Saturday, May 19, 2007

Frontal Area and Aerodynamics of Bicycles

Lots of folks like to debate endlessly about the speed of bicycles and how much aerodynamics, tires, drive-train losses, etc. effect speed. I've decided that there are things more interesting to me than this particular debate, so I'll leave those discussions for others. However, I did find this picture in this thread over on the Bent Rider Online message board here:

I think this is a very cool picture so I'm posting it here. From left to right you have:
  • A rider on with his hands on the flat section of a bike with a conventional drop handlebar
  • A rider with his hands on the brake hoods
  • A rider with his hands on the drops
  • A rider using aerobars
  • A rider on a recumbent "high racer"
  • A rider on a recumbent "low racer"
I will say that back in the day, I had a very fun, very fast little low racer built by John Williams. I did get tired of being at about the tailpipe height of a Miata in traffic, however. Modern low-racers are even lower.

But it was a damn fast bike. Of course, I did have my most spectacular crash on that bike and it was such a chick magnet (really, women thought it was the cutest damn bike ever!) that Christine was really happy when I got rid of that bike.
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