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Illusion of "aero" bike frames

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Illusion of "aero" bike frames

Old 09-29-19, 10:34 PM
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fuji_owner
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Illusion of "aero" bike frames

Why do so many people get bought in on the "aero" frame scam?

No matter how aero a frame is built, the rider's leg movements generate such a huge turbulence, that all the aero effects are gone. For any real aero effects, air flow all around the bike frame needs to be laminar, not turbulent.

And no matter how low you get on the bike, you're still the biggest non-aero component of the bike+human system. You just being on the bike makes it fundamentally non-aero anyways.

You can more likely gain the touted effects of aero frames more by making the drive train and chain stays stiffer for more power transfer, and choosing tires with lower rolling resistance.
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Old 09-29-19, 10:40 PM
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So lets assume that each rider decreases the aero on their bike equally. How can one save a few watts?
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Old 09-29-19, 10:43 PM
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last time I looked there was a number of items on the bike in front of my legs that hit the wind first. Bike is roughly 20% of the overall aero number... small but there.
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Old 09-30-19, 12:01 AM
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Plenty of data showing the gains from an aero frame.
Show me something which proves stiffer chain stays are more efficient at transferring power?
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Old 09-30-19, 05:19 AM
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Reinforces why engineers and physicists have to go to school and the importance of the scientific method. "Sounds good to me" can quickly lead one astray
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Old 09-30-19, 05:45 AM
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Surprising that they haven't gone to using dimples on the frame like they do with golf balls...or maybe they have.🤷
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Old 09-30-19, 06:51 AM
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Riders with a lot of cellulite should benefit from this advantage, in theory.
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Old 09-30-19, 06:53 AM
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Wow OP, that's such an amazing insight.

I guess all those guys on TT bikes are wasting their time too. They don't need those aero bikes or wheels or bars. They should just pedal faster on stiffer frames and their TT times will go down. Right?
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Old 09-30-19, 06:53 AM
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I will agree aero frames have a very small tangible benefit over regular frames, but to brazenly claim everyone who has bought this is "scammed" and to make assertions about "leg turbulence" without any sources, expertise etc? wow.

Keep in mind "aero" frames normally do more than have aerodynamic tube shapes, they often put you, the rider, in a more aggressive aero position, this is especially true with TT or Tri specific frames.
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Old 09-30-19, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
Riders with a lot of cellulite should benefit from this advantage, in theory.
Interesting point.

If riders are... squishier... could we then move the extra around for a tail, for aero? Its not covered in the UCI rules.
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Old 09-30-19, 06:58 AM
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The aero frame is an open embrace of marginal gains. Say the aero frame and fork combine to save you a whole watt. Then you do ten other things that each save you a whole watt. See where this is going?
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Old 09-30-19, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
See where this is going?
Yeah, to > 7 pages.
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Old 09-30-19, 07:09 AM
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Well, winter is right around the corner.
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Old 09-30-19, 07:13 AM
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The most important factors when it comes to aero are position and kit, those make the biggest difference.

Frame and wheels also contribute, but to a much smaller degree, that's when you start talking about taking seconds off your time. Altho, a true aero position usually only comes on an aero frame, so they usually go hand in hand. Don't see anyone putting a TT cockpit on their climbing bike, so that data comparison probably doesn't exist. lol

Manufacturer's will continue to market "aero" and "race/climbing" bikes, but the lines are definitely getting a little blurry. The SL6 Tarmac is almost as aero as the Venge, some say that simply putting more aero handlebars on the Tarmac will make up the difference.

Last edited by Rides4Beer; 09-30-19 at 08:06 AM.
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Old 09-30-19, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by fuji_owner View Post
Why do so many people get bought in on the "aero" frame scam?
Just to annoy people like you.
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Old 09-30-19, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Well, winter is right around the corner.
'Posed to be 90 here in Philly on Wednesday.
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Old 09-30-19, 08:13 AM
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Well he does have a point in that certain elements of the frame can be shaped to produce an aerodynamic benefit, while the shape of other portions are apparently mainly cosmetic.

But I have wondered since I started cycling, and still do, if it's all that helpful then why are there no lightweight facades over all of the small diameter tubes on our steel frame bikes? It would be cheap, weigh hardly anything, and give you almost the same the aero edge as the CF superbike frames. Other than rider position of course.
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Old 09-30-19, 08:15 AM
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I have heard people say that aero frames/bikes can be magical!
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Old 09-30-19, 08:19 AM
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S'not a scam. They look cool, and fast, and if it looks cool and fast then it's worth the extra $.
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Old 09-30-19, 08:30 AM
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They probably provide aerodynamic benefit but they're also really ugly so I support the OP.
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Old 09-30-19, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by fuji_owner View Post
Why do so many people get bought in on the "aero" frame scam?

No matter how aero a frame is built, the rider's leg movements generate such a huge turbulence, that all the aero effects are gone. For any real aero effects, air flow all around the bike frame needs to be laminar, not turbulent.

And no matter how low you get on the bike, you're still the biggest non-aero component of the bike+human system. You just being on the bike makes it fundamentally non-aero anyways.

You can more likely gain the touted effects of aero frames more by making the drive train and chain stays stiffer for more power transfer, and choosing tires with lower rolling resistance.

So all of that pesky scientific data is just bunk, yeah? I'd love to see your data, as it seems to contradict literally decades of testing and retesting.
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Old 09-30-19, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
Riders with a lot of cellulite should benefit from this advantage, in theory.
Please mail me four replacement paper towels that I used for cleaning coffee off my screen

As to the original topic. OP, when you get to cycling heaven, ask Laurent Fignon if he thinks the "aero thing" is a scam. (note the aero frame)


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Old 09-30-19, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by nomadmax View Post
Please mail me four replacement paper towels that I used for cleaning coffee off my screen
It's no myth. At least that's my excuse.

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Old 09-30-19, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
It's no myth. At least that's my excuse.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4Te-wrCQsM
If anyone asks, just say that with your aerodynamic frame and body shape, you can't lose weight cycling because going fast becomes effortless
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Old 09-30-19, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Yeah, to > 7 pages.
Wait until you see the Illusion of Drop Bars
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