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Aero Vs Climbing | What Bikes Do The Pros Favour?

Aero Vs Climbing | What Bikes Do The Pros Favour?


– Many bike brands offer a
specifically aerodynamic frame and a specifically lightweight frame, for climbing, one assumes. For example, Trek’s Madone
versus Trek’s Emonda. But the question of which bike
is quicker on which course is a bit more complex than
simply mountains versus flat. In fact, it takes quite a
lot of complex analysis. So we thought, who better to ask about which bike to use
on what kind of course than those really at the
cutting edge of performance? So in the Giro d’Italia, we asked some world tour team mechanics which bike their riders use
depending on the course. (steady drum set rhythm) (cheering) Here we are talking to a
mechanic from Trek-Segafredo. He’s gonna describe to us why
riders choose certain bikes for certain stages and different
bikes for other stages. I can see you’ve got different bikes here. You’ve got the Emonda for some riders and the aero bike for others. Do they get to choose on a daily basis? – They have three bikes here in the Giro, so if they prefer an Emonda
they have two Emondas and one Madone, and then they can choose each stage what they want. Like today, we have four
Emondas, four Madones. It’s all the way up and down. And then they can choose also
the height of the wheels. The biggest difference is
the Emonda is climbing bike, so the weight is a little
bit lower than the Madone, and it’s built to be in the mountains, so they can choose what they want, yeah. – But do your Emondas have weights in to make them 6.8 kilos? – With the disc brake bikes, I think only the really low sizes we
need to put some weight in. Depends on which wheels they ride. And of course we have also
the Velon device in the Giro, what is included in the 6.8. – And the Madone, how
much does it come in at, wit the deep section wheels,
how much of a weight penalty do they pay for using the aero bike? – If they ride six centimeter high wheels, the bike is around 7.3, 7.4. If you compare them with a 6.8 bike, in the mountains, can
make a small difference, yes, for sure. – How late can the rider tell you, if they decide five
minutes before the start to change bike, you’re
a bit (bleep), I think. – They can do that, but we prefer not, and also, they have only one
power meter, so the crank, yes. And then they ride through
stage without power meter. But of course they are the
king, so we do what they want. But we prefer the day before. – Yeah, better to know the day before. (vibrant bass heavy music) I was going to ask you whether
your riders, in general, prefer the S5 or the R5, or
whether they get to choose by each race through the season. – Yeah, it’s a big mix. A few guys really like the S5, others do the R5. Sometimes they mix, some guys stay the whole year on one bike. It’s just what they– they can choose. – So any rider who you
think changes bikes, the most often they look
at the stage and they, oh today, I’m going to be in
the wind, I want the aero bike, or today, mountains, the climbing bike? – Yeah, or bad roads, or whatever, yeah. – Which bike do they choose for bad roads? – Actually, the S5,
’cause they think the R5 is a bit stiffer and harder than the S. – So which bike have they
chosen today for today’s stage? – A mix again. We’ve got three or four Rs and we’ve got the rest is all S5s. So it’s a mix of things. We’ve got two guys, they do
it all R5 the whole Giro. – And what’s the weight
penalty for the S5, how much more does it weigh than the R5? – It’s not much different, actually. If we got really into the margins, then we’ve got another set
of wheels, an even lower set. Then they can choose
for even lighter weight wheels, and then sometimes we can
get in trouble with it. But that’s for the S5 and the R5. – So it’s more about the
ride feel than the weight? So, it’s more that they feel
more comfortable, maybe. – We’ve got bikes that
are actually a bit heavier in the mounts, but they feel better on it. So that’s what it is. It’s all about the feeling, not about the weight, in the end. – Yeah, at the end of the day, you’ve got to feel good to ride well. – Yeah, absolutely. (upbeat music) – I wanted to ask you,
why are all your riders on the Giant TCR, and not the Propel? – Here, we have the team is
basically big-form climb, so guys we’re going to help
on the climbs are before that. Nobody here is a real sprinter,
so that’s the main reason. We have a few guys who couldn’t sprint, or maybe have the second,
third bike a Propel, but not here. – So they get to choose which
bike to bring to the Giro, and they chose to bring the TCR. – Yeah, and basically we have a little bit in based on what the riders here, mains climber or supporter for that. So with the lighter
bike, it’s comfortable. So yeah, that’s the main reason. – And how much more heavy
is the Propel than the TCR? – It’s not really much
more heavy. A little bit. But it’s more aerodynamic, and, let’s say, for climbs
they prefer the TCR. – And it feels different? You think it’s the ride
feel as much as the weight, that they choose the TCR? – No, it’s not just about the weight, but a little bit about the
stiffness, and other points. All the riders here, they just have, if I’m not wrong, all just DCX. (bass heavy music) (cheering) – So, in summary, there was actually more variation than I thought. Most teams allow their riders to choose the bike depending on the stage. And a surprising amount of that choice appears to be based on ride feel. Which kind of surprised me. You’d think that riders
would care more about how fast they go than
about how the ride feels. But there you go. The other conclusion I draw from this, is that maybe pro teams aren’t actually the best people to ask
about this question, because of the UCI’s minimum weight rule. So a lot of really lightweight bikes would have weights in the down tube just to make sure that it
reaches the minimum 6.8 kilos. And the technology these days, most aero bikes aren’t that much heavier. So actually the advantages
of a lightweight bike, in terms of weight saving are
minimized in pro tour teams. Well, I hope you found this interesting. If you want to hear a little
bit more about aerodynamics, why not check out Cy and I making a video in the wind tunnel in Milan?

