Dan Bigham’s Aero Tips

 

At your request, we have asked pro road and track rider Dan Bigham (HUUB Wattbike) for some aero tips for our Team HUUB members.

Beginners

Tri bars are one of the best investments you can make to improve your speed in a triathlon. With 80% of your drag coming from your body, it makes sense to make it as small as possible. When setting them up, get on the turbo or rollers and take some side on and front on videos. Try and make sure you’re using the tri bars to get lower than your usual position, but not too low to start with. Get narrow while acknowledging this may affect handling (so maybe best to do this gradually), higher hands than your elbows helps get your head down.

Try to avoid baggy clothing garments; if it’s visually flapping in the wind, it will be creating a lot of drag.

Intermediate

Think about keeping your bike set up clean, triathletes are known for putting a lot of accessories on their bike. Where possible, keep anything extra out of the wind. Behind the saddle is a good place as it is low wake. Anything on the front of the bike needs to be as minimal or integrated as possible.

HUUB Wattbike Track Team are brilliant in a wildly aggressive position but will be slower on you if your head is up in the wind. So again, you can use some common sense with a side-on shot and look at what helmets help you to integrate your head into your body nicely. If you still struggle with this, a short-tailed aero helmet may be best for you.

Aero wheels are for everyone, and there is a common misconception you should only be using deep-section wheels and disc at high speed - this is not true. You will still get an aero benefit when below 20mph. Moreover, although by the laws of physics you will save more watts at higher speeds, you will save more actual time the slower you go, as you’re out on course for longer.

Advanced

Once you get to an advanced level, there are many aspects that you need to test yourself, but hopefully, this gives you some guidance before dropping any cash on the wrong product for you. There is no fastest wheelset, this will be whichever integrates the fastest into your bike, and the best thing to do is test that.

The same applies to helmets, and even shoes depending on your unique pedalling dynamics. If you are after those final gains, it’s worth testing and finding out. Pay attention to the smaller details, and once you start optimising body shape and equipment, there are still most likely other areas to focus on. Overshoes and calf guards typically offer excellent watts per pound savings.

Other good savings, but not necessarily from being aero is looking at larger chainrings to help reduce drive chain losses, and also waxed chains. The two combined can help you find 2-3% watt savings of your total power. There are even gains from oversized jockey wheels, although they start to get quite expensive!

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