Is an aero frame beneficial? (light or aero bike faster?)

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
fdegrove
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by fdegrove

Hi,

Surely one day it will be a proven fact that good old small diameter round steel tube frames are effectively the most aero at any degree of yaw. Box type rims and a minimum of 36 round spokes are in too.

Never noticed how you NOT got thrown off course by these regardless how windy it was and how hard you dove down that mountain and still survived?

It's no doubt a very complex matter. One that needs a holistic approach instead of viewing a frame or wheel in isolation.


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BeeSeeBee
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by BeeSeeBee

Reminds me of of this video, it's all pretty funny, but the guy wrestling to keep his Soloist on the ground is especially amusing :lol:

justkeepedaling
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by justkeepedaling

fdegrove wrote:Hi,

Surely one day it will be a proven fact that good old small diameter round steel tube frames are effectively the most aero at any degree of yaw. Box type rims and a minimum of 36 round spokes are in too.

Never noticed how you NOT got thrown off course by these regardless how windy it was and how hard you dove down that mountain and still survived?

It's no doubt a very complex matter. One that needs a holistic approach instead of viewing a frame or wheel in isolation.


Ciao, ;)


I'm not sure if you're joking...

cyclenutnz
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by cyclenutnz

kulivontot wrote:. Anyway, Is anyone seriously calculating Aero Watts Saved/$ or Aero Watts Saved/gram to determine what their next frame will be?


Yes. Is there actually another sensible way to do it?
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fdegrove
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by fdegrove

Hi,

Let's just say that I'm well aware that things aren't as simple as they seem to be or sold as such...
The 36 spoke idea was pure irony but if anyone can actually show proof of the benefits of so called aero frames then I'm all ears.
This is one of those cases where there's no point in cobbling all aero parts together and expect an equally aero result.
The point being, what good is an aero frame going to do if its design has not taken all factors in mind. An aero frame designed in isolation is still going to be superior with wheels, a rider and wind blowing from all angles?

I don't think so .

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NGMN
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by NGMN

Come on fdegrove, the data is out there, you just have to search and be open to it. Tour, velonews, cervelo, there's a lot of stuff out there on aero frames.
Is it always a big benefit? No.
Can you feel it? No.
Is it a real benefit that is there often enough to make a difference? Definitely.

It's funny that aero skeptics look at every data set and when there is a problem with the test, they don't take in to account any errors and then use the data along with the other available information; they just put their head back in the sand.

fdegrove
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by fdegrove

Hi,

@NGMN: It's not so much about how much benefit there is to be had from such a frame but rather on where it is ending up being compromised. IOW it often ends up being less comfortable, being heavier, etc.
That's the tricky part IMO. So, to my mind at least, there's little advantage in having an aero frame if it's going to be compromised elsewhere, hence potentially canceling out the aero benefit.

Ciao, ;)
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jekyll man
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by jekyll man

NGMN wrote:Come on fdegrove, the data is out there, you just have to search and be open to it. Tour, velonews, cervelo, there's a lot of stuff out there on aero frames.
Is it always a big benefit? No.
Can you feel it? No.
Is it a real benefit that is there often enough to make a difference? Definitely.

It's funny that aero skeptics look at every data set and when there is a problem with the test, they don't take in to account any errors and then use the data along with the other available information; they just put their head back in the sand.


The same tests also point to the opposite.
I think it was velonews that said the cervelo was most aero (in the wind tunnel), until you put the rider a rider on it. What use is a bike without one??
I think it was also VN that tested 2 aero bikes (think 1 was the foil which was in theory the "most aero" of the two), but in the real world the foil lost out because of its singlemindedness.
The winner was the most practical ie a compromise in all areas.

Think we can pretty much discount Cervelo data- its just so they can get bigger logo's...
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Stalkan
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by Stalkan

Out of curiosity, those of you that are pretty adamant that Aero is not worth it, is racing your primary focus?

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kgt
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by kgt

I am curious as well.. according to yourracing experience does the rider with an aero frame always win?
Take a look at the top 10 riders in the last years world tour standings. I don't see many aero frames in the list...

Stalkan
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by Stalkan

I am not one to pay too much attention to others equipment, just like I don't pay attention to their training. I tend to concentrate on my equipment selection and my TP. However, the intent behind my question is simple. For racing I try to maximize every advantage I have from weight, position, training, equipment choice, tactics, etc., as I have found that for me every little bit can help. Now, if I didn't race all that crap goes out the window and I ride the equipment that I like best, which doesn't necessarily coincide with my race equipment choice.