100 comments on “Aero Vs Climbing | What Bikes Do The Pros Favour?

  1. In a bunch situation aero means very little as you get sucked along with everyone else regardless. However if you're a sprinter or a breakaway specialist an aero bike makes sense. If you're a climber you'll be protected the whole race by the big boys until the climbs anyway. Speeds are slower so aero advantages are much less compared with 40kph+. 500g's (6.8 vs 7.3kgs) is pretty significant on a 1000m+ climbs spread over 3weeks I'd say, especially if you weigh 60kgs dripping wet like some of these guys. And often climbing bikes are more comfortable and feel nicer to ride. Psychology is an important factor not to be overlooked.

  2. Do the big guys driving the peloton for the first 3/4 of the race go aero, while the climbers and punchers go lightweight?

  3. Where does the pinarello dogma fit in then? All rounder? A bit of both? Or more aero than climbing?

  4. 5:15 Spanish or Italian?! I speak portuguese (brazilian guy here), so I can understand a little bit of other latin languages, but I had to watch the video twice to understand… Emma asking the guy in spanish and Henrico answering in italianish (italian + spanish). As Si would say: "Genius"!

  5. If you are pushing the watts it doesnt really matter if the bike is a climbing or aero bike. We see Froome vs Nairo on climbs and Froome is massively heavier plus less aero but still pushing the watts the lighter and more aero pure climber can't.

    Same with Big T. Look how much heavier he is and less aero but still dominates because his sustained watts/kg is superior.

    All said I did cut my Venge and Emonda in half and joined them with some carbon wrap. It rides ok but the sales reps from both companies said I had voided my warranty. I dont understand why though.

  6. I used to have a TCR and not I have a propel…It is way heavier than the TCR so dont lisent to that mecanic 😛

  7. Yeah… you guys landed your butt in the butter bringing Emma Pooley on. Brains & charisma that just sucks viewers in with every new video. Here's a question inspired by recent headlines: in the mold of Benedict Cumberbach, is she getting the same salary as the male presenters at GCN? She's certainly worth it. No growing pains here… she's a natural.

  8. Heck my Cervélo S3 56cm from 2011 is 7,1 kg with 60mm rims and heavy vector pedals. What has happened since?

  9. GCN crew; Fan for many years now. I must say, the cinematography, editing, and general "feel" of this video is a notch above the others. Whoever is doing that over there, kudos to you and keep up the excellent work.

  10. None of this matters when the weight limit is 6.8kg, which can be easily achieved using deep section wheels and aero frame. Comfort and frame geometry also matters. Hence the mix of bikes used. Honestly there isnt much of a difference between the bikes. There is way too much marketing hype on technology… It really is all about the legs.

  11. OMG!!!!! so great bilingual videos !!!!! definitely Europe is centuries ahead of USA….. great job GCN my favorite source of this beautiful culture…..

  12. Emma… you'll be ousting Dan soon as the "capo di GCN". As the aussies might comment "how good are you!!"

  13. I really love how Emma is getting more and more confident and natural in the way she presents with each video. Well done.

