Why Don’t All Riders Use Aero Bikes? | Ask GCN Anything Cycling


– Welcome to another Ask GCN Anything. Si and I are gonna turn
things on their heads today by doing the Rapid Fire round first. – That’s right, we’re gonna have a much slower start to the video than normal. – Yeah, ease ourselves in gently. First up, Kyle Deans
underneath last week’s Ask GCN Anything said,
“Do you guys agree that it’s no longer possible
for riders to do well in the Giro and do well
at the Tour de France. Look at Quintana as an example.” Well, we did go into this in this week’s GCN show briefly. So if you haven’t caught up that, make sure you watch the show. But what we’ve got to remember is it’s not just the double that double that he did this year is it? He also competed at the Tour de France last year and the Vuelta. And he won the Vuelta, and finished on the podium at the Tour de France. That is, in effect, four grand tours on the trot where he tried to go for GC. – And he is doing pretty well even if he’s not winning. I suppose the question is; would he be winning if he hadn’t done quite so much. I wonder whether he might, you know. – I do think it will still be possible with someone, at some point in the future. Don’t think we should just write it off. – With a bit of luck as well actually. ‘Cause that come into it doesn’t it? Right, next up, ’cause this is the Rapid Fire Round don’t forget. This is from Lawrence Liu. “Why don’t all riders in the pro peloton ride aero bikes if they have the option? Surely they can get them down to the lower weight limit.” That’s a really good point, actually. From my perspective, I don’t think pros always, to say, make the most rational equipment decisions do they? So because obviously rider
preference comes into it. But, yeah, on paper, an
aero bike, most aero bikes, would be faster on any stage; whether they’re mountain
stages or flat stages. And if I was racing again, I would definitely ride an aero bike. – Well, back when I was racing for the Cervelo test team, we had
a certain Carlos Sastre on the team who had
won the Tour de France, and we had all sorts of
very clever engineers from Cervelo and Zipp explain to us, including Carlos, what were the best equipment choices for the mountains. And it would often be a 303 or even a 404 for mountain stages. But Carlos always went for 202s; a lot shallower, lighter climbing wheel, because he much preferred
the feeling on the descent, actually, rather than the climbs. He preferred the handling
around hairpins, etc. as well. It is an interesting one, but, as Si said, pros often just like the feel of a certain piece of equipment even if they’re told it’s not as fast. – Sticking with Cervelo, I see, I was out at the launch of their new R5. I was talking to one of the engineers; well, the guy who actually
designed it basically. He was saying that for a while the riders only had the S5, but it’s
not just an aero bike, because the geometry is more aggressive. It’s much twitchier. So actually some of the riders have then chosen to go with the new R5, which is slightly more relaxed. It’s not boring to ride, but it’s a little bit easier
and a bit less demanding. Because if, at the end of
the day, if you’re riding six hours a day you
don’t always want to be absolutely on point D. – We are really outdoing ourselves on this Rapid Fire Round. Two questions down already.
– Yeah. – Third question today,
Alexander Micallef, “Is it better to sprint
from a non-ideal position (e.g. 10th) but with full
energy, or use some energy to get a more ideal position (e.g. third) and sprint with slightly less energy? Almost impossible to answer, but you have to say Kittel, who has come from non-ideal positions to win a few stages this year in the Tour de France. But it’s gonna depend on so many factors; i.e. how far from the
finish you’re talking about, what the corners are like, how
strung out the field is, etc. – Head wind, gradient,
yeah, there is actually no ideal position for a sprint. Just watch someone like
Cav over the years. He wins from all sorts of
different positions didn’t he. – Here’s a question for you, Si, from the beigemaster86. – Beigemaster.
