Aero road frames..do they actually make a difference?

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  • Aero road frames..do they actually make a difference?
  • trail_rat
    Member

    The new redesigned disk model is pretty dang comfy.

    The old ones were proper anal jackhammers I didn’t buy one because of that and the shite brakes.

    If he is a mate, why doesn’t he slow down a bit for you? Is he in a hurry to get somewhere?

    If you’ve got the money and that’s how you want to spend it then that’s cool, but maybe you could think of something else to do with that money to bring more joy to your life.

    Noticing a funny undercurrent in this thread*: since when did it become wrong to want to buy fast bikes, ride them fast and race your mates? Given the legendary status of some of the commenters, I’m assuming people do realise it’s fun to go fast yeah?

    *or just missing the jokes?

    TiRed
    Member

    That’s the only time I’ve ever seen the words Propel and comfort used in the same sentence!

    I’ve raced mine over 200+ km (ok French roads 😉 ), and have regularly ridden 100 mile plus rides – you’ve seen it on Ride London. It’s fine, honestly. Position is what makes comfort, My Propel is not as rigid as my Defy. I cured the poor original brakes with some (expensive) Fourier’s. Then Giant bought them for the update on my second Propel. They made a HUGE difference. Saddle position is UCI 5cm behind BB, any further back might cause some discomfort I guess. Position on all three bikes is identical.

    If I had to choose just the one bike, and not race, I’d probably buy a TCR SL now.

    The Canyon is a better looker though. Except I like white bikes.

    Flaperon
    Member

    Above about 30kph my mate’s Orbea Orca Aero just pulls away from my Canyon Ultimate when freewheeling downhill. Up to that point the drag seems to be about equal.

    My Canyon is about a million times quicker uphill though, corners like a demon and doesn’t have to be surgically extracted from me after a long ride on rough roads.

    Premier Icon Richie_B
    Subscriber

    When we push on on the flats he can maintain a good pace (let’s say 24/25 mph) whilst well under his ftp, where as I’m far closer to threshold at that pace.

    You might be missing the point of road riding (maintaining a casual relaxed expression when you’re breathing through your ears to crush the moral of everyone around you)

    corundum
    Member

    < I will be putting out around 260 watts (roughly my ftp) going at the same pace as him (when not drafting), and he’ll be putting out not much more than that, which is well below his ftp of just over 300.>

    …..and therein lies the answer to your problem! Save your cash and get stronger. Its not rocket science.

    tpbiker
    Member

    and therein lies the answer to your problem! Save your cash and get stronger. Its not rocket science.

    Genuine question..what bikes do you own? I’m going to assume you ride rigid single speeds or heavy road bikes from yesteryear because you have no requirement for any technical advantage. I don’t need to save my cash, but I’m not going to buy something that isn’t going to be of benefit.

    As for getting stronger, I’m considerably faster than I was a year ago. But unsurprisingly so is he, which is the issue.

    Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Subscriber

    Was just turning into this, when I suddenly hear him jamming on the anchors behind/alongside me as he nearly overshot the corner.

    ‘Kin hell! Just reading that terrifies me! 😬

    Premier Icon dudeofdoom
    Subscriber

    You might be missing the point of road riding (maintaining a casual relaxed expression when you’re breathing through your ears to crush the moral of everyone around you)

    He’s not joking btw 🙂

    Premier Icon dudeofdoom
    Subscriber

    It’s the old marginal gainz thing.

    I have a venge with zips(non pussy version without disks) that I have a love/hate relationship and oh yes it does make a difference but you’ve really got to be giving it everything then it’s insane.
    (Then sneak into the bushes and be violently sick when no ones watching)

    I keep it around to remind myself I don’t like race bikes.

    philjunior
    Member

    I would think if you’re 1mph faster with the aero rims it’s not just because of the aero, probably faster tyres on them too.

    It will help, but you’d be far better getting an aero helmet and a skinsuit (or even just well fitting normal lycra) first, and it’ll be far cheaper.

