Hydration System Testing

Have you ever wondered where the most efficient position is to carry fluids on your bike?

With so many options now available on the market, from the traditional round bottle on the downtube, to aero bottles and hydration systems, we thought it would be interesting to test the aerodynamic efficiency of 5 different systems using the Sports Performance Wind Tunnel, to show the typical differences in power required (to ride at a certain speed) you can expect to find when testing.

Testing protocol

The tests were performed with 5 different hydration systems.

The speeds selected for the test were 35kph and 45kph, across two yaw angles of 0 and 5 degrees, representative of what a rider may typically encounter when riding or racing in a Time Trial, or Triathlon.

As with our previous blog testing, the riders’ edges were captured during the baseline test, which were then projected in front of them for each subsequent run as a reference point in order to maintain the same position on the bike and ensure the data was accurate and repeatable. A 20 second pedalling tare was also completed prior to each run to account for any relative changes in mass of the riders set up.

Conclusion

The results show that whilst some of the differences between systems were marginal, the maximum gain from the slowest to the fastest system was considerable at 8.1w. Over the course of a long distance event, this could add up to a substantial amount of timed saved and ultimately become the difference between winning and loosing.

Another point of mention is how each system performs at yaw, with almost every one performing noticeably better when faced with a small effective crosswind (typical of what you would generally face whilst riding in real world conditions).

In conclusion, the results from the test clearly demonstrate that there are aerodynamic gains to be made from selecting the right system for hydration.

If you would be interested in arranging a session in the Sports Performance Wind Tunnel to optimise your own equipment choices, please refer to the Performance Consultants section of our website for further information – https://silverstonesportshub.co.uk/consultants/