Sometimes we forget that the main factor acting against our speed is you. Humans are not designed to cut through the air with ease, so it is up to us to find the position that will help you face the least amount of resistance possible. Aerodynamics is the main conversational topic in modern cycling, from manufacturers to athletes of all levels, we are all trying to figure out how to become faster given our power output. Much of the aerodynamic testing was done in wind tunnels, and while results are extremely accurate, the way the tests are performed do not allow cyclists to move freely as they would in real life conditions. Alphamantis is the first company in the world to bring aerodynamic testing to the real world with wind-tunnel accuracy. We take provide real time aerodynamic analysis while athletes ride their bikes. Our technology has been instrumental in the way top triathletes, cycling teams and athletes think about the way they ride.
We have put together a list of the top 10 rules of aerodynamics, hoping to help you become faster on your bike. This list was created after years of research and aero testing, and it should serve as a checklist to ensure that you are as aero as possible while on your bike.
First Rule of AERO: Hair interferes with the airflow around you, so tuck it into your helmet!
One of the main insights we have gathered throughout years of aero testing is that the smallest changes or modifications can bring impressive results. Thus we were not surprised when we tested a cyclist and found out the great impact of her hair had on her overall coefficient of drag. We were able to achieve an average of 2.5% savings in power by tucking all the hair inside of the helmet.
When a cyclist has long hair, the airflow around the skinsuit is interrupted. Free flowing hair acts as a tiny parachute that slows you down.
So remember to always ride with as little hair as possible outside of your helmet. Maybe we should start an aero barbershop?
Second Rule of AERO: You should NOT copy someone’s aero positioning and expect the same results
We admit it, we have also looked at pictures or videos of our favorite cyclists and tried to imitate their positions. We have even bought the same equipment hoping to look as cool as they do on their bikes. Truth is, copying someone’s position might be hurting your performance!
Aerodynamics, paired with your physiology are very personal matters, so what works for someone does not necessarily work for you. Keep in mind that performance, comfort and aero optimization, need to be aligned. What is the best way to get there? It’s simple, a bike fit. We recommend contacting one of our trusted partners (you can find them at: www.alphamantis.com) these guys are reinventing speed and do a fantastic job ensuring you are in the most optimal position!
So now that you know the second rule of AERO, it is time to set your own trend. Never copy others again, let others copy you!
Third rule of AERO: NEVER wear any loose equipment.
It sounds obvious, yet we still see a lot of riders making this mistake, so we decided to make it our third rule. You need to remember that aerodynamics are impacting your performance all the time, so anything loose will increase your drag throughout the entire race.
Common things that can be loose are: your skinsuit, which needs to be so tight that standing up is difficult. Your race number, ensure it is pinned correctly so it stays in place. Your helmet, it may be uncomfortable to have it tight, but it is for your safety and aero performance. Your hair, remember our first rule? If it is not inside of your helmet it will disrupt the flow of air on your skinsuit. When you buy your equipment, keep in mind it should always be tight but never uncomfortable when you are riding!
We have all been there, it is a hot day, you are sweating and the easiest way to cool down seems to be to open the top of your skinsuit. But do you know how negatively this will impact your performance? We do, and it is not pretty! So keep that suit zipped up and push through!
Digging deeper into this matter we find a lot of bikes with very crowded frames. Cables running all over the place and increasing your drag. So make sure all your cables are not loose or moving around and you will be getting some extra savings!
So whether it is tightening your equipment, pushing through a hot day or cleaning up your frame, you now know how to be more aero. Go try it out and let us know what you think.
Fourth rule of AERO: Biomechanics trump aero
Optimal performance can only occur when you are physiologically well positioned on your bike. This will not only maximize your power output, it will also allow you to be more comfortable on your bike.
Some people do not realize that their current position is uncomfortable, maybe because they have been riding in the same position for years. Do you experience pain or discomfort on long rides? Maybe your current position is actually hurting your performance!
There are some aero positions that can be a bit uncomfortable. Achieving the lowest drag forces you to assume positions you are not used to. Because you will not be holding these positions for long periods of time, comfort plays a secondary role and aerodynamic form becomes the primary objective. Through constant practice, these positions will become more natural and enjoyable!
So now that you know the fourth rule of aero, it is time to think about your comfort in order to increase your performance.
Fifth rule of AERO: get a professional bike fit!
Rookies, pros, triathletes and all cyclists out there have one thing in common: we love to be on our bike. But why do we all need a pro fit? Imagine you just bought a new Ferrari California T, its V8 engine will get you from 0-60mph in about 3.1 seconds. Now also imagine all of its tires are flat. Basically the power is potentially there, sleeping, waiting for you to step on the gas. However, those flat tires will get you nowhere, your new Ferrari will be slow, it will get damaged, it will waste your gas, and it will never perform as it is supposed to.
