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# What does a speed suit do?

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# What does a speed suit do?

01-05-19, 08:50 PM
#26
Maelochs
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
Aero resistance ramps up exponentially as speed increases so it takes a Lot more power to go from 30 mph to 32 mph than it does to go from 15 to 16. And at 15 mph aero drag, while still the biggest thing you back, is minuscule compared to drag a to drag at 20.If you are not expending that many watts to begin with, the savings are going to be pretty small—probably not noticeable. .
Originally Posted by asgelle
To set the record straight, aero drag goes quadratically as speed, not exponentially. It takes 21% more power to go from 30 to 32 mph; it also takes 21% more to go from 15 to 16 mph. The drag at 15 mph is 56% that at 20 mph.
Originally Posted by seamuis
translation: pretty much nothing matters, aerodynamically speaking, at speeds below what pro racers average. So a skin suit is perfectly designed for the people it’s designed for. Therefore the cost is irrelevant. If you’re not one of those peoples, you have no reason to even care that they exist, much less wether they’re worth the cost.
Originally Posted by asgelle
You completely misunderstood my post. If you have something to say, say it yourself. Don’t hide behind someone else.
Actually, @seamuis pretty much translated my post.

I am not a mathematician. I do understand that aero drag increases at a rate in multiples of speed, not directly, so that id you go twice as fast, the drag quadruples ... or some such. I thought it went by the square of the irate of increase ... but the basic principle is the same. if you go slowly, drag is relatively low. If you go a little faster, drag increases even more quickly. if you go way faster, drag balloons and gets to be huge.

Therefore ... if you are riding at 15 mph, the aero drag isn't huge, but if you are riding at 25 it is. if you are trying to get from 30 to 32 mph, the wattage increase is proportional to the increase in drag, which is Way more than the increase in drag going from 15 to 16 mph. (And yes, I see where @asgelle claims it takes the same watt increase to go from 15-16 as from 30-32---but since the aero resistance is about three times as great or more, i don't see how that makes sense since you need power to overcome resistance and the resistance is not growing in a linear fashion... why would required wattage? Whatever.)

So, while anyone Can wear a skinsuit, it might not make much of a difference---spend the money on hiring a coach or something. or buy a skinsuit and wear it proudly--I don't care.

I have seen a couple different charts showing how much each alteration translates into a time advantage---but those all presuppose a person riding flat-out over a 40-k TT or some such.(I notice they all claim radically different numbers, which makes me totally doubt their accuracy. Science is performing the same experiment and getting approximately the same result. if one gets a number twice what the other got, someone is doing it wrong--maybe both.)

Also, this chart lists aero bars and an aero position ... but how can one achieve an full aero position without aero bars? Hmmmm .....

In any case ... even a hardcore pro TT expert isn't going to gain much from wearing a skinsuit when he is riding around the block with his kids on their bikes with training wheels. So, pretty much, at speeds below what the really fast riders ride, that skin suit is likely not the most effective investment.

Still might be the right purchase. That is a personal thing. I never see sea lions while out riding.

01-05-19, 09:14 PM
#27
Nermal
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Originally Posted by Doctor Morbius
Just shave your entire body and wear a thong and apply a dash of oil to the skin. Way cheaper.
Yes, oil definitely reduces friction.
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Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

01-05-19, 09:41 PM
#28
seamuis
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Originally Posted by asgelle

You completely misunderstood my post. If you have something to say, say it yourself. Don’t hide behind someone else.
woa there mate, first of all I wasn’t hiding behind anything. My entire post was jest. Secondly, I didn’t misunderstand anything. Again, my post was jest, it wasn’t meant as an actual explainer of your words.

01-05-19, 09:41 PM
#29
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Originally Posted by OBoile
No, it means a speed suit will make you faster at all levels/speeds.
Aerodynamics certainly factor in at speeds well below what the pros do.
Sure, but when looking at performance "upgrades" in any speed sport, aero is the thing that bumps you from 99.5% to 99.9%, it is something that can bump up speed a bit when much larger contributions are running consistently as fast as they can. It is absolutely critical at top competition, because everyone else has the body tuned out, it can provide the marginal gains you need to win.

