How Much Speed Can Be Bought? With Ben Delaney

Bike tech journalist Ben Delaney helps us highlight aerodynamic gear and bicycle technology that offers the best return for your investment.

Inside the wind tunnel
Inside the wind tunnel with Ben Delaney. Photo: Courtesy Specialized

Today we’re talking speed, but not necessarily the kind that comes from hard work—although we touch on things like coaches and training plans as the first and most important step to “buying” speed.

This episode is about what makes you faster by focusing on aerodynamics and reducing drag, or that CdA coefficient that is so important. This is an episode about the things that directly bring speed.

We’re joined by our friend and colleague Ben Delaney who has spent decades riding and reviewing countless bikes and pieces of gear for VeloNews and BikeRadar, as well as time in the industry with Specialized. He takes us through his tiered hierarchy of options when it comes to spending your way to a faster you.

Episode Transcript

Introducing Friend and Colleague Ben Delaney

Chris Case 00:11
Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of Fast Talk your source for the science of endurance performance. I’m Chris Case. Today we’re talking, speed, but not necessarily the kind that comes from hard work. Although, we touch on things like coaches and training plans as the first and most important step to, buying speed, if you will. This episode is about what makes you faster by focusing on aerodynamics and reducing drag, or that CdA coefficient that is so important. This is an episode about the things that directly bring speed. We’re joined by our friend and colleague, Ben Delaney, who has spent decades riding and reviewing countless bikes and pieces of gear for brands like VeloNews and BikeRadar, as well as time in the industry with bike brand, Specialized. He takes us through his tiered hierarchy of options when it comes to spending your way to a faster you and though I say at the start of every episode today, I really mean it. Let’s make you fast.

Chris Case 01:15
Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of Fast Talk your source for the science of endurance performance. I’m Chris Case, sitting down today with Coach Trevor Connor and special guest Ben Delaney.

Ben Delaney 01:26
Hey, Chris. Hey, Trevor. And hey, Fast Talk listeners. Glad to be with you.

Trevor Connor 01:30
Glad to have you on the show.

Chris Case 01:32
Hey, listeners, we hope you have considered joining Fast Talk Labs, our Personal Training Center for Science minded athletes like you. Every other week, we unlock member only stories for free, just sign up free to see them. Recently, we’ve unlocked Trevor’s deep dive on how to execute 5×5 intervals. Dr. Siler’s analysis of Molly Sidell’s training for her record breaking marathon, the most powerful features of intervals at ICU, and our guide to the training peaks performance management chart. If you haven’t joined at our free listener member level, you’re definitely missing out, free articles and videos are waiting for you at Join today at our free listener member level. Great to have you on for the first time ever. We’re approaching episode 200 and we haven’t had you on. For those who don’t know, Ben, he’s very famous in the bike world. He was editor in chief of VeloNews, oh quite a while ago, and then he jumped over to BikeRadar. He’s written a lot of bikes in his life. He’s now with Outside Interactive Media doing bike stuff again. Kind of a jack of all trades. How many bikes have you ridden in your, test bikes that is? Bikes in general in your life, Ben?

Ben Delaney 02:40
Precisely 274 and a half bicycles Chris, yeah.

Chris Case 02:44
Oh wow.

Trevor Connor 02:44
I really want to know about that half.

Ben Delaney 02:47
Sometimes the bicycles have ended up in halves and pieces.

Chris Case 02:49
Yes. That’s another reason why you’re famous.

Ben Delaney 02:52
No, I’ve been, Yeah I love riding bikes and I love writing about bikes. I’ve been lucky enough to do this for a better part of 20 plus years now and even yeah I had a little stint at Specialized Bicycles on the on the other end of the coin. Does that mean I know anything about these? We shall see.

Chris Case 03:07
Well, we’re trying to establish your credentials for being on this episode. So yes, you know your stuff.

Trevor on One Wheel

Trevor Connor 03:14
I gotta say one of the worst weeks of my life was you guys gave, I won’t give the name of the company but you guys gave me these prototype, like $8,000 set of wheels. Because I was going down to a…

Chris Case 03:26
8000? Those are expensive wheels.

Trevor Connor 03:28
They were something ridiculous. Like I didn’t even want to touch them they were so expensive. I was going down to this this five day stage race and you guys like, here take these and test them for us. Let us know what you think. So took them. First day in the race I crack one in half.

Ben Delaney 03:43
Which wheels for these? I have zero memory of this.

Trevor Connor 03:45
These were some Envies. So cracked it in half. I’m spending the whole time of the race going, I don’t know what to do, because I can’t afford to replace these wheels. They’re gonna fire me, they’re gonna kill me. I come back. I hand them to you guys. Like I’m so sorry I destroyed one of the wheels and your response was, great now we got our story.

Ben Delaney 04:04
Real world testing for sure.

Ben Delaney Explains How to Spend Your Money the Right Way to Buy Speed

Chris Case 04:05
Yeah. So if you haven’t gathered already today, we’re talking tech. It’s rare for us at Fast Talk to talk tech, but Ben is going to help us answer the question. What are the most cost effective ways to get faster? Kind of a if you only had 2000 bucks in your pocket? How should you spend it to get faster? That’s the question today. Ben, are you ready?

Ben Delaney 04:30
I’m ready. Let’s go. Alright.

Chris Case 04:32
So we’ve established your credentials. We’ve established that you crash bikes and break stuff, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. But let’s start off with the, sort of that first tier of things that you should invest in if you’ve got this cash, and you want to go faster.

Ben Delaney 04:48
Sure well, let me come back to you another way, and break it down into three types of things of how to get fast. – Absolutely. – There’s you. My friends, making yourself faster, a number of ways you can do that. Then there’s the power ratios, power to weight or power to CdA. I think those are like the three main types of ways you can, you can improve without spending money, and you can improve by spending money. That’s how I go about those.

Chris Case 05:17
I see gotcha, well then let’s start with the you in this equation.

Ben Delaney 05:23
If you want to talk about the most cost effective, go, you know, Eddie Murph style, go right upgrades, right? Ride your bicycle, listen to Fast Talk, – listen to Fast Talk – heed their advice, – Yes -. Do these things. – Yeah –

Trevor Connor 05:36
Work on the engine.

Ben Delaney 05:37
Don’t follow my example, and you know drink less beer, for the power to weight ratio. -Yeah – Yeah, so that is what you guys go into on a regular basis is the you, right? -Absolutely – Another part of the you in terms of weight aside, and power aside, is the drag. Don’t be a drag, man that is a way you can get faster without spending money or by spending money. So the high dollar way would be to go into a wind tunnel, go to San Diego, go to North Carolina, have experts fine tune your CdA in a position that is sustainable. That’s what the pros do and that works.

Ben Delaney Talks About Wind Tuunnels

Chris Case 06:12
Have you spent time on wind tunnel?

Ben Delaney 06:14
Yeah I’ve been in, I don’t know, five or six wind tunnels, a few in Europe, Germany, France, San Diego, North Carolina.

Chris Case 06:22
For the purposes of refining that CdA or just for the fun of it, or both?

Ben Delaney 06:28
Primarily for product launches. When a company is trying to tout its latest, whiz-bang gizmo whether that’s a wheel set or a bike, sometimes clothing, and then a few instances have dovetailed getting on there myself as just an example, and I’ve been told that I look terrible.

