Tips for improving aero position at home


#1

I’m currently too poor to justify buying a new TT bike (apparently paying for my upcoming wedding is “more important”…) so I’m currently training with a road bike with clip on bars.

Although I’m sure it’ll never be the same as a TT bike, I’m keen to get the set up as aero as possible so I’m training in the sort of position that a) I’ll race in with this bike in the early season; and b) I’ll ride in when I finally convince my better half to let me buy a TT / triathlon bike.

Does anyone have any advice on what I can do at home to prove my set up? Are there any good guides out there?

Thanks in advance!


#2

Also a triathlete here.

Only a few months ago I upgraded my base model tri bike to a top of the range tri bike. The difference is massive, and a lot more than I had initially assumed. So much more adjustability and just better body position generally. Even with professional bike fits on both bikes, the older bike and position was nowhere near as close to my new setup and position.

So what I’m saying is, get a professional bike fit for your current bike and practise staying aero and being as efficient and as powerful as possible, because when you do get a dedicated tri bike, you won’t be able to replicate your position.

If you don’t get a fit, then there are plenty of YouTube videos on DIY bike fitting. Having a mirror in front and beside you is super handy, as well as a GoPro or some sort of video recording so you can review your footage and make adjustments.


#3

Posting videos of your fit on the slowtwitch forum will usually yield lots of useful advice.
(Am I allowed to mention other forums on here?!)


#4

I’ve spent several hundred dollars on professional bike fits, including on my TT bike, and I invariably change their settings, usually to be more aggressive and aero or more personalized to my riding style. However, I recently purchased and started using BFF Elite, a bike fit app, which I think is fantastic! I am currently using it to refine my track bike fit and have discovered several issues that I am correcting via adjustments, new stem, etc. Basically, you buy some bright neon green stickers and place them on key places on your body, where angles are calculated (ankles, knee, hip shoulder, elbow, wrist), then you use your phone and the app to take a video of you riding on your bike. After this, you identify the key angle points in the app and it will show you all the critical angles, such as you forearm, torso, knee, etc. And when you play the video back, it will track with those points and you can see the angles change. With this data, and some best practice on fit, you can pretty much dial in whatever you want. Or better yet, gets some pics of world class time trialists, use the app to measure their angles (you can do this with static images without the stickers), and compare and contrast.

http://bikefastfit.com/elite/


#5

Here is a recent pic I exported from the app and shared with some of my track racing colleagues. My saddle slipped over 1.5cm recently (who knows how), and you can see the result here, as my knee angle is overly acute (suggesting I need to raise my saddle). In addition, in order to get more aero and aggressive in form and in line with the current standards in track fit, I am modifying my fit in order to stretch out more. Hence, I am going from a 100mm stem to a 130mm stem.


#6

Looks like an interesting app. Just looking on their website it’s worth pointing out that they are iOS only.


#7

Yup, found that too. Luckily I just bought an iPad for the wife, so I might have to try this out.


#8

Looks interesting, thanks! I’m on android, but fortunately my fiancee has an iPad I can use.


#9

Download a pic of Fabian Cancellara. Take a pic of yourself in a similar stance, so you can see the angles of your torso and arms. Attempt to emulate the fit as best you can while not sacrificing your power, or it being excruciating to hold.

In general, if you are trying to use a road bike for TT, you’ll probably need to move the seat forward, adjust the bars so that your arm angle is close to 90 degrees (sometimes a tad bit less, but never more…you don’t want your upper arms angled away from your chest as if you are leaning forward), and you may need to raise the seat a bit, but just use the typical road bike guidance for seat height or make sure that when your crank is at 6:00 and you are unclipped, that when you rest your heel on the top of the cleat, your leg is straight, not bent, or not over-extended to that your hip has to dip down… Then adjust your stack (height of bars) so that you can hold that position with your back as flat as possible. This will depend on your flexibility and ability to breath correctly, and the personal morphology of your chest and torso, so you may need to experiment. And you may need to alter the length of your bars as you do this to maintain that 90 degree arm angle.

I’ve set up my own TT bike before, to the point to where a professional fitter made only slight adjustments…we’re talking millimeters and not that big of a deal, so you can make the gross or macro changes on your own to get directionally in the right fit. It’s not rocket science, like many make it out to be, and bike fitters aren’t always right, because their guidelines and formulas do not always consider individual nuances or peculiarities, or how you actually ride on the road or in a race.


#10

The after pic, based on longer stem, seat raised, etc. Feels much better and able to stretch out more, plus it got my hands almost directly above the front axle, which creates a more neutral position, ideal for the track.

For those of you experimenting with the app, here is the video (linked below). Just buy some florescent green stickers and place them on the key points shown. You may have to experiment and shoot the video multiple times to get the dots to reflect the center points of your arms, legs, bending points, etc, in order to reflect the angles correctly. Everything is pretty straight forward, and lines almost exactly with your joints, except the shoulder…that took some doing. Once you add the stickers and shoot the video, you use the app to identify these points…it will find them automatically if you click close to them. Then the points and angles will track with the video so that you can look at the angles at different body positions. Also, makes sure you set your axle points in the app too. It will ask you to do this.