Advanced Aerodynamic Positioning Analysis
A VIRTUAL WIND TUNNEL FOR CYCLING AND TRIATHLON
THE CLOSEST THING TO A WIND TUNNEL
At a fraction of the cost.
September 18, 2016
I am excited to introduce the first Advanced Virtual Aerodynamic Positioning Lab in the US.
This could be considered a virtual wind tunnel. In the past, being able to quantify the wattage needed for a given position was a mystery outside of a wind tunnel. For most amateur cyclists and some professional cyclists, the conversation centered around being more aero has been just that…a conversation. No more.
There are a few wind tunnels in the US that can accommodate a cyclist’s needs. For most, the high cost has kept them far away. I have heard that most wind tunnels charge $700-1000+ per hour with hefty minimums. I totally understand the justification for their cost since to build a wind tunnel is very expensive. Some of the best tunnels built are centered around vehicles and aircraft….not cycling. While I do agree that a low velocity wind tunnel would provide another layer of precision, the ability to determine the changes to frontal surface area and its direct effects on wattage needed to maintain the same speed at an affordable price is valuable.
Our lab will provide an affordable option for those looking to improve their aerodynamic positioning and equipment. Whether you are looking to improve on your next time trial, triathlon or other competitive races, our lab will be able to provide the guidance needed to do so.
Multiple factors go into our analysis including but not limited to the rider’s biomechanical limitations, equipment and event requirements.
In our Roanoke studio, we can
1) Determine positional ranges that a rider can effectively and biomechanically work within through motion and pressure analysis
2) Be able to quantify the aerodynamic gain/loss associated with the position change within your effective range.
3) Provide the ability to train in the lab and be able to determine how much time was spent in the optimal position.
4) Experiment with various helmet options and determine which works best for you and your position.
5) Provide an equipment review and suggest equipment changes and its potential effects on aerodynamics.
6) Upon request, develop training plans, testing protocols and analysis to help you maintain a position and meet your goals.
During our testing over the past months, we confirmed that we can find a balance between a sustainable position and aerodynamics. Prior to this, it was only a guess as to whether a rider was more/less aerodynamic by raising or lowering their body on the bike. Till now, the wind tunnel was the only way to quantify the effects of the positional changes on aerodynamics.
This is truly a game changer for amateur competitive cycling and triathlon.
Consider the following scenario:
You are a triathlete competing in a full IM. It is most riders’ belief that a lower position is more “aero” and that is where you are. Your current aerobar position is only sustainable for about 75% of the time. The other 25% of the time is held on the horns. We can determine the wattage cost to maintain the same speed on the horns as when you are in the aero bar position. With that data, we can work to determine a more sustainable position in aero, calculate and extrapolate the differences across the distance of the event. What if you are actually better being “less aero” but faster. This is a very real possibility. Until today though, there were limited ways to actually quantify it. Most will fall to the aero side of the equation. Thus, ignoring the performance costs associated with the non-aero position that is being maintained 25% of the time.
Now is the time to dispel the myths and guesses that have been made in the past and really quantify and qualify what is really going on when it comes to aerodynamic positioning and equipment.