Pound for pound time savers

Mike Essex aka Mr Essex asked the latest coaches corner question. What are the best ways to save time in relation to money

Firstly I am sure you will be able to find somewhere on the vast Internet a number of website that will give you precise time savings per item of kit and provide how much they generally cost per second of time saved. BUT 9/10 these are conducted in wind tunnels and with someone who smash the bike…

…What you really want to know is If I’ve got some spare money, what’s the best thing to spend it on to give me a little more of an advance / gain come race time.

So if you want to upgrade / improve what are your options.

1) Bike fit: if you are more efficient on the bike, more aerodynamic then you will naturally cut through the air quicker. We are the greatest resistance, so if we can reduce that then it will save us energy and time. Retul are the marketer leads such as Freespeed who are now based in Teddington. Around £200 but then you are always going to be in the perfect position. No point in buying my next suggestions if you are in a shocking position is there.

2) Aero helmet: get the position right then make yourself smoother. Aero helmet are proved. Long pointy hats are slowly moving out of favour. Plus they are only effective if you are looking forwards, when you look down to get a bottle, sideways to see who’s drafting you (Tugwell probably) you then break the airflow & interest resistance. Kask & their baby Bambino helmet is the new style which is more like a road helmet but smooth from all directions so if you do turn your head then the airflow is less effected. Prices range from £100 to £200. Road helmets now are following suit if you done fancy a aero helmet, Giro Attack, Specialized Evade are well worth keeping for race day as if you wear one on your club ride you might get some abuse.

3) Tri bars: once you’ve been fitted then you need to ensure you are fitted with your Tri bars. No point in getting a great bike fit only to screw it up by putting in Tri bars which then change the height of your shoulder etc etc. Designed to make a road bike position more aerodynamic & reduce stress on the shoulders whilst riding on the drops. Prices vary from £80-£120.

4) Deep section wheels: these are commonly most people’s first thoughts about getting faster. A set of wheels can cost upwards from £800 and even as much as £1200 for a disc wheel. Designed to catch the wind and use it like a sail these will pimp up any bike but are by far the most expensive direction to go. Plenty of options of depth. Difference courses will suit different wheels. Hilly course would suit light weight wheels but flat would suit deeper wheels. However in windy conditions you could get swept to the side if you are too light weight.
NB: They won’t make you faster UNLESS you can generate the force to move them. A bike is only as fast as what’s on top. See coaches corner no10 about wheels as you might be adding more weight to your bike.

5) Drop the weight: both body & bike and you will have more power to move less mass. Is your bike (total) about 8kg? If so, it could go on a diet. Lighter stem, seat, seat post can be done on a budget if you know what to buy (ask coach). I use ebay as I know the brands and there sister companies where they try a new design at a fraction of the price. If you drop some pounds then you will feel the benefit climbing – so you will be moving faster.

6) Train smarter: train harder and smarter. That bike, helmet, those wheels will not turn you into a pro UNLESS you have the engine to power it