Chris Case 06:46
I was gonna bring up the fact that you’re not really like the time trailer.

Ben Delaney 06:49
The broad shoulders are nice in a suit, but on a TT bike, not so much. That is a way to to to get faster and it costs.

Chris Case 06:57
How much can someone expect to gain from that process? Can you give us any indication of that, to put you on the spot? Perhaps considerable amounts?

Ben Delaney 07:05
Well one of the one of the fun things about getting fastest it’s, how do you measure this right? You know what distance over what speed, because it all, it’s a big ball of wax. 40 kilometers is sort of a standard thing.

How to Develop an Aerodynamic Friendly Form

Chris Case 07:10
Has become a standard, Yes.

Ben Delaney 07:11
And maybe I can back it up a bit from the high end windtunnel, to testing a bit on a velodrome a while back, trying to establish like what’s the fastest sustainable position and just going from and I’m going to listen to a show with my body here and try to articulate what I’m talking about going from riding with straight arms on the tops of the bike like he would ride around town, to just bending your elbows you know that over 40k could save you, like going hard like up to six minutes like I did the test it you know, keeping 250 Watt standard.

Chris Case 07:56
For anybody that knows you that soft pedaling.

Ben Delaney 07:58
You know it was like a 64 and up watt savings just by bending elbows.

Chris Case 08:06
Just by bringing the torso down effectively.

Ben Delaney 08:09
That’s like the easiest rule of thumb or rule of elbow that I could give some – rule of elbow – and most of you who are listening to this you know this, you probably are an enthusiast cyclist of some stripe and you know, like, getting low, gets faster. You also know there’s you hit a point of diminishing returns. That if you’ve got your face plastered on your top tube, you’re probably not super comfy and that’s not sustainable. But yeah, bending your elbows you go faster.

Trevor Connor 08:33
Yeah, there’s that sweet spot you get down to a certain point where you just can’t generate the same amount of power and you’re really not gaining much in aerodynamics. So you’re trying to find that sweet spot of being low enough that you can still put out power so be comfortable but get that reduce that drag.

Ben Delaney 08:48
Yes. As you guys know for the time trials it’s interesting to watch them dork out and funny to see how human psychology affects even the very best, for instance Fabian Cancellara, the night before key events will want to futz with his position, after like teams of the world’s leading experts in aerodynamics and physiology have fine tuned his position. He’d be like, maybe if I got more… Like what no no no no.

Chris Case 09:14
We’ve had Dr. Pruitt say that very thing on this show you know.

Trevor Connor 09:17
Yeah he worked with Cancellara, and yeah I saw that, saw him in a time trial that he lost where he dropped those handlebars down an inch, inch and a half. Yeah, called him up and said put him back up, put him where I had them.

Ben Delaney 09:29
Yeah and I’ve worked with Andy and other folks like, but with Tom Boonen at Velodrome testing, so it’s it’s one thing to show people numbers, but people need to feel it too. – Yes. – For most of us just feeling both the speed differential and the effort differential is enough. You know, whether you’re riding fast downhill and just messing with your position, seeing how much of a difference that makes riding with an open jacket flapping around versus zipping up a seeing how much of a difference that makes or even just like having your hand out the window. That’s an easy way to see like, physics is real it turns out.

Trevor Connor 10:04
Well I mean, the poor man’s wind tunnel is exactly like that. You just find a hill and basically descend, don’t really pedal or pedal softly and time yourself to get from one point to another point on that downhill. Then start adjusting your position and see, can you speed yourself up? Can you slow it down? And this is, you’re not trying to generate power, because you don’t want to get faster just because you’re pedaling harder, it is really about seeing how you can improve the aerodynamics. Likewise, another way to do is just use a flat stretch of road did you keep riding, and just get yourself up to like 40 kilometers an hour, and then see how you can bring the power down.

Ben Delaney 10:41

Descending Form

Chris Case 10:41
And I would plug an article that Leonard Zinn, famous Leonard Zinn and I worked on back when I was at VeloNews, that we did this exact thing, this roll down test with all the different top positions. I was the guinea pig and I had to climb a mountain road in Boulder.

Trevor Connor 11:00
How many times did you do it?

Chris Case 11:01
I don’t know, 75 times for all these different positions to see, which was, this was before the Supertuck was banned, so…

Ben Delaney 11:09
That was testing descending positions. – Correct, it was. – So that brings up another point of like, trying to get faster how? Are we talking about coasting? Are we talking about climbing? Are we talked about flats? That’s part of the fun of it, is like you have to – sure, – you can’t optimize for all the things at once. – Right. – But it’s fun to dork out on okay, what are we trying to accomplish here? Are we trying to go uphill fast? Are we going to go British Hill Climb Time Trial style of trillium parts and chopping off things?

Chris Case 11:35
Yes right. Well, I feel like the context we’re talking about here is mostly speed in terms of aerodynamics on a flat surfaces, you’re maybe stereotypical speed in cycling, not climbing. And I bring I mentioned the aero talk test that we did only to emphasize the point that you can really understand the differences in speed just by body position, by doing it on a hill like that. Then that can inform your position when you are pedaling on a flat road as well, you’re certainly not going to sit in a super tuck position. But finding the place where your elbows are tucked in where you can maintain power, but still feel like you’re aerodynamic, being on the hoods, honestly, with bent elbows versus being in the drops, some would argue maybe there’s data to support this, that being in the drops is slower than being low, but maintaining your hand position on the hoods, and then of course, bar width and all of these other things. We’re kind of straying from the original point, which was, let’s talk about you and how you in this equation of speed can can get faster. I’m not sure where we jumped off, but then jump back on would you.

Ben Delaney 12:50
Jump back on with with stretchy pants and stretchy clothes. – Okay. – That can make a huge difference. I Worked at Specialized for a short period.

Chris Case 13:01
Sorry to interrupt, but they’re famous for that video. They’re famous for a lot of things, but they’re famous for the video about and maybe you’re not even going here, but the leg hair that they – right – claimed, – Sure yeah – you know, saves a certain amount of time.

Ben Delaney Discusses Aerodynamics

Ben Delaney 13:14
Yeah so my friend Mark Cote and I are responsible for the “Aero is Everything,” slogan. – really? – So I was writing up a paper for Craig Alexander, head of the 2011 Kona, I want to say, – Ironman Champion. – Yep. Launching the Shiv, but a very aerodynamic at the time, time trial bike. And was like, what are the talking points here? And it’s like, well, for the bicycle portion of this race aerodynamics is everything included. Like that’s it. That’s what like that, aero is everything. Yeah, well, not technically, it’s not everything but a lot of things and I was like, – that’s what his slogan is. – Yeah. Yeah and that is so much of it, especially if we’re talking about moving on relatively flat ground, if you’re trying to overcome aerodynamic drag. Back to the point of you, you are the biggest drag, people are the biggest drag on the bike. Changing your position is one thing that’s free, wearing tight clothes makes huge difference. Some of the numbers that the specialized gang put together for going from normal cycle, goes like not wearing bell bottoms in a trench coat, but like regular cycling clothes, – right – a rider helmet to wearing like a full on super tight skin suit could save as much as like a minute and a half on 40k time trial. We can debate the particulars of those numbers. Well, on whom and what position at what angles, yada, yada, yada, but just to get like basic apples to apples, having a spelt profile makes a big difference.

