In the current issue of VeloNews, we put four aero bikes head to head in the lab, in the wind tunnel and on the road.
An explanation of the torsional stiffness test we co-developed with Microbac Laboratories can be found here. The full results from this test, the wind tunnel testing and our analysis of each bike’s ride qualities and value can be found in the April issue of VeloNews, on newsstands now.
Here are some photo outtakes from the magazine piece.
Blue bike, red state
Like all the bikes in our test — plus a standard road bike included for baseline measurements — the Blue was tested in North Carolina's A2 Wind Tunnel.
Felt in A2
Small things, like handlebar tape, make a big difference in the wind tunnel.
All bikes tested in the A2 tunnel were standardized before measurements. This means that that seat and handlebars heights were identical, the cranks were in the exact same position, and the steerer tube lengths were the same.
The thicker points along some of the tubes have a 'sticky' paint that Ridley claims reduces drag.
The Noah's fork has unique design that Ridley claims pulls turbulent air away from the turning spokes.
The Noah draws from auto racing for its aerodynamic design.
A time trial bike?
From this view, you'd think the AR1 is a TT rig. And it some ways, it is — with a drop bar.
VN tech writer Caley Fretz is a Cat. 1 racer and one of our bike testers.
And back out again
The AR1 rear derailleur cable routing pops back out of the frame just in front of the derailleur.
While Di2's wires are thinner than cables, they can create drag, too. Felt runs them through the bike's frame.
The AR1 comes with Shimano Di2. The battery is tucked under the bottom bracket.
We measured each bike in the tunnel at 10 yaw angles. The Felt wasn't the fastest at any particular angle, but it was the most consistent across the range.
On the road again
As insightful as lab and wind tunnel data can be, there's no substitution for getting a bike out on the road. Each bike in the test was ridden for at least 30 hours.
Out of the wind
Cervélo tucks the S3's cables into the top tube.
The Cervélo S3 was raced under the likes of Fabian Cancellara and Kristin Armstrong at the 2008 Olympics. It became available to the rest of us in 2009.
After seven years on the road as a pro team mechanic, VN tech editor Nick Legan has a great understanding for what makes a good bike.
Blue choose to spec a Wipperman Connex chain with a SRAM Red drivetrain.
The AC1SL comes with TRP calipers.
At the recent Ironman world championships, VN tech editor Nick Legan was impressed with the bikes and the people behind Blue. So, we included the AC1SL in our testing.