7 ways to get more aerodynamic on the bike
Beating the clock...are we not all looking to save those crucial seconds and even minutes in the end! Especially in triathlon where it is just all about getting the best time possible we are all looking for ways to save time. When looking at the professionals either during a time trial event or a long distance triathlon dreaming of their bikes and aerodynamic posture is inevitable. However there are several ways to tweak a road bike and your kit to be more aerodynamic.
1. Aero bars
Aero bars are most defiantly the biggest improvement you can add to your bike. Bringing the chest in a forward position the air will flow better as it passes through the body. Experts claim it may save up to minutes over a 40km ride. Really worth its money, since the cheapest clip on bars are available for around 100 euros.
2. Body flexibility
Having aero bars is great! but being able to stay in that position is not as easy as you would think. A simple way of improving the ability of staying in that position is to do some flexibility exercises every day. Already 15 minutes per day of improving the core stability and flexibility will make a large improvement on comfort and not to forget...better time.
3. Bending arms in the drops instead of straight arms in the drops
This is just a free trick for those who do not have aero bars (yet), it brings the body in a more aerodynamic position.
4. Aero helmet
To be honest it makes you look a lot more serious and professional. Above that it save a massive amount of time. It has been claimed that non aero helmets cause 4x the drag of an aero wheel set. In other words for a far cheaper price of an aero helmet ranging from 120 to 250 euros you can save a lot more time than buying expensive carbon wheels.
5. Aero wheels
The most expensive but amazing looking add-on are carbon aero wheels! By bringing more momentum it will be easier to keep a certain speed. The air flow through the wheels and spokes are better distributed, decreasing the flow of "bad air", therefore decreasing the resistance.
However they do not come cheap for a wheel set they can range from 1000 to 2500 euros and more...
Watch out though to buy them cheaper online from private sellers. The wheels are fragile and may have internal or invisible cracks in them.
6. Aerodynamic drink bottles
For me it is always a fight between having more than enough drinks with me or saving drag and weight for the triathlon. Now with aero bottles which can be installed on the bottom frame, between the aero bars or behind the saddle the situation has changed. It is always important to have enough with you to keep hydrated rather than leaving it. Dehydration especially in summer triathlons are dangerous, therefore better to have a bottle extra or a couple of aerodynamic bottles with you.
7. Triathlon suits
Triathlon suits are in some ways similar to skin suits used by professional time trialists. They are tight around the body, with one or two small pockets (not on skin suits) for nutrition bars/gels. For a person aiming at doing a couple of triathlons a triathlon suit is really worth its price! Starting from around 50 euros going up to more than 250 euros. Essential aspects are that you feel comfortable to move in and that the padding sewn is good enough for cycling but not too large for swimming (not to cause resistance).