Aerodynamics: Tips for a Faster Bike Split

Triathlete in aero
May 21, 2014

D3 Staff


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It’s no secret that aerodynamics play a significant role in shaving down time on the bike. Here are a few tips from Todd Carver, Chief Fit and Education Officer at Retül, to reduce drag and improve performance.

(1) Find a position you can sustain
Go for a position you can hold for the duration of your event and focus on stability. A fast position is one you can manage, and that’s more important than being low on the bike. Low is only better if you can ride that position with stability. If you get a professional bike fit, your fitter will look for biomechanically neutral ranges and help you find a position to maximize comfort and performance.

(2) For helmet choice, think about heat
Helmets are relatively inexpensive compared to wheels and frames yet you’ll see comparable aero benefits with a good helmet choice. First, consider the heat factor for your event. Aero helmets generally have fewer vents, so be sure to train with and test an aero helmet before your event to make sure you won’t be too hot. The helmet should be comfortable, and the tail should sit on your back and match your profile. If heat is a factor, two great hybrid options are the Specialized Evade and the Giro Air Attack. These helmets can keep you cooler and perform almost like a full aero helmet.

(3) Consider wind conditions for wheels
Aerodynamically, a deeper section rim will out-perform a traditional rim. In straight-on wind conditions, 40mm is all you need. However, with any yaw (angle of the wind), going deeper than 40mm is beneficial due to what is known as the sail effect. However, the sail effect also makes the bike harder to handle – so you’ll need to be mindful of adjusting your body position to remain upright.

(4) Clean up your bike
Take advantage of aid stations and feed zones in your event, and get rid of extra fluids and fuel stored on your bike. The gels taped to your top tube will only add drag. Go with two bottles – one between your aero bars and one behind you.

Todd Carver is based in Boulder, CO and offers fit services at the Retül world headquarters. Carver is the co-creator of Positioned for Speed, a new program focused teaching bike fit and aerodynamic principles to bike fitters, coaches and performance professionals. Retül is chosen as the official bike fit technology of Garmin-Sharp, Team Sky, Orica-GreenEdge, Team Europcar, MTN Qhubeka, Colombia Cycling, 4-72 Colombia, British Cycling and USA Triathlon, as well as by numerous world-class triathletes including Ironman World Champions Craig Alexander and Leanda Cave. For more information visit

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