Aerotesting by Exerceo
Thus far the aerotesting technology acquired by Exerceo has been utilised across a vast cross section of cycling ‘types’. From world champions and professional cyclists, to every day riders and weekend enthusiasts, the technology has enabled the users to better hone their anatomical shape for an increase in velocity for no increase in power. Free-speed.
The aero technology, developed by Alphamantis technologies, was created by physicists for applications well beyond cycling, including automotive and even aeronautical application. The software measures the total resistance acting on a moving object then outlines the CdA or drag coefficient of the moving object as it navigates through a fluid environment, air. This is important as the human body on a bike could occupy around 70% of the surface area. Considering the amount of research and development that goes into equipment choice, and the expense incurred on the consumer, the aero testing solution remains a viable and highly relevant option for improving ones performance.
Again, we managed to test several different riders including a triathlete, master’s level cyclists and an elite level rider wanting to embark on a national’s road racing title next year. Importantly these athletes come from a great many different disciplines/backgrounds and are coached by different entities than Hall Cycle Training. This is important as the Exerceo facility is athlete and coach agnostic, meaning anyone can utilise its services.
This latest round of testing revealed several interesting findings. We managed to further hone one individuals aerodynamics by lowering the bar stack height and conversely found a decrement in aerodynamics when this was applied to the next rider. The latter riders aerodynamics worsen as their cross frontal area decreased. Meaning lower is definitely NOT always better.
We also managed to improve aerodynamics by sliding a seat further back, stretching the rider out and lowering the hump in the thoracic (middle) section of their back. Conversely we found that by doing this in another rider a worsening of aerodynamics was realised. Again, one shape or size does not fit all with respect to aerodynamic advantage.
Even when it came to equipment testing we found the Giro attack helmet to improve the aerodynamics of one rider to the tune of 40seconds over 40km’s with no effect found when used by a different rider. An interaction between the shape of the cyclist and their equipment is implied here. Meaning what works for one athlete may not work for the next.
Idiosyncrasy aside, we have managed to find some generic axioms applicable to aero testing mainly pertaining to equipment choices, such as the type of front and rear wheel used and using a filled in helmet as opposed to a ventilated one. Importantly there are equipment out there that are faster than others, a lot faster in fact. Some of the testing findings realised thus far have been counter intuitive and would come to a great shock to many cyclists who pay well for the privilege in riding state of the art products.
Again the testing has demonstrated the beautiful complexity that is human functioning and how, and rightly so, each individual is completely unique. More importantly many of the gains witnessed through the software have not yet been correlated with appearance of body shape on a bike; a first impression of a cyclist remains to be indicative of perceived aerodynamic advantage.
The outcome of the aerodynamic data analysis is both humbling and the best way to discover aerodynamic effect, as the human eye, or at least ours, has not yet been able to accurately detect what is faster and what is not. Exciting developments for all cyclists.
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6 years ago / No Comments