The road bike industry and market is one of the most competitive sectors across the full cycling industry and subsequently, designers and manufacturers of road bikes are always pushing the boundaries of what is possible in their designs - making road bikes lighter, more aerodynamic and technically superior to the competition. One of the biggest areas in which bike manufacturers have focussed on, is weight loss - shaving every possible gram off road bikes. This has led to a large number of road bikes being too light to meet even the minimum weights stipulated by UCI racing regulations.
Having almost completely conquered weight reductions in road bikes, manufacturers very soon decided to turn their attention to taking the fight to the cyclists worst nightmare, wind. This approach led to the development of the aero bike (aerodynamic). This approach was driven by the fact that a massive 20% of wind resistance can be attributed to the style of the frame of a bike, and with aero frames - this 20% can be reduced to a negligible percentage.
The design of Aero bikes is very distinctive, with a lot of the bikes featuring frames which look wide and stocky from the side, and incredibly thin from the front and rear. All parts and components on Aero bikes have also been designed to decrease any wind resistance. Groupsets and gearing of an aero bike typically features larger than normal ratios, which assist in speed and acceleration - the true purpose of an aero bike.
The tyres on aero bikes are also optimised for maximum aerodynamic performance, tyres account for around 7% of total wind resistance on a bike - that’s why aero bikes are almost always paired with deep section wheels with smooth, skinny tyres designed for not only less wind resistance, but also less friction with the surface of the road. Many of the components of an Aero Bike have also been optimised for maximum aerodynamics - including the bikes braking system, with many bikes having the rear brake hidden out of the wind, by the bottom bracket - or housed within the bike itself.
Aero Bikes are now produced by the world’s leading bike manufacturers - so although a specialist bike, there are plenty of models and styles to choose from. Although each company differs in the way they approach aero bikes - most stick to a proven recipe of aerodynamic seat posts, integrated brakes, integrated cabling and aggressive frame angles and shapes. All of these bikes are also tested in a wind tunnel, ensuring that design changes have a big impact.
Aero Bikes tend to divide many cyclists - into those who swear by aero bikes and those who continue to swear by lightweight road bikes. At Westbrook Cycles however, most of us are huge fans - and all of the fans in the office and shop are fans for (loosely) the same reasons, they are:
- Even the slowest riders will go faster
- Climbing in the real world is not any harder VS lightweight road bikes
- There is not any noticeable decline in rider comfort
Of course, these bikes are suited to speed freaks - who enjoy cycling as quickly as possible, and if you are one of those cyclists, it’s likely that you will be having too much of a good time to notice any drawbacks.
You can view our full range of Aero Bikes above, and as always - please get in touch and we will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.