    Edit – I see you have an aero helmet and lycra that fits well, and you’re getting in your mate’s slipstream already. I think the latter will minimize any gains from an aero frame, unless you just want it to sprint for the 30 signs.

    Premier Icon dudeofdoom
    Subscriber

    I’d get a skinsuit though sometimes the castelli ones come up in the sales reasonably priced.

    philjunior
    Member

    If he is a mate, why doesn’t he slow down a bit for you? Is he in a hurry to get somewhere?

    If you’ve got the money and that’s how you want to spend it then that’s cool, but maybe you could think of something else to do with that money to bring more joy to your life.

    Noticing a funny undercurrent in this thread*: since when did it become wrong to want to buy fast bikes, ride them fast and race your mates? Given the legendary status of some of the commenters, I’m assuming people do realise it’s fun to go fast yeah?

    *or just missing the jokes?

    I think at least the second comment is pretty relevant to anybody going out and buying a load of kit to get fast – it might be worth it for them, but let’s face it a decent aero road frame is about the cost of a family holiday and if you’re choosing between the two, for most people the holiday would bring more joy!

    tpbiker
    Member

    I think at least the second comment is pretty relevant to anybody going out and buying a load of kit to get fast – it might be worth it for them, but let’s face it a decent aero road frame is about the cost of a family holiday and if you’re choosing between the two, for most people the holiday would bring more joy!

    Appreciate that, and I’m not going to splash money on a new bike at the expense of other stuff. However I’m in the fortunate position of being able to buy one without living off bread and water for the next few months. Likewise though I’m not going to just throw cash at something for no benefit, which from the comments appears to be the case with an aero frame.

    I do find it interesting though that there is a general theme of ‘haven’t you got better things to spend your money on’ on this thread, and indeed any thread relating to aero wheels, marginal gains etc. Yet no-one will make the same observations when it comes to someone spunking their hard earned on the latest 1 grand fox forks, or 3 grand carbon Santa Cruz frame, or a ti gravel bike. Ultimately, unless you are a pro or racing at a fairly decent level then no-one needs more than mid range kit. Doesn’t stop us all from buying stuff we don’t really need though, and an aero frame is no different.

    Premier Icon w00dster
    Subscriber

    A full aero bike is ugly, but in a nice way. Kind of like an ugly person with a damn hot sexy bod – you know you shouldn’t but you just want to.
    I love my Aeroad, everytime I get the mountain bike out to go for a ride I have to pass the Aeroad – honestly I always get the pang to go and get changed and take the Aeroad out. Every time.
    My Domane isn’t much slower, but its not as good to look at. The Aeroad is plain black, ugly, but my god do I love riding it.
    I also can’t pootle on it, don’t know why. But there’s something that gets in my head when riding it that makes me want to ride it as hard and as fast as my lungs and legs will let me.
    There’s also the fact that when I’m on the Domane I can blame the bike for being heavy and slow, when I’m on the Aeroad my mates just want to crush my soul. There’s an unsaid rule that if I’m on that bike they go 10% harder.
    OP, I’m with you, buy what makes you happier. Its your cash you know your budget….But also agree with the fact that if you want to keep up on the flat you need to get fitter….just saying. You don’t see Alaphilippe (all 62kgs of him) complaining that he’s too light during MSR, or outsprinting Viviani, or the Ardennes Classics. (Yes OK I have a man crush on him!!)

    scotroutes
    Member

    If he is a mate, why doesn’t he slow down a bit for you? Is he in a hurry to get somewhere?

    Holy shit! I assumed everyone* would take that in the lighthearted manned in which it was intended. It’s all bikes. Spend your money how you want to as long as you actually ride the bloody things.

    *particularly those that have actually met me in person.

    philjunior
    Member

    Appreciate that, and I’m not going to splash money on a new bike at the expense of other stuff. However I’m in the fortunate position of being able to buy one without living off bread and water for the next few months. Likewise though I’m not going to just throw cash at something for no benefit, which from the comments appears to be the case with an aero frame.

