The technology of a wind tunnel in the palm of your hand
Modern cycling is a sport of innovation. Whether it’s nutrition, training plans or engineering, as we chase greater speeds, we have to look to the most precise of details. This is a key concept for those tasked with leading the Team’s research and development department.
At Lidl-Trek, we’re working hard to improve, to grow. We aim to be the best and that means looking for innovations, discovering the smallest detail that can make a difference, thinking ahead of our competitors. That’s our daily challenge and if we want to succeed, we need technical partners able to take us to the next step. For us, that’s Aerosensor – Koen de Kort, Lidl-Trek Team Support Manager.
This is the background of the new partnership between the Team and Aerosensor, a company founded by former Formula 1 aerodynamicist Dr. Barney Garrood. The purpose of Aerosensor is to offer a portable aero-performance optimization system for road, track and time-trial cyclists.
“Working with Lidl-Trek represents a significant milestone for Aerosensor,” says Dr. Garrood, founder and CEO of Aerosensor. “This partnership is a strong endorsement of our aerodynamic optimization technology, offering us an exceptional opportunity for practical application and innovation at the pinnacle of competitive cycling. For Aerosensor, this is an opportunity to demonstrate how our aerodynamic cycling system can benefit competitive cyclists at the highest levels of the sport.”
“Aerosensor’s technology gives us the unique chance to replicate on the road a test similar to the one we do in wind tunnel or velodrome,” explains De Kort. “It gives us a practical advantage, because with the tight schedule of the season it’s always complicated to organize such complex testing event. Now we have a solution that give us extra testing time, as well as allowing us to go more and more deep into details. Then, other than secondary, cycling races happens outside: doing reliable aerodynamics tests in real conditions provides an added value”.
What is Aerosensor?
Aerosenor is made up of two main devices: the eponymous sensor, which is mounted to the handlebars to measure aerodynamic drag, and the Aerobody component, mounted on the stem to measure the rider position.
The best and most clear explanation on how the system work comes directly from its creator, Dr. Garrood: “Aerosensor works by combining data from a cyclist’s road speed sensor and power meter with its own air flow measurements to accurately calculate the aerodynamic drag coefficient (CdA). The CdA is generally consistent regardless of the speed, meaning it’s a reliable measure of how aerodynamically efficient a rider is. By lowering the CdA, they can maintain or increase their speed using less power. At moderate speeds, about 25 mph, roughly 70-80% of a rider’s power is utilized in overcoming air resistance. This proportion increases as speeds rise, so at 35 mph air resistance can account for up to 90% of a rider’s power output.”
“The biggest component of this drag comes from the rider’s body, so maintaining an aero position on the bike is critical. Aerobody is a separate device which takes laser-based measurements of the rider’s position, helping them to understand the effects of their body position on track, and reminding them to stay aero when training.”
Obtained after 4 years of research and development, and over 180 design iterations, Aerosensor is a unique tool offering incredible accuracy in real world drag measurement.
“In the training camp of December and in the one that is currently taking place we have taken full advantage of Aerosensors’ technology with many tests, both with road and time trial bikes,” added De Kort. “Aerosensor’s technology will be useful also in race context, providing us information on wind speed as well as support in defining pacing strategy for time trials.”
“Aerosensor shatters the barriers of the costly and logistically complex wind tunnel testing, enabling on-the-road, real-time aerodynamic testing,” said Dr. Garrood. “This innovation allows Lidl-Trek coaches and riders to constantly evaluate and enhance their aerodynamics. With the capability to turn every training and racing session into a custom aerodynamic testing opportunity, Aerosensor enables Lidl-Trek to find more of those marginal but crucial gains on more riders than ever before. We’re confident we can bring a transformative edge to Lidl-Trek’s performance development.”
Learn more about Aerosensor by visiting their website.