Shavin Watts...on a budget

As everyone else here, I’m looking to shave Watts, but prioritize and knock out the lowest hanging fruit first.

So far, I’ve upgraded my stocks tires to GP5000s with latex (~2W vs Butyl) bringing rolling resistance down to ~8.8W per tire at 100PSI. (At $100 for 2 tires and $9/latex tube from chAin reaction this seems like a real solid win)

Bought a new chain and Started waxing with MSW. Not sure how much the new chain will help itself, but the last one was due.

Continuously working on my position and flexibility to drop my stem and can hold my aero position for my long 2hr tempo rides inside.

What other cheap aero/RR gains are out there? I’m riding stock wheels because the W/$ is more lopsided. It seems my next one would be upgrading my road helmet to an aero helmet. Looking at Giro Air Attack currently.

What are your goals? Are you a road racer, TTer, tri? The air attack is if I recall not actually that fast, (I could be wrong but that is the impression I have) there are other options. But again fill us in on what type of riding you do and what your goals are! Then the smart people around here will be able to give better information.

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Ahh right forgot the key info there!

Triathlon right now - Oly and 70.3 distances. My schedule going forward is going to make swim training much more difficult so likely transitioning to duathlon.

I guess that means I’m general, TT focus!

Well then there are a few things generally that can be improved that is cheap,

Cleaning up cable routing, just paying attention to this is a start. Most people just ignore it and can easily it can be cleaned up and not only look good but save some watts.

For tri, if you are on a TT bike figuring out how to store your bottles/nutrition and spare is also cheap. Usually a between the arms (BTA) bottle is fast for most people on aero bars and it is quite convenient to drink out of.

A bottle behind the saddle that can be used for drink/fuel or also for storing a flat kit.

You got the lowest hanging fruit with tires/tubes but if you haven’t done the above its a really good and affordable way to clean things up.

(Times are for a 40k).

Lifted from Cyclingtips. Fast suit and shoe covers are probably best time/$ (assuming you already have aerobars). On a podcast a few years ago I remember them mentioning a 12 minute difference in an IM between good and bad tri-suits.


Thanks for the replies! I’m looking into BTA bottles and found a 35oz Profile Designs that would hold all my nutrition. Any experience with these?

I’m riding an older Shiv Expert. I have the behind the saddle bottle cage right now, but I’ve dropped my nutrition in the past and that costs me more than it’ll ever gain.

I haven’t looked into skin suits, currently wear a 2 piece zoot kit.

In regards to the giro air attack, I swear I remember reading in a aero helmet review it tested slower than the specialized non aero helmet (prevail?).

Agreed with above about skinsuit and shoe covers. veloToze are quite cheap and there doesn’t seem to be much gain in buying the crazy expensive shoes covers from other brands.

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Skin suit, definitely. Well-fitted clothing can make a huge difference.

I don’t think I’d recommend Velotoze for triathlon, as when I look around in HQ before a TT, it takes most people a good 3-5 minutes to get the rubbery little buggers on. People are sitting around swearing and chucking talcum powder at their feet. Also, for a long event, they can make your feet very very sweaty.

There might be a decent aero shoe cover you can put over your shoes before the race and then quickly pull up and zip up when you put the shoes on.

I’m a fool and totally read over the triathlon part, oops!

Also…literally shaving watts…shave legs apparantly is a decent saving!

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If you’re on a budget you could do a lot worse than a Design Profile HC mount and a normal bottle. I’ve used one for years for both TT’s and triathlon and there’s nothing really to go wrong. You can use whatever size of bottle you want to as well depending on the race/training ride length.

I’m sure Orca used to make something like this. I think Sebastian Kienle used some for a while IRRC. I tend to use Velotoze toe covers for triathlon though especially on chilly mornings!

For ~25USD that looks like a good option. I could just carry a second bottle and replace it too. Did you have any problems with bottles falling out?

Forgot to mention that my legs are squeaky clean come race day!

No. It’s got a rubber band around the top of the cage part which you can see in the pictures if you really zoom in. It’s really secure and I’ve yet to lose a bottle - even in the US - where in my experience they tend to use cheaper normal 500ml drinks bottles with sports lids to hand up rather than proper bike bottles which we generally have in Europe.

It’s been a really flexible, simple option in my experience.

Depends massively on your budget but £/w I’m guessin tyres are pretty low compared to making yourself more aero. We are ultimately the biggest (no pun intended) issue.

To optimise yourself; helmet I find my Kask Bambino to be super easy to pop on in transition, a Huub or Velotec tri-specific skinsuit. As can’t imagine a TT only skinsuit will be that fun to swim or run in. That said I have done so in my Bioracer skinsuit but it’s fairly flexible (and old) so not as advanced and fitted as more modern suits. Overshoes for Tri/duathlon are useless as add too much time.

Hair off legs. Or if you are moving to duathlon you can then start wearing aero socks. I have some from another brand which did fall down on the run, but it was after the bike leg so less of an issue.

To help the bike; You can pick up pretty decent rims / wheelsets from China for around $4-500 dollars+ depending on spec. Farsports are fantastic imo. If you’re solely tri focused you may be best served to go for something like 50/80mm deep rims.

Also, there is a trend in the UK and possibly it’s catching on to angle up the bars pads and actually make the front end (head and hands) much closer together. A lot of people sell wedges coupled with 40° degree extensions to achieve this. See here, it may be worth playing around with fine tune your setup as lower doesn’t necessarily mean better. There are many approaches to this holy grail.

What makes a good tri suit vs a bad tri suit?

Thanks @JulianM I’ll have one arriving tomorrow!

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The Air Attack is not a nice helmet, I ditched it after a few months. It’s hot and slow. But if you want it, you can have mine for free if you cover shipping. If you want fast, cheap and new there are plenty of options. I went with the Giro Vanquish.

A disc wheel cover gives good bang for your buck.

Then there’s position and bike fit, your position is only good if you don’t have to break it all the time.

More gains? A good sleeved suit, but they don’t come cheap. Perfectly planned and executed nutrition, nothing taped to the bar or top tube, not slowing down and getting out of aero at every feed zone.

The low hanging fruit for a suit is a snug fit. Something that fits you in the TT position with no wrinkles and no loose material is the minimum requirement, and is a huge gain over poor fitting clothing. Suit material is more aero than skin so for a tri you want a sleeved suit and for TT you really want long sleeve.

After you’ve got something that fits well and covers as much skin as possible, it’s then a question of how much you’re prepared to pay for fancy materials that are designed to be more aero, or in the most cutting edge suits have panels of different materials optimised for the airflow on different parts of your body.

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I’m glad I posted about the air attack…didn’t realize people hated it so much! Looking more, I found the Giro Advantage 2 at really low closeout prices since it is an old model. I’m upgrading from a cheap road helmet so I imagine this would be much better.

Looking more into the disc wheel covers, bestbikesplit doesn’t show as much gain as I expected for a disc vs standard box rim for my A-race.

I’m able to hold my position well on the trainer for the long tempo rides and outdoors is even easier so I made some adjustments to make it a little more aggressive and will see how it feels for this weeks rides.

Current suit is a 2-piece zoot suit. I need to check a little more on my tt-position if it wrinkles, but if I remember right from pictures it seems to stay pretty snug.

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