium is very light but carbon can be made stiffer and more aero.
PEZ: You’ve left the steerer projecting above the line of the top of the stem?
MM: When you get a new bike you’re always better to give yourself a little room to manoeuvre as far as setting the position goes.
PEZ: How did you arrive at your position?
MM: Just by gradual changes over the years, I’ve tried to get the bars as low as possible – but I understand that if you go into the wind tunnel the results can surprise you; what you think is aero isn’t necessarily so.
PEZ: Why Zipp wheels?
MM: They’re one of our sponsors but I also think that they are the best track wheels, very reliable and stiff; I don’t like ‘soft’ wheels. The Zipp bearings are good, they run very well.
PEZ: Continental tubulars?
MM: It’s a bit annoying that the mechanics have to work so hard to get them straight on the rim; but I’ve used them for my whole career and I know that I can trust them.
PEZ: Why not Campag or Shimano cranks?
MM: The ‘Omnium’ cranks and bracket are made by SRAM, our sponsors and are the only track cranks which have the external bearing races – this keeps the distance from the bearing to the crank very close and is much stiffer.
They run ceramic bearings which are very smooth.
I use the MDT chain ring which is very stiff.
PEZ: Speedplay made the gold pedals specially for you?
MM: Yes, to honour our win in the world madison championship.
They have ceramic bearings and titanium axles.
PEZ: One eighth pitch chain?
MM: Yes, I run an Izumi chain which is the only chain approved for use by the Japanese Keirin association and last a long time.
PEZ: What crank length?
MM: I ride 170’s but am thinking of going a little longer to get them closer to the crank length of my road bike.
PEZ: And gearing?
MM: I ride 50 x 15 here, but for a World Cup or World Championship that would go up to 49 x 14.
PEZ: Aluminium bars and stem?
MM: I ride the classic FSA bend, 40 cm alloy, for getting through gaps – again it’s about trusting your equipment. The stem is aluminium too, 130 mm – there’s just something in my mind about clamping carbon bars and stem, I don’t like the thought of it.
With the next session on the boards approaching, it was time for Michael to saddle up; but to complete the picture – the Morkov posteria sits on a Specialized saddle, supported by an Alpina aero ‘Wing’ carbon seat post, which complements the aero seat tube on the bike and is a favourite of many riders looking for the ultimate in slipperiness – including the GB team ‘stealth’ machines.
Unfortunately, the new bike didn’t make the podium at Gent – but watch for it at Berlin and Copenhagen.