Chris Case 14:39
Yeah, we’re not even talking about material differences at this point that the skin suits with dimples on the ribs, trip layers, and all that sort of stuff. But in that, obviously that when you start getting into that it costs more and more money as you get more and more sophisticated clothing. Where’s the breaking point there? Is it worth it? to pay $600 for a skin suit, – yeah. – For most people, that’s not. – Yes. –

Trevor Connor 15:05
So that’s the question I want to ask because you’re having more and more cyclists now they’re moving away from the bibs and the jersey, to the speed suit, even in road races. So it’s kind of like a skin suit, but it has some pockets in it so you can fit some food. Is that worth the money? Because those tend to be pretty expensive. Is that going to get you any gains in a road race?

Ben Delaney 15:24
Yeah, because I think that’s pretty close to, again, depends on like, what are you coming from? Are you already wearing super tight? Cycling clothing? Yes, it’s marginal gains territory, right? I would argue that most times, it probably would be would be faster. But yeah, clothing, tech clothing, aero helmet. Again, easy.

Chris Case 15:43
The leading edge stuff is often referred to as some of the more important areas, the leading edge that’s first hitting the wind that you’re pushing out of the way so that’s why the aero helmet would be another place to get significant gains perhaps for a lesser quantity of dough.

Ben Delaney 16:03
Yeah, again like specialized wind tunnel numbers, they throw like a, you know 30 seconds over 40k. So yes, the fits the frontal shape, and then also how the air flows over the top of the object, which is you.

Does Wearing a Helmet with a Visor Actually Help?

Trevor Connor 16:16
So the part of the helmet that can actually make some of the biggest difference is having a visor on the helmet, those got surprisingly some wind tunnel deaths or not?

Ben Delaney 16:22
Are you prepared to pay the sartorial price for this? Looking like a Spaceballs Doofenshmirtz for having a visor hanging down over your nose.

Chris Case 16:32
Here’s the thing you got to remember Ben, you’re talking to someone who often looks like a doofus, Doofenshmirtz, – the doofiest of the Doofenshmirtz – I’m sorry, Trevor but you…

Trevor Connor 16:42
I’m sorry are we still on script here? Was this part of the outline? – I think so, the section about Doofenshmirtz – Quickly we went to Trevor looks like a Doofenshmirtz. To that response…

Ben Delaney 16:53
Listeners, for the record. I’m sitting here in stretchy pants. So I…

Chris Case 16:56
That’s true.

Trevor Connor 16:56
You are.

Ben Delaney 16:57
I am fully entitled, -gross- to mock people who look like myself.

Trevor Connor 17:02
In our locker behind us. I actually do have a helmet with a visor and that is because I was at VeloNews one day, and you guys had just tested this helmet and nobody at VeloNews wanted this helmet. So I walked in and Rose was like your driver have a helmet.

Chris Case 17:16
I think the brand is Doofenshmirtz. I’d never heard of that brand but I thought it was perfect for you.

Ben Delaney 17:21
The very front of things is interesting looking at, you know, our friend Ashton Lambie, or you know, sub-specialized, you know, he’s got a big mustache. He also has like that platypus looking poc helmet. Yeah, different helmets fit with different body shapes in different ways, but there’s been testing done on people with beards and then other stuff going on on the front. That doesn’t seem to affect things as much as you’d think, but maybe facial hair and visors are two different things. – Right. – More testing is needed on this – more testing is needed -, the visor versus the beard. – It could be a combination. – Yeah. How much? You know a good, helmet 30 seconds? – Yep, – good clothing, no more than a minute again, talking the 40k distance?

How do Handlebars Effect Your Aerodynamics?

Chris Case 18:04
Yeah. What about stuff like, is there any way to even quantify aero bars versus non-aero handlebars? I’m talking like…

Ben Delaney 18:15
Yeah you’re making hand gestures here. So not like triathlon aero extensions, but like, like an NV aero row bar. – Yeah. – Where the, – hoods are rounded -, hoods are narrower than the drops? And yeah, yes, that for sure works. And I would sort of put that under the you part, of like you’re shaping how your body sits on the bike and that can be dicey. Like how you twist your wrist or you just turn your hoods inward on your existing 42 bars, or yeah, or you spend a couple $100 on a different handlebar. But again, there’s that that can be faster. We you go like all van ship on it and go to like a 20 centimeter width and your wrists are basically touching and then you hit a little rock and fall down.

Chris Case 18:59
Yeah there’s a control issue.

Ben Delaney 19:02
So I would recommend fine tuning that position ahead of spending a ton of money on a handlebar, just go with what fits and what’s comfortable and safe and feels good in your hands.

Chris Case 19:13
Very good. All right. Is it time to move beyond you?

Ben Delaney 19:17
Yes, but enough about you. Let’s talk about stuff.

What are the Main Things Needed for More Speed?

Chris Case 19:21
Let’s talk about stuff, sure. Do you have any tiers here when it comes to stuff and the categorization if you will, of the first tier, second tier, third tier items that you would encourage people to look at?

Using Lubricants for Extra Speed on the Bike

Ben Delaney 19:33
Yes. So if we’re going to put helmets as part of you and not stuff? Because like that’s kind of – yeah, there’s a line, – that’s halfway in between? – Yeah. – The boundary between you and stuff is the helmet, wheels and tires are definitely a thing. Chains and chain lube probably sits above as far as like easy recommendations from free to like super dork expense. Then the bike frame would would come a distant third, – I gotcha – so like chain/lube is one, wheels and tires is a second category and then the bicycle itself.

Chris Case 20:08
Let’s start with the Cliff Notes version of the chain and lube, based on everything that you’ve read, all the research that’s been done by people in house at VeloNews all the stuff you know about chains. What’s the recommendation on chains and lube? Wax is the fastest.

Trevor Connor 20:24
Are you prepared to put that sort of time in? – Yeah, I just can’t care that much.- Right, that’s my feeling.

Ben Delaney 20:30
I know you’re not asking me like what I do, but like as far as like, you know, recommending things. Our friends, like at stages. For instance, Pat Warner is a Doofenshmirtz of the tenth degree for, – he waxes? – Oh, he, not only does he you know, he’s got dedicated crockpots. Well, so So one chain is, is stewing the other chain on the bike and can pop between the two and, and yes, it’s faster. It’s measurably demonstrably faster.

Chris Case 20:58
How much? Well, that’s the thing.

Ben Delaney 21:01
My buddy Tom Rogol loves to laugh that if you added up all the marketing claims, well this, you know the chain saves you this and the lube saves you that and then tires… He’s like, I shouldn’t have to pedal anymore. Easily, like 250 Watt, – or are you going backwards in time or something? -, I should just be coasting along on an E-bike like ride with all these savings. Yeah five watts?

Chris Case 21:22
Yeah, it’s very small.

Ben Delaney 21:25
Small and measurable but you know, just keeping your chain clean and the chain lubed. That’s an easy one.

Chris Case 21:30
Yeah and that’s why I kind of want to move on from, that’s why I asked for the cliffnotes there because it’s do it or not, it’s not a big deal. It’s not a huge difference. If you’re trying to win state time trials championships, go ahead and do it. Otherwise, just clean your chain occasionally. You should be fine.

