Aero on a Budget Part 1
Save Time and Money by Getting Aero on a Budget
Are you looking for every possible way to shave seconds off your time trial? Want to take your sprint or attack up a notch? Don’t want to break the bank on expensive aero frames and wheels? You could always train more or use these wind cheating tips to get aero on a budget.
Before we get going, it is important to know that on a flat time trial course aerodynamics is more important than weight. The traditional pursuit for cyclists is to have to lightest bike possible but the weight of your bike does not matter in the pursuit of getting aero on a budget.
The first tip for getting aero on a budget is to take a look at your clothing. If you want to cheat the wind, you have to keep it tight. Loose and flappy clothing will catch the wind like a parachute and slow you down.
If you are looking for every possible advantage to overcome drag consider investing in a skinsuit. This tight fitting, one piece outfit sits close to your skin and has fewer seams and gaps making for a smooth surface for wind to pass over. Relatively inexpensive with options starting at $200, a skinsuit can save you up to 134 seconds over a 40km time trial.
Since there are no rules against using a skinsuit in mass start races, its aerodynamic benefits extend beyond time trials. Make it your every race outfit and reap the aerodynamic benefits all the time. Having multiple uses for one item is a good way to justify the expense and get aero on a budget.
A simple set of clip on aerobars can really make a difference if you plan on time trialling on your race bike. Much cheaper than a full time trial bike, clip on bars will get you in virtually the same position allowing you to get really aero on a budget.
Aerobars put you in a position that reduces frontal area which reduces drag. If you do invest in a pair of clip on aerobars, make sure you get them set up right just like you would do on your regular race bike. You want a position that cheats the wind but isn’t going to limit your power or be too uncomfortable to maintain for upwards of an hour.
Aerobars are a great option for getting aero on a budget with cost effective aluminum sets being available for around $100. They have been shown to save 122 seconds over a 40km time trial by decreasing your frontal area. But keep in mind that aerobars are not legal to use in mass start races which limits this aero on a budget option to time trialling only.
Aero helmets reduce frontal area and smooth surfaces to decrease drag. With their noticeable tear drop shape and long tails, aero helmets are quite the fashion statement which screams “I want to go fast.”
To truly benefit from the aerodynamic advantages of aero helmets, make sure you choose one that fits your properly. And once you have chosen a helmet that fits make sure the straps are adjusted properly so that the tail sits on your back when you’re tucked so that you cut through the air.
With prices starting at around the $200 mark and reportedly saving you 67 seconds in a 40km time trial, aero helmets are a good option for getting aero on a budget.
For further savings though and to really get aero on a budget, you might want to consider one of the many new aero road helmets available on the market. You’ve seen the pros wear them for years now and you might think they are ugly, but it may be time to give one a try.
Since a full tear drop shaped helmet is not legal in mass start events, buying one helmet to do it all is a good way to save a couple dollars. With most helmet manufacturers offering a version, you have many options to suit your style.
Although not as aero as a tear drop shaped helmet, they will still provide wind cheating benefits. Giro claim that their Air Attack helmet will save you 17 seconds in a 40km time trial while Specialized advertise that the Evade will save you 46 seconds.
If you are looking to get aero on a budget, an aero helmet is a great place to start. A do-it-all helmet with enough wind cheating technology for time trialing and enough air flow for your everyday ride.
The things listed above, skinsuits, aerobars, and aero helmets, are just a couple of the many ways to get aero on a budget. For fractions of the cost of a set of deep dish wheels or an aero frame, you can shave off the same amount of time. Although the time savings don’t look massive, they can be the difference between winning and missing out on the podium.
In Part 2 of Aero on a Budget, we will look at some more ways to cheat wind without breaking the bank to do so.