6 Aero Gear Tips to Help You Find All the Watts
Bike-fit expert Mat Steinmetz has worked with some of the world’s most high-profile cyclists—including members of Team Sky. Here’s how he can make you faster, too.
In addition to improving your on-bike comfort and decreasing your risk of injury while riding, a professional bike fit can position you as aerodynamically as possible for your physiology. Once you’ve gotten that dialed, it’s time to make incremental speed gains through smart component and kit choices. Here are bike-fit expert Mat Steinmetz’s suggestions for cycling gear that gets you moving faster.
1. Posture: Try this aerodynamic position when you want to pick up the pace: Lower your torso by rotating your pelvis forward, so that your forearms are parallel to the ground when your hands are on the hoods.
Potential savings: 30+ watts
2. Helmet: Modern aero road helmets—such as the Specialized S-Works Evade (seen in the video below) and the Giro Air Attack—are wind tunnel–designed to control airflow through and around them, minimizing drag.
Potential savings: 3 to 8 watts
3. Clothing: Fabric flapping in the wind slows you down. Swap out your club-fit jersey for a form-fitting one—such as the Castelli Aero Race.
Potential savings: 10+ watts
4. Tyres: Steinmetz recommends the Continental Grand Prix 4000 S II, Specialized Turbo Cotton, and Zipp Tagente, all of which have performed well on rolling-resistance tests. Go for tubes made from latex, which has lower rolling resistance than standard butyl.
Potential savings: 15 to 25 watts
5. Wheels: Deep-section carbon rims aren’t cheap (prices start at about R9,500) and can be tricky to handle in a crosswind. But they work. Typically, the deeper the rim, the less the aerodynamic drag.
Potential savings: 20+ watts
6. Drivetrain: You can immerse yourself in data from companies that test bike components and lubes to find the combinations that produce the least mechanical drag. The easiest fix is switching to a fast lube, like the paraffin wax–based Squirt.
Potential savings: 10 watts