Ways To Improve Your Aerodynamics For A Better Bike Split
Why You Should Consider This?
Well to put it simply, approximately 85% of your power when riding is used to overcome air resistance, yes 85%!! A small portion of that will be the bike, but the main cause of drag is you and your body. The remaining 15% is split into 10% to overcome rolling resistance and the other 5% is used to overcome friction on your drivetrain which we can't always influence. Fortunately, we can when it comes to aerodynamics to overcome air resistance.
A simple equation to think about here is:
Speed = Comfort + Power + Aerodynamics - Friction - Drag
How Can You Improve This?
Firstly we want to think about the position. When you're down in your aero position, we want to be thinking of the following 4 steps:
Scrunch your shoulders together to make your front end as narrow as possible.
Push your head down and chin your forward (turtle neck)
Push your arms into the arm rests & pull upwards slightly on your extensions.
Stay still in the saddle and focus on smooth pedal strokes throughout.
If you're finding doing this very difficult, uncomfortable or even painful. Then the next steps to consider are the following...
There isn't a one size fits all. A good bike fitter will assess things such as your mobility, posture & pedalling efficiency to ensure that they place you in the best position for you now and will recommend certain after-products based on you, not who they have a deal with! So do some research, if you see the same fitter, putting everyone in the same position with the same after-market products, then avoid them!
On the topic of aftermarket products, a good and simple choice will be high rised armrests. These are a cheap but simple way to help lock you into position. Especially if you live somewhere where the road surfaces are always that smooth! This is what I use but there are many other alternatives out there https://www.shopforwatts.co.uk/collections/all/products/anemoi-arm-rests
As we're looking to reduce our frontal drag, helmet choice becomes key. This will usually depend on whether you're classed as an "A or B Back Rider". An "A Back Rider" usually tends to be more flexible, which means they can hold aero positions for longer and in most circumstances would be better with a long-tailed TT Helmet. A "B Back Rider" will be less flexible, but can still achieve a good aero position, but may be more suited to a short-tailed TT Helmet or even a road bike helmet. Usually, this will take place during a good bike fit!
Practice, practice and more practice! I hear it so often, people who complain about discomfort or they're unable to push the watts they are capable of whilst in aero. When you dig into their training history, they will have barely trained in that position. They will have either been sat up or will have used a road bike majority of the time. A general rule of thumb would be 60% of the time, aim to ride in your aero position. If you're within 8 weeks of your A race, aim to ride up to 80% of your rides in an aero position. This includes when you're training indoors on the turbo too! You can't expect to ride well in an aero position on race day if you don't practice it. Plus this can have huge consequences on your run too! I hope you find these short tips useful. Go out, practice and if I can be of any help, get in touch Matt