    In that case, the trade off is more is the time buggering about getting stuff set up on the new frame worth it – bearing in mind this is time you could spend riding it.

    For me the answer (Assuming you’re otherwise happy with the current frame) would probably be not until it gets worn out or cracks, which will probably be quite a while with a decent road frame. But I’m quite time poor, if you’re not then whilst the difference could be marginal, it’s still an upgrade, you can afford it, why not?

    Premier Icon dudeofdoom
    Subscriber

    Holy shit! I assumed everyone* would take that in the lighthearted manned in which it was intended. It’s all bikes. Spend your money how you want to as long as you actually ride the bloody things.

    Roadies innit – miserable fekkers 🙂

    Premier Icon dudeofdoom
    Subscriber

    Likewise though I’m not going to just throw cash at something for no benefit, which from the comments appears to be the case with an aero frame.

    There is most definately an advantage with an aero frame but it only kicks in at 20mph+ when your not on someone’s wheel anyway your mate will buy one if you get one and you’ll be back to square one.

    It’s all about the aero.

    Cheaper to give a good club rider some cake an coffee money to wear your m8 down and then attack him 🙂

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Subscriber

    Yet no-one will make the same observations when it comes to someone spunking their hard earned on the latest 1 grand fox forks, or 3 grand carbon Santa Cruz frame, or a ti gravel bike.

    Those upgrades change how the bike feels significantly though, I doubt many buy them to cut their times, just for enjoyment.

    Each to their own but buying a good time just seems odd to me. I could easily do 10 in say 25 (once upon a time) then turn up the following week, £3K lighter, put out the same power and do a 24. But I’d feel it was pointless (and different to your situation OP).

    DT78
    Member

    I have 2 road bikes – a nice pimpy (chris king / hope but with mudguards etc..) older genesis equilibrium and a mostly aero rose xeon with 404s. They are both setup in the same body position and ridden with the same helmets / kit.

    I swap my vectors between them – pretty consistently for the same power I am 10% faster on the xeon. I imagine an even more aero frame would be a bit more. There is however about 2kg in weight difference between them, but the main difference is blasting along on the flat rather than uphill.

    I doubt you would see such a big margin with already a nice carbon bike vs aero, but if you have the cash why not? I’d love an S5. Been very tempted by cheapish propel frames several times now, but I’ve just spent £300 and several hours refurbing the xeon for another seasons use

    tpbiker
    Member

    I get that, and As im not racing i see the point that buying speed is a bit pointless. I’d argue that going faster for the same effort is fun though, otherwise we’d all be riding steel road bikes with boat anchor wheels.

    But as other folks have said, as it will make hardly any difference it sounds like a fairly pointless purchase. The only other thing I was hoping to benefit from was the possibility of di2, as my frame is mechanical only … and I’m not spending over a grand on etap.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    pretty consistently for the same power I am 10% faster on the xeon.

    That’s interesting if you can look at power to av speed and average out a lot of miles? 10% seems a lot as an av speed hike but as I only own a bike like the Equilibrium with guards not an aero race bike and I don’t have a power meter, I’ve got nothing to go on. So not doubting, just impressed if that is the case. Getting my average up 10% on a long-ish loop takes quite an effort.

    Premier Icon w00dster
    Subscriber

    Wish my Aeroad was 10% faster than my Domane. 10% is an awfully big margin. Rubbish at maths, but wouldn’t that be same as averaging 20mph on the slow bike and 22ph on the faster bike?
    I have a power meter on the Aeroad, going to have to do some experimenting as im nowhere near that difference.
    My Domane with fast tyres and 40mm rims averages close to 20mph on my 30 mile training loop. No way is the Aeroad averaging 22mph.
    That would be like when the pro’s ride aero bikes and drapac where on their supersixes, Trek on their Madones having an extra 2.5mph.
    I would suggest it’s more down to your slower bike than the faster bike.

    tpbiker
    Member

    Looking at my strava I have a regular 20 mile route with 2000 feet of climbing that I do on a variety of bikes. The heavy caad x with road tyres averages about 15.5mph, the allez with normal wheels around 16.5 and the canyon with aero wheels usually just over 17.