This is exactly what happens when you do not get a professional bike fit. The fine tuned machine is there (you) but it will not be able to transmit all its power and performance to the bike. A fit will ensure your biomechanics are flawlessly optimized to transport all the power from your legs to your bike. It will ensure that you are achieving the maximum speed with the same wattage output and it will improve your comfort on your bike.
So now that your Ferrari California T is fitted with the appropriate tires it is time to put the top down and ride around for hours!
Sixth rule of AERO: You don’t need to try dangerous positions or techniques to be fast
Have you seen those crazy descents at Le Tour de France? Yeah, those where all cyclists get on strange positions to try and be more aerodynamic! While they may look cool and incredibly fast, truth is they are also extremely dangerous. Any position that does not allow you to immediately control or maneuver your bike correctly is putting your safety (and the safety of others) in danger.
Those guys on TV (or twitter, or wherever you follow your favorite races) are pros. They have been doing this for years and they understand the consequences of engaging in any position that will impair their maneuverability. We do not recommend any of these techniques. Especially because their overall benefit to a cyclist’s performance is minimal as they are not positions you can hold for long periods of time.
So our advice is not to try them, it is just not worth it. But if you decide to try them out, make sure to practice a lot before you use them in a race. Keep everyones’ safety always in mind!
Seventh rule of AERO: What works for someone does not necessarily work for you
We know what you are thinking “this is the same as rule #2.” However, it is quite different, let us tell you why: Aerodynamics are an extremely personal subject, how so? For example, lets say you read that a new helmet has proven to be the fastest helmet in the market. But this is only true under the controlled test conditions the helmet was subjected to. If you buy this new helmet, expecting the same results as the ones achieved in the tests, you would be mistaken. This is due to the fact that aero is dependent on ALL variables of the cyclist, like your weight, height, limb length, center of gravity, power, hair style, bike, socks, pedals, aerobars, skinsuit, facial hair, glasses… Anyway, you get the picture.
Our software allows us to find the optimal combination of all of these variables to find the fastest setup possible for you! We are also working with manufacturers to test their products on real people while riding their bikes in real time, so no more wind tunnel or testing dummies!
So now that you know that your coefficient of drag is unique to your setup, it is time to find out how to maximize your performance.
Eighth rule of AERO: Drafting will allow you to reduce your drag coefficient by around 20% or more!
It is not rocket science, well it is for us! That is exactly why we created Alphamantis Technologies, we are passionate about understanding how aerodynamics behave in different circumstances. After years of research and development we created our Track Aero System, which allows us to measure your drag while you ride your bike on real-life conditions.
Our tests have shown that drafting can bring incredible benefits to cyclists: upwards of 20% of drag reduction. We have also determined which position should a cyclist hold while drafting in a team, and the optimal distance you should hold between yourself and the cyclist in front of you.
Make sure to visit our website: www.alphamantis.com to learn more about how our technology is helping revolutionize the world of cycling! So now that you know more about the benefits of drafting, go take advantage of it. Just be careful with the cyclists ahead or behind you.
Ninth rule of AERO: Love cycling as much as we do <3 !
Cycling is our passion, and it is yours too! These rules are not for the faint of heart, they are for riders of all levels that truly love cycling, love competition and love spending hours on their bike just to get a little better. Our rules are not suggestions, they are a collection of knowledge that, if applied correctly, will ensure your performance level increases.
We are athletes and we have one thing in common, our love for bikes. So get on yours, use our rules, ask us any question you may have, and ride till your legs can’t hold you up!
Tenth rule of AERO: Test with certified Alphamantis partners to optimize your aerodynamic positioning!
Because we know excellence, we have partnered with some of the greatest testing partners in the world to bring you impressive results. These guys are the best in the business, and just like Alphamantis, they pride themselves in delivering the best service and aero solutions to their clients. Together we are reinventing speed!
So check them out and book your test today!
– ERO Sports, United Stated (http://www.ero-sports.com/)
– Aerocoach, UK (http://www.aero-coach.co.uk)
– Aerocoach, Australia (http://www.aerocoach.com.au/)
– Adaptive Human Performance, Australia (http://www.adaptivehp.com/services-1)
– Hall Cycle Training, Australia (http://www.exerciseinstitute.com.au/)
– Ciclismo y Rendimiento, Spain (http://www.ciclismoyrendimiento.com/…/optimizacion-aerodina…)
– AeroPro, Netherlands (http://aeropro.nl/)
– Robic, Netherlands (http://robic.nl/aerotesting/)
– Veloart, Poland (http://veloart.pl/)
– STAPS Institut, Germany (http://staps-online.com/get-aero)
– Veloptima,England (http://veloptima.co.uk/)
And remember: Be Aero. Be Alphamantis.