Yes, someone averaging 15mph can go marginally faster with a suit, but they aren't consistent to the point where you can actually look at the suit and notice it making any difference. They may well beat their suit time in jean shorts and a cotton tshirt the next day, simply because that day they got into a better rhythm.

01-05-19, 09:48 PM
#30
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
and have the fancy graphics painted on your body..
Tattooed

01-05-19, 10:01 PM
#31
asgelle
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
Science is performing the same experiment and getting approximately the same result. if one gets a number twice what the other got, someone is doing it wrong--maybe both.)
Ignoring all the other errors in the post, I’ll point out that you misunderstand these results. For the most part they aren’t from direct measurements, rather they come from a model (which has been thoroughly validated so there’s no question as to its validity) applied to different equipment sets. Since different people use different underlying assumptions/conditions, there’s really no contradiction in the results. There’s no one answer to how much time a skin suit saves. It depends on the rider’s power, the other equipment she’s using, and what she was wearing before.

01-05-19, 10:23 PM
#32
OBoile
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Originally Posted by jefnvk
Sure, but when looking at performance "upgrades" in any speed sport, aero is the thing that bumps you from 99.5% to 99.9%, it is something that can bump up speed a bit when much larger contributions are running consistently as fast as they can. It is absolutely critical at top competition, because everyone else has the body tuned out, it can provide the marginal gains you need to win.

Yes, someone averaging 15mph can go marginally faster with a suit, but they aren't consistent to the point where you can actually look at the suit and notice it making any difference. They may well beat their suit time in jean shorts and a cotton tshirt the next day, simply because that day they got into a better rhythm.
It's been said many times on this forum, the absolute time differences are actually greater at slower speeds.
How much that matters to someone is personal preference, but it doesn't change the fact that it will make a difference.

01-05-19, 10:26 PM
#33
OBoile
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
Actually, @seamuis pretty much translated my post.

I am not a mathematician. I do understand that aero drag increases at a rate in multiples of speed, not directly, so that id you go twice as fast, the drag quadruples ... or some such. I thought it went by the square of the irate of increase ... but the basic principle is the same. if you go slowly, drag is relatively low. If you go a little faster, drag increases even more quickly. if you go way faster, drag balloons and gets to be huge.

Therefore ... if you are riding at 15 mph, the aero drag isn't huge, but if you are riding at 25 it is. if you are trying to get from 30 to 32 mph, the wattage increase is proportional to the increase in drag, which is Way more than the increase in drag going from 15 to 16 mph. (And yes, I see where @asgelle claims it takes the same watt increase to go from 15-16 as from 30-32---but since the aero resistance is about three times as great or more, i don't see how that makes sense since you need power to overcome resistance and the resistance is not growing in a linear fashion... why would required wattage? Whatever.)
He didn't say this.

01-05-19, 10:29 PM
#34
asgelle
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Originally Posted by OBoile
It's been said many times on this forum, the absolute time differences are actually greater at slower speeds.
How much that matters to someone is personal preference, but it doesn't change the fact that it will make a difference.
In all threads like this there are people who’ve made up their mind that something isn’t important to them and then twist or straight out make up facts to show it isn’t important to anyone.

01-05-19, 10:59 PM
#35
jon c.
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Originally Posted by caloso

and you need somewhere to pin or glue on your number.
htfu

01-06-19, 12:17 AM
#36
jefnvk
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Originally Posted by OBoile
It's been said many times on this forum, the absolute time differences are actually greater at slower speeds.
How much that matters to someone is personal preference, but it doesn't change the fact that it will make a difference.
Not quite sure I'm following you here. Are you saying if you put a rider that could average 13mph and one that could ride 25mph on the same course, the presence or lack of a suit would affect the 13mph rider more?

01-06-19, 04:18 AM
#37
bruce19
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I'm an ex-college football player. If I get a skin suit it's going to say GOODYEAR on it.

