Go faster on the bike with these performance-enhancing products.
It’s the middle of the winter, which means it’s time to plot world domination of your local triathlon scene in 2013. While you’re busy putting in base work now, you’re probably thinking of splashing some cash on kit to make you go fast next season. Kit that will aid your domination of your local competition, giving you the edge of speed you need. You know you can account for it on your expenses as motivation for winter, a little retail therapy never did anyone any harm and we can console ourselves that spending money is helping our national economic recovery.
But we don’t want you wasting your money. For that reason we’ve put together a list of five products that really are worth your hard- earned cash. Some will be harder to get hold of than others, but that comes with buying good kit.
1. Cervélo P5
www.madison.co.uk and Cervélo dealers
Despite the Cervélo P5 being launched at the start of 2012, there’s been a long wait for prospective owners to get their hands on one. The good news is that now there’s a regular trickle of them into Cervélo dealers, with the promise of more arriving in showrooms in 2013.
Of the two versions, the triathlon specific frameset is the fastest. That’s mainly because the front brake is shielded from the wind by a cover, which is part of an aero fork. The p5 comes with 3T Aduro handlebars, which offer a good range of height adjustment and keep all the cables internal for better aerodynamics. Hydration options are manifold, with bottle mounts on the down tube, top tube and between the extensions, plus you can also mount bottles behind the saddle. We’ve tested one and we liked it a lot.
If you run tubulars on your racing wheels, the fastest, best bang-for-your-buck tyres are Vittoria Crono Evo CS Tubulars. They retail for £71.99 each and won’t last much more than a season, but if you glue them on properly and save them for your best races, you will notice a positive difference in your bike splits. We’ve used them on all sorts of courses and they work. One caveat: they’re not the grippiest tyres out there but are by no means poor.
If clinchers are your thing, then we recommend Continental Grand Prix TT clinchers. Combine these with latex tubes and your rolling resistance will be as good as it gets. they’re a little cheaper than tubulars too, retailing for £49.95 with michelin aircomp latex tubes selling for £12.49. the bonus is you don’t have to glue them on.
3. Reynolds aero 58 wheelset
We’ve been waiting for the reynolds rzr wheel design technology to be incorporated into wheelsets with a cheaper price tag, and now it has. Reynolds have launched three new aero clincher wheels for 2013: aero 58, 72 and 90, reflecting the different rim depths in millimetres. The aero 58 is the cheapest of the lot with a uk price of £2,099.99 and a claimed weight of 1,580g. They’re 26.2mm wide to improve handling in crosswinds, also featuring a “step hook” at the edge of the rim to help the air reattach, thus reducing drag.
We’ve yet to test a set although if past offerings from reynolds are anything to go by, they promise to be a decent set of aero wheels that are suitable for all conditions.
If we were to recommend one aero helmet for 2013, the Specialized s-works + McLaren TT helmet would be it. We realise they’re as rare as hen’s teeth with just 30 available in the UK, but they’ll be worth the £450 price tag if you find one.
McLaren designed the helmet for specialized using an aero toolkit usually used for formula one cars. It looks like an aero helmet, with a slightly stubby tail and no visor, but the key is the two gills on the ear flaps that direct air from your shoulders through a vent at the back. Specialized say this reduces your drag and is worth up to 0.5sec/km over the excellent
A wind tunnel session can cost you the best part of a grand, but the aerodynamic improvements gained from a proper aero fit are often more than worth it. In our experience, having good kit and looking aero can be a long way from your optimal set-up. We’re talking minutes, not seconds here. We know it’s a hard sell because you don’t come away with anything shiny, just a new position, drag numbers and projected time savings. But it pays off in every race with faster bike splits.
In the uk there are two wind tunnel set-ups: one offered by prestige cycles in hove (£799 including a bike fit) and the drag2zero.com facility in Brackley (£899 for a two-hour session).
This article was originally published in Triathlon Plus magazine. Save time and money by having every issue delivered to your door or digital device by subscribing to the print edition or buying digitally through Zinio or Apple Newsstand.
You’ll find loads more triathlon training advice in triradar.com’s Training Zone section.