Road racing Setup

Hi all,

Road racing starts this weekend and I have been dialing in my set up a bit. This is the first year I have actually put a bit of time and money into making my setup more efficient as it seems like a waste to throwaway watts after all the training.

My setup is a trek emonda disc, 60mm clincher carbon wheels , vittora corsa 24mm tyres, latex tubes, prime aero handlebars, specialized evade helmet, skinsuit.

So, I have two questions, a) is there anything further I can do with my set up to short of buying an aero frame and b) for people doing road races what are your set ups, thanks.

If you’re looking for parts to upgrade you could always get a set of aero handlebars or oversized pulley wheels. On the cheaper end, I’ve never done it personally but the TR guys swear by waxing your chain. Most importantly though, spend as much time as possible in the drops. Maybe a “duh” thing but that’s by far the biggest aero difference you can make.

Aero pedals, optimizing chain lube, BB upgrade, cable placement optimization (get them out of the wind), shoe covers

Fun anecdote: A friend of a friend once came out to LA and rode with me for a few days. He needed to borrow a bike + all I had was a 1981 Fuji Pro Team. It was 2cm too small and speced with 10s DT shifters and Open Pros. We did a few super fast group rides and he had no issue keeping pace at the front. It had nothing to do with the bike, the dude just knew how to ride and, more importantly, let others work for him.


Your setup sounds fine. Don’t let the aero frame hype get to you - the Emonda is a pure race bike with the H1 geo. The h2 is a bit more forgiving, but still fine. Honestly your setup sounds fine and I’d be more focused on having my nutrition, fitness dialed, and race smarts/tactics for these races. Sit in. Stay out of the wind, if you get up front do short pulls and get out of there. Make others do the work, chase, because they will.

My setup: Emonda SLR (rim) H1 with Bontrager Aelous 5 tubulars. I also have an Allez Sprint that’s rim. I don’t have a choice in helmet and kits due to partnerships, but the stuff we get is of nice quality and the helmets are fine.

Other stuff: I have some velotoze I use for TTs and my skin suit as well for TT, crits, and road races that I don’t need a ton of shit for pockets. As or that person who said be in your drops; What? If you’re comfortable sitting in your drops for the entire race, cool. But, being comfortable and conserving is more important. I’m rarely in the drops minus some descending, tech areas, and then attacking/breakaways etc. I’m in the drops a lot for crit racing though. And if you’re sitting in the pack out of the wind, you don’t need to be in the drops. Unless you want to be.

Power meter (and cleaning up the head unit display for the race):

While you won’t be spending time staring at your #s, there will be times you will look down. Have a race screen (e.g one of the data screens on a Garmin) with only a few critical #s - nothing too busy like you’d use on a training ride. Lots of reasons this is useful such as understanding when you are riding in the pack the kind of effort you are putting out and if you decide to attack or bridge a gap (RPE judgement is not reliable).

I’d say: waxed chain, tubeless, shoe covers and trip socks.

Tubeless would be my first priority. I hear if so many people doing well in a race only to get a flat. Yes, you can still flat with tubeless but it makes it less likely.


What are trip socks? Never heard of this…

Special socks designed to disrupt airflow in a very specific way that gives an aero advantage. They are great if they are a perfect fit and are positioned in the exact right place. Personally, I can’t find any that fit well enough to stay in the right place - I must just have odd shaped ankles.

Who makes them?

aerocoach / nopinz make some that are essentially shin tubes rather than socks.

Your bike will not be a factor in your race performance.

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I assume you show up to races on one of these then?

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Thanks for the reply everyone, going to wax my chain, seems to be some gains there and I forgot but i do have aero socks, question is, aero socks or shoe covers, because that is going to make kind of significant difference.

I know I really should go tubeless, but it is building up the motivation to do it which is the problem, I will definitely do it before a couple of stage races in may. I have never gotten through a stage race without a puncture before, which is probably not down to luck at that point.

Would have preferred a Madone but the budget wasn’t going to a full aero bike unfortunately, pretty much all the races I do are won from breakaways and the courses are generally pretty rolly very few significant hills so aero is the priority.

@janerney no. Just race your bike and find out what you really need to do. All the other stuff people mentioned is fine if you want to spend some money for a few watts but, honestly, learning how and when to lay down the power in a race will absolutely drown out all this aero worrying.

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For a bunch start road race, things like trip socks and waxed chain aren’t going to make a huge degree of a difference. If it’s a TT, then they might give an edge, but there are other more bang for your buck aero advantages you can buy.

I’d agree 100% with going tubeless if you can. It rolls really nice too.

Your Emonda is a super light bike. I’d play to it’s strengths. Consider a set of lightweight wheels for climbing rather than the 60mm rims.

And if you want an aero road race position, you will be marginally faster on the hoods with your forearms parallel to the ground. There’s less frontal area in the wind that way compared to being in the drops, like the pic.

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Racing well and making your setup more efficient aren’t mutually exclusive things, the races I do are almost exclusively won from breakaways and at least 70 miles on relatively flat routes so aero is critical given that I will be spending a ton of time in these races in breaks or bridging to breaks on my own or in small groups.

You are right that training and tactics get you most of the way but I really don’t understand why I would let any individual watt go for the sake of a bit of hassle or expense, especially when I have put so much time and effort into my training to achieve my goals.

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Would you agree, that changing anything now is too late. I wouldn’t do it this close to the race date. Race with current setup, get the feel what could be adjusted, upgrade and test it outside during normal rides… These micro adjustments can make so much difference, but it is only possible through trial and error and race is not that time, imho.

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I have 2 months until my A event which is plenty of time to test any equipment I think.

I agree and am into it as well. It comes down to money. Throwing away watts and buying watts to me are different things. Since no picture of you and your setup throwing away watts some things that come to mind are:

  • Not having an optimized position.
  • Not being as lean as you could be.
  • Not having a clean drivetrain.
  • Not hiding, shrink wrap cables.
  • Not hiding computer inline with stem/bar.
  • Number pinning technique.
  • Wrong size clothes, helmet, wrinkled clothes etc…

Some of this you have but, buying would be:

  • Ceramic speed BB, wheels bearings, OSWS, UFO chain/coating.
  • Nopinz Timewarp overshoes. or trip socks if hot.
  • Wireless shifting.
  • Aero frame.
  • Wheels.
  • Tires/tubes.
  • Tririg Omega X brakes.
  • Aero bars/front end systems (probably put with the frame).

Verifying something is more aero than another is another topic and one that gets deep. The TR crew did some time with Jim at ERO on the track. I think they did a podcast on it. It’s frustrating not knowing if that helmet, position, wheels, skinsuit etc…you just bought are the best for you.