Kinetic One’s Ben Price gets aero in the velodrome and finds out that the new K1 80c’s are pretty damn fast!

Aero-testing with Watt Shop. Or more accurately: geeky wattage chat and the ‘tunnel of pain’.

It was a dream day for any cyclist who wants to go faster: private access to the ‘boards’ of an indoor velodrome, a British Cycling coach holding up your splits to make you feel like Wiggo himself, lots of serious data crunching and techy chat about wattage, plus a few new acronyms such as ‘CdA’ thrown in for good measure. Not to mention walking away a faster athlete at the end of the session with no change in physiology!

When my friend and fellow multisport athlete, Dan Geisler suggested some aero testing at the Derby Velodrome I thought he was mad, that it was just for the pros and David Brailsford with his obsession for marginal gains. But the more I thought about the more I thought, ‘why not?’: I train my arse off, have never thought much about my position on the bike (so clearly throw away some power) and fancied taking the TT machine for a spin on the boards. Plus, who’s not excited about the possibility of some ‘free speed’?!

We got in touch Dan Bigham of the new company Watt Shop and sorted a session at the Derby Arena.  Dan Bigham is a university graduate with an engineering degree, a serious passion for the finer detail, a 3 time gold medallist at the British Track Championships earlier this year (and currently heads the British elite road racing rankings), loves all things cycling and is also a very nice bloke to boot. In other words, he was the perfect person to make it a productive but also highly enjoyable day at the track.

The testing involved 8 or 10 laps of the track at a set power and speed (roughly 45kmh) before downloading the data, making changes to our bike setups and doing it again.

The changes I made included testing a high performance 58mm Zipp carbon front wheel against a new K1-80c Carbon front wheel, (that Andy at K1 had built for me the night before), lengthening the stem, narrowing the aerobars, trying a Huub high performance tri suit, shrugging the shoulders (the ‘turtle’) and several different helmet models amongst other things.

It was awesome fun hurtling round the track with Mick or Simon (local British Cycling coaches) holding up the timing iPad to show whether we were up or down on the target lap splits like you see on TV for the pursuit ‘schedules’. For a few fleeting seconds it felt like I was in the individual pursuit, hunting down Sir Bradley.



The only slight problem with the session was that I got the timing wrong on the first couple of tests: I basically went faster than I thought I had to, pushing harder than the threshold effort mentioned by Dan at the start. As the first two sets were at this pace I had to stick at it to make the data as meaningful as possible: in other words it got quite painful as the session went on! In the end it was really hurting and whilst trying to maintain the aerodynamic ‘shrug’ position with a new helmet obscuring my view I was in what can only be described as a narrow ‘tunnel of pain’- 10 laps was more than enough. The hour record? No thank you!

It was reassuring to find out that my Kask Bambino was faster than the other helmets I tried (no need to buy a new one).

Most interestingly from a K1 point of view: The new deeper K1-80c wheels were worth 2.0 watts per wheel over the Zipp 58mm’s I ran as a comparison. To put that in context: the 4 watt gain from going deeper and running a pair of K1-80c’s would take me incredible amounts of training to achieve from body power gains alone!

Ok, there’s a real world out there with things like hills and cross winds getting in the way. So the deeper wheels would of course not always be the best choice. But you can see the principle at work – get the aerodynamics right for your type of riding and you go faster!

Actua Data Below: Wheel aero test comparisons in yellow

Test 1 _ baseline normal position/ Zipp 58 front wheel /K1 prototype Disc Wheel


Test 2 _ baseline normal position/ Kinetic-One K1-80c front /K1 prototype Disc Wheel

Ben test data - watt shop

Sadly, as expected, the horrendously awkward shrug position is worth a fair few watts so I’m going to have to get a bit more flexible and spend more time on the tunnel of pain if I want to maximise my speed!

Overall, it was a brilliant day. I highly recommend Dan and WattShop. It’s a brilliant concept that yields great results. With Dan’s expertise, enthusiasm and cycling talent, WattShop is going to grow massively in the coming months and years. Sign yourself up whilst you can!  Ultimately, what more can a competitive cyclist ask for than a private ride round the velodrome, some wattage chat and walking away at the end of the day a faster rider?



Highs and lows

The highs and lows of sport. Just a few weeks ago I was celebrating selection for the elite GB team for the European Long Distance Duathlon Championships and was buzzing after a great result at the British Elite Duathlon Champs. However, today was not so good. I was trying to defend my title at the Storm the Castle Duathlon in Ludlow but my legs were wrecked and I sat up on the bike leg. I sort of new it would be like that having just got back from a massive 6 days of training in Majorca but you always hope to be OK. I could have finished but with my big race in four weeks time in Germany I thought better of completely mashing myself on the bike and then even more on the hilly final run leg. Whilst remaining pragmatic and philosophical – knowing I had done the right thing – it was still very disappointing standing to the side watching the prize giving and seeing the guys standing on the podium like I did last year. It made me realise how important it is to soak it up whenever you run a PB, win an event or simply put in a great performance that you’re proud of. As endurance athletes we are always working out how to improve and are immediately thinking about the next race and how we can get better, often as soon as we cross the finish line, if not before! Sometimes, when it goes well, we’ve just got to sit back and enjoy the moment.

Transition with Ludlow Castle above

After a mile or so the legs weren’t feeling great and the writing was on the wall. The very hilly run leg (10k) didn’t help!