Last month, TMC got an exclusive first look at STAC Performance’s Virtual Wind Tunnel — a new, unique aerodynamics testing system that “allows you to realize the performance benefits of renting a full scale wind tunnel at only a fraction of the cost.” Designed as an alternative to expensive hours spent in the wind tunnel (a luxury most triathletes can’t afford), the VWT system takes scans of a rider’s position, processes them, and determines their optimal aerodynamics. This is an easy way to shave precious time off the bike leg in a race — up to 10 minutes in some cases for long distance triathletes.
During our session with STAC Performance last month, Andrew Buckrell took three scans of our online editor Claire Duncan’s riding position while a bike fitter made adjustments. We tested her aerodynamics with the aero helmet she races in, tried it with and without water bottles on the bike, and made adjustments to the cockpit to stretch out her position. Through these scans, STAC Performance can help riders figure out the easiest ways to improve their position for minimal drag. In the case of Duncan, this was moving the TT handlebars forward. For other athletes, it could be working on head position. The scans are also useful to figure out what provides the least drag when moving components around.
The scanner captures hi-resolution images which STAC looks at to determine how much drag the rider is creating.
STAC has helped pros triathletes Cody Beals and Alex Vanderlinden improve their aero position with this technology.
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STAC’s Virtual Wind Tunnel service can be performed anywhere with right equipment, as seen in the video above, so they are hoping to expand it across the country. For now, X3 Training Lab in Toronto offers the service.