01-06-19, 04:28 AM
#38
Maelochs
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Originally Posted by jefnvk
Not quite sure I'm following you here. Are you saying if you put a rider that could average 13mph and one that could ride 25mph on the same course, the presence or lack of a suit would affect the 13mph rider more?
if for no other reason than because he will be on the course longer and enjoying the benefit for longer.

As i tried to say earlier ... as far as I have heard, aero advantages are greater proportionately for slow riders .... but that means you are going from 15.75 to 15.85 mph----and smaller proportionately but greater overall for fast riders. if a skin suit saves 5 watts and you are only putting out 100, it is a five percent gain. if you are putting out 400 watts, 5 watts is almost negligible ... but it might be the difference of beating the guy who didn't wear the skinsuit.

For someone who is riding at 40 percent output ... and not even timing his ride ... what metric matters? Wear a skinsuit if you like it.

For someone pushing for maximum performance in a race, the metric which matters is shortest time from start to finish ... and skinsuit will save a couple seconds.

01-06-19, 04:36 AM
#39
Maelochs
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
I have seen a couple different charts showing how much each alteration translates into a time advantage---but those all presuppose a person riding flat-out over a 40-k TT or some such.(I notice they all claim radically different numbers, which makes me totally doubt their accuracy. Science is performing the same experiment and getting approximately the same result. if one gets a number twice what the other got, someone is doing it wrong--maybe both.)
Originally Posted by asgelle
Ignoring all the other errors in the post, I’ll point out that you misunderstand these results. For the most part they aren’t from direct measurements, rather they come from a model (which has been thoroughly validated so there’s no question as to its validity) applied to different equipment sets. Since different people use different underlying assumptions/conditions, there’s really no contradiction in the results. There’s no one answer to how much time a skin suit saves. It depends on the rider’s power, the other equipment she’s using, and what she was wearing before.
I guess you don’t see that your reply completely validated my post … but thanks. The numbers quoted are not absolutes, as you say … they are specific to a single experiment or set of experiments.

So any one quoting thos e figures and applying them to any other rider in any other situation (“A skin suit will save you X, acas this chart shows”) is wrong. All it show s ihtat there is some saving to be had under certain conditions. And as I pointed out, we don’t even know how they did their experiments---how did they evaluate the benefit of a ‘wind-tunnel-refined aero riding position” which had to have been done with aero bars … and then determine a different value for the riding position and the aero bars? Can’t have one without the other. So … as I stated those are not scientifically derived and verified values …. And in themselves, all they say is that there seems to be some advantage to certain gear and practices. Glad we agree.

01-06-19, 08:22 AM
#40
asgelle
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
And as I pointed out, we don’t even know how they did their experiments ...
Speak for yourself. If you looked up the articles from which the figure was taken, Buying Time: Costs and Benefits of Time Trial Equipment - The Buzz http://www.aerosportsresearch.com/pdf/buying-time.pdf all the details are described. I'd say the fault is with Elvo for presenting the figure out of context and any reader who thinks that one figure is the sum total and definitive word on the subject.

01-06-19, 08:37 AM
#41
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Originally Posted by jefnvk
Not quite sure I'm following you here. Are you saying if you put a rider that could average 13mph and one that could ride 25mph on the same course, the presence or lack of a suit would affect the 13mph rider more?

As I understand it, the 13 mph rider will actually save more total time over a given distance. But, the percentage of time saved will be lower. So for example (I'm just making these numbers up) lets assume a 13 mph rider and a 26 mph rider. For a 13 mile course, the 13 mph rider might save 1 minute over an hour of riding. The 26 mph rider may save 40 seconds over half an hour of riding. Something like that.

But all this is just going by what I've read here.

Ultimately, it will make both riders slightly faster. It's up to you if that is worth the cost/expense of a speed suit. I don't own one, so it clearly isn't worth it to me.

01-06-19, 09:12 AM
#42
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Originally Posted by OBoile

As I understand it, the 13 mph rider will actually save more total time over a given distance. But, the percentage of time saved will be lower. So for example (I'm just making these numbers up) lets assume a 13 mph rider and a 26 mph rider. For a 13 mile course, the 13 mph rider might save 1 minute over an hour of riding. The 26 mph rider may save 40 seconds over half an hour of riding. Something like that.

