There are many unique benefits of using the Silverstone Sports Engineering Hub’s Cycling Wind Tunnel, built by Sports Aero Solutions Ltd, that enhance the user experience. For example, the ability to accurately simulate real world cycling scenarios and measure cycling drag can help the rider adjust their position for both aerodynamic performance and comfort.

Cycling drag assessment in the cycling wind tunnel

Aerodynamics, or more specifically cycling drag force, accounts for up to approximately 90% of the total resistive force experienced by a rider on a flat surface (Kyle & Burke, 1984). To reduce cycling drag, a Cycling Wind Tunnel can be used as a development tool to improve the rider aerodynamics.

Analysis of riding position to reduce your cycling drag

Using edges to assess position when trying to reduce cycling drag

CdA, or cycling drag coefficient multiplied by a rider’s frontal area, can be analysed in a Cycling Wind Tunnel. A rider can reduce their frontal area by changing their position easily and accurately at SSEH. This is because we project live camera images onto an outline of their original position in the test section for live comparison.

The Aero Cycling Simulator and the full effect of adjusting your position

At Silverstone Sports Engineering Hub, due to our unique resistance rollers and cycling simulator mode, a rider can fully understand the whole impact of adjusting their position. We can accurately simulate the impact of cycling drag savings as a result of a position change, whilst allowing the rider to assess their comfort in different positions.

Reducing the impact of cycling drag

Using a Cycling Wind Tunnel can teach a rider to reduce the power required to ride at a certain velocity by altering position. For example, a 10% reduction CdA would see a 10% reduction in the power required to overcome aerodynamic drag. It is a significant saving as demonstrated by the graph below.

Graph of impact of reducing cycling drag via CdA

Figure 1 – The power required to overcome aerodynamic drag at a range of velocities for CdA values of 0.30 m^2 and 0.27 m^2 (10% lower). As a result of the 10% difference, there is a 10% reduction in the power to overcome cycling drag.

Changing this rider’s position allows a saving of around 13.4 watts at 20 mph to overcome cycling drag. Furthermore, this reaches approximately 44.3 watts saved from the power required to overcome cycling drag at 30 mph.

How can you benefit from the services offered at SSEH?

As an organisation you will have access to cutting-edge R&D tools as part of a completely confidential, tailored experience. Whether you require industry-leading expertise and consultancy on a project or the freedom to perform your own independent research in a facility built specifically for sports engineering, the Hub is designed to cater for you needs.

As an individual there are many ways you can take advantage of the facility. There are lots of opportunities such as bike aerodynamic fit sessions and cycling consultancy with Drag2Zero, 3D scanning and CFD analysis with TotalSim, or even becoming the owner of a Vorteq skinsuit.

For further information, check out their websites and what they can offer:

TotalSim: Leaders in Aerodynamics and Computational Fluid Dynamics. https://www.totalsimulation.co.uk

Drag2Zero: Providing technical and aerodynamic consultancy services to the cycle industry. https://drag2zero.co.uk

Vorteq: Home to the world’s fastest skinsuit. https://www.vorteqsports.co.uk

Interested in how our tunnel can benefit a rider? If you’d like to arrange a meeting to discuss your requirements do not hesitate to contact us on 01327 222830. We’d be happy to answer your questions.

References:

Kyle, C., & Burke, E. (1984). Improving the racing bicycle. Mechanical Engineering, 34-35.