  14. even though a lot of data shows an aero set up is best for most races (excluding mountains) most pros seem to like non-aero frames and 30-40mm rims. I see far more deep rims being used at club races than I see in the world tour races? are pros slow to adapt or is aero a marketing gimmick?

  15. two things surprised me about bike choices in this years Giro. 1) none of the Trek guys are on the Domane, which would have been my choice especially on the rougher roads of Sicily and southern Italy. and 2) none of the Giant guys are on a Propel, which I would have thought might have been a pro's bike of choice on some of the faster flatter days.

  16. #askgcn does it feel weird going from a bike that has weights in it to meet the minimum UCI weight standard vs the same bike without? Any noticeable difference in handling, etc.? Obviously a question for the former riders of Cervelo Test Team ;p

  17. Very impressed with Spanish/English! Loved Emma in "Half The Road". Still miss Matt. No on-demand Giro coverage here in US so only hear his voice on InCycle 5 min. summaries. Am wondering how well Emma is received by Men's side of the sport when doing these sorts of interviews?

  18. Must…purchase…Emonda!

    I'm also loving those disk installations.. great video GCN, thanks again ; )

  19. Brava Emma, sono molto contento che lei presenta fatti molto interessante per le persone che hanno una passione per il ciclismo. Ti auguro buona fortuna per la tua nuova carriera. Un saluto e un abbraccio forte a te, e i tui colleghi di GCN. Continua il grande lavoro!

  20. Vaya diálogo de sordos. Una que no se aclara en español y el otro (sacado del Nombre De la Rosa) que habla un español de spaghetti!

  21. Dr. Emma, a world class bike pro who also happens to understand science. Great addition to GCN. Great information for me here. Thanks.

  22. I really appreciate your efforts to bridge the linguistic gap to include the viewpoint of an Italian mechanic at the Giro. That's very nice of you, Emma.

  23. Interesting video. Just wondering about endurance bikes (Trek domane, Specialized Roubaix, …) Do pro's ever use them at all (+250km races in Flanders and Roubaix)? If not, why?

  24. Quite Right Emma, probably best to approach people like Vroomen, White or Renard, or even McLaren who should know a bit about cycle technology. I think a 4.5kg bike has its merits against a 7kg aero bike.

  25. Every single one of those bike (aside from the TT) can be 6.8kg so when they say they want a lighter bike for climbing, they could use a traditional bike or aero, it really doesn't matter. Ride feel, that's all.

    I have an old crusty (by today's standards) 2010 Cervelo S2 with a mix of Red and Force, under 15lb running tubeless wheels, and that wasn't even really pushing the envelope with anything.

  26. The UCI weight limit should be reduced to 5kg or totally scrapped then there could be a real difference between bike choice and possibly more inovation, plus lighter riders wouldn't be so disadvantaged.

  27. Wow, didn't know Emma spoke Spanish so well! I am continually more impressed with her – so glad she's consistently presenting for GCN!

  28. since UCI has a weight limit 6.8 kg, and the aero bike only weight around 7kg nowadays,I think the "light weight" climbing bike has not much benefit . I have changed my tcr to madone disc for a while and they both climb well.

  29. This is slightly convoluted because after position nd clothing, wheels are more important than frame shape for aerodynamics – IMHO a lightweight bike with deep sections is nearly as quick as a full aero bike!!

  30. could you make a video please of whats the difference between aero bikes and triathlon bikes. The frames look very similar and i was just curious.

  31. I'd err on the side of the aero frame unless there is a plan to attack late in a stage with a mountaintop finish. Otherwise there are too many chance to regret not having that extra bit of speed and recovery, trivial as it seems. Especially since today's "aero road" frames really are not much heavier than the "climbing" bikes unless you're making a hill climb special and don't have to hit any minimum weight limits.

  32. Emma kills it once more in 5, 4, 3, 2… 05:15 😮
    Definitely learned it in Spain. Rolled the r's nicely too.

  33. they're all too scared to say one bike is heavier than the other. "uh,, its more about stiffness" lol. anyway, emma rocks.

  34. Ok so for pros who can ride at insane speeds up hill it's maybe still aero but for us amateurs the wind resistance would be lower. Can we see a video of at what speed the advantage of aero is seen against the weight saving of lightweight bikes on differing gradients.

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