VIDEO: Bike Power and Position Optimization - Part 3

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In this third segment, Colorado Premier Training goes through several bike position tests to improve on rider efficiency. This was accomplished by varying the saddle height and aerobar width.

In the second segment, Bike Power and Position Basics, Aaron's current bike setup was replicated on the Velotron and a Power Protocol test was performed to collect baseline physiological data (heart-rate, perceived exertion) at a set power output.  This was done by a 20 watt stepwise progression up to his functional threshold power (FTP) wattage.

In this segment, Aaron is tested with two more new positions on the Velotron to compare against the control.  Colorado Premier Training adjusted the handlebar width and seat position to see if there was any improvement in rider efficiency.

The first new position has the handlebars forward and the seat raised slightly leaving the distance between aerobars unchanged. It was later found that this position was more efficient then the control test (seen in part 2) even though the narrower aerobars still were uncomfortable (13mm) as compared to his current bike setup.

*Remember, the control replicated everything off of Aaron's current bike setup (seat, handlebars) except for aerobar distance which was narrowed from 22mm to 13mm for the control as that has significant aerodynamic benefits and we wanted to see immediate improvements.

The second new position tested kept the seat and handlebars the same as the first test but his aerobars were taken from 13mm to 18mm from center to center-more closely representing his current bike setup.  It was found that this change improved rider efficiency over the first change as it allowed Aaron to widen his chest cavity for better breathing and comfort.

Compared to the control, the first position change of raising the seat up and moving the handlebars forward improved rider efficiency while the second change of moving the aerobars further apart further improved rider efficiency.  But as mentioned in the video, moving your arms further apart is an aerodynamic liability and could offset any gains in rider efficiency that was gained.

The next part of this series will discuss some wind tunnel basics and then in the fifth part of the series we will test these 3 positions in the wind tunnel.

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date: March 17, 2008