My question still stands and I asked it because as you can see it makes a difference in how I view aero.

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prendrefeu
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by prendrefeu

Stalkan wrote:Out of curiosity, those of you that are pretty adamant that Aero is not worth it, is racing your primary focus?


Depends on what type of racing you're asking about

Road Races? Criteriums/Circuits? Track? Time Trial? Ultra distance? Cyclocross?ª
They each have their nuances that determine whether aero will be of paramount* importance.

Where * paramount meaning that aero is the be-all-and-end-all priority above weight, comfort, handling, etc:.

I believe that aero has its place. I don't believe that 'absolute aero' designed frames have that much more of an advantage compared to a semi-aero frame (Scott Foil, A2J, for example), and I do not believe that in a complete system of rider/clothes/helmet/frame/wheels/etc that the frame itself has a significant impact on aero performance. Clothing, helmet choice, fit, and wheels will have more of an 'aero' impact individually than the frameset will. Aero can certainly look cool though!

I believe that in Time Trials, however, or for Triathlons (no drafting, basically one long TT), which rarely feature any uphill portion of significance, aero everything is the way to go.

ª speaking of types of racing, and if 'aero' is the king of everything, anyone wonder why we aren't seeing 'aero' frames or wheels in downhill or XC racing? Afterall speed matters there, and durability has already been proven with existing tech, yet there is virtually no visible, marketing push for 'aero' in any part of their equipment beyond 'internally routed cables' which serve more utilitarian purposes than aero ones.
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Stalkan
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by Stalkan

A yes or no would have been easier. :) To answer your question I mean any kind of racing. So do you race?

I am not arguing for or against any position here. I just realized that if I were a recreational rider I would not invest one cent in trying to gain an aero advantage. However, my thought processes change once I start competing. I am simply trying to gather if that is the line of thinking that is driving the position that aero is lower on the scale of importance than anything else. That is all; nothing more.

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carbon2329
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by carbon2329

I am not a true believer. I an have owned a standard round tubes frames and aero frames, so I believe I am able to see and interpret both sides of the debate (and I have read most of the "studies" from VN etc...), and my opinion is.........

1. There may be some measurable data that says aero is faster...but it is so small and all studies are completly flawed, I don't think this can be debated. It's obiouse, correct.
2. Sure an aero frame can be "faster", but it's like the VN chain lube study..6watts saved...really (and what is the standard diviation....), and does that benifit (saved watts) apply when a rider is on it, or could a rider with that frame be actually wrose,
3. Most (if not, almost, all) of the frame studies are tested without: a rider, a rider with moving legs, bottle cages, bottles, some without cables, some without cranks, some without pedals, clothes, helmet, gloves...................
4. And most importantly: Is an aero frame with a rider that is moving (with pedals, cranks, cable, bottles & cages, SIDE WINDS, etc...) getting any benifits over an standard non-aero frame.

Yes, this cannot be really tested, but the relativly SMALL (but, questionably measurable) gains of an aero are most likely almost ZERO or very close to Zero.

I'm not a hater, just see thinks as they really are, I belive.

I totally respect you qeustion, however. It is fun to talk about this stuff.

I could be wrong, its happened before. :D :mrgreen:
Last edited by carbon2329 on Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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prendrefeu
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by prendrefeu

Stalkan wrote:A yes or no would have been easier. :) To answer your question I mean any kind of racing. So do you race?


Myself, ultra distances are timed events, so yes, they are races though not sanctioned. Sort of like a TT with occasional random TTT thrown in, except the distances are longer, the environmental conditions more variable, the climbing often far more significant than any road race.

Do people show up on aero equipment? Yes, a few do, but it depends on the event/route. Does that guarantee they win? Nope. For example on an ultra in Death Valley a few years ago, third place was taken by a guy on full aero equipment (aero frame, zipp 404s, tt bars, etc:.) - he was beaten by a substantial time by two people ahead of him. Neither 1st nor 2nd were on aero frames nor wheels, just normal rigs, although they both did add TT extensions on to their handlebars. Times:
1st 10:53
2nd 11:32
3rd 11:38

Would the results have been different for a track race? Probably. Aero is often king there.

The point is that your request for "yes or no" won't answer what you are asking with any merit. Races are different depending on what they are. "Do you race?" can mean different things to different people, and the type of race is very different from each other. A lot can happen over 200 miles and 10,000' of climbing, even if you have no mechanical issues to deal with.
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