Aero savings is a concept that gets used hugely by the bicycle market when enticing cyclists to buy their often very expensive products. These range from aero carbon frames to exotic deep section carbon wheels. The money one could spend to access these aero benefits could be a second mortgage! However, if you have a limited budget or are not wishing to spend big money, there are a few relatively inexpensive things you can do, or buy, to get more aero. Below are a few ideas of how you can save watts without spending a fortune.
The rider accounts for 70-80 percent of the drag in the bike/rider calculation. So spending money on a good bike fit will not only reduce the risk of injury and improve riding efficiency, it could save you a bunch of watts. If you can lower your torso by rotating your pelvis forward, so that your forearms are parallel to the ground when your hands are on the hoods can have enormous aero benefits. Similar forearm position in the drops likewise has the same effect. However, flexibility in the hamstrings and lower back also come into the equation. There is no point in being very aero if your back gets sore which will limit your power output. Likewise, power output for many is reduced when going lower with the torso so it is a balance of the two.The potential savings can be up to 30+ watts (cyclingweekly).
Jersey and Bibs…or Skinsuit
Baggy or wrinkled clothing is another area to save watts. Tight tops and bib shorts can save you a lot of wasted energy. Getting a skinsuit will even take this a step further. Always have your zips done up too and don’t let that vest flap around as these create a parachute effect.
Shoe Covers will not cost you a lot of money and could save you half a minute (cyclingtips.com) in 40kms. Shoe covers smooth turbulent air over the straps and buckles of the shoes.
Modern aero helmet are well ventilated and often the same price as non-aero helmets. We all need to wear a helmet when riding so why not buy an aero one? Helmets such as the Specialized S-Works Evade, Giro Air Attack, or Scott’s aero model are all wind tunnel–designed to control airflow through and around them, minimizing drag. The potential savings are up to 3 to 8 watts (cyclingweekly)
Tyres are not seen as aero benefits as such, although rim/tyre integration is a consideration. But the lower rolling resistance can help you go faster. Tiyres such as Continental Grand Prix 4000 S II, Zipp Tagente or the Specialized Turbo Cotton all have performed well on rolling-resistance tests. The potential savings are up to 15 to 25 watts (cyclingweekly).
More Info On Getting Aero
- Be sure to check out our Aerodynamics of Cycling Playlist on YouTube and subscribe to our YouTube Channel FitlabTV
- More blog posts on Aerodynamics of Cycling