Every Conceivable Advantage
The Morgan Hill, CA based bike manufacturer Specialized has been running a series of wind tunnel testing articles and videos under the topic of “Aero is Everything.” See http://youtu.be/HXQuSnKkS-I
The latest “test” compares the aerodynamic advantage of disk versus rim brakes. Drum roll…rim brakes by… 8 seconds over a 40 time trial when a 10 degree “yaw” angle is introduced to simulate the effects of a cross wind.
This “compelling” marginal benefit follows a long distinguished list of imaginative questions about other potential aerodynamic advantages…shaved legs, no beards, ladies hairstyles, aero bars, helmets, ad infinitum…that Specialized is testing in their new own wind tunnel.
We just finished a field study with a prominent university’s Department of Sports Medicine on the performance and perceptual benefits of sustained cooling over the head and face during a 6 mile time trial.
What did we find as a “marginal benefit”?
The average time improvement for all riders  riding in temperatures from 84 to 95 degrees F was 10. 4 seconds. For riders performing in temperatures above 85 F [8 riders] the average time improvement using a cooling system was 15.9 seconds. Lastly three cyclists rode their TT at temperatures over 90 and their average time advantage being “cooled” during the ride was 46.6 seconds. Since the effects of heat stress is cumulative we might anticipate the time advantages would improve over the course of a 40 k TT.
The two opposing forces of accelerating or moving any body through space are thrust and drag or power and resistance. As the wind tunnel tests demonstrate there’s two ways to increase your speed:
Reduce drag ( wind resistance)
Increase power (thrust)
Numerous studies and a very common experience tells us that when its hot our ability to deliver and sustain power output falls.
You over heat your engine you start losing power.
While you looking for “every conceivable advantage” don’t forget “you’re the engine, never let it over heat.”
Improve and maintain your power with Spruzza, “A Cooler Way to Ride.”