9 Ways To Make Your Road Bike More Aero

At 25mph, 80% of your energy is used to combat wind resistance, so it would be beneficial to discover techniques which make it easier to pass through the wind. But where do you start?

For the goal of this lesson, let’s start at square one and say you have a typical drop-handlebar road bicycle and your usual wheels. If the platform works for you, it’s good enough, and you can adjust it to save you a considerable amount of time.

Nevertheless, many of them weigh more than a collection of a solitary bar and a clip-on component.

The best way to configure an aerodynamic handlebar is to make your forearms as extended as possible in front of you, resulting in the least amount of wind resistance. The closer you can bring your elbows together comfortably, the more effective they will be in guiding the air around the remainder of your body.

Your back should stay level, with your knees close to your chest when they go up and down in the cycling motion.

Real-world riding

That’s the theory at least. In actuality, body type and contours, suppleness, and not to mention comfort, necessitate that you land on an agreement so you can remain in a streamlined posture for the entirety of your ride.

It is simpler to identify your preferred position when you use an exercise bike indoors, allowing you to determine what is comfortable and effective while exercising in the convenience of your own home. A heart rate monitor and a power meter can be used to make it easier to spot any changes in heart rate or output of power when you alter your position.

Keep in mind that as you get more comfortable being in an aerodynamic stance, you can lower the height or bring your elbows closer to your body. You don’t need to be extreme right away to achieve aerodynamic efficiency.

A wheel advantage

You can greatly reduce your drag by paying attention to your wheels, especially the front wheel, which affects the airflow around the entire cycle.

In other words, a deeper wheel rim will reduce drag and make your ride through the air more even and efficient. Rims that are 80-100mm in depth or even full discs may decrease the time it takes to complete a race, even if it is a short course.

It can be difficult to get the most out of using dual discs because they can be affected by crosswinds, making them difficult to use on windy days. For this reason, they are usually only seen in indoor track races when the conditions are calm. The majority of cyclists and experts in aerodynamics have come to the consensus that 50mm rims are the ideal balance between performance and safety for the front wheels.

The benefit of a wheel in the back of the bike is only half that of one in the front, as it is protected by the bike itself. You can employ a more substantial back edge or plate at the back end of your device than you can at the front since it has lower sway on manoeuvrability in breezy circumstances.

Faster frames

The greatest aerodynamic progress is not attained by frames and forks but rather by something else in the position of third place.

Manufacturers expend a lot of resources constructing bicycles to be as aerodynamic as they can, but in contrast to your body placement, attitude and wheels, the frame and forks don’t greatly affect the drag.

In comparison to a regular bicycle, an aero or specialized tri bike stands out due to its design of the frame, not only for its aerodynamic tubes or internal wires.

The most important factor to consider here is the more acute seat tube angle (ranging from 76-78 degrees on a tri bike versus 72-74 degrees on a typical bike). This will allow you to spread your chest and hips, making it possible to generate more force while helping you get closer to the handlebars. Having a low front end can assist you in keeping your back as flat as possible.

Having a head tube angle that is less steep improves your balance and provides more comfort while in a strongly forward posture. Look for headtubes angles below the standard 73-74º.

Going aero is cheap and easy

Making your bicycle into an air-slick contest vehicle can be costly and take a long time. You can take inexpensive, fast, and straightforward steps to enhance the performance of your bike.

1. Flip it forward

Unstrap your saddle and turn your seatpost upside down so that the clamp is facing towards the front. Change the position of your saddle and make sure it is level.

Carrying this out successfully increases the angle of the seat tube, allowing you to move closer toward the front and open your hip joint. It won’t be flawless but it is significantly more budget-friendly than buying a fresh frame.

2. Use your head

An aero helmet provides a more even amount of air as you move, but this type of helmet can be costly, so you might not use it all the time when you go for a ride or go to work.

