A wind tunnel is a great tool for companies to do R&D in terms of aerodynamic design of bikes and equipment. However, the factor that contributes the most to drag is the rider. The static nature of wind tunnel testing does not totally account for the natural oscillations that happen while riding your bike. This limitation inspired the team at Alphamantis to develop a tool to help cyclists find their most aerodynamic position on their bike outside of a wind tunnel. This tool would allow athletes to ride as they would on race day without sacrificing accuracy in testing results. Alphamantis‘ ground-breaking technology has become key for pro cyclists around the world to help them identify the most optimal position and equipment.
For this purpose, Alphamantis developed the Track Aero System (TAS), a sophisticated software that allows cyclists to step out of the wind tunnel and obtain very accurate results. This software accounts for all variables that can affect the rider’s performance and outputs their coefficient of drag in real time! The TAS has been used by pro and serious athletes all across the world to optimize their aero position, and test different bike or equipment setups.
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Despite wind tunnel testing limitations on cyclists, they are helpful in the development of new bikes or equipment. Manufacturing companies will often spend a fortune in wind tunnel testing to make sure their products are indeed aerodynamic. The problem is that once you add a cyclist into the equation, everything changes! For example, the same bike will yield different results for different riders. For that reason, Alphamantis will identify which bike/equipment setup is best for each cyclist that goes test.
Further reading: Click to read Velo News article about how worth it is owning a bike-specific wind tunnel for companies.