Ben Delaney 21:49
Just basic bicycle hygiene. – Yeah –

Trevor Connor 21:51
So what’s the sweet spot of in between? What do you usually use to lube and what’s sort of chain do you use? How frequently do you replace it?

Ben Delaney 21:59
Well, I’m on test bikes all the time. – Fair. – So I’m spoiled and I don’t think I count. I’ve been messing around with a few different waxes like, Allied out of Arkansas has a Grax gravel wax because everything is gravel. Right, that works pretty well.

Chris Case 22:13
Yeah, I use a wax based lube. We live in a dry place here in Colorado. So we can get away with a wax based lube. It’s clean, it comes off and you know, you have to reapply it fairly frequently but it stays clean and it runs smooth. I use Squirt.

Ben Delaney 22:30

Trevor Discusses Utilizing Chain Reuses

Trevor Connor 22:31
We’ll think I’ll add the little trick I’ve had is, I do think once a chain gets stretched, you start losing a lot. – Absolutely. – So I tend to be more during the season when I’m at the peak of racing. I’ll usually placed my chain before it’s needed but I don’t throw the chain out. I hang on to it. – And do well with it? – Well, then in the winter, I look back on – Okay – not too much, I do have some jewelry.

Chris Case 22:57
If you have extra chains laying around right now you could probably make a lot of money.

Trevor Connor 23:03
Which I’m glad because I’m gonna get through the whole winter on used change because in the middle of January, who cares if you run a chain into the ground, but don’t run into the ground during the season that will slow you down.

How do Special Wheels Help Gain Speed?

Chris Case 23:14
You mentioned wheels as well and wheels and tires. Let’s talk about those.

Ben Delaney 23:19
Yeah, wheels are gonna make a big difference and reduce your overall CdA to the tune of like 3 to 5% something like this. Even on rolling terrain, again speed dependent, but yeah, that’s a relatively easy one in there the balances, besides cost, how comfortable are you and cross winds, but like a 50 mil wheel seems to be a sweet spot for a lot of folks of that that gets measurably faster and it doesn’t feel sketchy when an 18 Wheeler passes you by.

Chris Case 23:46
You’ve been running Deep Dish wheels for a long time and testing them. I’m sure how much have you seen crosswind control improve over the years?

Ben Delaney 23:55
Oh its gotten so much better.

Chris Case 23:57
So anybody out there who’s been like, I ran 404s 20 years ago, and I could barely control my bike. They might want to give it another try.

Ben Delaney 24:06
Yes, for sure. Just going from like the super pointy to the snub nose has made a big difference. Now it’s feels more like it’s definitely a pressure is noticeable but it’s like someone slowly applying pressure instead of somebody just bum rushing and knocking you over. – Right –

What Tires Work Best for Various Routes?

Trevor Connor 24:25
What would you recommend for somebody who’s doing a lot of flat racing versus somebody who’s climbing a lot in terms of wheels? What should you look for?

Ben Delaney 24:32
Yeah, like that, you know, 40 to 50 mil depth is faster up to like a 4 or 5% grade. In a lot of ways you get what you pay for. It’s tough to discern the tiny differences but more money in bikes typically means more efficient, typically lighter and or stiffer, you know, – as a general rule – as a general rule. – Yeah. – I mean, there are certainly ways around it, like the wind doesn’t care how much you spend. It was an early developer of fairing, aero wheels, that initially was like oh those are kind of cheesy, they’re not actually real but it’s the same aerodynamic benefit as a full carbon structure and scooch heavier but and then tires.

Chris Case 25:12
Yeah, and this goes a little bit back to wheels because wheels have not only improved in terms of the profile, but the width has, they’ve grown in width to take advantage of some of the new data that supports wider is a little bit faster.

Ben Delaney 25:28
Wider, is faster in terms of rolling resistance. I think we’ve gotten a little carried away, we the greater mass of bicycle people that widers faster, widers faster, widers faster, are like okay, are we gonna put fat bike tires on our road bikes, because wider is faster? Yeah rolling resistance typically goes down to a point. Yeah, Linden and I sent, a massive Roubaix tires and Graval tires to Wheel Energy to test rolling resistance and for the most part, it followed that theory that going wider means less rolling resistance, but not always and sometimes when you get wide enough that can decrease, – did you see a breaking point? – Well we were looking at like, you know 28, 30, 32 mil-width tires for the most part, and typically 30s were faster than 28s but then like some of the gravel tires, when we were like in the 40ish range going up to a certain point, then that would get slower in terms of rolling resistance. – This is on a rougher surface? – Yeah, trying to trying to replicate – Roubaix conditions, – Roubaix and gravel conditions. – Yeah. – Rolling resistance is part of it. Aerodynamics is clearly part of it and the faster you go, the more aero goes up as far as like how much things count. So that’s why we’re seeing World Tour Peloton people, aren’t running 32 mil tires unless it’s Roubaix. Then obviously the interface between the tire and the wheel all adds up just like the interface between the wheel and the bike and the bike and rider and the rider in front of you, rider behind you, it all factors in but yeah, get 50 mil wheels are faster than box section wheels if we’re just talking about going flat fast. Then good high end tires, especially high end clincher tires with latex tube are faster than heavier, less expensive and perhaps more durable tires. Tires is like that’s the kind of an easy one as far as bang for the buck. But they feel nice, which I think’s important.

Trevor Connor 27:26
Let’s jump there quickly. So tubular, tubeless and clincher – Yep. – Which is fastest?

Ben Delaney 27:33
In reverse order what you just said, and there’s not like all clinchers are faster than all tubulars. But in our testing and testing from other brands, the very fastest clinchers are faster than any other type of tire. This Specialized turbo cotton is, that’s the one right now.

Chris Case 27:53
Which is say that again. So people hear it because it’s not what a lot of purists and traditionalists think that they always thought tubulars maybe there was just this conflation that…

Ben Delaney 28:06
The pros are using them. The pros always go with what’s the best. Therefore tubulars are the best for me. – Right. – Right, and tubulars are great in that if you have a flat in a pack of 200 other people, it’s probably not going to come off the rim and you can ride it for a bit put your hand up until some kind of person hands you a brand new expensive wheel and puts it on for you and pushes you back on the Peleton. So if that is your reality. Yeah, great. Although that even that is changing. You could say this, oh that’s tire sponsors, like Specialized pushing that hard as a marketing thing. Which they are, right. Yeah, we’ve seen you know, go back to Tony Martin doing time trials, he was probably one of the first high profile athletes to win world titles on clinchers and some of that was because you know, the dynamic shape of a clincher versus a super round tubular, but a lot of that was rolling resistance. So yeah, good. clinchers tubeless is also fast if it’s a good construction and when we’re talking like, for instance in this last two sets of tests that we, tire test that we did we were looking at, like the fastest tires to the slowest tires were like a difference of 10 watts for the gravel tires and the Pero Bay tires were more like a Delta of 15 Watts from the fastest ones we tested to the slowest ones per tire, you know again at the lack of 35 kilometer per hour speed. So yeah, a measurable difference for sure and those are all high entire so it’s not like we’re testing like, a Walmart. Yeah, salt rubber, you know, we’ll never flat tire versus Yes, like a handmade silk.

