Anyone who's aero tested in a wind tunnel or on the velodrome knows how much time is spent/wasted making changes to the bike preparing for the next test. How many changes you can test is limited by time. The harder it is to make changes to your particular bike, the more time you waste. Time is money when you're aero testing; it gets especially expensive if you're paying for a tunnel. The changes, by the way, can also create a lot of wear and tear on your bike and it's components.
The primary goal of any fit and/or aero test is to find the absolute best position you can maintain for the entirety of your event. Nothing matters more than your position...nothing else is even close. Besides that, your position will effect virtually anything else we might need to test. Helmets, clothing, hydration/nutrition setup. All are effected by your position and can't be effectively tested until it's set. The single biggest limiter for me when testing athletes is their equipment, and how quickly changes can be made, or whether we can even achieve the changes we want to make. I wake up in sweats thinking about P-5's!
But, what if I ignored your bike? What if I had a size run of frames with 1X eTap setups, and a Alpha One, we used to find your ideal position? The level of efficiency we could achieve would really change everything for us. On the velodrome, we set the bike up replicating your current position, and run after run, we can very quickly make changes and keep you going. Testing two different position changes multiple times to gather more data teasing out small changes in CdA will be quicker, easier, and less error prone. Instead of 3 or 4 position changes during a session, we could try 10. Once the ideal position is known, we can test helmets and the rest. You get more testing for your money.
Now think of wind tunnel time. Aero camps with generic bikes and Alpha One bars are a much smarter way to go. Let's say you have 10 athletes, and 4 of them ride 54cm bikes. You group them together, and can test positions very, very quickly without wasting time swapping bikes. You come in with saddle positions set up on multiple seat posts, so swapping out each athlete is very quick and efficient. Suddenly there's a lot less time standing around, and more time spent testing. With proper pre-test protocol, each athlete would need less tunnel time, and costs could be brought down. This brings the San Diego tunnel into play for many athletes. You can purchase time in 20 minute increments at a very reasonable cost.
This is where my mind went when Nick first showed me the Alpha One. I think aero testing this way makes more sense for position, helmets, and clothing. Once we know what's ideal for you, we can set up your bike and test anything else more efficiently as well. We can bring costs down, or at least give you more for your money. We're working on this right now. Perhaps we'll have something in place this winter.
Jim Manton / ERO Sports
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