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Why do a lot of pros put an aero wheel on the back?(14 posts)

Why do a lot of pros put an aero wheel on the back?Sintesi at home
Mar 3, 2002 11:19 AM
But not on the front? I would think that the wheel breaking the wind would be the most important, yet I see so many guys running a normal hoop on the front and a deep section rim on the back. Insights?
re: Why do a lot of pros put an aero wheel on the back?TF
Mar 3, 2002 11:28 AM
Because an aero wheel at the back affect handling far less than the front wheel, especially in crosswinds. You want to be a bit faster, but you don't want to be blown off the bike either...
Mar 3, 2002 11:29 AM
There are a few reasons you'd want an aero wheel on the back. The top reason is that in windy conditions, an aero back wheel won't really affect handling- though a front will adversely affect your ability to control the bike. Aero wheels are also typically stiffer (because they have shorter spokes at higher tension), and heavier. You'd want a stiff wheel on the back to more effeciently transfer energy from the pedal stroke, and a heavier-at-the-rim wheel to keep up inertial forces on the back. This reason would not hold true for criteriums, or other races with a lot of acceleration.
re: Controlcyclopathic
Mar 3, 2002 2:25 PM
actually putting aero wheel in back makes bike more stable as it moves aerodynamic pressure point backward. Standard TT/triathlon set up is aero front and disk rear. Disk is to make bike stable, not for additional aero benefits which are pretty minimal vs to tri-spoke aero wheel
Ahh, I see thnx. (nm)Sintesi at home
Mar 3, 2002 11:33 AM
Thx again guys, but I thought of another question.Sintesi at home
Mar 3, 2002 11:42 AM
How beneficial is an aero wheel on the back? Is it equivalent to the front? Is it's ability lessened greatly by the wind broken (yeah, I expect a joke here) at the front of the bike? I assume there is some advantage. Perhaps the avg. rider should only consider a deep section rear wheel unless he time trials.
Thx again guys, but I thought of another question.HappyGo
Mar 3, 2002 2:06 PM
It'll still give you an aero advantage but definitely not the same as wheel being on the front tire. Your statement about broken air is right on the money. Broken or dirty air definitely reduces some of the aero benefits provided by the wheel relative to if you had that wheel on the front end of your bike.

It's always amazed me how much guys talk about aero wheels but then ignore things like the two bottle cages hangong on your tubes. These things are very nonaero and definitely hurt you from a pure aerodynamic standpoint.

I use a camelback which is more efficient than having to reach down for a bottle and I also think its more aero although this may be splitting hairs, but I definitely think it gives me an advantage not having those two bulky waterbottles hanging on my bike frame.
Water bottles vs. Camelbaksguido
Mar 3, 2002 6:09 PM
John Cobb of Racing Research out of Shreveport, LA., did wind tunnel tests and discovered that two water bottles mounted low on the seat and down tubes, are actually more aerodynamic than a Camelbak. The bladder apparently makes a hump on the back of the rider, or causes turbulence in the air flow around his shoulders and back.

Putting water bottles down low on the frame also lowers the center of gravity of the bike and improves handling, the opposite being true with the weight added to the rider's back.

Are there any advantages to Camelbaks, or are they mainly a style thing?

Water bottles vs. Camelbaksweiwentg
Mar 3, 2002 7:58 PM
well, I find it easier to drink from my Camelbak - shorter distance to reach. especially useful in a crit.
TechniqueI Love Shimano
Mar 4, 2002 1:37 AM
What's the secret (that only I do not know of...apparently) to maintaining balance while reaching for your water bottle and putting it back?

I am seriously considering a camelbak, but I'd rather not if only I could do the waterbottle thing right.
training exercisestarwheel
Mar 4, 2002 8:31 AM
The best training exercise for drinking out of a water bottle is to drink plenty of beer, preferably in bottles. For added realism, sit on a trainer while doing this and put the beer bottles in your cages.

Seriously though, I am sure that lots of pileups have been caused by cyclists dropping water bottles in a paceline. I am always very careful when reaching for mine, and generally wait until just after I've had my pull and dropped to the back of the line.
Thx again guys, but I thought of another
Mar 3, 2002 5:12 PM
Rear disk is most definitely less effective (aerodynamically) than a front disk, but as has already been mentioned the front is a control issue. Control issue aside, a front disk would be far more effective. By the time the air has traveled past most of the frame and more importantly the rider (were most of the drag is)there is alot of turbulent air and the rear disk effectiveness has been compromised quite a bit.
re: Why do a lot of pros put an aero wheel on the back?JimP
Mar 3, 2002 2:58 PM
Yes, the aerodynamics of the bottle cages does make a difference but the real effect is reaching for the bottles and drinking. The inventor of the Camelback recognized this problem many years ago when he developed an under-seat bladder with tubing to the handlebar. Many triathletes used this setup for a couple of years with some success. There were issues of bladders breaking and bite-valve failures that left riders without water. Last year's USPS Treks have a bladder in the downtube - of course they have mechanics to fill and service them. The only real issue with using Camelbacks for racing is the actual amount of water you can carry. You still will need a cage to store extra water for longer rides.
it is also a question of comfortcyclopathic
Mar 4, 2002 7:23 AM
keeping something on your back in hot day doesn't help respiration

Other issue is that you can get new bottle from sag or borrow from a friend.. Pros use domestics to fetch water/liquid food for them. This doesn't work with Cbak