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Where aero matters most (and why I am reconsidering my next wheel purchase)

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Where aero matters most (and why I am reconsidering my next wheel purchase)

Old 02-14-13, 10:51 PM
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RoboIsGod
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Where aero matters most (and why I am reconsidering my next wheel purchase)

I was flipping through Cyclopedia: It's All About The Bike (https://www.amazon.com/Cyclopedia-Its.../dp/156976817X) and came to the section on Aerodynamics. Included was a small chart that listed "Percentage of drag in the following":
Body: 80%
Frame: 5%
Wheels: 4%
I had already been sold on the benefits of aero wheels but have always understood that its 'more about the engine' and less about the bike, but these figures really shook me. Why invest and focus so much attention on a part of the bike that really may not be helping us as much as we'd like to think?
After that chart was "Ways to improve aerodynamics":
Triathlon Bars: 10%
Tear Drop Helmet: 2%
One Piece Skinsuit: 2%
Shoe Covers: 1%
Smoothed Out Carbon Frame: 2%
Disc Wheels: 2% Depending on wind direction

All of the above are almost only helpful to time trialist and are therefore no help to us roadies/road racers. Heck, only having disc wheels could help by 2%, and thats totally wind dependent! I'm not trying to start another aero war, because I please the information is there and this has been beaten to death. What I really want is someone to convince me again that buying the Zipp 404's will really help my race game as much I want them to! (charts, numbers, watts, etc.)
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Old 02-14-13, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by RoboIsGod View Post
What I really want is someone to convince me again that buying the Zipp 404's will really help my race game as much I want them to! (charts, numbers, watts, etc.)
Sorry, but they won't help you much.
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Old 02-14-13, 10:57 PM
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Old 02-14-13, 11:47 PM
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4% is a big deal, from 60 mins to ~57:30... but that is irrelevant if the engine DNF.

If the $ is just sitting around though, why not? Incremental improvements don't matter too much for commuters and such, but in a race where minutes separate 1st and 50th...
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Old 02-15-13, 12:17 AM
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If you want them and you can realistically afford them, buy them. But first think about if you are going to be pissed off if they don't make you noticeably faster, in which case, skip it. Maybe also think about whether you will really race them - I bought some for my TT bike and thought I would use them in crits. I did use them in a couple crits, but luckily not for the one where I crashed and broke my front wheel. Made me think about it. Not sure whether they are going to any crits this year.

Probably get more aero benefit by slamming your stem and bending your elbows, which is free.

F-it, though, buy them anyway.
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Old 02-15-13, 12:21 AM
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There are also may be weight benefits, and more importantly handling.
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Old 02-15-13, 12:34 AM
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I thought it was painfully obvious that the human body is not very aero.

Position is super important.
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Old 02-15-13, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by RoboIsGod View Post
What I really want is someone to convince me again that buying the Zipp 404's will really help my race game as much I want them to! (charts, numbers, watts, etc.)
What race game is that?
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Old 02-15-13, 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Beneficial Ear View Post
4% is a big deal, from 60 mins to ~57:30... but that is irrelevant if the engine DNF.
With aero wheels we're talking less than 60 seconds faster over 25 miles. And that's only if you can push 25mph+ since drag goes up at the square of speed. Seconds can win a race though. For recreational riders, not so much.

Last edited by Dunbar; 02-15-13 at 12:40 AM.
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Old 02-15-13, 01:09 AM
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Do you have a powermeter? What about a coach?

Either of those things will help you get faster. I was thinking of buying new wheels, but decided to save my cash for a powermeter.

Edit: Even saving that $$$ and joining more races will help. Experience matters just as much as the engine, iyam. I've never raced, but saving the $$$ for a trip to a crit would help you learn how to apply racing tactics and strategy than shaving off a few seconds. Once you get into the Cat 3 or lower then you'll need your $$$ to save on "teh grams!1!"
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Old 02-15-13, 01:21 AM
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When you look at the profile of a cyclist, the human body is the most non aerodynamic part, so if there is a way to squeeze the body sideways you can the aero form. I would like to suggest this being done at a young age when the bones are still soft and able to be manipulated. You get a baby from the day he is born and apply a wooden wedge that flattens his body and head sideways. He may look like a freak but years later, you'll get a lean, mean aerodynamic body capable of cutting through the wind.
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Old 02-15-13, 02:20 AM
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Have you heard a solid disc wheel rolling over a typical road?
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Old 02-15-13, 03:34 AM
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I wonder how much of a percentage going to slightly narrower tires has?
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Old 02-15-13, 03:35 AM
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Originally Posted by RoboIsGod View Post
...What I really want is someone to convince me again that buying the Zipp 404's will really help my race game as much I want them to! (charts, numbers, watts, etc.)
They won't.
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Old 02-15-13, 04:03 AM
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Originally Posted by RoboIsGod View Post
I was flipping through Cyclopedia: It's All About The Bike (https://www.amazon.com/Cyclopedia-Its.../dp/156976817X) and came to the section on Aerodynamics. Included was a small chart that listed "Percentage of drag in the following":
Body: 80%
Frame: 5%
Wheels: 4%
I had already been sold on the benefits of aero wheels but have always understood that its 'more about the engine' and less about the bike, but these figures really shook me. Why invest and focus so much attention on a part of the bike that really may not be helping us as much as we'd like to think?
After that chart was "Ways to improve aerodynamics":
Triathlon Bars: 10%
Tear Drop Helmet: 2%
One Piece Skinsuit: 2%
Shoe Covers: 1%
Smoothed Out Carbon Frame: 2%
Disc Wheels: 2% Depending on wind direction