– Yeah. More like it, yeah, I
think it probably is beige. “In a world of ‘marginal
gains’ why isn’t anyone in the pro peloton running tubeless tyres? Data suggests that rolling
resistance are equal or better to tubular,
but how much time can a team save by not having to change wheels due to punctures, etc? – Yeah, well, I think this comes back to a previous point. Teams or riders don’t always
make the rational decisions. Like we hear stories in a bunch about individual riders will join a team, and they still wanna use some ancient brand of tubular, because they feel better on it even if they’re not faster. Sponsors come into it. So obviously not many riders and teams actually have a tubeless
set up at their disposal. And also, yeah, I mean,
people still like tubulars even though they’re
technically not faster. You, obviously, maintain– – Yeah, we discussed this. – So yeah, riders like the fact that you can ride a tubular when flat. But actually you can ride a tubeless tyre when flat as well. – Yeah, we thinking of
doing an experiment; a race on flat tyres. – Yeah, I’m constantly amazed by the fact that riders are always still on tubulars. But, there we go. – Well, Liam Sangaku
asks, “What do the staff in the team cars do when they need to go to the toilet while following the Tour? Or do they just hold it?” Well they can go. What they tend to do is get the second team car up when they need to stop to replace them in the convoy behind the main peloton. Pull over to one side. Do what they need to do, and then replace the second team car once they’re done. So it is fairly simple. And they normally choose a quieter part of the race to do it. – There’s always a supply of water bottles as well isn’t there. – No, that’s very true Si. And next up Will Ball on Twitter. “Nice video on the Mavic
neutral service car and something you don’t always get to see. Who was the last rider to use a neutral service bike in the TdF?” – Well the last high-profile rider certainly was Chris Froome; infamously on Mont Ventoux where he couldn’t get one with
speedplay pedals could he? So Mavic actually went and changed the bikes that they
put on top of the roof. And they used… Should we let Lasty take over? – Yeah, if you didn’t see the video that Will is talking about, it’s coming up for you right now. (ominous trance music) – A lot of the interest with the neutral service cars is right here on top of the car of course. So, Mavic has up to four
neutral service vehicles in each stage of the race
here at the Tour de France. And the first three
bikes on one of the cars are set up in the top three
on general classification. – Well after that really
slow video from Lasty, we should get back to more
Rapid Fire questions, Dan. – Ah yes, the first of which is from Radio Station, again, underneath last week’s GCN show. “Why would you choose to lay your arms flat on the hoods, when going on the drops gets your body in relatively
the same position?” – Good question that. – Yeah, well, we’ve discussed this again before we came on air. And we decided it was as much down to the set up of the bike really. So when you look at the pros, they’ve got those slam stems that are already very low at the front. So for them, putting
their elbows at 90 degrees on the hoods gets them
a very nice flat back. Whereas if you’re a sportif rider who’s not quite as flexible, and
your bars are much higher at the front, you’re
probably not gonna have a flat back by going on the hood even with your arms bent at 90 degrees. But on the drops you will be. – Yeah, and the important
thing is probably the, like Dan said, arms at 90 degrees, is more aero than having
your arms stretched. So to get your flat; your back in that all-important flat position, then your forearms dictate
how aero you are after that. Don’t they really?
– Yeah, definitely. Here’s one for you Si from Sir Roger, “Why did it take so long for tour riders to start using easier gears? I know they had less to choose from, in years gone by, but why not have a really big range on the back for those
really steep climbs?” He seems to have watched some old videos of riders grinding up the mountains. – Yeah, well, to a certain
extent it was rider preference. I think riders actually
preferred to use bigger gears. They felt it was more efficient. But then obviously
technology has moved on. We’ve got a video, actually, about that; about the ever-decreasing size
of gears on riders’ bikes. But the fact that we go, or have gone, from seven-speed to
eight-speed to nine-speed, ten-speed, eleven-speed has meant that you can still keep the same spread of gear ratios, or rather
the same tightly-spaced gear ratios lower down, but then actually just have bigger cogs. – Yeah I think that’s a big thing. – That is a big thing. And also technology for
things like rear derailleurs. So we have surround wifly which means that you can use the same rear derailleur on an 1123 cassette and an 1132 cassette, and Shimano also have got their new Duras as well, which
allows you to go to 30. So technology has allowed it, basically. Whereas, yeah, I should
imagine a tour rider in the 60s using a… What were they on? Five-speed blocks? Six-speed blocks? Yeah, you couldn’t really
have very big jumps. – No, I think that, also,