But all this is just going by what I've read here.

Ultimately, it will make both riders slightly faster. It's up to you if that is worth the cost/expense of a speed suit. I don't own one, so it clearly isn't worth it to me.
the rub is that if you’re riding at 13mph on average, it’s very unlikely that you’re actually trying to go fast, or save time. Because 13mph does neither for you. So while a skinsuit would actually save you more time over a set distance than a pro rider that’s averaging 25mph, it’s the pro rider that needs that marginal gain, more than the 13mph rider needs their larger gain. This is exactly why I said that the skinsuit was designed for the pro rider. The fact that an average rider, riding at a pretty average pace would get a bigger benefit from the reduction in drag that the skinsuit provides, is for the most part meaningless, precisely because the 13mph rider is highly unlikely to be trying to get any gains. And if they are, they would be better off getting up to the pro riders level first, before worrying about the skinsuit. Even though, at that level, the skinsuit gives a smaller gain. But if the 13mph rider wanted to wear a skinsuit, regardless of reason or cost, it would indeed be quite beneficial, just not in a way that practically matters, when you’re riding at 13mph.

so what does it do? It makes you look like you spent a bunch of money, while you’re still riding at an average speed. That’s about it. So if that’s what you’re going for, then crack on.

see how this all works? Continue on with the puffed egos and fact/figure chest pounding, lads. I’m sure you’ll make marginal gains in forum discourse.

Last edited by seamuis; 01-06-19 at 09:20 AM.

01-06-19, 09:36 AM
#43
OBoile
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Originally Posted by OBoile
Ultimately, it will make both riders slightly faster. It's up to you if that is worth the cost/expense of a speed suit. I don't own one, so it clearly isn't worth it to me.
Originally Posted by seamuis

the rub is that if you’re riding at 13mph on average, it’s very unlikely that you’re actually trying to go fast, or save time. Because 13mph does neither for you. So while a skinsuit would actually save you more time over a set distance than a pro rider that’s averaging 25mph, it’s the pro rider that needs that marginal gain, more than the 13mph rider needs their larger gain. This is exactly why I said that the skinsuit was designed for the pro rider. The fact that an average rider, riding at a pretty average pace would get a bigger benefit from the reduction in drag that the skinsuit provides, is for the most part meaningless, precisely because the 13mph rider is highly unlikely to be trying to get any gains. And if they are, they would be better off getting up to the pro riders level first, before worrying about the skinsuit. Even though, at that level, the skinsuit gives a smaller gain. But if the 13mph rider wanted to wear a skinsuit, regardless of reason or cost, it would indeed be quite beneficial, just not in a way that practically matters, when you’re riding at 13mph.

so what does it do? It makes you look like you spent a bunch of money, while you’re still riding at an average speed. That’s about it. So if that’s what you’re going for, then crack on.

see how this all works? Continue on with the puffed egos and fact/figure chest pounding, lads. I’m sure you’ll make marginal gains in forum discourse.
Hence my statement above. Others may feel differently. It's entirely a matter of personal preference.

01-06-19, 10:01 AM
#44
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resident 13mph PRO

Originally Posted by seamuis

the rub is that if you’re riding at 13mph on average, it’s very unlikely that you’re actually trying to go fast, or save time. Because 13mph does neither for you. So while a skinsuit would actually save you more time over a set distance than a pro rider that’s averaging 25mph, it’s the pro rider that needs that marginal gain, more than the 13mph rider needs their larger gain. This is exactly why I said that the skinsuit was designed for the pro rider. The fact that an average rider, riding at a pretty average pace would get a bigger benefit from the reduction in drag that the skinsuit provides, is for the most part meaningless, precisely because the 13mph rider is highly unlikely to be trying to get any gains. And if they are, they would be better off getting up to the pro riders level first, before worrying about the skinsuit. Even though, at that level, the skinsuit gives a smaller gain. But if the 13mph rider wanted to wear a skinsuit, regardless of reason or cost, it would indeed be quite beneficial, just not in a way that practically matters, when you’re riding at 13mph.

