The Keys to Aero

What Makes You Aero?

What makes you aero is not always what you might think. Through our years of aero testing we've enlightened the industry on what's a priority aerodynamically, and what is not. Positioning, clothing, helmets, hydration and nutrition placement have all been advanced due in part to ERO Sports making aero test results public. Below we take a look at the keys to being aero.

Position is #1

 

There is simply nothing more important to your aerodynamics than your position. All other things combined won't likely add up to the difference a good position can make.

When you think of all the forces you have to overcome to propel your bike forward,you have rolling resistance, drive train resistance, and aerodynamic resistance. If you were to add together rolling resistance, the friction of the drive train, and the aerodynamic drag of your bike and all of it's components, it would only make up maybe, MAYBE, 20% of your overall resistance. YOU are the other 80%! Meaning your body travelling through the air is, by far, the biggest piece of resistance you have to overcome to move forward. Spend all the money you want on a frame, wheels, helmets, clothing, etc., your position will trump them all.

ERO is world renown for helping athletes of all levels achieve aero positions that are both powerful and comfortable. It's what we love to do!

Trans Alps Adventure
Wheels, Helmets, & Clothing

Which is more Important?

After your position, the next three items that most effect your aerodynamics are your wheels, helmet, and clothing. The order of importance is basically interchangeable based on what you're starting with. This can be surprising for many people, but it's been proven in testing over and over again. The good news is, the last several years has seen a huge improvement in all three areas. Not that there are any one of these items that are significantly more aero than their recent siblings. No, what's changed is how many products are consistently aero...far more now than ever before. Helmets, for instance.

Aero Helmets

In the past, we'd test athletes and find huge differences in how one helmet would test over another. There always seemed to be a clear winner. There was never one helmet that was clearly better than another; it was all very athlete dependent. These days, if you have a decent position, chances are several helmets will actually be pretty aero for you; usually 2 or 3 that might be within the margin of error for testing. In other words, if your position is good, more than one helmet will be fast on you because many of the secrets of making helmets aero are really no longer a secret. There're well known and employed by most manufacturers. Sure we see one helmet do a bit better than others at times, but the days of large differences in drag seem to be gone.

 
Skin is Slow

Clothing has been the area of most improvement over the last several years - especially in the sport of Triathlon. There's a belief that ERO created the sleeved Tri suits we see so many athletes use today. That's actually not true. While there have been a number of sleeved suits that have been born inside the ERO Fit Studio, the first short-sleeved Tri suits started with Pearl Izumi, which came out with the Tri Octane suit in 2011. Problem for them was, no one wanted to buy them until we began testing and revealing the results. Then in 2013, we sent a pro triathlete, Luke McKenzie, to the Ironman World Championships in Kona with a sleeved suit. No top pro had ever worn one before, but after Luke's crushing performance, sleeved suits would become commonplace. But, why are sleeved suits faster?

Ever heard the phrase Skin is Slow? It's true, your skin is a terrible aerodynamic surface. Cover it properly and you'll reduce your drag, often significantly, and go faster. That's not the whole story, though. It's not just about covering your skin, a sleeved suit must fit you properly if it's going to be fast. Skin might be slow, but wrinkles are worse! Not every suit is fast. Besides fit, the materials used, and their placement on the suit, make a significant difference.

There's even more to the story of clothing, but we'll stop here for now. Just know clothing can make a massive difference in your performance, and it's UV protective, too!

"Skin is Slow" (ask us the story behind this quote!)

Paul Harder - Trek
Aero Wheels

Now we're talking "Gucci Factor" right?! Aero Wheels are the cool kids on the block. They look cool, they make you faster, and they seem to be the first thing everyone wants. Here's the great news...much like helmets, the differences between the "aeroness" of wheels has decreased over the last few years. Again, there are no secrets anymore (though there are some patents). Manufacturers understand how to make fast wheels and the test results reflect that, which is great news for you, the consumer.

Now you cannot talk wheels anymore without including tires. The aerodynamics and rolling resistance of the tires you choose can make or break the wheels you buy. You must think of them as a complete system. Certain tires work better with certain wheels. Tire width can have a massive effect on the aerodynamics & rolling resistance of wheels as can the tire pressure you use. It's very complex and difficult the stay on top of the ever-changing information. Imagine spending $2500 on a set of wheels that are no faster than a box section rim because of the tire you chose or the tire pressure you use. ERO will help guide you through all of the confusion so you get the performance you paid for from your wheelset.

Hydration and Nutrition

Placement & Use Matter

Hydration & Nutrition is not just about placement, it's also about how you use it. ERO Sports was the first to make the testing of bottles and storage systems public. We showed that the placement of these components could help, or hurt, your aerodynamics, and soon athletes everywhere were placing bottles behind their seat or in between their aero bars among other places. New storage and hydration products were developed with aerodynamics in mind. That was all ERO and our belief that this information belonged in the hands of everyone, not just the select few who could afford wind tunnel testing. What's still not understood in many parts; however, is there's more to the story.

Yes, where you place these pieces is important, but how you use them, is at least, if not more, important. For instance, it's true for most athletes that a bottle or two behind your saddle can improve aerodynamics, or at least not hurt your drag. On the other hand, if you're constantly contorting your body, or leaving your aero position to reach back and use those bottles, any aero gain you might have received is long gone. You've effectively increased your overall drag. Not only that, but if your hydration is difficult to access, you're less likely to use it, robbing you of essential nutrition during your event. Perhaps, then, a bottle on (gasp) the downtube of your bike is actually better placement? Yes, it likely increases your drag a bit, but reaching down to grab your bottle is a lot less drag than reaching behind you, at least for most people. Overall, over the course of your event, it's more aerodynamic. Make sense?

There's only one way to know for sure

Find The Answers Aero Testing

Aero Testing Services

In the end, the only real way to know what's fastest for you is to test. Remove the doubt in your head, and know without question what's your fastest position, helmet, clothing, etc. ERO Sports is, of course, on the forefront of testing athletes. World and Olympic Champions, Pro Teams, National Federations, and age groupers from all over the world come to us for our expertise. Here's the thing, though...we don't believe everyone needs to aero test. Seriously, we can get you most of the way there with just the knowledge we've accrued over the years. Generally speaking, we've developed a pretty good aero eye. So, for us it's not about up-selling services. If we think you can benefit from aero testing, we'll happily do it for you. If we think the benefit doesn't match the cost, we'll tell you that, too. That's the ERO way. It's not about selling, it's about you.

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    Alphamantis Velodrome Testing - $699. ERO SPorts was the first to use the Track Aero System from Alphamantis. We've spent thousands of hours testing athletes in every discipline on the velodrome.

    AeroLab Outdoor Aero Test - $599. Aero sticks are all the rage, but there's only one in the world that measures with yaw - AeroLab. ERO Sports is the exclusive North American provider of outdoor testing using this advanced system. Testing outdoors, the way you actually ride your bike. There is not better more accurate way to do it!

    Don't forget our ERO Dynamic Fit & Aero Test Service! A bike fit and aeor testing using our TriRig Omni bikes. All for $699!

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