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10 Most Bang for Buck Aero Gains From an Aerodynamics Expert

10 Most Bang for Buck Aero Gains From an Aerodynamics Expert

Zavier Disli, an Elite Sports Performance consultant and aerodynamics expert, has significantly influenced the world of professional cycling. His designs, seen in many World Tour bikes, are crafted to maximize aerodynamic efficiency. We sat down with Zavier to discover his top ten cost-effective aero gains for cyclists. Here's what he had to say:

1. Optimize Your Body Position

One of the most effective and free ways to enhance your aerodynamics is to improve your body position on the bike. Zavier emphasizes that maintaining a lower torso angle, while sustainable and practiced, can vastly reduce aerodynamic drag. Strength and conditioning training can help you maintain these positions comfortably.

2. Wear Tighter Clothing

Clothing contributes significantly to aerodynamic drag, as it covers about 80% of the bike and rider system. Ensuring your clothing is tight-fitting and not flapping can greatly reduce drag. This simple adjustment is an easy and effective way to improve your aero profile without additional costs.

3. Shave Your Legs

Although it might seem minor, shaving your legs can make a notable difference in reducing drag. Hairy legs create turbulence, similar to covering your bike’s down tube with hair. Smooth legs, exposed to free airflow, can save you approximately 5 watts at 30 km/h, equating to about a minute over a 40 km ride.

4. Remove Extra Items

Streamlining your bike by removing unnecessary items can further reduce drag. For shorter rides, consider carrying fewer water bottles and using smaller saddle bags. Tidying up exposed cables can also make a significant difference.

5. Use Narrower Handlebars

Switching to narrower handlebars can help reduce your frontal area and improve aerodynamics. Zavier suggests handlebars narrower than 40 cm for a noticeable aero gain. This simple modification can save up to 5 watts, especially if switching from wider bars.

6. Install Aero Bars

For those serious about long rides, adding aero bars can be a game-changer. Aero bars dramatically lower your torso angle and narrow your profile, potentially saving up to 15 watts. While they might be an investment and more challenging to install on integrated bikes, the aero benefits are substantial.

7. Invest in Aero Clothing

While tight clothing is beneficial, specialized aero clothing can offer additional savings. Road suits, skin suits, and aero socks are designed with materials and cuts that further reduce drag. These investments can save a few more watts compared to standard cycling gear.

8. Choose an Aero Helmet

Switching to an aero road helmet can yield significant aero gains. Helmets designed for aerodynamics, often tested in wind tunnels, help reduce drag in the exposed head area. This investment can save a couple of watts, enhancing overall performance.

9. Use Deeper Wheels

Upgrading to deeper wheels can be an effective way to improve aerodynamics. While this can be a pricier upgrade, transitioning from shallow aluminum rims to deeper carbon wheels can save up to 5 watts. This upgrade not only improves performance but also gives your bike a sleek, professional look.

10. Optimize Tires and Inner Tubes

Improving the quality of your tires and inner tubes reduces rolling resistance, which is crucial for both speed and efficiency. Upgrading to lighter, lower resistance inner tubes, such as latex or PU tubes, can be a cost-effective enhancement. High-quality tires, though more expensive, also contribute significantly to lower rolling resistance and improved overall speed.

Conclusion

By following Zavier Disli’s advice, cyclists can achieve significant aero gains without breaking the bank. From optimizing body position and clothing to making strategic equipment upgrades, these tips provide practical ways to enhance performance and efficiency on the bike. Whether you're a recreational rider or a competitive cyclist, these cost-effective strategies can help you ride faster and more efficiently.

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