Pretext: This is in the Scott FOIL thread... I do like the FOIL, I think it's a great balance between the 'aero trend', stiffness, weight, and aesthetics.
Eventually we'll all be on aero bikes then?
But, really, if you're a fat ass you'll be quite un-aero.
Actually, the greatest improvements any person can make to being aero on a road bike (non-TT) are on the person themselves. Wasn't this tested & found to be true by some magazine nearly a decade ago? (It's so old that I can barely remember which magazine, but I remember they listed improvements by margin of gain and frame was way, way, way, way, way down on the list... well after helmet, clothes, gloves... wheels eventually ended up on the list, too, above the frame).
It feels like we're just circling back to what they've figured out way back then: the least aero object is the person riding the bike. Make that person more 'aero' and you'll have significant gains...
Heck, there was a recent example from Colorado: one racer sets up his NON-AERO FRAME as a TT bike, does significantly better than other top competitors on their full TT setups. Guess what the greatest factor is there, all else being equal? The rider. The frame? Not so much as we're lead to believe by trends and marketing. (and I'm involved with marketing, it's part of what I do, but let's get a reality check in here)
But, again, in a race that isn't a TT? So many other factors go into winning and not-winning. Despite all the data-from-the-wind-tunnel, the reality of a race is different. Again, NON TT.
In a TT, when you're riding all alone, sure - aero will be a more significant factor. Your position on the bike will still be the greatest factor.... then everything else falls in line. Eventually you'll get to the frame.
As a not-off-topic but side comment: my road bike is just as fast as Thor Hushvod's Aero road bike... when they're both up against a wall and we're having coffee. It's the RIDER that is the biggest factor, the RIDER that wins the race, not the bike. Similarly, what's with all the 'aero' development being done in a windtunnel without a rider on top of it, in motion? Great. Put a rider on top of it, things change. Unfortunately bikes aren't racing themselves, the riders are racing. Scott did their aero development with a dummy RIDER in the wind tunnel. Coincidentally, Simon Smart did aero development for Enve with frame and rider on top in the wind tunnel. Guess what those two companies have realized more than the others? The most obvious thing: THE RIDER matters most. Marginal gains happen well after the rider. Throw in an actual race and your marginal gains are even less of a factor.
But hey, gotta make a buck and the best way to get people to buy something is to present a marginal gain to someone, marketing will let them forget about just improving themselves first... perhaps by riding, training, nutrition, and everything else. Your marginal gain won't mean sh*t if you don't have the confidence, skill, and so on (see previous post).
Yes, everything in weight and aero is all about marginal gains. Perhaps work on the biggest factor first (YOU) then add in the other stuff to get closer and closer to the 'ultimate' aero or weight goal. That applies to being both a Weight Weenie and an Aero Weenie. Even by then, your marginal gains won't matter in an actual race, because everything will end up being more-or-less equal for equipment, and we're back to YOU being the most significant factor.
Look, it's even evident on a track. They're pretty much all running the same wheels. Same clothes, more or less same helmet. Frames? Basically the same. Guess what determines a winner? The rider.
|| Other projects in the works.