How To Get Aero & Comfortable | Triathlon Bike Comfort & Aerodynamics

How To Get Aero & Comfortable | Triathlon Bike Comfort & Aerodynamics

(upbeat music) – For many people the
words comfortable and aero are two words that
simply do not go together in the same sentence. Understandably going from
a fairly upright position on a road bike and then
moving to an aero dynamic triathlon or TT bike, can
feel like quite a shock. Something I spend a long
time getting myself used to over the years too, so
today I thought I’d share my tips on how to get
comfortable whilst being aero. (futuristic music) Now one thing I was advised
when I first got myself on to a triathlon bike, and ignored at that the time, was
to ease myself into it. And having learned the hard way, go around in circles with my fit. I rather advise that you
learn from my mistake. See, everything from how often
you ride on your aero bars, your fit, it all should
just be done bit by bit to start off with. Actually, a really good starting point is on the indoor trainer. It’s a safe environment where you can build up your confidence. You can practice going in
and out of your aero bars to start building up to
one minute in the aero bars and then 4 minutes out of the aero bars, 4 minutes in the aero bars
and maybe 1 minute out. Until finally you feel
a point that you can do sustained periods of time in
the aero bars without breaking. (futuristic music) Now falling on from easing yourself in, it’s important we talk about
something called stack height. Now for those triathlon newbies out there, probably wondering what on
earth I’m talking about. Admittedly, we do have some rather weird words and phrases here in triathlon. The stack height is simply
referring to the amount of stack between our base bar, here, and our elbow cups and aero bars, here. It’s this little section here. Now quite often we see people
getting triathlon bikes and they feel the need
to go really low and aero at the front end looking all pro. But I’ve got news for you,
because more often than not it’s not more aero. In fact, you’re actually trying to go aero at the cost of being rather uncomfortable. What you want to do is actually
increase the stack height to a degree that’s going to relieve the amount of tension in your shoulders. That will make you more comfortable, more sustainable for a
longer period of time and also by relieving that tension, it allows you to relax your neck, your head down and be more aero. (futuristic music) Now whilst we’re on the
subject of aero bars, one area that is so often
overlooked, yet so important, is your elbow cups and elbow pads. Don’t just assume that the ones that come with your bike are the best. Also just be weary that some elbow pads will wear out with time, too. If you are someone that
feels like you need a little more cushioning
under your elbows, then you can get some thicker
pads that you can replace. You can also get some foam that you can cut down to size and stick down, that’s what a lot of the pros do. See at the end of the day, your elbows are one of
your main contact points with your bike when you
are in the aero bars. So you want to make sure
that you’re comfortable. That’s going to really
increase your confidence when you’re in the aero bars. Additionally, you may want to consider the shape of these elbow cups. Some elbow cups feel a little
bit more secure than others. By that I mean you feel
locked into your position. That tends to come with elbow cups that have a little bit more of a curvature on the outside and these can also just be easily replaced and
changed in and out of bikes. That’s going to drastically
change the amount of confidence and comfort
you have whilst being aero. (futuristic music) We’re now moving on to possibly the most talked about
item on people’s bikes. And that is, the saddle. Now trying to find a
saddle that works for you on a road bike can seem to
take a heck of a long time. Trying to find a saddle that works for you on a TT or triathlon
bike, well that can seem to take an absolute lifetime. Now personally, I would
highly recommend a saddle with a split nose design,
like this one here. The idea being that because
we are leaning further forward when we’re in the aero, we are also putting a lot more pressure through the front of the saddle, here. So having that split nose design, that helps to relieve that pressure. And honestly, it’s been an
absolute game changer for me and I know for a lot of others. But, obviously, it’s very important that you find one that works for you. It is another major contact
point with the bike. So I’d really actually recommend you trying it before you buy it. A lot of local bike
shops offer this service. Just to make sure that
