Becoming more aero, and faster

You lose some aero gains

Tires are fastest when they are 1 to 1.05 to rim width, wider will raised cda

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This is gravel, not pavement? You were doing 17.5 mph on gravel on 200 watts and want to get to 20 mph on gravel on 200 watts? That’s going to be tough.

I’m not necessarily saying all gravel, all the time. I just used that as a reference point for a very recent ride that had zero variables (other than the gravel itself). Maybe a poor reference.

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I’m for sure under estimating the value or speed of a fast tire, seeing as I’ve only ever ridden 32c + tires. I’m not a “roadie”.

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@bbarrera I hired a guy to help me take aero data once…he had a whole bunch of stuff to help the process…timing mats, weatherstations, all the things to engage my geeky delight and we could get pretty detailed data.

One of the things that was most interesting to me is that when you reach for a bottle and take a drink…or sit up for a little while…it’s not like a switch. Your CdA will be f’ed up for a couple hundred yards before it settles back down. Aerodynamics doesn’t always behave the way you think it should!

Another example…I was trying to chug along at +/- 5W all the time. That was working OK, but rchung told me, ‘I like to go real fast on the first lap then do a slower lap. Vary the speed. It helps.’ You know what? It does help! :smiley: I spent all those cognitive watts trying to hole a constant power…pffft.


3 weeks ago almost latching on to the wheel of a guy my size, I’m on a 3T Exploro gravel bike with 32mm Aeolus Pro 3V and Pirelli training tires that measure out to 38mm:

He was on a Dogma F12 with Enve 5.6 wheels and Conti GP5000 in 25 or 26:

That was when he gassed it a little to pass me, so a bit of wheel suck and a little gas and he passes me at 1.3mph

That’s insane. My guess is most of the people I’m pointlessly comparing myself too are probably on speedy road bikes.


@anthonylane the ‘rule of 105’ will only be measurable for you if you ride at a pretty steep yaw for a pretty long time, anyhow. It is definitely true, but also definitely not a first order effect, IMO.

You’ll get a first order effect from switching to GP 5ks w/ latex tubes. You’ll get a first order effect from switching to deeper wheels.

yeah I’m mostly riding on RPE and while on training rides don’t worry about out-of-zone excursions

I’d say go even narrower, 38mm is all the rage right now, with levers pointed in. Super cheap upgrade.
Look at Laurens Ten Dam’s bars compared to Ian’s for Unbound

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Purple Line: 5/29/2021, Roubaix SL4 with Roval CLX64 wheels
Black Line: 5/31/2021, Tarmac SL7 with Enve Foundation 65 wheels

Wind conditions were similar on both days. 1 watt difference, identical times until the final uphill sprint.

Final times including the sprint were 6:40 for the Roubaix and 6:43 for the Tarmac, about 25mph average. Not a very scientific test by any means, but results were surprising nonetheless. I’m sure the wheels helped the Roubaix quite a bit compared to the stock wheels. I’ve also been riding the Roubaix for years and that was my first ride on the SL7, so no doubt there are gains to be had with my position on the SL7.


@anthonylane just so you know it can be done with proper attention to detail…I’m 6’2" and a porky 193lbs right now. Here is a ride I did last week on my gravel bike. NP 183W, avg speed 20.7MPH. Had a 40mm terra speed on the front and a 40mm bontrager GR2 on the back, both set up tubeless. Water bottle & spares on the top tube & hand-made compensation triangles on the frame.



I’m using clip-on aerobars (Deda Fastblack2)

Everything else is usual stuff, nothing specially aero-oriented: stock Roubaix 2020 + 28mm tubeless GP5000: for 6h at 180W (IF 0.68), average speed is 32.6kph (~20mph). Weight 68kg.


I must be doing a lot of things wrong. Here’s yesterday’s endurance ride, trying really hard to keep watts around 200ish. Or maybe my PM is wildly off and I’m not pushing as many watts as I think I am. Sidenote: anyone else notice huge discrepancies in elevation gain that TR reports vs Strava? Strava listed this ride as 594 feet of elevation gain to TR’s 1224 feet.

yes its insane, TR hands out huge bonus elevation on my pancake flat rides.

Here is a Tuesday zone2 ride from 2 months ago when it wasn’t windy (5-7mph), just the main set:

wasn’t trying to be aero on that one.

First, I’d try to allocate your badness into bad aero vs. bad rolling resistance. With some idea of their relative contribution you might be able to prioritize where to start, and how much farther you have to go.

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That’s exactly my plan. I know that I can comfortably drop another 20mm from my stack height through a reduction in stem spacers. Not sure if that will help at all, but it’s a very easy and costless start. I also know that I need to stay lower on rides, especially if speed is priority.

The watts are there, I just need to optimize some things.

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Do you consider this ride flat or more like rolling hills. TR’s figure is reporting rolling hills, Strava more like flat.

Lowest position isn’t always the faster. Often when I try to get super aero, I just get increased rpe :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Rotate your pelvis so that you can still push big watts, bend your arms and drop your head. Maybe post a pic of your riding position here?

Mywindsock usually estimates my cda to be around 0.32-0.35 on faster efforts. I’m 187cm/83kg, Cervelo Aspero with 45mm/32mm wheels, Terra Speed 40mm tires and Bontrager Ballista helmet.

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I hate even saying this, as I’m very much against the ridiculous materialism in cycling…

However, aero gains are real. They certainly helped me. In order of importance.

  1. Position. the single biggest factor. Low back angle, narrow shoulders, puppy position etc.
  2. Clothing. Tightest nerd lycra you can shoe horn into.
  3. Deep wheels. Provided you match them with the perfect fitting tire size.
  4. Aero bars. Yes, they make as much of a difference as updating a bike in some cases.
  5. Aero helmet. Abus Game changer is my preferred option. Many are good.
  6. Aero bike. Vastly expensive and pointless between different aero models, but any one is better than a round tube bike.

Finally, everyone is right here. Do not underestimate your tires. Get a set of GP5000s. They are the fastest reliable real world tire currently available. I would guess you’ve got a hand full of watts available just there. They are a nightmare on some rims tubeless. They work very well with latex inner tubes.

Normally, I advise anybody to forget buying upgrades and to train more often and more effectively. However, you asked.

I did all the above upgrades slowly over time. There’s absolutely no question that fully kitted vs what you’re running now, you’d be measurably faster. Especially over long distances.

I just did my aero upgrade one by one. So it didn’t seem like an idiotic amount of money for a bicycle. It’s one way to lie to yourself. I also did it carefully and didn’t buy anything with the word Specialized (Insert any brand where you pay 800% more than it cost to make it, to cover the cost of the BS advertisement, that got you to buy it) on it.