How much does an upper body position affect aerodynamics on a mountain bike? With the Leadville 100 Trail MTB race just around the corner, Specialized try to find out just how much time can an aero position save you over a 100 mile course and the answer is pretty surprising....
The Leadville 100 Trail MTB Race is pretty long, last years winner took 6 hours and 15 minutes to complete the 104 mile course, making an average speed of 26km/h. In the lead up to the even Specialized have been investigating how best to achieve such an average speed. They say they have conducted tests that show that the biggest factor having an effect on aerodynamics is the athlete's body position. To put this to the test they put a rider on an Epic cross-country bike and used a wind speed of 26km/h (average speed of last years winner) to test how four different body positions affect drag and how much time using a certain position can save. Check out the video below for numbers that are higher then you might think, one aero position can save an incredible 23 minutes over this lengthy race!
No rider will be able to maintain these positions for the whole 104 mile course, unless you've got incredible bike skills that are just as good when hanging onto the fork crown like a miniature 250mm wide bar. But it does give some food for thought about saving small pockets of time throughout the course by adopting an aero position for a certain percentage of time.
It's likely something a lot of riders taking part in the Leadville 100 this weekend will be thinking about. We have a competition running at the moment to guess the winning time of the Leadville 100 Trail MTB race, you can win over £400 of Aussie Grit Apparel, click here to enter!
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