Instead of spending money on a specialized vented lid for racing, you can cover your standard lid with a swimming cap for a more affordable option. When the air vents are covered, the air is disrupted less, allowing it to move unimpeded and swiftly.

3. Close-fitting clothes

You might feel embarrassed wearing tight Lycra, but you won’t be plagued with a flapping jersey and shorts, which will lead to quicker times. Close zips, secure straps, and fasten pockets to reduce the drag in your wardrobe’s airflow.

4. Drink dilemmas

Investigations demonstrate that bottles installed onto an aerodynamic downtube do not alter the flow of air much more than anticipated. But a bottle on your seat tube will.

Carrying water bottles on your saddle may sound practical, but if you have to continually reach back to take a drink, it will delay the time it takes to complete your ride. If you decided to not keep one of the items, then you must decide whether to carry on without it or to go back and spend additional minutes on the task.

5. Weighty issues

Cutting down on weight has always been a major consideration for triathletes. It is undeniable that a bike with a small frame can significantly improve your performance. Comparing solo speed when racing on level or slightly hilly courses produces negligible results.

Steve Hed, who is the aerodynamic consultant to the best cyclists in the world, did some calculations that showed that reducing the weight of a 20 lb bicycle by 3 lbs will only add 3 seconds to the time it takes to do a flat 25-mile course.

You could save more than a minute and a half by setting up your aero wheels properly, even though there would be an additional increase of a quarter of a pound. It is important to consider weight when running on mountainous paths or tracks that involve frequent stops and starts.

Companies spend a great deal of effort trying to make their group sets look aerodynamic, but it isn’t something you need to overly concern yourself with. It would be wise to use any extra money for improving parts of your vehicle that have a big impact, such as the wheels and tires.

6. Lower the bike’s front end

Generally, a road bike is typically purchased with a steerer long enough to permit for a few spacer rings, usually about 2.5cm in totality and usually placed beneath the handlebar stem. To get into a lower position on the bike, try taking off some or all of the spacers from the front end.

If you are still uncomfortable with the upright positioning of the stem, you can angle it to be more level. In general, the stem of a bicycle will have two positions, one positive and one negative, while the factory settings are usually in the positive configuration.

In cycling language, “slamming the stem” is another way of saying taking out the spacers. There is constant disagreement among cyclists as to whether this is advantageous for all. It is not an easy adjustment to make, but if you have the time and the body to adapt to it, it will be worth it to have a slammed stem.

Decreasing the height of your bicycle’s front wheel can generally result in your body being in a more aerodynamic stance that is lower to the ground. You’ll increase your speed if you can make your aerodynamics better, as long as you can generate the same amount of power.

Getting a tightened fork is a simple and fast procedure that most people who work on their own bicycles can do. The greater the number of spacers that you take out, the bigger the adjustment to your positioning will be, which will require a longer period of acclimation.

It is recommended to reduce the front part of the body in gradual steps so that the body can have time to adjust while becoming more aerodynamic and flexible at the same time.

Do not try to alter your routine drastically all at once because it can bring about undesired results ranging from discomfort to injuries.

If you are feeling muscle pain in your neck, wrists, or back, and you can’t muster the same force when you pull down on the handlebars, take a step back and lift the stem up. Improve your strength and flexibility as you go.

7. Improve flexibility and core strength

It can be hard for people like us to achieve the so-called “flat back” posture, and it can be even more difficult to maintain it for long periods.

If attaining and maintaining an aerodynamic lower position is seem daunting, do not be alarmed. You have a lot of options to make the riding experience more comfortable when you’re not on the bike.

Improving your flexibility is the first port of call. It’s important to concentrate on elongating your hamstrings, glutes and lower back, but be patient – success won’t come right away.

You can also upgrade your flexibility by fitting in extra exercises such as yoga and Pilates that are not related to biking.

As was previously said, adjusting your posture on the bike is one thing, but being able to maintain that position while maintaining power is another challenge.

