How to save Watts On the Bike 

“Watt” I can go faster with the same power? You don’t have to constantly up your FTP (Functional Threshold Power) to get faster on the bike, with a bit of common sense and ingenuity you can actually save watts helping to bring up your speed on race day without any extra effort.  

 

Tyres 

An easy one to start with, just swapping out those all-season tyres for race-specific tyres can save the watts, the difference between the rolling resistance on an endurance tyre and a race tyre is huge, make sure you get some race day tyres. 

Wheels 

Putting on deeper section wheels will also save the watts as the air passes over the wheel, you can get an advantage on all deeper section wheels, right up to the rear carbon disk wheel. 

To benefit from the advantage deeper wheels offer, it is worth remembering you need to be travelling at around 18-20mph if you are not close to this then you are simply adding extra weight to your set-up.   

Position 

One of the easiest ways to save watts is to have a bike fit, especially if you are getting an aero fit for your TT bike.  Our body mass is the largest area of drag on a bike, reducing this while still pushing out the power will result in greater speed for no more effort. 

 

Clean Drivetrain 

The drivetrain is where all that power goes, if you have dirty cogs, a chain that has not been lubricated and is covered in muck from the road this is making you slower.  Make sure you clean your drivetrain and lube up the chain after each ride. 

Also, when was the last time you changed your chain? Chains can stretch over time and it’s worth checking yours at the start of every season.  

 

Helmet 

A decent aero helmet will make you quicker compared to a road helmet. Even a budget option will make a huge difference.  Coupled with a decent aero position on the bike these can be really effective. 

You can also make an aero helmet faster still, may TT riders will tape up the vents to make the helmet further aero, word of caution, this will make the helmet hotter! Think long and hard if the additional heat is worth the discomfort, especially on a hot middle or long-distance race. 

 

You’ll be surprised what these little tweaks can add up to, even changing the helmet can add a 10w saving.  If you did them all and saved 40-70w how long would it take you to gain those 40-70 watts by increasing your FTP? Food for thought! 

 

Stuart Hall – Age Group Triathlete and BFT coach