in talking about technology, maybe power metres, it does
when you’re grinding steel like you’re putting more power out because it kind of hurts your muscles. – Well then your heart
rate’s often lower isn’t it? That’s the other thing. You can have a lower heart
rate for the same power. So if you only have a heart rate monitor, it might think that… You might think it is more efficient, even if your legs are
completely toasted at the top. – Another question climbing from DucatiMan1973g who’s
learned from us how to find the right gear before a climb. I always get on well with. Has also learned to get
in and out of the saddle whilst climbing, but
does find when standing he needs to be in a higher gear, and it’s tough to change back and forth. What’s missing? – Take it away Dan. – Well, yeah, that’s
normal to want to go down to a lower rpm once you
get out of the saddle. That goes for everyone
really, including the pros. You just need to get used to when is best to change that gear. And thinking about my own
personal riding style, I would say it’s just before I’m about to get out of the saddle. If you just click the gear then. You can get to a point
where the gear then changes whilst you’re not putting
quite so much torque through the pedals, so the gear changing can be a lot smoother. – Yeah, just easing off I
think probably isn’t it? And, yeah, when you get
as experienced as Dan, you can do it very speedily. That’s what I mean. Next up, we’ve got this one from Dave Hogue, “If the
UCI require all parts to be commercially available,”
which they do “then why can’t the general public buy those
nice Continental Pro tyres?” That we were talking about in a couple of Tour de France technies. Basically brands are still allowed to test stuff in the pro peloton, which is good. Because otherwise you wouldn’t ever see products that had been tested by the pros. Because they’re pretty good
at testing stuff, aren’t they? So one would imagine that Conti will be releasing those tyres at
some point in the future. And we will all be able
to get our hands on them. But now they are pro edition only. And, then, yeah. – I think they’ve got a
few months, haven’t they from prototype to be able to get it to the general public. Because that is the rule. But there was a reply
underneath Dave’s question, underneath last week’s
show asking about Froome’s 3D-printed trial bikes. But I don’t know. – Ah, ah, I saw something. – I’ve never seen you so excited. I’m excited myself now. – Well no, so I read
something on the internet just, I think it was this morning in fact, basically Pinarello will be selling 3D-printed trial bikes. – Oh, OK. – So they’ll be costing
gazillions of pounds, as you might imagine, but
they will be available. And that, I guess, is the logical extension of that UCI rule. So I think that’s good. – Sticking with UCI rules, Bruno Puype on Twitter,
“Should the UCI change the supply rule? Not drinking or eating isn’t healthy. Supply in the last kilometres
from stationary people?” Well the current rules bar riders from taking any food or drink
from their team cars or from the side of the road in the first 50 kilometres of the
stage and the last 20. Now they do change that on hot days to perhaps the first
20 Ks and the last 10. But it is an interesting point. And it’s been raised since they gave those penalties which were then taken back for both
George Bennett was it? And Rigoberto Uran at the Tour de France. We can’t think of any reason why you shouldn’t be allowed to have food or drink passed up to you in the last few Ks of a mountain stage. – Well, I literally did
just think of something. I wonder whether the
whole sticky bottle thing. – But it’s the side of the road. – Oh, I’m sorry, but this is
from team cars as well innit? I guess from a handout
from the side of the road is a rider ever only at a disadvantage from grabbing a bottle. Whereas from a team car
you could, you know, push the rules a little bit. – We definitely don’t
think it should be allowed on sprint stages. That would be quite dangerous. – But who would do it? – On a very hot mountainous stage, if you’re gasping for water, ’cause your team car’s
been blocked behind, why not get it handed up from the side? – Yeah, the UCI commissairs were not looking at their best that day were they, I don’t think, with that decision. – No. – Again, watch the GCN show for a bit more controversy. – Next up is Liz Riley. “How much difference does it make to carry speed onto a climb? Is the advantage mostly psychological?” – Well, a bit depends on what climb you’re riding onto. The shorter the climb, the more important it is to carry speed. And definitely not just psychological. Absolutely massive difference. I suspect that by the
time you’re talking about Alpe d’Huez being 13 kilometres long, you know, the advantage is minimal. But certainly momentum makes
a huge difference doesn’t it? We actually made a video about that. – We have, and it’s right behind you on the screen right now. So if you’d like to see what difference momentum makes for the short, steep climb, the answer is here. – I don’t look very happy there. I can’t remember what bit that was. – ‘Cause you hadn’t found out about the Pinarello 3D bike. – Yeah, good point. – Did you do it? – Yeah.