Chris Case 29:48
Du Gost, or something.

Trevor Connor 29:50
Didn’t test the garden hoses? – Not this time. – I never could have figured out how to do that in the winter, I would about in a garden hose and just cut it in half and that’d be my winter tire. The thicker and the more durable the better. – Oh, yes, yes. –

Chris Case 30:03
There’s a time place for them.

Ben Delaney 30:05
Yeah, I always love talking about New Mexico stories and the system was very much a thing for the fall in winter New Mexico where you take an old clincher you cut the beads off, and you tuck it inside of your new tire. So it’s like an industrial, Mr. Tuffy. I use – Mr. Duffy’s – it felt like garbage, but you wouldn’t be stopping every 5 minutes in the group ride aand then when you take them off, it feels great.

Trevor Connor 30:25
That’s what people look at what I do in the winter asked me about it’s like, why would you do that? I’m like, trying to change a flat tire when it’s negative 10 out. Celsius. So like, – because Canada – 13 degrees Fahrenheit. You won’t ever want to do it again, so you make sure you ride something that even goes flat, you might not notice.

What Types of Clothing Buys You Speed on the Bike?

Chris Case 30:48
Let’s talk about some of the other little pieces of clothing that you see when you walk up to the start of a time trial. You know, Aero booties, sometimes even gloves aren’t, you know, long sleeve skin suits. Thoughts there Ben?

Ben Delaney 31:03
At UNBOUND Gravel this year, I use the world’s fastest socks.

Chris Case 31:08
That’s, and that’s not even a time trial. That’s a gravel race.

Ben Delaney 31:12
Yeah, small things can make a minute but measurable weapons. So you know, that’s why the UCI being the fussy boots that they are mandated that socks shall not rise above the certain level. Because yeah, it makes a difference, like with swimming suits or whatever.

Chris Case 31:29
But I would also point out to you’re talking about small gains, if those small gains are extrapolated over 13, 14 hours at a gravel race that can add up to a lot of savings. -Yeah, – cumulatively, if you’re talking about a 10k, TT, maybe you’re not talking more than a second, or a fraction of a second. So that that is to be considered when you’re when you’re making these decisions about aero and happy to hear you use these beautiful aero socks at unbound.

Ben Delaney 32:01
Yeah, I mean, the longer you’re out there, and the weaker your engine is, the more important aerodynamics are.

Chris Case 32:07
Your engine isn’t weak.

Ben Delaney Discusses His Take on Shoes in Races

Ben Delaney 32:08
You know so for tiny little electric vehicles or something. You know, aerodynamics absolutely matters there. Shoe covers the similar type thing.

Chris Case 32:21
Did you wear shoe covers at UNBOUND?

Ben Delaney 32:22
No, no. – Because your feet would get too hot? – Yeah, there’s like the real world practicality. Like the socks are made by defeet and they’re super comfortable high compression socks. Like yeah, worse comes to worse. I’ve just got comfortable socks on. Yeah and we know aero helmet that still has a bit of airflow.

Chris Case 32:41
Well, here’s another thing that I’ve heard people have done. In fact, it’s not people. It’s a person and the driving force behind it, I don’t want to take anything away from Kristen leagan. But I believe Nick Leagan. tech guru that is made Kristin when she was doing UNBOUND, wear the aero helmet in the morning when it was cool. And then he had a second helmet for her when it heated up at an aid station later in the day so that she would gain the ventilation advantages from being in the heat of the day.

Ben Delaney 33:13
Is that legal, Nick?

Chris Case 33:15
I mean, she did it. So you know, there’s that thought process behind it. You can take advantage of of different tools at different times as well.

Ben Delaney 33:27
Yeah. Then we’re talking lower extremities. Yes, shaving the legs can, depending on how you believe that’s worth a few seconds. – Yeah. Right. –

Trevor Connor 33:37
So what about aero booties? Because I have friends that they will wear them in every single race, others that it used to just be put those on for time trials?

Ben Delaney 33:46
Well, why not? I mean, what’s the downside? If you’re if you’re comfortable in doing it, if there’s no physiological costs, like overheating on a 12 hour day yeah, why not?

Chris Case 33:56
So I know neither of you is a physicist but I’m curious to know if the feet because they’re moving and creating more turbulence and maybe the drive train is creating some kind of turbulence the cranks themselves, if those are parts in places where you should actually focus more in terms of aerodynamics, because of the fact that they’re moving.

Trevor Connor 34:19
So yeah, I’ll give you an easy visual to think about and there’s a lot that we could potentially talk about here. But if you think about it, let’s say you’re on a bike going 30 kilometers an hour. Now take a look at your feet. So the feet are pedaling, there’s a certain point where the pedals are actually going backwards. So they’re not going 30 miles, your foot at that point is not going 30 miles an hour into the wind, it might only be going 10 miles an hour into the wind. But as it comes over the top, that leg has to push forward. So now your foots go on potentially 40, 45 miles an hour into the wind. So that’s going to create a little more of a an aerodynamic drag. It’s going to have an impact. Same thing with your your wheels. If you’re going 30 miles an hour, the bottom part of the wheel as it’s actually making contact with the ground is going essentially zero miles an hour briefly but as it comes over the top, the wheel has to accelerate through and come back around, you’re essentially double the speed. So if you’re going 30 miles an hour into a wind, the whole bike, top of the wheel is going 60 miles an hour into that wind and so that’s one of the reasons for the deep dish, because those spokes have to cut through the wind and the higher up on the spoke you go. The further away from the axle, the faster those spokes have to come over the top and cut through that wind. So if you have a deep dish wheel, they’re cutting through the wind, but there’s less spoke having to cut through the wind, and at a slower speed. I know I didn’t explain that very well it’s actually much easier to show with a visual but I hope that that makes sense. Those are two places where I’ve been told many times that can make a big difference. Wheels make a big difference. Obviously, there’s just your your foot shape, the way it shape, there’s not that much you can do with your foot coming over the top of that pedal stroke.

Chris Case 36:06
Would it be illegal according to UCI rules? Ben, I know you are studied the UCI rulebook extensively, almost like your Bible sits beside your bed.

Ben Delaney 36:16
I can quote it verbatim. Chapter and Verse.

Chris’s Million Dollar Idea for Racing Shoes

Chris Case 36:18
Would there be any thing illegal about putting something over your shoe to make it a more aerodynamic shape? Like a teardrop? – Yes – Like a fairing, it would be considered a fairing at that point, right? – Yes and it’s… – So why not a helmet?

Ben Delaney 36:35
Yes. It’s money, Chris is the short answer. – Okay, gotcha. – If you, your sponsors, your team spend the money to build it as a production product, then it’s legal.

Chris Case 36:49
So you’re saying if Specialized made a shoe that was a more aerodynamic shape, and started selling it, and it could be used in UCI races,

Ben Delaney 36:59
And now you’re catching me out because I don’t know if it applies specifically to shoes, but certainly for bikes and equipment. – Yeah, it has to be publicly available – It has to be part of a thing, you just can’t carve something out of clay and glue it to the front of your bike.

Chris Case 37:15
But if it were in a gravel race? There are no rules – game on -. Next year at UNBOUND Delaney debuts the aero foot.