you’re super comfortable before you go ahead and commit
to purchasing your saddle. (futuristic music) Now back to the aero bars. There are actually a
couple of small changes that we can make that can
considerably change their feel and hopefully our comfort with them. One, which we see a lot of people doing, is putting an ever so slight
tilt upwards with the aero bars as I’ve done here, actually. That’s to prevent that feeling of slipping off the front of them. Previously, when I used to
have them a lot more flat I feel like I was slipping off the front, so I’d grip on hard with my hands. That would create a lot of
tension in my shoulders. Now, with them tilted up, I feel almost like I’m wedged or locked into this position here. Now to do that on your bike,
it might just be a case of simply adjusting a couple of bolts. Failing that, you may need
to get a little adapter or wedge that’s going to fit just beneath the aero bars and the elbow cup, here. Now another thing to consider is also with your bike computer. Now ideally you want this bike computer as close to your line
of sight as possible. So often I see people
with their bike computer right back here on the stem. Now if you’re someone
that’s planning to refer to your bike computer whilst your riding and read those metrics, then you’re going to be like a nodding dog up and down, that’s going
to be very uncomfortable. You’re also going to be
reducing your aero dynamics by doing that, by dropping
the head up and down. But more importantly
that’s also going to reduce the amount of time that
you’re looking ahead and down the road in front of you. (futuristic music) Now your saddle positioning can totally transform the feel of your bike. Honestly, I notice if
my saddle height or tilt on the saddle changes just
one or two millimeters. Now as for the aero bars, you’ll see a lot of triathletes having a slight tilt on their saddle. But this time their tilting
the nose of their saddle down. And that’s just to relieve that pressure that we were talking about before. Personally, I have mine almost flat and then about a two mil drop on the nose. That’s enough to relieve that pressure whilst not feeling like
I’m slipping off the front. Others go for a little
bit more of a severe drop, but just be weary that
you don’t want to feel like you’re continually pushing yourself back onto the saddle, because then that’s going to increase that tension in the shoulders, that
we talked about before. (futuristic music) And finally, a fairly
obvious one to finish, but make sure you stretch. Having a nice flexible lower back is going to allow you to get lower, more aero dynamic, but more
importantly it’s going to allow you to stay there for longer. Don’t just stop there at the lower back, because your body acts like a chain. So make sure your hamstrings
are nice and flexible, also your upper back and your shoulders. It’s all going to allow
you to get a bit more range in your back, but will
also allow you to stay in those aero bars for longer. Now when you are starting out in the aero bars, just be weary. You are going to fatigue quite a lot. You’re probably going to get off the bike and feel quite tight. So again, just make sure you
stay on top of that stretching. If you have enjoyed today’s video hit our thumbs up button. If you’d like to see more videos from GTN click on the globe and subscribe. If you’d like to see our
comfort versus aero video, which was actually
filmed on this exact road about a year ago now, see
that by clicking down here. If you’d like to see how
to ride on aero bars, you can see that by
clicking just down here.

16 thoughts on “How To Get Aero & Comfortable | Triathlon Bike Comfort & Aerodynamics

  1. Hey Mark, what mount do you use for your polar bike computer?
    yours looks perfectly fitting but i could not find a identical one for polar, only for garmin.

  2. I'm much more comfortable on my Tri-bike than my road bike (weird I know). All the pressure on my road bike is on my butt and hands. I do like the visibility on my road bike though.

  3. A bit of advice: the background noise is way too loud at around 3:20. My ear is complaining non-stop.
    Otherwise a great video: about to buy my first tri bike on Sunday, had no experience setting one up, this vid helps a lot!

  4. An entire video on the best tt shorts please. All seem to have seems in fro t which makes no sense. Pro tips appreciated for all issues re triathlon shorts please. Love the videos. You guys should blow through 1M subscribers in 2020

  5. I am looking at doing my first half Iron this year. My bike however is a Giant Defy. Is this a massive problem or still doable ?

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