In the April issue of VeloNews, we present the new VN Bike Lab — where comparative data from two labs and long-term ride testing meets expert analysis. The complete bicycle testing is an extension of our award-winning wheel testing in the magazine. (You can read that piece for free here at Coverleaf. It’s in the September 2010 issue, with a certain Tejay Van Garderen and the words “Cycling’s Future” on the cover. Judging by Van Garderen’s second-place result at Algarve, the future is now.)
In this first installment, we tested four aero bikes: Ridley’s Noah, Felt’s AR1, Blue Competition Cycle’s AC1SL and Cervelo’s S3. Each bike was ridden for at least 30 hours, and then subjected to torsional stiffness testing in Colorado and aerodynamic drag testing in North Carolina. We created the torsional stiffness test with Microbac Laboratories, Inc,. to replicate and measure the effects of pedaling load on a bike. The wind tunnel testing was performed by Mike Giraud at A2 Wind Tunnel, where each bike was measured in 10 different wind angles, both with its stock wheel with a pair of Zipp 404s.
The April issue will be on newsstands March 1, and subscribers will begin receiving it this week.
The April issue of VeloNews
VN Bike Lab debuts with four aero bikes in the April issue of VeloNews.
Four in the tunnel
The A2 Wind Tunnel tested all four bikes at 10 different wind angles. Each bike was tested with its stock wheels, and with a set of aero wheels. Photo: Mike Giraud
Microbac Laboratories tested each bike for torsional stiffness. Photo: Brad Kaminski
Recording the strain
Microbac measured each bike at three points during the torsion test: the crank, the head tube and the seatpost. Photo: Brad Kaminski
A variety of results
Each of the four bikes responded differently to the simulated pedaling load. Some where proportionally stiffer at the seatpost than the crank, and others vice versa. Photo: Brad Kaminski
S3 with 100 pounds
The Cervélo lab and wind tunnel results were surprising. We discovered that little things can make a big difference. Photo: Brad Kaminski
The rear of the test bikes were mounted to a ball joint that allowed them to move laterally and twist with torsion. Photo: Brad Kaminski