HOW TO INCREASE AERODYNAMICS ON THE BIKE:
Making your bike more aero can be quite an expensive and time-consuming journey. The only weight savings you’ll see is lightening up your wallet. In this Ride Journal, we wanted to cover some more affordable ways you can increase aerodynamics on the bike and not break the bank. This is all in the name of marginal gains, saving you a few watts here and there; don’t take this advice too seriously.
Let’s go over the obvious one: body positioning. When on the saddle, working on your riding position will make you more aero. Most likely, your bike isn’t the problem; the fleshy parasail on it is. Keep your body low and streamline your position by tucking in your elbows. Something that can help when descending is trying different body positions without pedaling and seeing which one gets you to the bottom quicker; the same goes for climbing and flats. Streamline your body and lower your torso for the best results. Work on holding these positions for more extended periods when on the saddle. Not everyone has access to the wind tunnel, and these are the bro-science ways we can measure results. This technique won’t’ cost you a penny and will guarantee the best results. During your next ride on the trainer, focus on your body positioning; relax your shoulders and bend your elbows, rotate your body at the hips, and use more of your core with each pedal.
It’s no secret that form-fitting clothing will increase your aerodynamics substantially. There’s a reason the TDF Peloton isn’t wearing baggies and t-shirts. Studies show that you are nearly 80% of the drag. Reducing your drag will save you watts and time. Small things like shaving your legs, wearing aero long-sleeve jerseys, and raising your aero-socks can improve your aerodynamics and overall speed. At DNA, we’ve tested our apparel in Pro Pelotons, windy conditions, and everyday rides. We offer a variety of aero features in our apparel, including skin suits, laser cut sleeves, aero collars, aero fit options, aero sleeves, and more. Wear the tightest option that works with you when going for the podium—the less flapping in the wind, the better. DNA offers affordable aero options that can be fully customizable for your club or team. By doing this, you can expect a saving of nearly 10-15 watts; you can thank us later.
OPTIMIZE YOUR BIKE FIT
This may require the help of a professional bike fitter. By going to your local bike fit or doing some additional research yourself, you can optimize your body position by changing a few small things on your bike. Tilting your saddle slightly downward can reduce wind resistance. Pointing your brake levers inward can push your shoulders together, reducing drag. Rotating your bars slightly forward, removing spacers, and slamming your stem can also be a cost-effective way to increase aerodynamics. We recommend doing all this under the guidance of a professional. Or just draft off your buddy.
CLEANING UP THE COCKPIT
Let’s go over the obvious one: reducing clutter in your cockpit. Remove any extras you may have on your bars that you’re not using (ex., light mount, rubber duckies, bar bag). If you use a head unit, ensure the mount is level and does not cause additional drag. Use your bar tape to create a smooth surface, reducing drag. If you have exposed cables, tidy them up using zip ties. Try running a more narrow bar if possible. Now, if you’re going for it, there are affordable Aero-Bars options that you can add to your existing bar. This can significantly improve your aerodynamic profile, especially during solo rides.
Deep dish or Chicago-style wheels (whichever you prefer) can help reduce drag. There are plenty of aero wheel options on the market, and you don’t need to go too crazy with it. Try staying around the 40-50mm mark with deep dish wheels. If you come from a shallow alloy rim, you will notice a big difference when upgrading to a carbon aero wheel. Choose tires with a smooth and narrow profile, and make sure your rim isn’t wider than the tire. While wider tires may provide more comfort, narrower tires can be more aerodynamic. Ensure your tires are properly inflated. Under-inflated tires can increase rolling resistance and hinder your aerodynamic efficiency.
MAINTAIN YOUR BIKE
While this one may be obvious, a clean bike is a fast bike. Like your legs, you want your bike to be silky smooth. Keeping your bike clean and the chain lubricated as this will remove any extra protrusions and weight from your bike while making your components last longer. You can be as aero as possible, but you’re losing that race if you have a mechanical.
AERO IS EVERYTHING...UNTIL IT ISN'T
There’s a fine line to walk between being aero and being ridiculous. While some revolutionary products on the market can help professional riders compress their bodies into the size of a pizza roll, these are not what most cyclists need. Many aero products can actually be quite heavy compared to traditional bike components. This is why you may see professional cyclists swap bikes during a hilly time trial stage. Being comfortable on the saddle plays a severe part in putting out power. If the products prevent you from putting out your best wattage, this may slow you down in the long run. For example, an aero helmet may help reduce drag, but wearing a helmet with no ventilation on a hot summer afternoon may result in overheating and calling it quits. Consider aero when looking into new components for your bike, but we don’t recommend molding around the products. Find products that are aero and work for you.
Remember, while these tips can help, the most significant gains in aerodynamics often come from refining your riding position and making minor adjustments. Experiment with different setups to find what works best for you without compromising comfort and safety. Most importantly, don’t take out a second mortgage to save 10 watts on your bike to win a local crit.
Do you race in a Club or Team and want to take your results to the next level this year? Reach out today to get started on your Custom Aero Kit. DNA’s custom product line has been tested in Pro Pelotons around the globe. Explore our custom options today and learn more about the DNA Custom Program by reaching out.
Get started by contacting us here:
📧 – firstname.lastname@example.org
📞 – (801)-676-5057
🏠 – 8689 South 700 West Sandy, UT 84070
📲 – @dnacycling