All of the above are almost only helpful to time trialist and are therefore no help to us roadies/road racers. Heck, only having disc wheels could help by 2%, and thats totally wind dependent! I'm not trying to start another aero war, because I please the information is there and this has been beaten to death. What I really want is someone to convince me again that buying the Zipp 404's will really help my race game as much I want them to! (charts, numbers, watts, etc.)
Do you spend much time at the pointy end of the race, either in breaks, driving the peloton or seeing significant wind at speed? Aero wheels might save you some crucial effort earlier in a race that you can use towards a winning tactic later. But if you are pack fill, they will look nice on your bike.
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Old 02-15-13, 06:12 AM
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It's a fashion thing. If you want other roadies to think you're kool, get em.
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Old 02-15-13, 06:17 AM
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Using 60mm deep carbon tubulars vs standard 27mm "aero rim" wheels saved me 19 seconds on a 10 mile out-and-back time trial on the same course. You determine if that's worth $1000+.

I'm selling those wheels btw.
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Old 02-15-13, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by EdIsMe View Post
Using 60mm deep carbon tubulars vs standard 27mm "aero rim" wheels saved me 19 seconds on a 10 mile out-and-back time trial on the same course. You determine if that's worth $1000+.

I'm selling those wheels btw.
That's a realistic expectation.
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Old 02-15-13, 06:39 AM
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I loved my 404's and I miss them. Did they make me faster? Maybe. They sure FELT faster and they sounded awesome as they hummed down the road and that made them fun. For me cycling is about fun so I am back in the market for deep carbon wheelset.
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Old 02-15-13, 06:55 AM
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In a mass start race you should be seeking as much shelter as possible, and keeping your nose out of the wind as much as you can. Aero is going to mean less in those situations. Now, if you're going to try and go off the front and TT yourself to the win, you'd better get low and aero and prepare to suffer (being able to bury yourself in the red and hold it there when you want nothing more than to stop is far more important than how aero your wheels are).

A TT is a different story. You'd better get your un-aero body into as aero a position as possible, and every fractional savings from your gear being aero is going to add up. TTs can be won by fractions of a second. Every little bit helps.

Recreational riding? None of it matters.
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Old 02-15-13, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Beneficial Ear View Post
4% is a big deal, from 60 mins to ~57:30... but that is irrelevant if the engine DNF.
Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post
With aero wheels we're talking less than 60 seconds faster over 25 miles. And that's only if you can push 25mph+ since drag goes up at the square of speed. Seconds can win a race though. For recreational riders, not so much.
Pretty sure the 4% figure is the total percentage of drag the wheels contribute. You obviously can't eliminate all the drag, hence he difference between aero wheels and conventional wheels is more what Dunbar said.
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Old 02-15-13, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by EdIsMe View Post
Using 60mm deep carbon tubulars vs standard 27mm "aero rim" wheels saved me 19 seconds on a 10 mile out-and-back time trial on the same course. You determine if that's worth $1000+.

I'm selling those wheels btw.
If you are into TT's then that could be the difference between a medal or not.
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Old 02-15-13, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Andy Somnifac View Post
In a mass start race you should be seeking as much shelter as possible, and keeping your nose out of the wind as much as you can. Aero is going to mean less in those situations.
But it still matters. If your going to win you nose has to be in the wind at some point. That may be only for a few seconds, sprinting in the high 30's. But it's at speeds like that aerodynamics makes the most difference.
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Old 02-15-13, 08:49 AM
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You can train all you want and make improvements but performance of wheels is purchased. You buy improvements and they occur regradless of the shape you're in.
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Old 02-15-13, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
But it still matters. If your going to win you nose has to be in the wind at some point. That may be only for a few seconds, sprinting in the high 30's. But it's at speeds like that aerodynamics makes the most difference.
Not to mention the work saved by using less power sitting in with aero equipment so when you do go to the front, you're less fatigued.
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