Marginal Gains Monday – Transmission

Actually on Monday this week, how novel.

An often neglected area on the bike is the transmission – Pedals, Bottom Bracket, Chain and Rear Derailleur – the parts that transmit the massive watts you’re pumping into the pedals to the rear wheel and thus to the road.

There are gains to be had here too and not necessarily expensive ones either.

Marginal Gains – Tyre Selection Part Two

The long awaited (since last week) sequel to the not so gripping (as I didn’t cover traction as an aspect of tyre performance) first instalment of tyre selection factors. This week I’ll focus on Rolling Resistance and the combine the factors discussed into an overall view.

Unfortunately I hit a snag with some rolling resistance testing last night which delayed completion of the article (some people sleep at night – I hop on the rollers to test tyres).

Marginal Gains – Tyre Selection Part One

As Monday was a public holiday my wife suggested that this weeks article should be called ‘Tiny Tweaks Tuesday’ but we’ll stick with ‘Marginal Gains’ for the sake of consistency. However, this weeks topic is not really marginal – Tyre selection is one of your biggest opportunities to gain (or throw away) performance.

The three key characteristics for race tyres are:

  • Rolling Resistance
  • Aerodynamics
  • Weight
  • Durability

For this week I’ll cover Aerodynamics, Weight and Durability. Part Two will cover Rolling resistance and the overall picture.

Marginal Gains Monday – Handlebars

On the face of it, not a particularly exciting topic – bars tend to be a bit forgotten as riders focus on the obvious items like frame, wheels and groupset. But bar choice can make a real difference to performance so it’s worth paying attention to them. Logically they have the potential for significance as they’re one of the first parts of the bike to hit the wind.

Obviously there is a significant difference in shape and setup between road and TT bars, but the principles by which they are (should be) selected are the same.

Marginal Gains Monday – Wheel Performance

Wheels are possibly the most visible performance oriented change you can make to your bike. Unfortunately there seems to be a general assumption that more expensive and/or lighter equals faster.

I’ve also heard athletes quoting outlandish figures for the speed benefits of race wheels and the maxim I mentioned last week – the terrible advice that it is better to put race wheels on a road bike for Ironman than to buy a TT bike. So today I shall look at the impact of wheel choice.

Marginal Gains Monday – Frame Aerodynamics

Like the muscle currently beating within your ribcage your bike frame is at the core of the performance of the collection of parts that make up your ride (or whip or whatever you like to call your bike). The right frame is key to position, handling, comfort and aerodynamic efficiency. Like your heart you need a good one in order to perform well in Cycling/Triathlon.

A common oversimplification is that “it’s the rider, not the bike” – this is unquestionably true… however, when we’re looking for peak performance there are significant marginal gains to be had in paying attention to the frame. Of course, bike company advertising would have you believe that every new model is 15% more aero (and 10% lighter, 12% stiffer and 8% more comfortable than the last) and the lack of real world evidence for those claims has led to some riders becoming a little jaded about the benefits of aero equipment. So I’m going to frame the data in ways that relate to the type of riding that you, my treasured readers, engage in.

Trek Releases WSD Version of the Domane – the Silque

I don’t usually comment on new road bike releases (as there are too many) and particularly not “Womens Specific” ones. But the Silque is interesting enough to warrant making a few observations.

Trek don’t particularly need to create another geometry – across the road range I count 38 distinct sizes – Domane, Domane Classics Edition, Madone H1, H2 & H3 (previous WSD bikes have been H3). But they have done so with the Silque – a modified version of the Domane.

Marginal Gains Monday – Overview

So I jumped the gun a bit last time charging straight into discussing a specific topic. Obviously I had aerodynamics on the brain thanks to the recent wind tunnel session. This time I’ll step back a bit and outline what I intend to discuss over the next few weeks.

There are a lot of claims made about the efficacy of various bits of equipment – to the point that athletes stop believing in the science of speed as the marketing claims rarely eventuate in the real world. My aim is to give a realistic view of the significance of various elements.

Marginal Gains Monday – Position Aero Drag

At the suggestion of my friends at Sweat7 I’m starting a ‘Marginal Gains Monday’ post to work alongside their series of the same name. The aim is to briefly cover one topic to provide readers with some useful information about hunting out small advantages.

Having been in the Wind Tunnel again last week I’m going to discuss the changes in aerodynamics possible by changing your body position on the bike.

Ironman NZ Expo Specials

Will be sharing a stand at the Ironman New Zealand Expo with Profile Design from Wednesday-Friday this week. Come along to have a look at the Felt B12 tri bike or the latest Felt AR1 road frame. Or chat about anything to help you go faster/what the conditions will be like.
We will have some products on sale so I’ve listed the items (you don’t have to be doing IM) that you can order for delivery by post or pick up at the Expo