Ben Delaney 37:24
Again to go to, British Time Trial riders have a lot of fun with homemade, but effective options, such as fairings coming off the back of their calves, – this is all on time trialing that they love – fully redonkulous. – Yes. – In which may or may not, you know dovetail with Trevor’s idea that if something’s moving faster than the bike, although slower the bike then it’s more important, I don’t know.

Chris Case 37:50
Well there’s the speed relative to the ground, and then there’s the vector of the wheel created by it having to travel a greater path, etc, etc. Yes.

Ben Delaney 38:00
There’s that and then there’s then there’s just like the pocket of air flowing around the whole package. – Yep. – And how does that all that play in? I don’t know. But I know if all the two listeners who are also UCI World Tour racers, considering getting better.

Chris Case 38:15
There are seven World Tour, Fast Talk Fans.

Ben Delaney 38:17
You can’t build experience onto yourselves.

Trevor Connor 38:22
Look, going back to my point. Yeah, they’ve shown the wheels make a big difference and that’s why you see deeper dish wheels because they know that works in terms of the effect of your feet coming over the top and going a little faster than the bike and affecting the wind I would imagine that’s either, a gets into those super minor probably makes a difference, but we’re talking a small difference. Range and more importantly, like I said, there’s not much you can do about you got to pedal your feet are there, they’re whatever shape they are, as if it has a big impact. It is what it is.

Chris Case 38:54
That being said, when people go for the hour record they use often speed plays aerodynamically shaped pedal. – Yup, right for sure. – And that’s part of that system down there that’s moving around churning up air constantly, so the more aero it can be the better. But the question is, how much are you gaining? For the hour record everything matters.

Ben Delaney 39:15
It’s power over CdA power over your aerodynamic drag. Those your two numbers that you can monkey with, power is going to hit a certain ceiling. CdA is something you can tinker with.

Trevor’s Product Idea for Better Aerodynamics

Trevor Connor 39:26
But look, if you want to attach a fairing that’s going to make a difference. Look at a picture of a duck. A duck flying, – okay, – they got these big back ends that kind of bulg out and then wrap around, basically designed a duck butt, put it on the back of your bike. Believe it or not.

Chris Case 39:43
I’m gonna do that tonight.

Ben Delaney 39:45
Yeah, so listeners enter the code Duck-Butt to get 15% off.

Trevor Connor 39:50
And I say this because there was actually a guy who designed this, designed a water holding system that looked like a duck spot that went on the back of a bike because, when you’re cutting through the wind, so you’re thinking about, you know, reducing that frontal area. People who work in aerodynamics also think a lot about what’s called that laminar flow and I know I never pronounce that, right. – That’s it. That’s right. – But that’s the keeping the air smooth versus turbulent flow but you basically cut through that air and the air gets pushed to the side. So you create two pockets of higher density air to the sides, and you end up with this lower density air right behind you and that creates a vacuum effect, and if you filled that space with something, you could actually go significantly faster. – Like a duck would – It’s like a duck butt.

Ben Delaney 40:39
And that’s why part of why groups go faster. Right? – Right. – The people behind are doing less work, but they’re also helping the people in front.

Trevor Connor 40:46
If you’re the person on the very front, I’m sure if anybody who’s done this, if you’re in a pack, you can go faster, even though you’re the guy on the front, then you could solo and that’s because you do get a draft in fact, from the people behind you. So there’s my suggestion, buy duck butt.

Ben Delaney 41:01
And it’s a wrap.

Trevor Connor 41:03
We’re done, $2,000 duck butt, you’re set.

Chris Case 41:06
It might cost that much to fuse a duck butt onto your butt.

Trevor Connor 41:12
I’m getting a duck butt, I’ve already got the helmet with the visor.

Chris Case 41:15
I know what to get you for Christmas this year.

Ben Delaney 41:18
Yes, the Doofenshmirtz Duck Butt.

Chris Case 41:21
I think that’s a product right there.

Trevor Connor 41:22
You guys will one day fumble me, but you won’t be able to catch me to do it. So it won’t matter.

Chris Case 41:28
This is a great place to segue to a quote that Ben sent me before we recorded this episode kind of goes back to clothing. But it also goes back to following somebody around whether they have a Duck Butt or not. This is if you refuse to buy new bib shorts. No one will want to see your nasty ass crack showing, and will not want to rotate with you. Therefore new bike shorts will make you faster. – Science. –

Trevor Connor 41:57
I disagree.

Chris Case 41:57
I figured you would. That’s why I wanted to bring it up.

Why Trevor Thinks Paying Too Much for Speed can be a Ripoff

Trevor Connor 42:01
I don’t know if I’ve ever told the story. But the first bike race I ever won. – I did not… –

Ben Delaney 42:06
Did you do so by scaring people away with your bib shorts.

Trevor Connor 42:08
Yes, well I did not know that if you wash your bib shorts, and then dry them, like put them in the washing machine and then put them in the dryer with Bounce Dryer sheets. It makes your bib shorts transparent. So I was at a race and everybody started making fun of me because you could see things you didn’t want to see things you didn’t want to see and I got so annoyed by that I broke away just so they stopped commenting on the transparency of my bib shorts, and that was the first bike race I ever won.

Chris Case 42:38
Also the last bike race you ever won?

Trevor Connor 42:40

Ben Delaney 42:41
We’ll have to put this up for listener poll. Yeah, which is faster and why?

Ben Delaney Discusses Key Attributes in a Dream Bike for Buying Speed

Chris Case 42:48
Let’s, bring it all the way back to a relatively serious conversation, and close out with some of the bigger ticket items, if you will, somebody has a lot of money or just wants to invest in a new bike or new equipment to go faster. – Yep. – There are now bikes that you, put in quotes that are a system, they’re meant to go fast and every part is optimized and the the front end is super clean, and there aren’t round tubes anywhere, etc. Or you could go the other way you love this particular bike and frame but you want to pack it full of as many aero parts as you can. You wanted to talk about this, what would you say to that person that has the money to invest?

Ben Delaney 43:35
If you’re going from an old school round tube, down tube shifter, – sure – you’re sitting in an upright position to a full on aero bike, you know, wheels that are designed as part of the package. Yeah, you could save a couple minutes for sure. Again on that 40k distance, – maybe more than a couple minutes – maybe more than a couple minutes. Yeah, I would bet that the person who has a lot of money in the interest has spent a lot of money on high end bicycle probably already has one that’s pretty darn good right now. So it’s definitely diminishing returns, you know going from, like a $3,000 bicycle to a $9,000 bicycle within a similar category. Are the differences measurable? Yes, the speed per dollar spin, gets pretty teensy. So you know that’s not to say don’t buy sweet bikes. Bikes are fun and a joy and there’s lots of cool things about having a nice machine but you don’t have the same dollar ratio of speed gained as you would by say, buying a tight jersey or an aero helmet.

Chris Case 44:41
I wonder if I can put you on the spot. We don’t have any sponsors on this show. You’re a journalist so you’re completely unbiased and you have no preferences. Well, not preferences, you have no underlying alliances or affiliations with brands. Build us the dream bike for you, Ben Delaney to go fast. in a straight line on a flat road.