– Three times? – Three, two, one, go. – Before we get on to our
final question of the day, a reminder that if you’d like to ask us a question for next week’s show, you can do so in the comment section below this video or you can use #TORQUEBACK on Twitter or Facebook. Final question then comes from Tom Wilson underneath last week’s show. “Smart trainer or powermetre, which will improve my training more? I live in London, so
it’s rainy in the winter and about 20 miles to
get to nice quiet roads.” – That’s a tough question. I think the answer is
gonna be; it depends. Doesn’t it, really? So the pros and cons would be that, with a smart trainer you can obviously connect it up to a third-party app. So like Zwift or something so in the rainy London winters you
get really good-quality workouts, great fun riding experience from the safety of your own home. And even actually when
the weather is all right, if you’ve still got that 20-mile ride to good roads, then, you know, you still get really good-quality training. But obviously when you’re
not on your smart trainer, then you don’t have the luxury
of looking at your numbers. So you can’t go up and ride
up climbs or do time trials. So you’re slightly more limited even if you would then, perhaps, enjoy more of your
riding more of the time. What would you go for mate? – I’m not sure. I’m a big proponent of a powermeter, but if you look at something like the new Elite Direto Smart
Trainer, which has got a powermeter in-built which is accurate to plus or minus two and a half percent, which is very similar to
the best bike powermeters. That really is quite
impressive under 900 dollars. And it does give you a
much better experience on something like goes with in terms of simulating the gradient
going up and down hill; drafting behind other riders, etc. And it sounds from Tom’s
specific circumstances, like most of the rides
he’ll be doing outside, due to the traffic and the distance, will be more endurance
riding which you can do on-field with a heart rate monitor. And perhaps his more specific sessions will almost all will be done indoors. – I’m gonna disagree with you there. I’m gonna go for a powermeter. Because I would invest in a powermeter, and then I’d get a less
expensive indoor trainer, but one with variable resistance;
maybe magnetic resistance. So then when I was on
something like Zwift, and I decided I wanted to
ride up Zwift mountain, I could knock it down and
increase the resistance. And that would feel realistic. And I’ve got my powermeter,
so that, you know, it’s translating my data accurately. But then I will ride outside a lot, even if I had to contend
with 20 miles of traffic. And then I would be out on the open roads seeing what power I’m actually
producing, in the wild. And I think that that would
be something I would miss if I didn’t have a powermeter, and just had a smart trainer. – I’ve seen you racing on Zwift. And I’m not sure you’ve got the energy to change the resistance manually, whilst you’re on it. Anyway, if you would like
to see a Zwift up close… That’s actually from some
time ago now isn’t it, when they launched that app. We did a video where we also raced against Jens Voigt, but also had a look at how it felt to be in that immersive world on a smart trainer. – There’s Jens actually,
look, there he is. He doesn’t know yet
we’re about to smoke him. That’s another high five moment mate. Yeah. Never race him again. – No. We might actually. Yeah, he’s gonna bring his team next time. – Si Richardson capitalises on the strong teamwork from Daniel Lloyd. Only 200 metres to go now. He’s got a finish line in sight. He’s got time to look at the crowd. He puts his arm in the air. Daniel Lloyd puts his arm
in the air too; Ks behind. – High five Dan.
– One, two. (heavy breathing) Well that’s the end of another rapid Ask GCN. Yeah, don’t worry everyone. We will slow down, take
more time next week over your questions. – I doubt it. Yeah, don’t forget to leave your questions in the comment section just down below. And also to subscribe if
you haven’t done so already by clicking on the globe. And if you’d like to purchase
one of these T-shirts… Got some dandruff on it. … or a white one, you
can do so by clicking on shop.globalcyclingnetwork.com; a link to which you should
find on the screen right now. – This is a new one. – Can’t see dandruff on that. – No; brilliant. Anyway, right, how about
more content for you. Why not a couple of genius
Tour de France videos. We’ve got lightweight
tech just down there, and custom tech just over there. Both definitely well worth the watch. Also showing that a lot of Tour de France riders still pass as lightweight. And with added weights
in the bottom bracket. – Yeah.