    That said, the caad x usually comes out when the weather is a bit rubbish, so that probably plays a part in the speed reduction.

    The canyon definitely holds speed easier however. I put it down to the wheels, narrower bars, and a much lower front end.

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Subscriber

    Cheap propel frames???

    tpbiker
    Member

    Cheap propel frames?

    What do you mean al? You seen any about?

    DT78
    Member

    Pedalon had cheap frame sets £700 ish, gone now they still have a 2017 sl frameset for 999 in ml.

    Premier Icon cynic-al
    Subscriber

    I was referring to DTs post. Paul’s has them listed at £899

    twowheels
    Member

    I don’t believe a 10% speed gain for the same power is possible (assuming comparable tyres and decent body positioning on the non-aero bike etc).

    On my >10kg very-non-aero-slack-geo Arkose (with stock anchor wheels etc) a 10% speed increase would have comfortably let me finish in the lead group on yesterday’s 113km London Phoenix Easter Classic (lots of flattish exposed sections), even with a nice cake stop. I am just not that fit.

    My best argument for an aero bike is that they look bad *ss and also you put more effort in due to looking silly if you go slowly 🙂

    tpbiker
    Member

    Ah right..alas they only have them in medium large for 900 quid. I’m a medium so too big for me.

    I’d be tempted if a great deal came up, but I’m not exactly feeling that they are going to add much in the way of speed. They look good however.

    twowheels
    Member

    GCN guestimate 1.5% gain using non-scientific test https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlz52XW6CMM

    tpbiker
    Member

    Hmm..that totally contradicts another test they did, when at 200 watts a pair of aero wheels alone gave you 2km/h difference.

    I notice only the aero bike in the vid you posted had aero wheels..so either one of the tests is wrong, or boardman don’t make a very good aero bike!

    forked
    Member

    Push your seat forward and fit a longer and lower stem. A lower, more forward position should make you more aerodynamic as you’ll be able to get a flatter back and a lower head position.

    Although not as fast as the TT bike, my road bike that’s setup like the above is certainly faster than my road bike that isn’t. The “faux” aerobar position is also more comfortable as there’s no need to sit on the rivet.

    I’ve never used an aero road bike, but if I were to buy one (I’ve considered it) I’d be looking at one of the new models with the aero stems/bars/brakes and all internal cabling. I see little point in just buying the frame and then hanging all of my non-aero kit on it.

    mogrim
    Member

    Do it. My mate always pulls away from me on the descents, and given we’re a similar size and weight that’s down to a higher gearing (I run out of gears first) and the profile carbon wheels. On the flat we’re more closely matched, but he’s definitely got a slight advantage.

    And aero road bikes are a lot sexier, too.

    mogrim
    Member

    Oh, and it’s worth it just for Di2.

    forked
    Member

    when at 200 watts a pair of aero wheels alone gave you 2km/h difference.

    The wheel test on the WW forum showed that 50mm rims would save you about 10 watts over a box section rim at 30km/h. That’s nowhere near enough difference in power to give an extra 2km/h.

    twowheels
    Member

    @tpbiker – fair comment about the Boardman… but please give a link for 2km/h gain @ 200w!

    I typed a long post calling BS on that but the forum logged me out 🙁

    Anyway, in short- 200w is kind of low. I guess that’s 28km/h average for me @ 75kg on normal terrain, so 2km/h gain would be >7%. I don’t believe it!

    tpbiker
    Member

    Here

    It’s actually a cycling weekly vid, but 2 km/h is the result at 200 watts regardless.

    I can believe that, as I am noticeably faster on mine.

    twowheels
    Member

    This GCN video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9I02BKm4ZiM puts it at 1km/h at 400w watts (41.1 vs 40.1 km/h), i.e. around 2.5%, which is closer to my expectations (although I’ll admit I expected it would be slightly higher). They say 0.5km/h at 200w.

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