Cycling

5 components to make you more aero

How to reduce the wind-resistance to go faster.
Written by Ben White
3 min readPublished on
When travelling at 40kph, 70-80% of the power you put through the pedals is used to overcome the resistance from the wind. This means that being aero is a vital consideration if you’re keen to get faster, (along with all that training you’re planning).
Here are five components that will optimise your own or your bike’s aerodynamics.

1. Your body

Yes that’s right, we’re classing your body as a component, and it’s perhaps the most important consideration when it comes to getting more aero.
An article released by Eindhoven University looked into modelling the riding style of pro cyclists, to see which one created the least air resistance. The standard time trial position was the fastest, with a more traditional upright riding style creating a whopping 19.9% more air resistance. That’s a huge difference for any cyclist.
If you haven’t seen the famous video of Chris Froome descending on his top tube during the Tour De France, then take a look as his position, which scored highly in the aero stakes, creating only 1.6% more resistance than a standard time trial positon.

2. Aero clothing (a skin suit)

Endura D2Z Road Suit
Endura D2Z Road Suit
Most cyclists think their clothing is pretty aero, however even in the skin-tight/revealing world of Lycra, there’s ‘kind of aero’ and ‘super slippery no holds barred’ aero.
Scottish clothing brand Endura have produced a road cycling skin suit, which is about as aero as they come, yet still useable for everyday riding.
Made in collaboration with aerodynamics expert Simon Smart, Endura claim that with a power output of 225 watts, this suit will save you 79 seconds in a 40km time trail.
It’s not cheap, but considering it will make you faster for no extra physical effort, that might make the price easier to swallow.

3. Shoe covers

Sitting on the cheaper end of the ‘components that make you more aero’ scale, shoe covers, such as Velotoze, will save an 85kg rider, riding at 40kph with a 300w power output, 1.4 watts.
That doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider these shoes covers cost around £15.00, they’re actually one of the best investments in any quest to cheat the wind.
In fact, UK based aero specialists www.shopforwatts.co.uk have done the maths for you and worked out that in terms of the ‘pounds spent to watts gained ratio’, shoe covers come out on top, with £10.71 spent for every watt saved.

4. Wheels/tyres

Many a cyclist has lusted after a pair of shiny deep section aero wheels. Not only do they make you look cool (the most important thing) but they can make you faster as well.
Cycling Weekly put this to the test, pitting standard wheels against deep section aero wheels and super aero disc/3-spoke time trial wheels.
When riding at 200watts (average club run pace) for ten minutes on an outdoor velodrome, the standard wheels travelled 5120m. The deep section aero wheels went 340m further for the same 10 minute effort, and finally, the full TT wheels travelled 60m further than the deep section aero wheels.
Aero wheels are an expensive upgrade, but there’s no doubt they’ll make you faster.

5. Aero handlebars

Sebastian Keinle races on Queen Kam in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i in IRONMAN World Championship
Sebastian Kienle racing on Queen Kam
You might think that the shape of your handlebars would have little effect on aerodynamics, yet a feature published by Cyclist magazine suggests that if you’re willing to spend big, there are some gains to be made.
They tested the uber expensive Enve S.E.S aero road bar against a standard handlebar and found them to be six seconds (3.9%) faster over the 153 second control lap.
That’s a respectable difference, and no doubt aided by the more aero/tucked in position you can achieve with the Enve S.E.S bars.