Types of Testing
The Speed Tunnel™ offers three basic types of coaching and analysis — rider position, equipment and bike fit. Both rider position and equipment analysis can be done at events prior to racing and during mid-season. Bike fit analysis, which requires changes to seat height, bar position, elbow spacing, etc., is not recommended immediately prior to racing and done by most athletes when adequate training time to accommodate the changes is available.
Rider Position Analysis
This type of analysis is perhaps the best means by which to quickly become faster. In this analysis, the setup of the bike is not changed so it can be done even on the day of a race. Every rider moves around on the bike when competing — either getting more comfortable, finding more power, relieving tired, stressed muscles, or simply moving on the saddle out of habit. Every athlete has a different body shape and type, so what works for one rider may actually slow down another. Understanding the aerodynamic consequences of every move on the bike is critical for optimal performance. In the Speed Tunnel™, cyclists can learn how to position themselves to be the most aero-dynamic and therefore, the fastest on the bike without making any setup changes to the bike itself.
This type of analysis is most useful when trying to optimize the dollars spent on equipment and gear to gain speed. Numerous aero products are available including wheels, water bottles, skin suits, helmets, shoe covers, and more. The benefits of each product are specific to the rider’s body shape, his/her position on the bike, the bike itself, and many other factors. The Speed Tunnel™ allows the cyclist to explore the aerodynamic benefit of each product before making a decision to purchase.
Bike Fit Analysis
The perfect position on a bike is a combination of one that is aerodynamic, comfortable, and can produce power. Often trade-offs are made between these three factors. Being comfortable is not normally more aerodynamic. The key for the cyclist is to understand the magnitude of the aerodynamic penalty that is being suffered in order to get more comfortable so that more power can be produced. The only way to understand this relationship is to spend time in the tunnel and on the road, often in an iterative process involving months or even years. Before the Speed Tunnel™, only pros could afford to optimize this relationship. Now enthusiasts can learn and train like the pros.