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Aero marginal gains

DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,140
edited July 2018 in Amateur race
After a few years of not riding much due to illness, bad back, cba etc I'm planning on racing over 50s next season, might do a couple in Sept if there are any localish just as a test to see where I am.

Now I'm reading a lot about castelli aero jerseys being worth x watts, certain wheels worth y watts and some helmets worth z watts. In the past I've raced on shallow rims as my old cheap carbons were too grabby, normal club jersey which by modern standards was a bit loose, non aero helmet etc.

If I believe the marketing hype adding up the watts savings would be incredible, I'm not expecting that of course but if I were to get say an aero lid, maybe 40-50mm rimmed modern carbon wheels, possibly an aero bike (but probably not given the cost - I have gone for 4cm narrower bars), one of these castelli speed suits and maybe tweak my position (I reckon I could go lower with a longer) is this going to make a noticeable difference. Has anyone had an aero makeover and thought why didn't I do this earlier or done it and wondered why they spent the money?
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Posts

  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    It's not going to turn a donkey into a thoroughbred but it will all help. Personally I'd race with what you have and if you enjoy it and are in the ballpark splash out on aero benefits.
  • joey54321joey54321 Posts: 1,297
    Most claims are based on some pretty high speeds and as such I think the aero 'stuff' adds up during those times when someone kicks it all off and the bunch is attacking each other at 35mphs. However, I don't think it makes much difference when sitting in a group going relatively steady and when you're out solo it needs to be pretty quick to be making the claimed savings.

    However, it might keep you in the race when you are right on your limit and they'd certainly not slow you down. One thing to note is that 'in the past' lots of riders raced in similar kit on shallow rims, there is more high-end equipment and more people are switched on to aero/marginal gains these days (at least in my experience of racing over the past 11 years). However, i'd say race, see how you get on and if its worth it.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,140
    I have raced before just not for a few years, the last few weeks some kind of fitness has been coming back so I've not got too many worries about will I like it, will I be fast enough etc.

    It's more a question of is it worth stumping up a grand on a set of lightly used wheels, a lid, kit etc - have those that have done it and as you say most seem to these days even those who never pin a number on - found it made a difference.
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  • sgt.peppersgt.pepper Posts: 300
    I have raced before just not for a few years, the last few weeks some kind of fitness has been coming back so I've not got too many worries about will I like it, will I be fast enough etc.

    It's more a question of is it worth stumping up a grand on a set of lightly used wheels, a lid, kit etc - have those that have done it and as you say most seem to these days even those who never pin a number on - found it made a difference.

    Depends on your budget to be honest. A few weeks ago I blasted a guy on a top end TT bike, and struggled to get past a guy on an old steel frame (this is commuting, not club). The gains are so marginal in terms of aero and I'm a tight-censored , so to me it would never be worth it. I value feel, and weight over aero (tighter jersey notwithstanding) personally - so I'd rather drop the cash on a high end steel frame and some good tyres.
  • shirley_bassoshirley_basso Posts: 3,448
    My view on struggling on chaingang is that a stiff bike is key. When you push on the pedals, the bike pushes on.

    It depends on how you're getting on. As the others have said, there is no substitute for fitness and racecraft but if you have that kinda sorted then start thinking about making life easier for yourself.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Sitting on a wheel is the best aero advantage ever. And free.
  • MiddleRingerMiddleRinger Posts: 678
    cougie wrote:
    Sitting on a wheel is the best aero advantage ever. And free.
    ^ That.

    But if you're on a monster solo breakaway, then the aero equipment is certainly not going to slow you down. Whether it's worth the money is personal. Speedsuit and position tweaking would be my first port of call.

    As for the bike, if I were you I'd just race on what you have for now and see how you get on! Then if you fancy it throw money at upgrades.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,140
    cougie wrote:
    Sitting on a wheel is the best aero advantage ever. And free.

    But not a lot of fun sitting in the bunch all race and lvrc tends to be more aggressive racing than BC so you end up with breaks up the road - no points either so rolling in for a top 15 is literally pointless.
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  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,026
    I'm reaching the top end of my age category now and seriously been struggling for race form all season. I've thought about 'marginal gains' in terms of kit but common sense prevails and kept money in the bank.

    You do see some nice 'kit' in LVRC though and it does get you a thinking, I give you that. You dont see much in the way of steel or titanium frames and you do see quite a few speedsuits.

    Get racing this season to see how you actually get on - there are some seriously fast 50 to 55 big hitters.
    Also easier to get entries this time of the year as well. There are always complaints about over subscribed events, so 1 tip ( belong to a club that organises races). Your entry will be viewed more favourably but still no guarantees.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    jgsi wrote:
    You do see some nice 'kit' in LVRC though and it does get you a thinking, I give you that.

    Guys 40+, committed cyclists, with shed-loads of disposable income - of course you are going to see top end kit... ;)
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,140
    Might just get the aero lid and scour ebay for some deep wheels - had the foresight to buy my latest club jersey a size too small anyway for the "racing fit"!
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  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    aero gains are better thought off in the reduction in CdA rather than watts saved at a speed your not riding at. Aero gains of kits are not additive in the normal way but they do add up.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • I've done several races where we're fitted with transponders that work to three decimal places. In bunch sprints for the line, you'll see loads of riders in the results with agonisingly small time gaps spread across just one second.

    It's often scanning the results when you wish you had bought that expensive, speedier skin suit, slicker socks, and pricey more aero bottle cage, to go on top of all that training you've done.
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