Improving your core strength will aid this significantly. The use of aero bars will not just make you feel snug in an aerodynamically friendly cycling position, but it will also aid in your pedalling power and decrease your chances of getting hurt.

If you are uncertain of how to stretch certain regions or boost your core strength, these four exercises can aid you in creating an ultimate core workout.

8. Clean and lube your chain

The chain is the component that transmits the energy from the pedals to the wheel, therefore, making it the most likely point of diminished power due to drivetrain inefficiency.

To dispose of wasted watts, you should make a habit of routinely maintaining and lubricating your chain with one of the best lubricants created specifically for bicycles. It is not completely clear how often this should be done, but it probably varies according to the season. However, it is suggested to do it at least every couple of times that you go for a ride.

The procedure is simple to follow; however, don’t forget to apply the lubricant to the rollers on the inside of the chain instead of the outer plates.

Once you put on the lube, be sure to toss away any leftover fabric – letting it remain on will just draw in filth and rapidly undo the effort you put in.

You can also opt for wax over lube. Multiple kinds of chain waxes boast they can save energy, but they can require more effort to prepare and apply than a simple lube.

One must be cognizant of the condition of your driving system when making these decisions. If the chain, cassette, chainrings, and jockey wheels are grimy, you have to remove the grease and tidy these components up before lubricating the chain.

9. Adjust tyre pressure

Over the past few years, the width of tyres has been modified, resulting in a change in the tyre pressure. The traditional 23mm wide tyre that was usually blown up to 120psi has now been superseded by wider tyres that are pressurized too much lower levels.

In the end, the perfect tyre pressure for you is contingent upon the kind of tyre you have, the weather conditions, and how much you weigh.

Increasing numbers of people are favouring tubeless tyres, while tubular ones are still frequently used for racing. Clinchers are the go-to choice for most training sessions because they are inexpensive and convenient to install and fix. So how do you find the perfect tyre pressure?

For someone weighing 70kg, it highly depends, but a starting point of 80psi should generally work.

A 23mm tire should have an air pressure reading of 90-100psi, while a wider 28mm tyre should work fine with an air pressure of 60-70psi. We have put together a post that details the various factors to be considered when deciding the appropriate tire pressure for your road bike.

Individuals who don’t weigh a lot should inflate their tyres at a lower pressure, while those who have more mass should pump their tyres up more.

Be sure to reduce the pressure of your tyres when it’s raining, as this will increase the size of the area where the tyre is making contact with the ground, providing you with greater traction when you turn and reducing the odds that you’ll be involved in a collision.

Be sure to look into the suggested tyre air pressure from the maker of your wheels, such as Zipp. They often advise far less air pressure for wheels with a hook-less edge.

The final outcome of the optimal tyre pressure is improved velocity, whether in the area that is level, ascending mountains, or taking corners with force.

When to go aero

Don’t just save your streamlined style for race days. The more effort you expend in becoming accustomed to cycling in a tucked position, the more relaxed and productive you’ll be.

No matter what type of exercise you’re doing, whether it be in a classroom setting, on a tranquil roadway, or even on an indoor cycle saddle, take the opportunity to practice how to get low and aerodynamic when feasible.

It is generally not recommended to descend in a full tuck if you are riding an aero bike unless you have a clear vision of the road ahead or are familiar with the area and can remain comfortable on the tri bars.

Take into account that there may be other cyclists near you who don’t have much experience. Thus, if there is any uncertainty, remain close to the brakes so you can be in charge of your speed.

In conclusion, it is usually not beneficial to maintain an aerodynamic position when climbing. In the beginning, unless you are on a flat, gradual incline and are capable of pedalling at speeds above 15mph, you will not be moving quickly enough to reap any aero benefit.

Remaining hunched over will limit your respiration and impede your capacity to pull on the handles. Rather than reclining into an aero position, stay upright on your standard handlebars to make sure that you have as much room to breathe as you can. When the hill gets steep, stand up from the saddle periodically to keep your momentum going.


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