10 tips for a faster bike leg

I recently spent an afternoon with Dan Bigham of WattShop at the Derby Velodrome riding the boards and talking techy aero chat (not at the same time). It was a dream of an afternoon!

I learnt tonnes and here are the 10 go-faster-tips that I gleaned from the experience:

1. The ‘turtle’: shrugging the shoulders in aero saves big wattage – Spend as much time on the TT bike as possible with your head tucked in training the body to adapt to this aerodynamic position. We draw the line at operating on one’s clavicles to encourage a more aero body shape as suggested by Ed Clancy (I think) some years ago, but it’s a nice idea.
2. Latex inner tubes are faster than conventional rubber inner tubes – They’re incredibly porous so you’ll just have to keep pumping them up. Luckily they’re fast enough to offset the inevitable gain in arm muscle mass from all that pumping #guns #goodforthebeach.
3. K1–80 wheels are FAST – And also worth noting that they are very reasonably priced.
4. 23C on the front and 25C on the back – Though I must admit, this debate seems to always go in circles (no pun intended)
5. If you’re running a tub, then the Vitoria Corsa G Speed is pretty damn shifty – Just don’t let your other half find the receipt. I can tell you, it’s not pretty (ultimately, they’re right, it is just a tyre).
6. Skin suits really are slick and worth investing in – Just avoid being seen by your neighbours on your way out the door to your local 10. They simply won’t understand.
7. Shave your legs – Only a marginal aerodynamic advantage but more importantly, it just looks right. The same applies as previously re the neighbours. But also, your wife may not be too impressed and it’s a little hard to avoid her.
8. Cables are evil – Those were Dan Bigham’s exact words. Dan is founder and owner of WattShop, who also happens to be a 3 time British track champion and a bit of cycling legend, so I wouldn’t argue. If you’ve got the money, go electronic shifting. If not, then a cable tie and some electrical tape can work wonders.
9. Clean your drive chain – A mucky drive train will cost you some watts. I got a right ticking off.
10. Change your jockey wheels – Data suggests that the Tacx t4065 jockey wheels are great, worth exactly a 1 watt saving over conventional jockey wheels. This is probably the most marginal of marginal gains. Only to be done if you’ve:
a) maximised your training
b) maximised your body position on the bike
c) can hold the turtle position for the whole event
d) have optimised all other equipment
e) done all the above
f) have excess cash
g) are obsessed (which most of us are)


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