Ben Delaney 45:02
The dream bike, shoot, then custom something right if we go to talking dream scenario, – go fast – so yes, go to McLaren and like build something redonkulous – you already use that word. – Ah dang it. You know so a few years ago like when Mark Cody and I were telling you aero was everything was definitely high on aero bikes, because they are quantitatively faster, but we and the industry in general has kind of come back a couple notches, you got to take the whole package into consideration just like the most aero position isn’t super sustainable, the most aero bike might not be the best absolute bike. So if I was able to build my dream bike, it wouldn’t be just what is the absolute fastest, because the absolute fastest would probably, if we’re talking flats would have a rear disc wheel, and like a 90 mil or 100 mil front wheel you know and in the super skinny Van Schip handlebars so…

Chris Case 46:06
You took my little project here and just screwed it all up. I just wanted to throw out…

Ben Delaney 46:12
Some swag, some like Gucci brands.

Chris Case 46:14
Yeah I don’t know, I just thought it might be fun for you to be like, yeah I’m gonna go to the parts store and pick this and this and this, or maybe there’s just a bike that said, you know, that’s as built stock is fantastic. The way it is.

Ben Delaney 46:29
Yeah sure, that’s easier for me like what are some cool aero bikes? I think the canyon aero is a cool aero bike, the fact that you can adjust the handlebars. I thought that was a nice practical way for people who aren’t UCI superstars to tinker with what’s already an aero setup for width, and no, that’s not why it broke.

Chris Case 46:54
Did you break that one too?

Ben Delaney 46:55
No I didn’t break this one.

Chris Case 46:57
That’s the Van der Poel’s break? – Yes. – Gotcha.

Ben Delaney 47:01
You know, that seemed to be someone just speculating and like, wrench down on the shifter, – over torqued it – over torqued it or maybe got dinged around or whatever, but it wasn’t the expanded part that caused it to break. I think that’s a cool bike and it’s not ridiculously expensive because it’s consumer direct, and it comes with deep TT wheels and yeah, I thought that’s a that’s a good real world fast bike. Trek’s Madone is a good, fast bike that also has some comfort built into it. So it doesn’t ride like the Ridley Noah, you know where it was fast but you could also differentiate between a nickel and a dime on the road by how stiff everything was. – Precision. – I think the new Specialized Tarmac is another good example of bike that has a lot of air built into it, but it’s just a great all around bike. So I think there’s, that’s been a cool thing for me to see is that we’re able to have some of our aero cake and eat the comfort too, to horribly mush that metaphor.

Chris Case 48:02
About cake, mushing the cake.

Are Expensive Bikes Worth the Speed?

Trevor Connor 48:05
I do have a question for you. Before I get there, to give you my answer on all this, I’m really careful about looking at the dream bike because I think something that a lot of people forget that you really have to factor in is, most of us don’t have a support team behind us that’s working on our bikes every night, I had that for a couple of years, it was amazing. Then I’d take whatever bike you want to give me. Most of my racing career, I’m sitting in a lousy hotel somewhere trying to make sure my bike was staying functional through the race. After putting in the back of my car for 20 hour drive, or whatever it is, you need a bike that you can deal with, that you can handle. – Yeah – And I see a lot of people get new super fancy bikes now where if they need to raise their handlebars, they gotta go to the shop, and I just look at that and go I crash in a race, something gets knocked out of alignment. I’m now out of the race. So I tend to stick with, I see all these great bikes and they go, Well, this little thing saves you that this little thing saves you this and I just say impossible to maintain and I’m sitting in a hotel room at night. So I tend to stick with bikes that tend to be a little more traditional, that I go, I can do anything I need to do on this bike if it becomes necessary.

Ben Delaney 48:26
Giving up speed, man.

Trevor Connor 48:45
Yeah I know. But you give up a lot of speed if you can’t start the race the next day.

Ben Delaney 49:26
Yeah well sure, I mean a broken bike is not a fast bike, whether that’s brand new or 20 years old. Sure.

Trevor Connor 49:32
So to that end, my bike right now is 7 years old, because I won’t upgrade to disc brakes. I still want to keep most of it maintainable because same thing, you know, if I’m in a race and they have neutral support, what’s the chances of neutral support having the exact sort of disk that I need to go on my bike so I stick with the rim brakes.

Chris Case 49:53
That will switch at some point and you’ll show up with rim brakes.

Trevor Connor 49:57
I’ll have no choice at some point. But hopefully by then there’s a little more of a standard on the disc brakes, but you know these are important things to factor in and same thing. If you have a $9,000 bike and you’re in a race, and I’m totally talking as a racer here. So you just spent $9,000 on a bike and you’re going into a race that’s got a real technical dangerous creek at the end. He was standing that whole creek going, I don’t want to crash this bike this is $9,000. If you have a cheaper bike, no you don’t want to crash it and break it, but you can walk away from it.

Ben Delaney 50:29
Yeah, that’s a whole other set of considerations for sure.

Trevor Connor 50:33
Right. So I know I’m talking for a very specific angle. So I totally get it, you know, I see all these people that are out and these $9,000 bikes, and I do think they’re probably a much more enjoyable ride, it might be a little bit faster, but I just I always look at it from that very practical standpoint of traveling, throwing it in my car, having to maintain it at night, I could crash it, you do a fair amount of racing and you’re going to crash a bunch. What bike fits better with that? And it tends to be just a good workhorse, it’s cheap. on the cheaper side.

Ben Delaney 51:03
Yeah that’s one of the fun things about cycling is like all the different things you can optimize for whether it’s going uphill fast or going downhill faster. Yeah, being able to take apart your handlebars and put them in a case to fly on an airplane or getting it in the back of your car. There’s, yeah, there’s a lot there and certainly, the things that used to apply just to time trial bikes, where fast equals complexity, are now applying to some aero road bikes. But I feel like after the first year or two of this, or that comes out will usually end up with a more user friendly system. So like integrated bar stems, for instance, like when those the first iteration of that was like the Cinelli Ram. I don’t remember that. It looks super cool, but yeah highly limited. Like you got one position, you could have any position you like, as long as it was the one that the designer made. -right – And now we’re seeing things where you can, whether it’s Cannondale or others, you can make some adjustments to the fit of the thing, but still have the aero benefit of a mostly integrated system so yeah, bike designers are bike riders to for the most part, and sometimes the bike industry will go a touch too far in the pursuit of one goal and then we’ll come back towards like a happy medium of having a technical benefit, but still being usable in the real world.

Trevor Connor 52:17
Right. So the question I want to ask you is what do you see? So forget somebody who has unlimited resources and can spend one on whatever they can spend on, and look, if somebody has all the money in the world, and they want to go buy a $10,000 bike all the more to them, great. Enjoy it. If I had all the money in the world, I probably would too but for people who don’t have unlimited resources, and they’re trying to figure out where to spend their money or best spend their money, what are some of the things you see people spending money on where you go, that’s a lot of money and you’re not gaining that much from it, if anything?

Ben Delaney 52:51
One product that I’ve messed with hoping to find the answers to speed, but was frustrated by was a, fellow comp aero pod, which is positioned as like the, not the poor man’s wind tunnel, because it’s like 500 bucks, but it’s like an aero sensor…

Chris Case 53:07
The do it yourself wind tunnel in a way.

