July 31, 2019

Simple Aerodynamic Gains

By Tristan Saunders

Nowadays with the competitive racing getting increasingly difficult, any extra advantage over another rider is welcomed. One of the most effective ways to go about getting these advantages is through optimising your aerodynamics.

Many products and services are now making it easier for the mass market to achieve a lower CDA (Drag Coefficient). The most effective way to achieve a lower CDA is not by spending big coin on the expensive products but by optimising your position on the bike for a more aggressive set up. This can be hard for some people as they are limited by their body type and flexibility but if it is possible to get their body in a more efficient position, 9 times out of 10 it will result in a better CDA.

As an example, a good set of deep section aero wheels is just about the biggest upgrade you can make (equipment wise), but by tucking in your head and shoulders you will get a gainbthat is more than double that of a set of wheels. This just shows the importance of a proper racing bike fit, which is more tailored to someone who prioritises performance over comfort.

Aerodynamics has taken a lot longer to be accepted by the cycling majority as always lightweight products has been seen to be the most important focus when it comes to your cycling equipment. Aerodynamics however have a substantially bigger effect at most times, only becoming less effective on gradient over 5% and speeds below 16-20kph.If a rider is riding on a flat road, a weight saving of 100grams at 30kph will save you 3 seconds vs optimising aero can save you up to 6 times as much. To me this shows the importance of aerodynamics in a real life scenario when compared to weight.

To me the easiest way, at this point in time, to gain an advantage over a direct competitor is by optimising your aerodynamics. With such substantial time savings on offer, you would be at a serious disadvantage if you were not paying a little bit of attention to your aerodynamics, not only in a TT scenario, but on a road bike too.

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