so what does it do? It makes you look like you spent a bunch of money, while you’re still riding at an average speed. That’s about it. So if that’s what you’re going for, then crack on.

see how this all works? Continue on with the puffed egos and fact/figure chest pounding, lads. I’m sure you’ll make marginal gains in forum discourse.
As a (Passive, Retired, Old (68) rider I agree. The only time I hit 30mph is bombing down the mountain, and then I'm dragging the brakes and promising myself disc brakes on the next bike. And I am certain the "slick" advantage (to me) of a skin suit is lost by the extra weight and resistance of additional water bottles needed to get there in twice the time. I think skin suits are really effective for only two types of riders. Pure racers and Egos with money to burn.

01-06-19, 10:14 AM
#45
seamuis
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Pure racers and Egos with money to burn.
Oddly enough, exactly who they’re marketed to. Funny that. So all this egotistical arguing of statistics and tests, is for the birds. Because literally the only worthwhile response to the OP’s statement is: they help you go a little faster, and they cost what people are willing to pay. Wether that is ‘silly’ is completely up to the individual.

Last edited by seamuis; 01-06-19 at 10:32 AM.

01-06-19, 10:22 AM
#46
asgelle
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Originally Posted by grayEZrider
I think skin suits are really effective for only two types of riders. Pure racers and Egos with money to burn.
Again with the special physics just for cycling. Skin suits lower drag and hence are effective for all riders at all cycling speeds. whether the cost is worth the gain is up to each rider to decide for themself. Don't impose you values on others. And what do you mean by a pure racer? What separates the pure from the impure?

One thing to mention regarding greater time saved for slower riders, if you look at results for a time trial, the absolute time gaps between riders is about the same for the slower groups as it is for the faster ones. That means a slower rider is likely to move up more places by optimizing equipment than a faster one.

01-06-19, 11:37 AM
#47
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not imposing values.. and agree

Originally Posted by asgelle
Again with the special physics just for cycling. Skin suits lower drag and hence are effective for all riders at all cycling speeds. whether the cost is worth the gain is up to each rider to decide for themself. Don't impose you values on others. And what do you mean by a pure racer? What separates the pure from the impure?

One thing to mention regarding greater time saved for slower riders, if you look at results for a time trial, the absolute time gaps between riders is about the same for the slower groups as it is for the faster ones. That means a slower rider is likely to move up more places by optimizing equipment than a faster one.
I agree that the gear does work and to a larger (percentage wise?) for slower riders, as I can feel and measure the difference between my bulky winter riding gear as opposed to light, tighter summer riding gear. As for a definition of "Pure racer"? I think a pure racer is anyone who actually enters and races at any level. Its a question of determination.
First race, once a year, Pro, whatever. It is the dedication to the task that defines "racer".
Or maybe that is just my age giving into the new age "participation trophy" thinking?

01-06-19, 02:22 PM
#48
Maelochs
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Well .... evolution is proven. This is what grew out of the "Does weight matter" debates.

01-06-19, 06:57 PM
#49
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Originally Posted by Teamprovicycle
To a amature racer skin/speed suits seem kinda silly .
spend almost 1000 bucks to cover up in a thin silly material.
why not just race naked , or shorts only .
Body position generally matters most. When you got that, then work on bike and kit. It all adds up from bike parts, to placement (cables) etc. Shaving legs and arms helps. A speed suit (like a Castelli body paint) is noticeable when riding for time. Booties - vs most shoes, help. Vs some shoes, not as much. Silicone spray bike, oil body, don't turn head - or get a different helmet. Aero water bottle. If you are really into it you need to get a rule book and see what you can get away with. The really fast stuff is not allowed.
​​​​​​​
But naked would be pretty fast, just that hard to pedal in bare feet, also most would fidget vs a good set of shorts with correct pad. The compression on the kits (technically UCI illegal, they just ignore speed suits) is likely better than being naked.
So my guess is a naked person would put in a slower speed than one in a speed suit.

01-06-19, 07:38 PM
#50
jefnvk
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