Ben Delaney 53:09
Yeah it’s a little sensor you put on the front of your bars and then when you take into, it’s measuring, supposedly, like what you are doing and what the world around you is doing, and you take the Delta and you can, your position accounts for that. I didn’t get a lot of anything out of that except some frustration maybe it’s because I’m too simple minded and not patient enough. But I felt like that wasn’t a good use of my time. I don’t think there’s any product for when I say this is just an absolute stinker. Like as we’ve been talking about, there’s certainly a range of like, here’s where you can get a lot of bang for your buck. Shave your legs that’s free, bend your elbows, that’s free. Next level would be take clothes, socks, booties, helmet and then the more you spend the lesser that impact makes, but somebody’s got a sweet new $10,000 aero bike when I tell them they’re an idiot, because they’re not going to go any faster than they did last year. No. I’m going to tell them nice bike man or lady, you know. So yeah, I can’t think of any dangerous products I’d want to warn people about.

Chris Case 54:17
Don’t waste your money on this thing. – Yeah – You can’t think of anything.

Ben Delaney 54:20
Yeah. But it’s also more like what’s, when are you applying these things? I would assume that we’re talking about fastest talking about recreational racing, like you’re wanting to win your local crid or your local regional TT or whatever it is.

Trevor Connor 54:34
It’s all about being faster at the Saturday group ride.

Ben Delaney 54:37
Yeah it’s, you know you’ll see people busting out a ton of aero equipment on a coffee ride. Okay, maybe they’re not sitting in the land speed records, but it’s like taking a sports car for a country drive. You don’t have to be always going for an absolute land speed record, have fun toys.

What is the Best Bike to Buy Speed on a Budget?

Trevor Connor 54:54
Okay, so let’s just take a typical rider, they might do a little bit of racing, they do the group ride On the weekends, they don’t have the $10,000 bike. They’re also not on the Haffi. So let’s say there’s something in the on something the $3,000 range. You know, decent wheels, kind of just mid tier, maybe Altegra level bike. And they just went to the supermarket bought a scratch ticket, won $1500. Like, I’m putting all this into my bike, what would you tell him to get?

Ben Delaney 55:24
I mean, this is gonna sound like pandering, talking to a couple coaches or a coaching company but yeah, working with an expert on your body, I think pays the biggest dividends. Whether that’s like a, if you’ve never had a bike fit, go into a pro, that’s totally worth it. Because you can, from me, you know, the benefits, you’ve probably extolled these benefits on the podcast many times but, plus it just more enjoyable if you’re, you know, Pete Stetno was just, his last comments was like, a happy racer is a fast racer, and he’s talking more about the psychological effects of like when you’re are a good place mentally you go faster. But I think like Prolozone, we had a great ad years ago with a picture of a donkey with a scarf wrapped around it as like a warm ass is a happy ass. But like when you’re sitting on a bike as comfortable ass is fast ass too, so the more you can make your bike a comfortable place to be, the more fun you’ll have and the faster you go. So that would be my recommendation of spending money on getting fit and working with a coach on how to make yourself a faster cyclist that’s best. Plus that’s a fun way to do it and that can help inform all the rest of the choices that you make and – that’s a good point. – That’s where I would go with a bunch of it and yeah, then the helmet, clothes, wheels.

Chris Case 56:41
We didn’t even talk about gauges of any kind, power meters and things like that. They’re not maybe what you initially think of when you think of aerodynamics, but they can certainly make you faster and it goes into that conversation about improving you through coaching, using some of these tools to help with that process.

Ben Delaney 56:59
Yes yeah. I’m glad you mentioned that. That’s also a recommendation of power meter heartrate monitor computer those things. Since we don’t have wind tunnels ourselves, those are great tools to see whether something is working or not. Whether that’s your last block of training or, – right – your super Gucci wheels you just bought.

Chris Case 57:19
Well, you’ve never been here before in this studio on the show but we always, you probably listened to an episode at least one Fast Talk, maybe? – Sure, I listened to all them. – He never got to the end though, so he doesn’t know what’s coming. It’s very simple. – You throw me out the window? – We throw you out of the window and we yell good bye bye Dorken-Heimer or whatever…

Ben Delaney 57:45
Doofenshmirtz. To you buddy.

Ben Delaney’s Take Home Message to Listeners

Chris Case 57:49
No, this is where we do our one minute take home. We put you on the clock. You’ve got 60 seconds to encapsulate all of the great advice and maybe even expand on it in some way, what we’ve just spoken about what are the key most poignant points to this conversation today? Ben Delaney…

Ben Delaney 58:06
Yeah, going faster. Ohhh the pressure, the pressure

Chris Case 58:11
50 49 48…

Ben Delaney 58:14
Changing your body is the most cost effective way to go fast. Whether through in training or just the shape of your body. You can also buy your way fast, with gear. There are cheap things you can do to just wearing tight clothing and up through reasonable things like the aero helmet, wheels, tires, clean chain, are ways you can buy way to speed and then the more you spend the less benefit you get such as a $15,000 bicycle.

Chris Case 58:43
Right, Trevor? What’s your take home today?

Trevor Connor 58:47
Well I feel like for my take home I should go get the helmet with the visor and just put it on for you guys and get a picture.

Ben Delaney 58:53
Duck Butt…

Chris Case 58:54
Duck Butt, that’s actually a pretty good take home.

Trevor Connor 58:57
I am honestly not certain I have anything of value to contribute to this conversation because you know where I stand and all this. – Get off your lawn. – I will leave it at, I guess my suggestion is just, I agree with you. If you have the money, $10,000 bike, why not? It’s gorgeous as enjoyable. You’ll feel good on the group rides. My one minute is just to talk from kind of the the workhorse rider who goes to a lot of races does a lot of travel, that sort of thing. Make sure that when you’re looking at all this gear and saying this is going to save me this much time and that’s gonna save me that much time. You aren’t ending up with something that you can’t handle, that you can’t maintain. Unless you’re taking it to some specialty shop to take care of it for you, make sure it’s a bike that’s going to do what you need it to do and for me like I said, I would not own the $10,000 bike because I would not be able to maintain on the road. I would be scared to race on it. So I might give up a little speed but I need that workhorse bike. Chris?

Chris Case 1:00:00
I think my take home would be very similar to Ben’s and I would reiterate how cool and inspiring it is to look at galleries of people’s bikes at, whether it’s British Time Trial Series or the Hill Climb Championships. I know it’s a different type of speed, but they have this incredible mentality about kind of being at home innovative, doesn’t matter what it kind of looks like. It’s just a matter of whether it improves something about whether it’s comfort, position, performance, or just kind of to be different and try and experiment. I think it’s cool to have that mentality. It’s not about the money you spend. It’s about ultimately, this episode is about going faster and there’s a lot of different ways you can get to that same place. You can throw a bunch of money at that problem or you can completely go the opposite direction and tinker and tinker and tweak and tweak and fiddle and all that, and I guess either way, you can gain something by thinking about it. Having the right mentality about going faster, regardless of what means you have. That was another episode of Fast Talk. Subscribe to Fast Talk wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcast and be sure to leave us a rating and review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talk are those of the individual as always, we love your feedback. Join the conversation at to discuss each and every episode, become a member of Fast Talk Laboratories at and become a part of our education and coaching community, for Mr. Ben Delaney and Mr. Trevor Connor. I’m Chris Case. Thanks for listening.